Showing posts from 2014


Millions of years ago (125 million to be a bit more exact), large dinosaurs roamed in Sintra. Plant eating Saurôpodes and Ornitôpodes as well as meat eating Terôpodes, all about 2.5meters tall only until the hip, walked on these lands way before the Sintra Mountain was a mountain. We can now observe their footprints, some of which are a humongous 67cm tall and 60cm wide. Observing the path of the prints, we know that the vegetarian Saurôpodes with its elephant-like large body, long neck and small head walked between 6 to 7 km/hour, and the Terôpodes who walked on two strong legs, of which only three of the four toes touch ground, about 2 kms/hour.  It is fascinating to see the three distinct types of footprints, all different sizes, and all well conserved, on the vertical cliffs of Praia Grande do Rodízio. There are a total of 66 foot prints, 51 of them are in 11 tracks and the rest are isolated.
The dinosaurs did not of course walk like lizards, up the walls. They walked on muddy and …

Surfing in Sintra with Surf At

Sintra has many beaches, some of which are famous for surfing and bodyboarding.  The good thing about them is that surfing is always good at one of the beaches! That is why we recommend a surf school that has a license to operate in more than one of the beaches.  I have asked Vilma Nummila to write this post about surfing - she was here this summer and took a one-week surfing course, so she has first-hand experience and knows what it is like to start surfing here in Sintra.  My experience is that the surf school she chose, Surf At, is a school with certified instructors and equipment - as well as insurance and very pleasant staff! So here is Vilma's account on her surfing:

Are you looking for a fun but challenging activity that provides you unforgettable experiences? Then surfing might be the thing for you.
Surf At –surf school provides you surf lessons around the year. Affordable prices include the teaching and the rent of equipment. All you need with you are a swimsuit and a beach…

A meal with a view!

'Do you have a restaurant that you can recommend' ? is one of the questions we most answer here at Casa do Valle.  Yes, we can recommend many, and there are many we don't recommend. We base our information on two things: on our guest-to-guest book and our consequent visits.
We have a book where our guests write to the future guests what they have most enjoyed, least enjoyed, what they would recommend doing and where they would recommend eating  - and also NOT eating.  We also ask that our guests bring cards of the restaurants they enjoyed and place them in the guests' common space, the internet house.

Recently a few new places started appearing in these comments.  This entry is of two of them, with a nice view of and over the town.  We visited both of them (easily by foot from Casa do Valle), and found them worth writing about.

Wine Bar Bistrô da Praça

The Port Wine Shop in the main street of town opened a wine bar on the 1st floor - with a fantastic view to the Nationa…

The gardens with wine, Casal Santa Maria

At the of May I had the pleasure to visit the vineyeard Casal Sta Maria in our beach region, Colares - the Westernmost Vineyards of Europe.  Between Almoçageme and Casas Novas, Penedo, sits the main house, originally from 1720, and its beautiful gardens. I was very well received by the enologist António Figueiredo who gave us a tour and explained the origins of the vineyards.

Now, I quote directly from their bochure for a moment to resite the story of Baron Bruemmer, the 102 year old man who is still in charge of the operations:

"To understand me better and why I came to Portugal one must understand a little bit about the reasons. I  was born in 1911 in one of the former Baltic Russian Provinces, Livonia. In 1918 we had to flee to Germany and then to different places all over the World. I went to 15 different schools and, finally I landed in Switzerland, where I developed my professional life. Ever since we lost our home it had been my dream to start a new tradition for my family…

Climbing feedback - wonderful time!

This spring we had two sisters staying with us, and both tried climbing for the first time with Sintra Climbing Tours.  Martta had done indoor climbing for a year, Siiri however had never climbed at all.  They both loved it! I asked them to write an account on their experiences, and here it is, with a few pictures as well! 
For more on bouldering and other outdoor activities here, check out these videos:
I started climbing 1 year and a half ago in an indoor climbing gym in Paris and fell in love with it after the first session. I take to the bouldering blocks once a month, and have always been curious about climbing in the nature.
Bouldering is low to the ground climbing without a harness, and requires technique, flexibility, strength and creativity. I like bouldering because you don’t need a rope, or a partner, so you are freer. Nevertheless, it is still a social activity …

Bouldering and Climbing

Are you a complete beginner to these activities, wanting to give them a try?
Do you climb on indoor walls and are ready to transit to the real thing?
Are you an avid climber looking for new crags?

If you answered yes to any of the above, Sintra is the place for you!
This is what you find:
More than 20 crags and 30 bouldering sectorsLimestone/granite/basalt/sandstoneSport-climbing, Traditional-climbing and BoulderingIncredible sea cliffs and inland cragsUp to 6 pich long routes
Casa do Valle has, together with Sintra Climbing Tours, come up with several climbing packages aimed to improve your safety and and climbing techniques, no matter what, if any, your previous experience.   All of them include:

accomodation with breakfast; all necessary, certified equipment; experienced instructors;  insurance;  transfers when necessary.    
We also give you a good-weather guarantee - if there are no conditions to do the activity, you will have full refund of the activity fee!

Choose your climbing p…

Photography at its best in Sintra

Sintra is a challenge to photographers. A challenge well worth attempting, as once it is succeeded it is really worth the while. And it is fun trying.  The nature is sepectacular.  The architecture phenomenal. The fantastic light makes it a challenge.

The green and the mist of the mountain.  The colors and architecture of the villages. The wild strength of the coast line. The splendour and uniqueness of the architecture.  The poetry of the sceanery.
Winding roads. Overgrown passages. Granite boulders casting their shadow.  Splashing waterfalls. Rising 
mist. Ivy covering the tree trunks.  Groups of bicycles climbing up and down the mountain.  Bread being delivered at the early morning hours. Vendors setting up the antique stalls. Surfers waiting for THAT wave.
The sunrise burning through the morning mist.  The sunset painting the mountain orange in the summer. The winter winds bringing the promise of the spring flowers.

This is Sintra, and all of it is worth the picture.  All of it l…