10 independent reviews for Sintra Natural Park retreats & walks in Portugal

Reviews for Sintra Natural Park retreats & walks in Portugal

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review 9 Mar 2020

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Too many to choose one! An amazing place - spotlessly clean and charming guestrooms, delicious and healthy vegetarian breakfasts, good location for walking and sightseeing as well as great restaurants in the neighbourhood. And then there's James and Aasta - superb hosts who go above and beyond to ensure their guests have the best possible experience during their stay. Nothing is too much trouble. We really enjoyed making their acquaintance and becoming their friends.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

James provides some free bus vouchers so it is easy to get to nearby places like Sintra, Cascais or even Lisbon. The quinta is on top of a hill and can sometimes suffer from mist - but if so you can walk down and get below it. It's a great place for country/coastal walking but James is only too ready to ferry you to/from a local restaurant, a service that goes above and beyond the normal call of duty!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes - the local restaurants are lovely but depend on tourists to supplement their revenues. Eating out is cheap and good value. Service is always good and friendly. James and Aasta's mission is to run their quinta on a truly eco-friendly basis - and they seem to succeed!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

It was brilliant! If you're searching for that elusive, perfect get-away break, then look no further - this trip has it all.

review 10 Jan 2020

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

James and Aasta's hospitality and willingness to go out of their way to make their guests comfortable and happy. The breakfasts were delicious -all organic and homemade and locally sourced, vegetarian and vegan. And James is exceedingly helpful with recommendations for local restaurants and even provides free rides to and from restaurants in the evening if you want to go out to dinner. He is a fount of information and really works hard to be sure each and every guest has just what they need during their stay. The personal touches are really genuine and make you feel like a friend not just a paying guest passing through.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

This is a lovely spot in a rural area with great walking possibilities. However, if you are accustomed to US walking trails that are blazed and well marked, note that here most of the trails are little paths that are very easy to miss and almost nothing to help you if you get lost, which is easy to do! James has a wonderful map that he has drawn of the local area walking trails which he has marked with all kinds of information about things to watch for and how to know when to turn etc and he gives you a very good explanation before you head out. Public transportation is pretty good on the buses that run every 30 minutes. If you want to cook your own meals, the catering kitchen for guests is very well appointed, lacking only a microwave.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I don't really know, although I believe that James and Aasta patronize local businesses for the food they provide and they employ local people. They are very diligent about composting and recycling and the like.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent! It was a lovely place to stay. The rooms are beautiful and each is unique. The grounds are lovely. I was there in January which is off season and the coldest it ever gets there and it was quite nice on the sunny days. We did have a couple of foggy days and they felt much colder because of the damp, but the rooms have space heaters so you are completely comfortable in the room.

review 19 Jul 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Fantastic coastal walks and beaches, atmospheric villages and ancient ruins, castles and palaces.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Definitely try the yoga class, and take the advice of Rob & Aasta re: walking routes and good places to eat.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Definitely. Good evidence of use of local, organic produce. Reuse/recycle in daily use. Encouraged not to need a car, offered lifts to nearby beaches and restaurants and complimentary bus pass.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent, would go again.

review 16 Jun 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in the Sintra hills at Quinta Colina Flora, enjoying the warm hospitality of James and Aasta and the beauty of the park. Thanks to Rosy Responsible Travel for the recommendation.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


review 27 Jan 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Beautiful clifftop walks with amazing scenery. It was lovely to explore the local area, and the food and Fado was amazing. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Bring snacks and sunblock. If you love walking and exploring off the beaten track, then you will love it. This is not a city break. Stay at least 3 days (the longer, the better) - there's so much to see and do.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, definitely. Everything was thought out to benefit local people and reduce impact to the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent vacation - we have lots of beautiful photos and lovely memories of our stay.

review 26 Jun 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


review 17 Aug 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Standing in the surf and sun at the foot of jaw-dropping cliffs, being bashed by Atlantic waves near the westernmost point of mainland Europe.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Don't forget to put on some sunscreen lotion before you go out for the day in August with your arms, legs and face uncovered.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

