Mafra, 39km northwest of Lisbon, makes a superb day trip from Lisbon, Sintra or Ericeira. It is home to Palácio Nacional de Mafra, Portugal’s extravagant monastery-palace hybrid with 1200 rooms. Nearby is the beautiful former royal park, Tapada Nacional de Mafra, once a hunting ground and still teeming with wild animals and plants.
The monumental palace facade dominates the town. Opposite is a pleasant square, Praça da República, which is lined with cafes and restaurants. Mafra’s bus terminal is 1.5km northwest but buses also stop in front of the palace.