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When I heard the name of this tour company I was immediately sold. I just knew I was signing up for the anti-tourism tour and it was right on time as they were headed the same place I was. We Hate Tourism got me to Sintra and Cascais and back to Lisbon in one piece.
If you know anyone that’s been to Lisbon they’ll almost always recommend a day trip to Sintra, Cascais, or both. I say to go ahead and get both out of the way in one day, although to fully explore them, you’ll need much longer. I had planned to take the train into Sintra during my trip but when I heard there was a tour there, and it was in a small group, I was all too willing to hitch a ride and not have to navigate my way there alone.
Our uber knowledgeable and sarcastic tour guide, Marcos, picked us up bright and early to head to Sintra. I don’t know if I’m supposed to say this but after our first stop he may or may not have provided warm, authentic Portuguese pastries. We then had the opportunity to roam a little before my friends and I stumbled into a shop mainly selling hand painted tiles. We each got one for souvenirs and I also found a small, one of kind jewelry box. I’m not just bragging, but the owner did say that the woman who paints them only paints for him, so I wouldn’t be able to find another anywhere else in the world. For that reason alone this tour was bomb dot com.
Our next stop was the gorgeous Park and Palace of Monserrate. Let me loose in a huge park and I won’t come back for hours. Because it was early in the day and a little chilly, I’m going to assume that’s why we had the entire place to ourselves. Roaming around the different gardens before finally making it to the palace was a dream. The grounds were absolutely beautiful.
When we finally made it to Cascais there was a totally different vibe. Trading the views of palaces and castles for mansions and estates wasn’t too bad, but the view of the edge of the world on the way to Cascais was by far my favorite. This was a place that I not only never knew existed, but never would have seen had it not been for Marcos and We Hate Tourism.
If you’ve followed my adventures for the last few years then you know it’s rare for me to leave a country without visiting churches and cemeteries. Don’t ask me why, it’s just my tradition and slight obsession. Imagine my surprise when I thought we were heading to be dropped off and Marcos ends up pulling up to a cemetery. My heart skipped a beat, and it wasn’t because of the creepy windows giving us a peak into the mausoleums. We were supposed to head back to the edge of the cemetery for some great views of the city, but literally spend 98% of our time peaking into the windows at coffins and wondering why some doors were pried open. This may not be your thing but for me it was the literal highlight of my day.
Even if you plan to head to Sintra or Cascais solo please don’t hesitate to check out the wonderful folks over at We Hate Tourism for other tours. Marcos recommends their dinner tour and I’d personally link up with these guys again for their surf experience. I swear I’m going to return to Lisbon one day just for that. They even go so far as to offer D.I.Y. tours. What’s better than that?