If you’re looking for an amazing day trip from Lisbon, Sintra is a must-visit destination! This charming town is home to some of Portugal’s most famous castles and palaces. Sintra is also a great place to explore nature, with its rolling hills and lush forests. If you’re wondering what to do in Sintra, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting Sintra independently or on a tour. We’ll also share tips to have a great Sintra day trip from Lisbon like how to get there and where to eat while you’re there!
Why is Sintra day trip from Lisbon fun to do?
Just 45 minutes from Lisbon you find Sintra. Sintra’s natural beauty and historic buildings make it a unique destination. Sintra is often referred to as the “Garden of Portugal,” due to its picturesque mountains and valleys, dotted with colorful gardens and panoramic views. The town is also home to some of the country’s most impressive castles. In addition, Sintra is known for its unique architecture and cobblestone streets, from Moorish homes to grand manors.
If you love to be active while traveling, Sintra is a great place to explore on foot by hiking into the mountain. The surrounding hills offer some fantastic hiking trails for all levels, with stunning views of Sintra and the nearby Atlantic Ocean. You can also use public transport to reach the different sights.
Things to do in Sintra?
Sintra is packed with exciting things to see and experience. Sintra’s most famous sites are the ancient castles, including Pena Palace, Sintra National Palace, Convento dos Capuchos, Quinta da Regaleira, and Castelo dos Mouros. All of these offer wonderful views of Sintra and its surrounding nature. In addition, Sintra is home to the Sintra Mountain Range, which has beautiful forests you can explore on foot.
Tip: the map below shows the best attractions in Sintra. To enlarge, click on the top right corner. You can save this map by clicking the star symbol next to the title. When you arrive at Sintra, use this map to navigate. The orange activities can be done when you visit Sintra on a day trip from Lisbon. When you have more time, you can do the yellow items.
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena is Sintra’s most famous attraction and a must-see for anyone on a Sintra day trip from Lisbon. It was built in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II of Portugal, who wanted to create an extravagant palace that would reflect his love for Sintra’s majestic nature. The palace, which is perched on top of a hill, is filled with vibrant colors and unique architecture. As you walk through the grounds, you can admire the beautiful gardens, towers, and statues. Inside the Palace, you can explore its impressive interior rooms filled with antiques and artifacts from Sintra’s royal past.
Visiting Palácio Nacional da Pena is a fantastic experience and should not be missed. To make the most of your Sintra day trip from Lisbon, it is recommended to book tickets for Palácio Nacional da Pena in advance so you can avoid long lines at the entrance. With its magnificent views, lush gardens, and impressive architecture, Palácio Nacional da Pena is one of Portugal’s most iconic landmarks – a must-visit when exploring Sintra!
How to get to Palácio Nacional da Pena: You can reach Palácio Nacional da Pena by foot in 60 minutes from Sintra train station. When you arrive at the station, follow the signs pointing to Castelo dos Mouros. Once you arrive there, you need to walk the remaining +/- 10 minutes. On the map, you can see which hike route we recommend to follow.
Another option is to take bus 434 at Sintra station which drops you off in front of the entrance at stop Palacio da Pena. You can also use a tuk-tuk if the busses are full or the queues are long.
Tip: when you visited Palácio Nacional da Pena try not to forget to visit viewpoint Estátua do Guerreiro In 15 minutes you walk to the top and will be rewarded with a magnificent view.
Tip: book tickets in advance. Sintra can get very busy, so booking tickets and tours ahead of time will save you time.
Castelo dos Mouros
Castelo dos Mouros is one of Sintra’s most iconic landmarks and is a must-visit during your Sintra day trip from Lisbon. It is an impressive castle built by the Moors around the 8th century, which still stands today despite centuries of destruction and decay. From the walls of Castelo dos Mouros, you can enjoy panoramic views of Sintra and its surrounding nature. You can explore the different towers and walk along the wall during your visit to enjoy the site.
The castle can get very busy, so it’s recommended to book tickets for Castelo dos Mouros in advance to avoid long lines at the entrance. You can take an audio tour of Castelo dos Mouros so you can get the most out of your visit. An audio tour is a great way to learn more about Castelo dos Mouros history.
How to get to Castelo dos Mouros: walk from the Sintra train station in 45 minutes to the entrance or take bus 434 at Sintra train station and get off at Paragem Castelo dos Mouros. From Palácio Nacional da Pena it is 10 minute’s walking.
Tip: due to crowds, it is best to first visit Palácio Nacional da Pena and then Castelo dos Mouros.
Quinta da Regaleira
Quinta da Regaleira is one of Sintra’s most impressive and mysterious attractions. This exquisite estate was built in 1904 by a wealthy Portuguese businessman who wanted to create an architectural masterpiece that reflected his love for fantasy and nature. The property features lush gardens with beautiful fountains, towers, and secret grottos – some of which are connected by a network of underground tunnels.
