Sintra, Portugal nestled in the Cascais national park is the perfect day trip from Lisbon. If you have read our Top Reasons To Visit Portugal, you’ll know this is high on the list. The region’s ten national monuments are spread apart, so planning can be overwhelming. From how to get from Lisbon to Sintra, to where to eat, our ultimate guide Sintra Portugal has you covered.
Here are our top picks and the Ultimate Guide Sintra Portugal.
My personal favorite and the one I would visit if you only have time for one is Pena Palace. This fairy tale palace is brightly painted and covered in traditional Portuguese tiles. It is by far the standout star of Sintra. Each foot step is more enchanting than the last. Beyond the palace, the views are impressive and unobstructed.
Pena Palace sits at one of the highest points and you can see the ocean on a clear day.
Perched up in the mountains is the Moorish Castle. This ancient ruin castle dates back, as you guessed it to the Moorish era. This castle has some prim photo spots and is particularly stunning on foggy or gloomy days.
The view is also pretty spectacular seeing as it overlooks the hills.
Lastly but not list is the Quinta Regaleira. Although impressive on the inside boosting five floors, outside lays the true treasure. With influences from a bunch of a different eras, this unique castle has some impressive grounds and gardens.
The biggest draw is the staircase lined wells which offers breathtaking scenery.
How to get to Sintra
The train station is a ten minute walk from the center of town. From Lisbon the train is about one hour. You can purchase a round trip ticket at the train station. The conductor comes around and he will scan your ticket so do buy one.
How to visit the Palaces
You will have to take the bus to see these gems. The bus stop is easy to spot in the center of town outside of the National Palace of Sintra. To visit in one day I would do the Moorish Castle then Pena Palace and hope on the other bus to see Quinta Regaleira. For Pena Palace there is a smaller bus you can elect to take for 2 Euros, up to the palace. It is a steep walk of about 15-30 minutes. Once done with each monument head back to the bus stop to finish the loop.
How To see Cabo de Roca
From Sintra you can take the 403 bus to Cascais. The bus takes about 50 minutes and is about 5 Euros. You can also hire a taxi to take you there and back with a 30 minute wait for 35 Euros. I would suggest catching the first bus out to Cascais that way you can be sure there will be another one. If you don’t know what Cabo de Roca is, it’s the western most point of mainland Europe. These spectacular cliffs are impressive and well worth a visit.
Where to eat
Once in the town there are a ton of shops and restaurants to choose from and its worth wandering around for a look. The town’s streets are narrow and built into the hilly terrain similar to Santorini in Greece. Here you will also find a great wine and cheese shops. We even did a wine tasting and it was amazing.
Train ticket from Lisbon to Sintra is 5 Euros. Roundtrip bus far is 5 Euros and 2.50 for the second loop to Quinta Regaleira. The Moorish Castle is about 6 Euros, Pena Palace is about 11 Euros and Quinta Regaleira is about 6 Euros. Total 35.50 which makes this the perfect budget day trip.
More about Bus
The 434 bus departs every 15 minutes and the first bus of the day is 9:15. I would recommend getting there early so you don’t have to wait for several buses, they fill up fast. This route will take you from train station, to center of Sintra to Moorish castle to Pena Palace and will return you to city center or train station. The 435 tourist bus which connects to Quinta da Regaleira, Seteais Palace and Monserrate Palace to Sintra and the train station. These are smaller buses but only cost 2.50 Euros.