Sintra guide

Sintra guide (magical palaces, garden, ruins and city center to explore)

 

 

Sintra guide (magical palaces, garden, ruins and city center to explore)

 

This Sintra guide can be used for a nice long day trip to the region or even an overnight stay in Sintra. This magical city of Palaces, ancient ruins and a gorgeous town center is a fantastic side trip from Lisbon or the nearby city of Cascais. With relatively easy public transportation by train or bus service, you can visit many of these wonderful attractions when you arrive Sintra.

The historic palaces and getaway for the Portuguese royalty, Sintra has always had a magical appeal with their fairy tale castles and elaborate gardens that really speak to these colorful and also whimsical palaces.

In this post and Sintra guide, you’ll find all the information you need for getting to Sintra, what palaces and attractions to explore and how to fill up your day trip or do an overnight stay in the area to maximize the amazing and historic sites you will visit here.

 

 

Sintra guide (magical palaces, garden, ruins and city center to explore)

 

A little history to visiting Sintra

The town of Sintra lies in its main municipality of Sintra located on the hills of the Serra de Sintra and overlooking the western region to the coastline and Cabo da Roca viewpoint.

Sintra is home to an impressive array of castles, villas and ruins all along the hills of the Serra de Sintra which were once the royal getaway of the Portuguese royal family and nobility. Even though a few of the castles date the medieval time frame, the old historic Moorish walls and towers date back to the early medieval period with the remains of the Castelo dos Mouros and the Convent of the Capuchos.

The historical landmarks of Sintra have since been certified as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1994.

 

 

A little history to visiting Sintra

 

 

Sintra FAQ

What is Sintra known for and why visit?

The palaces of Sintra and specifically Pena Palace are the iconic attractions that put this hillside city on the map. The area is known for the many palaces and ancient ruins you can visit.

 

Is a day trip to Sintra worth it?

Yes, it can be a long day trip depending on how many places you want to see around Sintra, but the logistic of doing this is feasible for a day trip to the area.

 

Is one day enough to visit Sintra?

If you only have a day to allocate to visiting this area then it is doable but will be a very busy full day that you can arrange on your own or do it through a group tour to save you from the hassle.

 

How far is Sintra from Lisbon?

Sintra is located to the northwestern hills of the Serra de Sintra and close to the ocean, approximately 30 kilometers or a 25-minute drive

The from Lisbon and by train takes about 50 minutes to get to the main train station in Sintra.

 

Can I get an Uber or taxi to Sintra?

Yes, from the downtown area of Lisbon to Sintra, it would be around a half hour and about 35 to 40 Euro one way to get to Sintra’s central village area.

 

 

 

Fabulous attractions in this Sintra Guide to explore

Fabulous attractions in this Sintra Guide to explore

 

 

Pena Palace

Pena Palace

This fabled palace is a national monument and icon in Portugal with the adjoining Parque de Pena also worth exploring the beautiful gardens in the area.

Dominating a hilltop location with panoramic views of the countryside below, Pena Palace is colorful and impressive at the same time.

Opened in 1854, this impressive landmark and castle is very grand on the outside but the interiors are quite intimate and scaled down so crowd control is crucial to visiting this site. It is the main attraction is extremely busy so try to get here early and make this your first visit to avoid the very long lines snacking up the mountain and even longer lines just touring the small interior chambers.

 

 

Pena Palace

In the 19th Century, King Ferdinand restored the castle into what is like today.

How to get to Pena Palace

To get to Pena palace from the town center, take the 434 bus that goes from the bus station to the top of the castle entry and then to other significant areas to visit close by.

Tip – get to this palace early and validate your tickets and take the shuttle service instead of walking to the top.

Check our post to visiting Pena Palace here for more inspiration and images to exploring this Unesco site.

 

 

 

Castle of the Moors or Castelo dos Mouros
Castle of the Moors or Castelo dos Mouros

 

Castle of the Moors or Castelo dos Mouros

The ancient city walls and ruins of the Castle of the Moors dates all the way back to the 8th century when the North African Moors expanded throughout Portugal. Creating a stronghold of the region from above with these significant walls and fortress this made a powerful statement to the entire region of the Moorish conquest and rule.

After the push of Christian crusaders into Portugal around the 12th century, the fortress and walls were left to decay and neglect and just recently converted into a living museum you can explore with amazing viewpoints to the city and outlying regions.

 

Castle of the Moors or Castelo dos Mouros

A relatively close walk or taxi ride from the Pena Palace, this is an easy 2nd stop to walk around the ramparts, towers and various ruins you can explore on your own. Or you can do the bus 434, hop on hop off day rate to visit the historic Unesco sites around Sintra.

Tip – the Castle of the Moors, makes a perfect 2nd stop after visiting Pena Palace

 

National Palace of Sintra

 

National Palace of Sintra

Located close to the small-town village center, the palace is also known as the Town Palace due to its central location in the city of Sintra Built in the Middle Ages, the palace is beautiful and very well preserved with its ornate halls, gathering rooms and receptions and royal chambers.

