Folkloric, history-rich Sintra has been a repository of salable Portuguese charm since the dawn of modern tourism. As you wander through its cobblestone streets and alleyways, you'll find many intriguing outlets for handmade folk art from the region and the rest of Portugal.
The best shops include A Esquina, Praça da República 20 (tel. 21/923-34-27). It carries many hand-painted ceramics, some of which are reproductions of designs that originated between the 15th and 18th centuries. Almorábida, Rua Visconde de Monserrate 12-14 (tel. 21/924-05-39), in front of Sintra Palace, sells Arraiolos carpets, lace, and intricately hammered copperware. A worthy antiques shop close to the town center is Henrique Teixeira, Rua Consigliéri Pedroso 2 (tel. 21/923-10-43). It carries sometimes dauntingly expensive furniture and accessories, including an exceptional collection of antique brass and bronze hardware.
Casa Branca, Rua Consigliéri Pedroso 12 (tel. 21/923-05-28), is the shop for linens. A recent client included former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright, who binge-shopped here for what we were told was more than 30,000€ worth of bed- and tableware. Inventories include embroideries from Madeira, the Azores, and the north of Portugal. Nightdresses and negligees, some of them with rich embroideries on silk or cotton, are particularly beautiful, often with provocatively flimsy décolletage.
Violeta, Rua das Padarias 19 (tel. 21/923-40-95), stocks hand-embroidered linen tablecloths, towels, sheets, and bedspreads.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.