Half Day Trip To Sintra, Cabo Da Roca And Cascais, Portugal

“There is no place to be bored in a beautiful place as this – Anonymous”

The world is full of beautiful places and sometimes while planning for a trip, you stumble upon some hidden gems. That is exactly what happened when I was looking for places to visit in Portugal. I came across a gorgeous little town called Sintra in Portugal. Sintra is a designated World Heritage site by UNESCO and the whole area is referred to as the ‘Cultural Landscape of Sintra’. It takes less than an hour to reach from Lisbon and read on to find what I did during a half day trip to Sintra Portugal and surrounding areas.

Half Day Trip To Sintra, Portugal, Cabo Da Roca And Cascais, Portugal
Cabo Da Roca, Portugal

The town of Sintra is most famous for one thing: the number of castles, palaces, royal retreats and estate houses. And it is not surprising due to its ideal location. The town of Sintra is located on a mountainous range just outside of Lisbon. Some of them like the Pena palace and National Palace of Sintra used to be the summer palaces of the Royal family. Another important point to note here is that these castles are built in different styles like the Moorish, Arabesque and also show distinctive architectural styles from the Romantic Era. That definitely adds to the charm of this gorgeous castle town and if there is one place you should go castle hopping in, you won’t find a better place than the town of Sintra.

Half Day Trip To Sintra, Cabo Da Roca And Cascais, Portugal
National Palace
Half Day Trip To Sintra, Cabo Da Roca And Cascais, Portugal
Pena Palace

Places you have to see during a day trip to Sintra Portugal

That said, it is definitely not possible to see all the famous palaces in Sintra if you have limited time like me. Then you have to choose among the many options available:

• Pena Palace

• National Palace of Sentra

• Castle of Moors

• Quinta da Regaleira (A famous estate house)

• Monserrate Palace

• And Many others

How to reach Sintra, Portugal

There are multiple ways by which you can get to Sintra. You can either drive to Sintra or you can take a train from Lisbon which takes around 45 minutes. Many people wouldn’t advise you to drive to Sintra since parking is scarce and you will have to do a strenuous hike up after parking at the bottom of the hill. Also, the roads leading to and from Sintra are quite narrow as well as sometimes one ways and some people will have difficulty manoeuvring their vehicles here. I took the easy way out and booked a half day guided tour from Lisbon. They take you back and forth to Sintra as well as to Cascais and Cabo Da Roca in an air conditioned bus. But if you want to do full justice to Sintra, then I would suggest you to spend at least a day in Sintra. I missed visiting Quinta da Regaleira and that was one place I really wanted to visit. There are multiple public buses that are available from the train station to go around Sintra.

What we did during a day trip to Sintra Portugal

On a Thursday afternoon, around 20 of us along with our guide set out to visit the magical fairytale town of Sintra. The drive there is quite picturesque and once you start climbing the mountains, you can expect to see some gorgeous views. Our first stop was the town for Sintra and we were given time to explore on our own.

I first headed to the National Palace of Sintra, a former summer royal residence which is now a museum. The white palace with the conical chimneys is a gorgeous museum and please do visit it if you get the opportunity. Post this, I went roaming around the streets in this small town looking for something to eat. Our guide had suggested Queijadas, a sweet pastry and that is what I ate here. You can also opt for the mini train ride around town if you have kids.

Our next stop was the Pena Palace. Our bus could go only till one point and then we were taken by a small bus to the entrance of the Pena Palace. It did not look like a strenuous trek but you have to pay around 1.5 Euros to take the small bus. We didn’t have to pay since this was included in our price.

Pena Palace is the most famous palace in Sintra and it is not difficult to see why. The whole palace is painted bright with shades of red, orange, violet and yellow. You can see a huge statue that looks like King Neptune guarding one of the entrances. Another unique thing about this palace is the mix of various architectural styles due to the influence of the several rulers of the Royal family across the ages. You can tour the palace and view the gorgeous chapel along with the Victorian styled interiors. But the best thing about this palace are the views from it. Since it is situated right at the top of the mountain, you can see all around and that view is breathtaking. Do tour the gardens too since they are exquisite. 

Half Day Trip To Sintra, Cabo Da Roca And Cascais, Portugal

Half Day Trip To Sintra, Cabo Da Roca And Cascais, Portugal

Day Trip To Sintra Portugal
View from Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

Cabo Da Roca and Cascais near Sintra, Portugal

You wouldn’t want to leave this place but we had to get to our next destination on our itinerary. From here, we were taken to Cabo Da Roca, a cape that is considered to be the westernmost part of Continental Europe and Portugal (source: wiki). This is located in the Sintra – Cascais mountains and the whole drive to the cape is mesmerizing. One word of advice here: Carry a jacket since it was freezing even in Summer. I almost froze to death trying to take a selfie here. But you have stunning views from this point and you definitely should not miss this opportunity. You will be literally walking among the clouds here and that is a feeling that you cannot express in words. 

On the way, back to Lisbon, we stopped for a while in the town of Cascais. This town is frequented by many celebrities and tourists due to its proximity to many gorgeous beaches. 

Half Day Trip To Sintra, Cabo Da Roca And Cascais, Portugal
Cascais, Portugal

I managed to spend only half a day in this magical town, Sintra. But even with my limited time here, I fell in love with this area. There are many more day trips from Lisbon and would definitely love to go back to explore the parts I missed.


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Half Day Trip To Sintra, Cabo Da Roca And Cascais, Portugal

30 Comments

  1. This is soo great. I am going to Portugul in November and I would love to visit all the castles and historic sites here. And since it’s a 45 minute train ride from Lisbon, feels like I can do that!! So excited. Thanks a million!