The iconic two large white chimney dominate the castle along with it’s dazzling all white exterior but calm interior spaces with detailed ceilings, hand crafted tile work and other elaborate designs throughout the palace interiors.

Tip – located in the central village area, this makes a perfect stop for lunch before or after lunch and then touring the palace

National Palace of Sintra

 

The Quinta da Regaleira

One of the most original and whimsical palaces to visit at Sintra and more notable for its stunning and over the top gardens you can explore on your own with a tour map. The Quinta da Regaleira does have a small but ornate palace that is worth a peek and then climb and walk around to the elaborate gardens. The highlight here is the ancient circular well walk that leads from the top to underground caverns that delight and are photo op / IG spots to visit.

Tip – if you love gardens, then this visit to Quinta da Regaleira is spectacular

 

The Quinta da Regaleira

 

Stunning gardens and follies to explore at the Quinta da Regaleira

 

Stunning gardens and follies to explore at the Quinta da Regaleira 

Monserrate Palace

A smaller scale palace with a beautiful park garden. The palace interiors are elaborate with ornate details and crafted design carvings and gilded golden features.

Located away from city center, this palace is a good destination if you also plan on visiting the coastal areas around Sintra at Cabo da Rocha.

You can visit Monserrate Palace by taking the 435-tourist bus to get to the palace entrance.

 

 

Tips for visiting Sintra, Portugal

Tips for visiting Sintra, Portugal

Doing your own self tour of the palaces of Sintra

You can do this as a self-tour with a train ride from Lisbon to downtown Sintra about 50 minutes to arrive the central station.

You can purchase a Sintra Pass that allows you to enter the main attractions of Pena Palace, Castle of the Moors, an audio guide and other discounted attractions in the area including the Lisbon pass.

 

 

 Exploring Sintra on a guided tour or skip the line entry

Exploring Sintra on a guided tour or skip the line entry

This is a good option if you don’t want the hassles of the logistics going to Sintra and then getting around and finding all the various attractions and landmarks to explore. Also, having a guide share the most important facets to what to see and do really adds the visit to another worthwhile tour experience.

Check out these guided tour experiences below for your reference and booking information on the various tour packages offered

Guided tour of Sintra’s Pena Palace, Castle of the Moors and Sintra Village along with visit to Cabo da Rocha

Guided tour from Sintra to Sintra Palaces and Cabo da Roca

Skip the line to Pena Palace – the lines here are very long so get your skip the line entry here so you don’t waste your time waiting in line.

 

Walking and climbing

You’ll probably be doing a lot of walking in the are so make sure you have very comfortable and sturdy shoes for all the cobbled streets and uneven surfaces you’ll encounter on your tour.

 

Read up on the history of Sintra

Read up on the history of Sintra

If you have time do a read of the history of the town and palaces so that you really get a nice feel and background to visiting this historic area.

Further reading for you to check out

Cultural Landscape of Sintra – UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Visit Sintra in Portugal, a Place of History, Royalty and Magic (beportugal.com)

The History of the National Palace of Pena – Sintra (parquesdesintra.pt)

 

 

 

How to get to Sintra, Lisbon

How to get to Sintra, Lisbon

You can travel to Sintra by bus, train or private car / rental direct to the city center.

By train, the direct route takes less than fifty minutes to get to the main railway station and costs about 2.4 Euro one way ticket from Rossio station.

By Bus, You can go by bus to Sintra and departs from Marques de Pombal in Lisbon and drops you off at Sintra Station. The cost of a round trip ticket is $15 Euro.

By Car – the trip is relatively fast and can be done under 30 minutes from central Lisbon to Sintra. Use this option if you plan on visiting more of the surrounding area and attractions. You can rent a car for your trip.

 

 

More inside tips to visiting Sintra

 

More inside tips to visiting Sintra

How to get around Sintra – Self Tour

From Sintra Central Station you can take the 434 Tourist bus that gets you to Pena Palace, Palace of the Moors and the central village area of Sintra. It departs from the train station every 15 minutes and the schedule is here for you to plan on your time frame. They have a hop on hop off bus fare of $11 Euro so you can do this to your own schedule.

 

Don’t waste your time waiting in line

You can skip the line at Pena Palace which is always slow and long so get your advanced tickets here and get in immediately.

 

 

Extend your stay in Sintra

If you are planning on staying in the area and exploring the region, there are some really nice hotels to say in the area that we can recommend to you.

 

 

 

 

 Conclusion on a visit and Sintra guide

Conclusion on a visit and Sintra guide

Thanks for checking out this post on a Sintra guide. If you enjoyed the post, please do share it with any of the social media buttons around the site.

Did we cover it all or miss any cool places to explore around the Sintra area? If so please do share it in the comment section below.

Hope you can visit Sintra and these cool attractions just outside of the city!

 

 

 

 

 

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