As our plans for next summer slowly but surely become concrete, I thought I’d get in the mood and revisit the trip my husband Patrick and I took to Sintra in Portugal last year. We both get a kick out of visiting European palaces and castles – for us, they are a heady brew of fascinating history and way over the top interior design that we find too hard to resist. And so you can imagine our excitement when we discovered during our stay in Cascais we could fit not one, not two but three amazing castles in our efficient day trip.  All we had to do was tear ourselves away from our hotel swimming pool, hop in our rental car and drive along Portuguese Riviera for a while. A modest sacrifice if you consider the booty we found when we arrived in Sintra. Allow me to show you some of the pictures I took there – as you can see, lots of interior inspo! Personal favorite? The ceramic boar head, of course! A few years later, I saw something similar at the Braderie Lille. Should have bought it when I had the chance!

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Sintra palace #1: Palacio Nacional de Sintra

First on our palatial bucket list was the Palacio Nacional de Sintra. From the outside, it looked pretty modest palace-wise, but once we stepped inside it was a WHOLE different story. Wooden ceilings with swans (and why not), Chinese ceramic animal heads, and of course miles and miles of Portuguese tiles. It was very much to take in if you’re an interior design aficionado like I am. Luckily, I pulled through and even managed to take some bonus pictures in the very rustic palace kitchen – and let me tell you, I am not the rustic type of guy.

Palacio Nacional de SintraPalacio Nacional de SintraPalacio Nacional de Sintraceramic animal headsCeramic boarPalacio Nacional de SintraPalacio Nacional de SintraPalacio Nacional de SintraPalacio Nacional de SintraPalacio Nacional de SintraPalacio Nacional de SintraRustic Kitchen at the Palacio Nacional de SintraRustic Kitchen at the Palacio Nacional de Sintra

Sintra palace #2: Palacio da Pena

Too much is not enough. That must have been the design philosophy behind the positively weird and wonderful Palacio da Pena. There are one gazillion interior design ideas in practically every room of this palace. Blue walls and purple woodwork! Checquered tiles! Knick-knacks as far as the eye can see! I liked it. I liked it a lot.

Palacio da Pena Sintra PortugalPalacio da Pena Sintra PortugalPalacio da Pena Sintra PortugalBlue bedroom with paintingsPalacio da Pena Sintra PortugalYellow wall painting wooden bedMirror bedroomCeramic dog jarCeramic RhinoVintage chair with tassles at Palacio da Pena Sintra PortugalChandelier with leaves at the Palacio da PenaBlackamoor lampGold ChandelierPalacio da Pena Sintra PortugalEmerald cabinet at the Palacio da Pena Sintra PortugalEmerald ceramic cabinetBlue hallway red doorsPalacio da Pena Sintra Portugal

Sintra palace #3: Quinta da Regaleira

A mansion for a eccentric Brazilian coffee tycoon designed by an Italian opera set designer – you just can’t go wrong, now can you? The Quinta da Regaleira also reminded me of the house that Edward Scissorhands lived in – just take a peek here and then tell me you don’t see the striking similarities.

Quinta da RegaleiraQuinta da RegaleiraQuinta da RegaleiraQuinta da Regaleira