  2. Sintra looks like an absolute dream! I’m tentatively planning a short break to Lisbon for later on in the year so I’ll have to keep this in mind. Your photos are beautiful too, especially that last one with the caption “Cascais, Portugal”!

  3. I am usually in Portugal at some point during the summer, I should make an effort to go castle hopping in Sintra. At the top of you things to do list, Pena Palace looks like a brilliant building to photograph with its yellows, reds, Portuguese tiles, sea and greenery in the background. There’s no reason not to take the 45 minute train ride out to Sintra!

  4. I was hoping we would get to Portugal this year…not sure if it will happen, but Sintra in Portugal looks amazing. The palaces are out of this world. I love all the colors and shapes. And the coastline looks spectacular, too, I can see how it inspired the culture.

  5. I love the fairy tale look of the palace in Sintra. I have heard a lot of things about Sintra, some people say it’s kitsch, some people say it’s beautiful. I agree with the second part. Cabo de Roca looks great too, must have been really cool to be in the most western point of Europe.

  6. We have high hopes for a trip to Portugal sooner than later! I got 1/2 way through the planning of a trip when Turkey presented itself as a better trip that year for us. This is being added to to our itinerary for sure! We always travel with the kids and love seeing things through their eyes.We will all love the colorful Pena Palace!! What a happy color!

  7. Sintra is on my list since long, The palace are certainly lovely , and the shapes are best of it. not forget the main beauty of the country the coastline! Spectacular , this culture inspires you like anything , glad that you had a great time 🙂

  8. Sintra looks AMAZING! I wonder why I didn’t know about it a few years ago when I was in Lisbon.. But I think I’ll go back this summer and this time I’ll definitely make sure to visit the castles and everything else. Awesome pictures!!!

  9. Sintra looks so magical, Pena palace looks so enchanting surrounded by lush greener. We would never miss out on Pena palace as it has been on our list for quite sometime. Was photography allowed inside the palace?

  10. Seeing the castles and palaces in Sintra sounds so magical! I love that the National Palace of Sintra was turned into a museum after it used to be a royal residence, I can only imagine how surreal that was to visit. Also, the town of Cascais sounds amazing, I love being close to beaches, and how fun would it be to run into a celebrity!

  11. Unfortunately I couldn’t enjoy Sintra at all when I went there. It was July, hot as hell in all Portugal, I went to Sintra it was foggy, rainy and cold! Shorts and t-shirt were not enough, I was freezing. I stayed as long as I could but I couldn’t even see anything due to the mist… Back in Lisbon sun and heat, of course…

  12. Sintra is on my list since long, The palace are certainly lovely , and the shapes are best of it. not forget the main beauty of the country the coastline! Spectacular , this culture inspires you like anything , glad that you had a great time 🙂

  13. Portugal is not far from France, but I’ve never been there. It is still a country that I really want to visit, and even though your city pictures are great, I would be even more interested in the nature around it, as I can see rocks and ocean on one of your pics. That is definitely something that would convince me to go !

  14. I’ve been researching a Portugal trip and recently stumbled across Sintra. Definitely considered going there from Lisbon–it looks absolutely beautiful! Is the train relatively easy (near the city center/ direct) from Lisbon?

  15. Really looking forward to my visit to Portugal this September and this post has certainly left me with another place to ponder. Certainly, as a self-proclaimed history buff, Sintra’s abundance of castles seems like an interesting spot although the natural beauty there is more than enough to lend itself to visitors. Some great tips for those looking to visit the area and really, there isn’t anything better than a scenic coastal drive

  16. Penna palace looks just gorgeous and that view from Cascais….am just speechless. I think I would be awestruck and motionless if I were to see it in person. Lovely capture indeed!

  17. The landscape of Sintra is so mesmerizing. This location is really a hidden gem! The palace looks amazing inside out and the view of the sea! I would surely visit this place when I am in Portugal.

  18. I would love to visit Cabo Da Roca in Portugal. And also Pena Palace. Looks like it’s rich in architecture!

  19. To be honest, i had not heard of sintra before. But now, if I am going to Lisbon, I will not return without visiting here. I love visiting palaces and historical monuments. And this place just seems to be full of them. Particularly liked the virtual tour of Pena Palace and the views from here

  20. What an amazing place to see! This Palace looks like from a fairy tale, absolutely gorgeous. I’m going to Portugal in June, so definitely I will visit Sintra.

  21. The old town of any place simply charm me. I love this old of charm of Sintra. Visiting palaces, castles and old cottages can be so thrilling I can imagine. I would love to put this on my list.

  22. My children enjoyed this place the most in Portugal. Amazing sculpted works inside and the tiles too! Amazing patterns.
    Definitely worth a day’s tour from Lisbon.

  23. Have been hearing about Sintra of late. I like the unique design and colors of these palaces. It iis good to see that it also had Moorish influences. Conflucence of diffferent cultures must have made it more interesting.

  24. Never heard about this place. Interesting place to explore. Love the architecture and colours of Pena Palace…I will definitely be adding this to our itinerary. This is quite close to Lisbon and a perfect day trip.

  25. Okay, I have only visited Northern Portugal but I am planning a trip to Lisbon soon. So many friends have recommended that I visit Sintra but you’ve definitely sold me! Pena Palace looks stunning, as does everything else in the area. Love the quote you started with btw!

  26. Sintra was one of my favorite parts of Portugal when I went a couple years ago! It really is the perfect day trip. Next time I must visit the palace. You captured Sintra so beautifully, thanks for sharing 🙂

  27. Good to read all the tips and also the practical side of visiting Sintra. We’ll be visiting soon, so very helpful.

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