My hosts were very environmentally responsible and interacted well as employers and clients of local people. Washing up was done with ecology in mind and the rubbish was recycled or composted.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

My hosts helped me to find my feet as soon as I got off the plane and I was able to get the most out of my stay in the atmospheric Sintra National Park, walking, swimming and visiting a good range of places of historical interest. The lowest point of the vacation was the cancellation of the originally scheduled flight out due to industrial action by TAP staff, so I lost two days. However, I would probably feel solidarity with them in relation to their grievance, if I could find out more about it.

review 27 Mar 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Really enjoyed staying at the guesthouse. Hospitality was amazing. James was there with good information regarding where to find plants and books and help plan days out.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

If you enjoy history and culture Sintra is a very special place to visit. It is good for wild flower hunting too and James has all the advise and use of walking routes and plant books etc.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Im sure our visits to local tapas bars and coffee shops and lunch breaks as well as visiting the historical sites helped the local economy. Everyone we met was helpful and hospitable.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

We really enjoyed the home from home atmosphere. We met up with a Canadian couple and Aasta cooked us a lovely 3 course meal one of the nights. It was quiet season and we enjoyed sunny weather. We continued our journey to Setubal to the Arrabida peninsula in search of more wild flowers and have not been disappointed. Found many types of orchid in the range. Really enjoyed the spring break with a mix of culture, history and botany. Thank you Rosy, responsible travel for the recommendation.

review 26 Jul 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The lovely countryside (red-tiled roofs, etc.), the beautiful historic towns to visit (Lisbon, Sintra, Coimbra, Obidos...) and the marvellous breakfasts (really brunches) cooked up by Aasta. I also appreciated the many nice little touches (not expected in a B&B)- a bathrobe, fresh fruit and little chocolates in the room every day...(And a glass of wine by the pool (3 euros a bottle!) after a hot day of sightseeing, chatting with fellow guests, was also a delight.)

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Consider hiring a guide to really get the most out of your visit. Victor Santos was extremely pleasant and knowledgeable and added so much to the whole experience. Even within walking distance of the accommodation, there's a wonderful 14th century Franciscan monastery. If you go, please do follow James's advice and get the audioguide. On a lighter note, I would also heartily recommend Aasta's "salamis"[chocolate pastry] and lemon poppyseed cake! And when Aasta cooks dinner, it's a delightful (and very reasonable) experience!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, it didn't seem to be a heavily touristed area and I'm sure the local restaurants appreciated my business.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Wonderful! (I'd give it five stars but hesitated at the "reborn" which seems a bit silly.)

review 3 Jul 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The whole vacation was memorable, the place itself was beautiful overlooking the sea and surrounding countryside. It was really getting away from it all. Sintra is a must to visit, although be careful if eating or drinking there it is expensive.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Take walking type shoes as well a flip flops.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We ate out most nights locally and found some lovely places. The walks were beautiful if hilly and therefore we avoided public transport where possible.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

We met some lovely people at the accommodation and recommend it for a bed and breakfast vacation in a lovely region of Portugal. Only disappointments were that the yoga advertised was not available (unless you were prepared to pay 50 euros an hour for an evening visit from a local teacher), a welcome pack would have been useful with suggestions where to walk, visit and eat. Finally please get some umbrella bases for the parasols around the pool!!!

Read the operator's response here:

Hello and thank-you for taking the time to write a review. We appreciate your comments and suggestions. We purchased two umbrella stands on Saturday and hope to get a third this week. We will certainly work on putting together more readable information for arriving guests. James likes sharing his ideas and suggestions verbally, but we understand that some guests would prefer reading. We do supply maps and books with detailed information for walkers/bikers. Regretfully our wonderful yoga teacher moved away unexpectedly the end of June. The replacement teacher is also a lovely lady, but she does charge a bit more: 40 for two at her studio in Penedo, the next village which is within walking distance or 50.- for two if she comes to the accommodation.

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