This post is in collaboration with the Sintra Tourism Office
The town of Sintra is filled with castles, palaces, and breathtaking hill-top views. It truly is a Portuguese fairytale situated at the foothill of Portugal’s Sintra mountains and along the Portuguese Riviera. It is an easy day trip from Lisbon (40 minutes) and costs €2.25 for a one-way ticket (ticket info here). I don’t think spending a day here is enough! Related: My Travel Guide to the Portuguese Riviera
The Sintra Mountains are also called the mountains of the moon. It’s cooler temperatures previously attracted royalty to its palaces and gardens as it served as a sanctuary to the Celts, Portuguese and Moors. The pastel-coloured villas serve as a mosaic to its rich history. From monasteries and chapels, Sintra offers both a romantic and mystical destination. As a result of its gardens, forests, nature, villas and estates it’s become a major tourist destination and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Related: 10 Things you Must do In Malmesbury
Expect to do a lot of walking. The weather can be unpredictable; some days were quite hot and some were colder, but not extreme either way. Evenings tended to be pretty mild particularly in mid-September. Clothes that I wore during the day were not warm enough for dinner time. If you are staying in Sintra plan on bringing light layers for the evenings as the hills are cool. Streets are steep, cobbly and some of the tiles can be slippery. A ten-minute walk in Sintra could mean walking up and down two hills and climbing some steep stairs.
Related: A One day Guide To San Francisco
Parking can be tough but there are parking lots and allotted parking places in the center of town. Unless you are staying at a hotel in Sintra, I would take the train in, and take an uber to the monuments, then bus/walk between them. (You have to pay on the bus for the ticket.) Or if you plan on doing the monument loop in a day, the bus will be your best option. I spread out the monuments over three different days and drove to two of them as I was staying in town. Parking and driving can be tricky as the roads are extremely narrow. The roads near Pena Palace and Castle of the Moors get really busy in the middle of the day, so plan accordingly.
Some of our ubers from central Sintra were only €3-4. You are able to walk to and from some of the monuments but the narrow winding roads can be scary for some. We found that Uber was very useful and reasonably priced. Due to the nature of the narrow, winding, hilly roads, it is worth remembering to set your pick-up location in a sensible, easily accessible spot. Trains heading to Sintra depart every 20 minutes from Rossio in Lisbon. More spread apart later in the evening.
More info on the Sintra Bus:
Our average dinners in Sintra or in the area were roughly €45 with appetizers, wine and dessert. At times we shared mains. Most places take card and the customary standard tipping rate is 10%.
Suntria Cafe – Sintra
**Casa Piriquita – Sintra
Fábrica das Verdadeiras Queijadas da Sapa
**Nortada – Praia Grande
**Incomum – Sintra
**Confraria Sushi – Caiscais
Santini (ice cream) – Caiscais
**Nau Palatina – Sintra
Praia da Adraga Beach
Cabo Da Roca
Praia da Samarra
Praia da Vigia
Cascais sea side resort
Praia Grande Do Guincho
Praia das Macas
I would suggest purchasing your tickets in advance to the monuments, particularly Pena Palace. There are a lot to choose from which can get pricy. Allot a few hours at each of them particularly Monserrate Palace and Quinta de Regaleira. Also Pena Palace and Park are two separate attractions. Thank you to the Districao de Tourismo of Sintra for providing me with entrance to the attractions of my choice, it was truly an honor to be your guest.
Neolithic ruins of Adrenunes
Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais
Palácio Nacional de Queluz
Convento dos Capuchos
Santuário da Peninha
Museu Arqueológico de São Miguel de Odrinhas
Chalet da Condessa d´Edla