“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.
Planning your Sintra Itinerary at the last minute?
I know everyone is busy and don’t have time to plan their itinerary to Sintra. That is why I have covered you with links to some places to stay in Sintra, must do experiences and more details at one glance.
Where to stay in Sintra?
If you plan to stay in Sintra, then find some of the top rated places below.
- Tivoli Palacio de Seteais – Premium Luxury
- Sintra Marmòris Camélia – Excellent location
- NH Sintra – Affordable Luxury
Must do tours in Sintra
Table Of Contents
- 1 Why is Sintra, Portugal famous?
- 2 Places you have to see during half a day in Sintra
- 3 How to reach Sintra, Portugal
- 4 What we did during a day trip to Sintra Portugal
- 5 Cabo Da Roca and Cascais near Sintra, Portugal
- 6 Additional FAQ for your Sintra itinerary
Why is Sintra, Portugal famous?
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 in 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.
Find out my recommendations for Sintra Day trips
Before we go any further, find out my recommendations for the best day trip to Sintra.
Go castle hopping in this fairytale castle tours in Sintra.
Places you have to see during half a day in Sintra
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 way and some people will have difficulty manoeuvring their vehicles here.
I took the easy way out and booked a half daytrip to Sintra 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.
Recommended Read – My Viator Tours During My Eurotrip
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.
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 Sintra half day itinerary. It is very easy to see Sintra and Cascais in one day. 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.
Additional FAQ for your Sintra itinerary
Is Sintra worth visiting?
Sintra is definitely one of the most beautiful places to visit in Portugal; maybe even in the world. The gorgeous fairy tale castle with stunning views makes it a must visit place and you should at least visit it once in your lifetime.
How much does it cost to get from Lisbon to Sintra?
Like I mentioned before, there are multiple options to get from Lisbon to Sintra. The cheapest is to take a train from Lisbon to Sintra for less than 5 Euros for a round trip ticket and it takes about 40 minutes.
Can you do Sintra in a day?
I did a half day trip to Sintra and it is technically feasible to spend only a day in Sintra. But in my opinion, you should definitely spend more than a day in this gorgeous place.
Can you walk around Sintra?
You can definitely walk around Sintra and there are some gorgeous walking trails all around, including the Pena palace. It may be difficult to walk if you are on a tight schedule though.
What should I wear to Sintra and Cascais?
For Cascais, ideally you need to carry beach wear during summer months. Remember that Sintra is at a higher elevation compared to Lisbon and hence it is always advisable to wear some layers. Cabo Da Roca was extremely windy and you should be prepared for it.
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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Find my recommendations for guide books on Portugal.
Guidebooks for PORTUGAL
Traveling to Portugal and need more guidance on which books to read? These are our Portugal travel recommendations for you to read before you go.
Recommended: Travel Tips for Portugal
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