Plan a day trip to Sintra in Lisbon
In a day trip to Sintra in Portugal, you will be able to enjoy nature, breathe the purest air and immerse yourself in a mountain with beautiful palaces. It is an ideal destination for a day trip if you are in Lisbon.
Olá! I have rarely seen a mountain that integrates so many fascinating elements, you will arrive and not want to leave. I talking about Sintra, a village of 319 km², located about 35 kilometers from Lisbon, capital of Portugal. In this park, you will admire a vast nature, architecture, culture, and history.
Day Trip to Sintra
I visited Sintra in autumn, I was accompanied by the cold and intermittent drizzles. But do not worry! there is no weather that overshadows the beauty of the park.
More than 100 years ago, Sintra was the summer destination of the kings and wealthiest people of Portugal. The UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1995.
At the foot of the hill is the historic center of the town. Take a few minutes to appreciate the beauty of the area: the narrow streets, the trees, souvenir shops, and even the internal buses that transport those who do not wish to climb the steep slopes.
My favorites places were: The Palácio da Pena (Pena Palace) and the Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors).
Throughout the visit, you can appreciate 3 palaces: Sintra National, Monserrate and Queluz National. Also, there are other attractions like the Convent dos Capuchos and Quinta da Regaleira that you don’t have to miss.
Each destination requires a different ticket. My recommendation is to take the tourist bus 434 that runs along the hill and stops in front of each attraction. Each section of the bus (roundtrip) costs approximately €3. The bus leaves next to Sintra Tourist Office, there is usually a line (queue) to take the bus, but the service is frequent.
If you want to see the places in detail on a day trip to Sintra, I recommend focusing on three attractions. There are combined tickets that can come out at a better price. Check the official website www.parquesdesintra.pt.
What to see in Sintra?
My recommendations for a day trip to Sintra are the following, they are in order according to my experience:
Castelo dos Mouros
It is a fortification built after the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, in the ninth century. This fortification requires good energy because you have to walk, climb and descend steps for about an hour or an hour and a half. The highest point is called Torre Real, it’s worth it!
I toured the castle in a leisurely way, to enjoy every detail and the spectacular views towards the town of Sintra, towards the Atlantic and towards the Palácio da Pena. Enjoy the positive vibes that evoke the place and the contact with exuberant nature.
Palácio da Pena
Spectacular! It is one of the most impressive monuments, colorful, perfect and preferred by tourists. It has a romantic style and, during the 19th century, it was one of the main residences of the Portuguese royal family.
You have to take the time to get to know it inside and out: the internal patio, veneered with the classic Portuguese tiles, the rooms, living rooms, kitchen and decoration, and the exterior garden are true works of art. Apart, it is a privileged place to see the whole Sintra mountain range.
When I arrived, the fog almost covered the facade, but it dissipated and allowed me to appreciate all its details.
Palácio Nacional de Sintra
It is in the center of the historical Villa, it is a monument considered unique for its historical, architectural and artistic value. Also, for being the palace built during the Age by Portuguese monarchs that is practically intact. It was the refuge of kings during the summer, due to its wonderful landscape and proximity to the capital.
Palácio Nacional de Queluz
It is a royal palace of Baroque style and typical elements of Portuguese architecture, such as the famous tiles, built in the mid-eighteenth century. During the visit you will see:
- Sala de los Azulejos (Tile Room) with scenes of the Portuguese colonies.
- A hall covered in mirrors that resemble the Versailles gallery.
- The King’s Chamber with scenic depictions of Don Quixote.
Quinta da Regaleira
Going through its infrastructure and exotic gardens takes about two hours. It is popular for its architecture, its secret tunnels, the Initiatic Well or Inverted Tower (deep nine-story spiral-shaped well) and the luxurious style of the benches to sit down to rest from the walk.
Palácio de Monserrate
It presents a mixture of Arab and Gothic architecture, with an impressive garden. This beautiful mansion is overlooked by many visitors as it is located in the center of the park.
Getting to Sintra from Lisbon
If you are in Lisbon (like me), you can take the subway to get to the vicinity of Rossio Station (Estação Ferroviária do Rossio), from where the trains leave for Sintra.
The metro of the city is very easy to understand (there are only four lines that run all over Lisbon). From my hotel, I took the green line to Rossio, but you can also get through the blue line.
Tickets to Sintra are purchased at the same station, with an approximate cost of €5. While you wait for your train, you can appreciate the architecture of one of Lisbon’s most emblematic 19th-century buildings, the architecture of its façade and the interior design of its platforms.
The trains are very comfortable and, in a matter of 35 or 40 minutes, you will be at Sintra.
I went by my own, but there are also tours from the city that offer the day trip to Sintra (ask at your hotel). If you rented a car, consider that getting parking in Sintra can become a headache.
I did not have the opportunity to stay longer, but if you have it, in good time!
Ideally, you should look for a hotel in the center of the Villa. Sintra 1012 Boutique Guesthouse, Casa da Estefanea Boutique Bed and Breakfast and Chalet Saudade are very good references with average prices of $ 65 per night.
If you are looking to feel like the old Portuguese kings, Tivoli Palácio de Seteais (palace of the 18th century) is a good idea of accommodation.
Calmly enjoy the villa, walk its streets and include beach attractions (the Atlantic is close), will be a formidable plan. It is recommended to go to Cascais, the beach destination par excellence, 12 kilometers from Sintra. Also, check Maçãs, Grande, Adraga and Cavalo beach.
Where to eat in Sintra?
In Sintra, it is very typical to eat barbecued sardines and sausages. If you are looking for good local food, I recommend O Lavradoro Taberna Criativa, or Cantinho do Picadeiro.
A more economical choice is Roulote da Gigi (specialty in pizzas and other Italian food) or Villa 6, where you will have a 100% Portuguese experience.
Take into account!
- Buy tickets online. Although you can also buy your tickets on the site, online you can receive a small discount.
- Parques de Sintra runs daily guided visits with fixed timetables and no need for any pre-booking. The daily tours, with a 90-minute duration, may take place in Portuguese, English or Spanish and come at a cost of €5 per person in addition to the entrance ticket to the respective monument. More information.
- Check the schedules before making plans. If you travel during festive seasons, there may be adjustments in the schedules.
- Take snacks and water. Although Sintra offers restaurants and cafes, in some places, such as the Castle of the Moors, you walk a lot.
- Do not leave without trying the typical Sintra sweets, especially the Queijada, a type of small cake with a mixture of fresh cheese, eggs, cream, and sugar. They are found in many places, but I recommend Piriquita, in the center of Sintra.