For us was visiting Quinta da Regaleira the most surprising sight, it really felt like stepping into another world, and therefore it should not be missed during your Sintra day trip from Lisbon. To make the most of your visit, it is recommended to book tickets for Quinta da Regaleira in advance so you can avoid long lines at the entrance. This includes an audio tour which is a great way to learn more about its history and secrets.
How to get to Quinta da Regaleira: walk from Sintra train station in 60 minutes or take the bus 434 at Sintra train station and get off at Paragem Quinta da Regaleira. From Castelo dos Mouros it is 45 minute’s walking, and you can follow the signs.
Hike at Jardins do Parque da Pena
The Parque da Pena offers a stunning landscape with lush greenery and plenty of wildlife. This is one of the best places in Sintra to take a hike. There are several trails available for all levels, ranging from easy loops to more challenging hikes to explore waterfalls and lookouts. If you only have one day in Sintra, going hiking may not be possible, but instead, we recommend visiting all the sights on foot so that you can still enjoy the natural beauty and stunning views.
Tip: if you decide to go hiking, be sure to wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Bring enough food, water, and snacks with you.
Palácio Nacional de Sintra
If you still have the time and the energy you can visit Palácio Nacional de Sintra, this is an iconic landmark in Portugal that is worth visiting. It was originally built in the 12th century, although it has since been remodeled numerous times. You can explore the palace grounds and take in the majestic architecture, as well learning more about Portugal’s vibrant history.
Also for Palácio Nacional de Sintra, we recommend buying tickets upfront to avoid waiting. The palace is 10 minute walking from the station and 12 minutes from Quinta da Regaleira.
Palácio de Monserrate
If you do not go hiking and do everything by bus, tuk-tuk, or taxi you can also visit Palácio de Monserrate. When you hike to all the sights you do not have the time to visit also Palácio de Monserrate when you have one full day in Sintra.
The Palácio de Monserrate was built in the 19th century by an English millionaire. This luxury estate is set in a lush garden and surrounded by exotic vegetation. Inside the palace, you can admire beautiful artworks and furniture from different eras, as well as grand staircases and impressive chandeliers.
It’s worth visiting Palácio de Monserrate to experience its beauty and tranquility, however, it can get quite busy during the summer months so it’s recommended to book tickets for Palácio de Monserrate in advance if possible. If you are short on time or have limited mobility then opt for a tuk-tuk ride instead of walking as the journey is just 15 minutes from Sintra train station.
More sights that are worth visiting in Sintra
If you’re staying for more than one day, in addition to the sights above, be sure to check out the following four places.
Convento dos Capuchos: Built in the 16th century, this is an amazing place to explore. The convent is set amid lush gardens and surrounded by a forest. Inside the convent, you can admire its beautiful architecture and learn more about the history of Capuchin friars who once lived there. To get to Convento dos Capuchos from Sintra train station, take bus 403 and get off at Almocageme-Pe Serra. You can also take a tuk-tuk from Sintra.
Azenhas do Mar: If you’re looking for stunning views, Azenhas do Mar is one of the most beautiful places on Sintra’s coastline. This small village is located southwest of Sintra and offers beautiful rugged cliffs and breathtaking panoramic views over the Atlantic Ocean. Several trails in this area will take you to secluded beaches, historical buildings, and lookouts with stunning views. To get to Azenhas do Mar from Sintra you can take bus 403 or a tuk-tuk. The journey will take around 40 minutes and will cost around €10-€12 / $10-$12 each way.
Cabo da Roca: is the most western point of mainland Europe. It is renowned for its stunning views and cliffs that drop straight into the Atlantic Ocean. This place is worth visiting when you are in Sintra and it’s easily accessible by bus. The journey to Cabo da Roca from Sintra will take around 30 minutes by car and 50 minutes by bus 403 and cost around €4-€5 / $4-$5 each way.
Palácio de Queluz: To finish your trip to Sintra, you should visit Palácio de Queluz. This is a stunning palace located on the outskirts of Lisbon and it’s one of the most iconic landmarks in Portugal. The palace was designed in the 18th century and features beautiful neoclassical architecture surrounded by majestic gardens. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Remember to purchase tickets in advance so you can avoid the line.
You can visit Palácio de Queluz when you travel from Lisbon to Sintra or when you go back to Lisbon. From Sintra, take the train to the end destination Lisboa – Rossio and get off at station Queluz – Belas (the journey is 20 minutes). From Queluz – Belas it is 12 minutes walking to the entrance. When you travel from Lisbon Rossio train station it is 30 minutes.
Visit Sintra independently or with a tour?
The short answer: it depends on what you want to do. If you would rather not have to plan every detail of your trip and learn everything through a guide, then booking a tour is likely your best bet. From Lisbon, you can follow different tours, but we recommend this one in particular. It includes visits to Pena Palace, Sintra, Cabo da Roca, and Cascais. Check tour availability and prices to book your spot for the Sintra tour.
