Presentation of the destination
Agualva-Cacém is a city in the Portuguese municipality of Sintra, which can be found just outside Lisbon, the country’s capital. It has a population of over 81,000 people, and is the tenth largest city in Portugal. Agualva-Cacém is a relatively new Portuguese city, having been given city status in 2001. The new city includes four civil parishes: Agualva, Cacém, Mira-Sintra, and São Marcos. It is primarily known as a residential suburb of Lisbon, and is the fifth largest city in the Lisbon metropolitan area. Its economy is primarily based on industries located in the city’s two large industrial parks. The official language in Portugal is Portuguese. It is part of the eurozone, which means it uses the euro (€) as its official currency. It is located on the Iberian Peninsula bordering the Atlantic Ocean and has a Mediterranean climate, with cool winters and very hot summers that sometimes reach 45°C (113°F).
Points of interests / things to see
One of the most beautiful sites in the municipality of Sintra is the National Palace of Pena. This beautiful 19th century Romanticist palace sits on a hill above the town of Sintra and can often be seen from across Lisbon’s metropolitan area. It has been officially recognized as a national monument of Portugal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. This historic building is also used for important state occasions by the government, including events held by the president of Portugal. In the mid 1800s, King Fernando II of Portugal decided that the location, which at time housed the ruins of a monastery, would be converted into a palace that the Portuguese royal family could use as a summer residence. Both the king and his wife, Queen Maria II, helped make many of the decisions related to its architectural style and decorations. The King suggested that the architect include elements of both medieval and Islamic architecture as well as vault arches. It is an especially interesting palace due to its visual characteristics, as its facades were originally painted bright colors like red and yellow and have been restored in recent days.Location: Estrada da Pena, Sintra (approximately 15 km from Agualva-Cacém)Hours: Park open daily 9:30 to 20:00, Palace open daily 9:45 to 19:00Admission: Adults €14 (Palace and park), €7.50 (Park only); Youths €11/€6; Seniors €12.50/€6.50 Website: http://www.parquesdesintra.pt/en/parks-and-monuments/park-and-national-palace-of-pena/
The National Palace of Queluz is one of the most beautiful buildings located in the municipality of Sintra. It was built in the 18th century in the Rococo style with the purpose of being the summer home of the man who later became King Pedro III of Portugal and the Algarves by marrying his niece, Queen Maria I. It is an important historical site because it served as the home for Queen Maria I when her mental illness made it too difficult for her to reign after Pedro’s death in 1786. The palace was first built in 1747 under the direction of famous Portuguese architect Mateus Vicente de Oliveira, and is often called the Portuguese Versailles. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Portugal, and is especially known for its impressive gardens. Features of the gardens include a topiary parterre, canals that were influenced by the garden’s Dutch gardener in the 18th century, and fascinating statues and fountains. It also contains a garden temple and a gorgeous grotto with an artificial waterfall.Location: Largo Palácio de Queluz, Queluz (approximately 5 km from Agualva-Cacém)Hours: Open daily 9:00 to 19:00Admission: Adults €9.50, Youths €7.50, Seniors €8.50 (Palace); Adults €4.50, Youths €3, Seniors €3.50 (Gardens)Website: http://www.parquesdesintra.pt/en/parks-and-monuments/national-palace-and-gardens-of-queluz/
One of the most impressive architectural landmarks near Agualva-Cacém is the Águas Livres Aqueduct, known as the Aqueducto das Águas Livres in Portuguese. This 18th century aqueduct is an amazing feat of Portuguese engineering that covers nearly 58 kilometers of land near Lisbon. Its construction began in 1731 by the order of King João V, also known as the Portuguese Sun King, who wanted the aqueduct built in order to help ease the city of Lisbon’s constant shortage of drinking water. The funds to build the aqueduct were raised through the implementation of a special tax on items including wine, olive oil, and beef. Several different architects worked on the project, including Italian architect Antonio Canevari, who was eventually replaced by a group of Portuguese engineers and architects. The most famous feature of the aqueduct is its centerpiece, a group of 35 arches that cross the Alcantara valley. The tallest of the arches reach 65 m tall, and many are pointed like Gothic style arches. Its largest water reservoir, named Mãe d'Água (Mother of the Water in English), was finished in 1834. In recent years the reservoir has been deactivated, and is now able to be visited as part of the city’s fascinating Water Museum.
