The Moorish Castle, of the ‘The Castelo dos Mouros’ is an ancient world heritage site, found in the hilltops of Sintra, just an hour outside of Lisbon. The secret garden of the Portuguese countryside. It was first built in the 9th century but fell into ruins after its final abandonment in the 18th century. When King Ferdinand built his fairytale castle just down the road, he also took it upon himself to retake these ruins for the people of Portugal so that this magnificent piece of history may be preserved for years to come. To this day, it is one of the most amazing places to visit when coming to Sintra. Most people visit this site as a part of a Day Trip to Sintra, but if you’re into history and hiking, you can easily make an entire day out of touring this site and exploring around the surrounding areas.
Pena Palace is one of those destinations which seems too magical to believe it’s real. Atop the Sintra hills, the golden walls, blue tile and red painted exterior of the palace begin to emerge from the abundant greenery below. Seeing this palace in real life is nothing like seeing the pictures. I really don’t think they can do it justice. There is something about walking up those cobblestone steps, which makes you feel like you’re walking into a fairytale, and yet you can smell the flowers and touch those ethereal details
Xochimilco is the Venice of Mexico. It’s an enormous network of canals which spread across this southern district of Mexico City. There are over 170 km of canals which spread out in all different directions. Before the Spanish arrived in Mexico City, the indigenous people of Mexico had created an incredible network of canals which they used as both a means of transport and as a way to ensure there was a constant supply of water throughout the country. Xochimilco means “Floating Gardens" and stands today as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it preserves ancient Aztecs technology.
If you're looking for a peaceful day trip from Tokyo, Enoshima is the ticket. This tiny little island off the coast is one of the most serene and beautiful places I had the chance to visit on my last trip to Japan. It was so perfect and quaint it felt like a cartoon seaside village from a Miyazaki film. Hiking up and down the island you'll be able to see stunning shrines, perfectly manicured parks, a secret garden, and if you're VERY VERY lucky, a wonderful view of Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji is known as the shy mountain so don't expect to see anything but feel lucky if you do. The island itself is inaccessible to vehicles, making it an incredibly quiet location, and walking up the hills, sometimes the only sounds which can be heard the birds and wind through the trees.