You can easily visit Sintra independently. All the information you need can be found below.
Restaurants in Sintra
When in Sintra, you need to try the local cuisine. Here are some restaurants we recommended visiting.
We had lunch at Piadina’s, Wine & Co., and loved this. You can order good quesadillas with a smoothie here. You will spend approximately between €10-€20/$10-$20 per person depending on what you order.
Café Saudade: when we arrived in Sintra we enjoyed breakfast here. This restaurant is located in the heart of Sintra’s historic center and it serves traditional Portuguese cuisine as well as some international dishes. You can choose from a wide selection of breakfast options such as omelet, toast with butter and jam, croissants, and coffee. Prices range between €2-€8/$2-$8. During lunch, you can order Caldo Verde, a traditional kale soup with potatoes.
Tulhas: Tulhas is a typical Portuguese restaurant that serves traditional dishes and seafood from the region. From grilled calamari to bacalhau, there is something for everyone here. Portions are huge and prices range between €10-€15/$10-$15 per person.
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How to get to Sintra from Lisbon
If you are traveling from Lisbon to Sintra, there are several ways to get there. You can take the train or car.
Train: The fastest and most convenient way to travel from Lisbon to Sintra is by train. The journey takes about 45 minutes and costs €4-€6/$4-$6 per person. Start at Lisboa – Rossio station and get off at the station of Sintra. You can purchase your tickets at the ticket office at the train station. Buy a return ticket so you don’t have to do this when you leave Sintra, queues can be very long.
Car: If you want to drive, it will take around 40 minutes to get from Lisbon to Sintra. You can park your car at the Municipal Hall of Sintra (Rua das Padarias, nr 62). The fee is €2-€5/$2-$5 per hour and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you need to rent a car you can do this via Rentalcars.
How much time do you need for Sintra?
If you want to visit the main attractions in Sintra, including Palácio Nacional da Pena, Castelo dos Mouros, Quinta da Regaleira, and Palácio Nacional de Sintra, then you need at least one full day. However, if you also want to explore more of Sintra’s surroundings or go for a hike, then you would need two full days. With a full day, you have enough time to explore all the highlights.
We recommend leaving around 08:00 am in Lisbon so that you are in Sintra at 09:00 am. This way, you will have enough time to visit all the highlights.
Where to stay in Sintra?
If you have the time and would like to see all the highlights of Sintra and the surroundings you need to stay one night in Sintra. We recommend staying in the historic center because you are close to all the restaurants. We recommend that you stay at either of the two accommodations below.
Superb view and swimming pool
Casa do Valle
Casa do Valle is a beautiful guesthouse located in the historic center of Sintra. The rooms are spacious and well-appointed with all the amenities you could ask for. It has one of the best views of the Moorish Castle from its terrace, perfect for watching sunsets or having your morning coffee.
Good breakfast & facilities
Chalet Saudade is a cozy and modern guest house. It’s surrounded by lush gardens and includes four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen with all amenities, a living room, and an outdoor patio. Guests also have access to a swimming pool.
Tips Sintra (what is useful to know)
- Book all tickets upfront to avoid waiting in lines (see the link in this article for reference).
- Visit Sintra during the week for a better experience, as it can be quite crowded on weekends.
- Wear comfortable shoes, it is a lot of walking.
- Bring your sunglass and hat if you are visiting during the summer months.
- Use the map to help you navigate efficiently.
- When buying a train ticket in Sintra, it is best to buy a ticket for the return journey immediately. At the end of the day, many people want to travel from Sintra to Lisbon so queues for a ticket can be long.
- Finally, it is essential to be aware of pickpockets in Sintra, so always keep an eye on your belongings.
With these tips and tricks, you will have a fantastic time exploring Sintra.
What is the best time to visit Sintra
The best time to visit Sintra is in the spring or autumn when the temperatures are milder. In summer, temperatures can get quite hot. That said, if you want to explore the local parks and gardens then summer is still a good time to go as they are in full bloom. The rainiest season is winter and snow is not uncommon, so if you plan on visiting during this time, be sure to bring warm clothes and waterproofs.
In general, Sintra can be visited all year with each season its benefits.
Want to see more in Portugal?
After visiting Sintra, you can explore more of Portugal. The capital of Portugal, Lisbon offers endless attractions for visitors.
Next to Lisbon and Sintra, you can visit popular destinations Lagos, Coimbra, Nazaré, and Óbidos.
In Lagos, you will find stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and plenty of activities to enjoy. Coimbra boasts a variety of cultural attractions, including the University of Coimbra and its impressive library. Nazaré has some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, with its stunning cliffs. And finally, Óbidos is a charming walled village with cobbled streets and whitewashed houses.
No matter where you decide to go, Portugal has something for everyone! So plan a Portugal itinerary and start exploring this beautiful country.
What do you think of Sintra? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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