The National Palace of Sintra, known as the Palácio Nacional de Sintra in Portuguese, is a fascinating palace located just minutes away from Agualva-Cacém in the town of Sintra. It is one of the best preserved medieval palaces in the world, and was inhabited almost continuously between the 15th and 19th centuries. It has also received the honor of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The National Palace of Sintra features a unique blend of Gothic, Moorish, and Manueline architectural styles. There are many rooms to explore when you visit, including the Royal Chapel, the oldest surviving room in the palace, which was built sometimes in the early 1300s. There is also a beautiful courtyard, a room that has swans painted on its ceiling, and another covered with magpies holding a symbol for honor in their beaks. The palace was a favorite home of many Portuguese Kings, including King Afonso V, who was born and died there, and King João II, who was named king there. The palace also has a distinct Islamic influence due to the use of spectacular ceramic tiles chosen by King Manuel I that were specially made for the palace in Seville, Spain. Location: Largo Rainha Dona Amélia, Sintra (approximately 10 km from Agualva-Cacém)Hours: Open daily 9:30 to 19:00Admission: Adults €9.50, Youths €7.50, Seniors €8.50Website: http://www.parquesdesintra.pt/en/parks-and-monuments/national-palace-of-sintra/
The Castle of the Moors, known as the Castelo dos Mouros in Portuguese, is a medieval castle that was an important site during the Reconquista, when Christian forces took large portions of the Iberian Peninsula back from the Moors. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has also received recognition for being a national monument of Portugal. It is located on a hilltop in Sintra, providing spectacular views of the town, the Palace of Sintra, the Palace of Pena, and the Atlantic coast. It was built during the 8th and 9th centuries by the Moors, but was eventually surrendered to the Christians. Over the centuries parts of it fell into ruin, but in the 1800s King Fernando II of Portugal took measures to help fix and preserve this historical monument. In recent years, archaeological investigations have uncovered fascinating new facts about the history of the Castle of the Moors. Archaeologists have identified a Christian cemetery from medieval times, the foundations of Muslim houses, and artifacts from the Bronze and Iron ages. Most importantly, they found a ceramic vase dating as far back as the 5th millennium BC, as well as ivory and bone items from the Neolithic era.Location: Sintra (approximately 15 km from Agualva-Cacém)Hours: Open daily 9:30 to 20:00Admission: Adults €7.50, Youths €6, Seniors €6.50Website: http://www.parquesdesintra.pt/en/parks-and-monuments/moorish-castle/
The Convent of the Friars Minor Capuchin, commonly known as the Convent of the Capuchos or Convento de Santa Cruz da Serra da Sintra in Portuguese, is a historic convent located in Sintra. It contains many small rooms and was designed to have little decoration as poverty was a key idea focused on during its construction. It is especially interesting to visit after having visited any of the many luxurious castles also located in the Sintra area. Make sure to visit the beautiful terrace with its octagonal water fountain, which was made using ceramic tiles.Location: Rua dos Capuchos, Sintra (approximately 20 km from Agualva-Cacém)Hours: Open daily 9:30 to 20:00Admission: Adults €6.50, Youths €5, Seniors €5.50Website: http://www.parquesdesintra.pt/en/parks-and-monuments/convent-of-the-capuchos/
The Chalet and Garden of the Countess of Edla were built in the late 19th century as a private space for use by King Fernando II and his future wife, the Countess of Edla. It was designed to look like an Alpine chalet, which were very popular at the time, and was used as their leisure space. It is beautifully decorated, with impressive murals, beautiful glazed tiles, and stucco work. Its design also incorporates the use of cork, which is a unique feature. It also features a large garden with plant species from all over the world.Location: Estrada da Pena, Sintra (approximately 15 km from Agualva-Cacém)Hours: Open daily 9:30 to 20:00Admission: Adults €9.50, Youths €7.50, Seniors €8.50Website: http://www.parquesdesintra.pt/en/parks-and-monuments/chalet-and-garden-of-the-countess-of-edla/
One of the most awe-inspiring historical sites near Agualva-Cacém is the Palace of Monserrate. It was constructed in 1858 for Sir Francis Cook, a British merchant and art collector who was named the 1st Viscount of Monserrate by King Luís I of Portugal. It is a remarkable example of Romanticist architecture and was designed by James Knowles, a famous English architect. It is known for its Gothic and Moorish stylistic elements as well as its impressive gardens and expansive front lawn that are a favorite spot of visitors.Location: Monserrate, Sintra (approximately 15 km from Agualva-Cacém)Hours: Open daily 9:30 to 19:00 (Palace), 20:00 (Park)Admission: Adults €7.50, Youths €6, Seniors €6.50Website: http://www.parquesdesintra.pt/en/parks-and-monuments/park-and-palace-of-monserrate/
If you’re interested in agriculture, then be sure to visit the Pena Farm and Stables, which were originally designed to be used for farming and sheltering livestock, as well as housing carriages and farm vehicles. However, the site was also popular for leisurely walks due to the scenic views it provides. One of its most famous features is its fountain, which is decorated with a bronze mask that was designed by famous sculptor Simões d’Almeida and given as a gift to the Countess of Edla, who lived in a chalet nearby. It has recently been restored and is a great place to explore on a nice day.Location: Sintra (approximately 15 km from Agualva-Cacém)Hours: Open daily 9:30 to 20:00Admission: Adults €7.50, Youths €6, Seniors €6.50Website: http://www.parquesdesintra.pt/en/parks-and-monuments/pena-farm-and-stables/
How to get there ?
By plane: The nearest airport to Agualva-Cacém is Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS), an international airport located in Portugal’s capital. It is one of the most used airports in Europe, and provides flights to a large number of destinations across Portugal and the world. It is located approximately 20 km from Agualva-Cacém by car.Website: http://www.ana.pt/en-US/Aeroportos/lisboa/Lisboa/Pages/HomeLisboa.aspxOnce you arrive at the airport, there are many easy ways to reach the center of Lisbon or Agualva-Cacém. Lisbon has a well-maintained public transportation system that includes both buses and metros that can help you to reach your final destination. There is also a special Aerobus which connects the airport to the city center and train station. It is also possible to take a taxi, though travelers should be careful as there are known to be some dishonest taxi drivers in the area.By train: Portugal’s railway network is run by Comboios de Portugal (CP), which provides passenger services between Lisbon and a number of locations around the country.Website: http://www.cp.pt/By bus: Several different bus companies provide passenger services between most major cities in Portugal and other locations in Europe. One of the largest bus companies is Rede Expressos.Website: http://www.rede-expressos.pt/
Hotels in Agualva-cacém (Lisbon)