As our third month in Lisbon started, we took the first of two extended road trips we had planned. For this one, we’d be spending five days south of the capital, in and around Setubal, Portugal’s third-largest city. Before arriving there, we made a pit-stop in Palmela, a small village in the hills.
The small town of Mafra, 40 kilometers to the north of Lisbon, is home to one of Portugal’s most monumental palaces. Built between 1717 and 1750 by King João V, the Palácio Nacional de Mafra is jaw-dropping in its dimensions, and seems as large as the village of Mafra itself. We laced up our sneakers, stretched our quads, and prepared ourselves for the herculean effort of visiting the palace.