Planning a Sintra day trip from Lisbon?
You’ve probaby seen photos of the colourful fairytale-like palace, or read about the hidden initiation well that was supposedly used by the Templars.
Well, you’ll be pleased to learn that these seemingly remote sites are very easy to get to – especially if you’re staying in Lisbon.
In this guide, we’ll look at how to plan the perfect Sintra day trip, including how to get there and what to see. So, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
How to get to Sintra from Lisbon
The best way to travel from Lisbon to Sintra is by train. The journey takes around 40 minutes, and the trains are very frequent (every 30 minutes or so).
You can get the train from the Rossio Station in the Baixa neighbourhood. This is arguably the most beautiful train station in the world, built in the neo-Manueline style with intricate Art Nouveau features.
You can purchase your tickets at the station. At the time of writing, a single ticket from Lisbon to Sintra costs 2.30 EUR.
Best time to visit Sintra
Sintra is a popular tourist attraction, and you’ll likely need to queue to get inside the Pena Palace. We visited Lisbon in January and the queues at Sintra weren’t so bad, though the palace was a little crowded.
You’ll want to start your Sintra day trip from Lisbon very early (between 8 and 9). Most places open at 9.30am.
It might not be a good idea to visit Sintra in summer. The place is super busy, and you’ll need to do a lot of walking in the heat.
How to get around Sintra
Once you arrive at the Sintra train station, you’ll need to walk into the town centre. You can simply follow the signs along the road.
The centre is quite compact and pedestrian-friendly. You can explore the quiet streets with shops and restaurants before making your way to the historical sites.
There are two main ways to get around Sintra:
- Tuk-Tuks: These are driven by local guides who can provide insights into the history and culture of Sintra, and they’re ideal for visiting places that are uphill or further away from the town center.
- Buses: The 434 and 435 bus routes will take you to the main attractions in Sintra, including the Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle.
If you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can explore Sintra on foot. There are hiking trails that lead to various viewpoints, such as the Cruz Alta and Peninha, where you can enjoy breathtaking panoramas of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and the Atlantic Ocean.
Top things to see in Sintra
Sintra is dotted with beautiful attractions and you’ll likely be unable to see everything on a day trip. However, here are some places you must see in Sintra.
Quinta da Regaleira
Your first stop in Sintra should be Quinta da Regaleira, which is just a short walk from the town centre.
Designed by Luigi Manini, an Italian architect, these gardens feature a labyrinth of winding pathways and underground tunnels.
The place is dotted with hidden grottoes and pretty fountains. But perhaps the star attraction is the mysterious Initiation Well.
This subterranean spiral staircase is believed to have been used for mystical rituals by the Templars and Freemasons.
Another must-see is the Neo-Manueline palace. Inspired by Gothic and Renaissance styles, this building contributes to the mystic ambiance of the place.
Quinta da Regaleira also houses a chapel adorned with stained glass windows, offering a glimpse into the spiritual aspect of the estate.
Quinta da Regaleira tickets
You can buy a skip-the-line ticket for Quinta da Regaleira. This will include an optional audio guide.
The Pena Palace is a colourful, fairytale-like castle on the Sintra Mountains.
Built on the ruins of an ancient monastery, this 19th-century palace seamlessly blends Romanticism with different architectural styles, including Moorish features.
The palace’s interior is equally captivating, with lavishly decorated rooms, ornate ceilings, and stunning tilework.
From the bastions, you can take in views of the surrounding forests and the Atlantic Ocean.
There’s also a cafe, restaurant, and gift shop on site.
Pena Palace tickets
You can buy your Pena Palace tickets online. You’ll need to choose a date and entry time slot.
The ticket will include entry to the Pena Palace and Park, and the Chalet of the Countess of Edla.
Castle of the Moors
Perched atop a rugged mountain, the Castle of the Moors offers an immersive journey into the past.
This 8th-century fortress is a testament to the region’s rich heritage and strategic significance.
Constructed by the Moors during their rule in Portugal, the castle stands as an example of medieval military architecture. Its sturdy stone walls wind along the hill, offering not only defensive strength but also breathtaking views of the countryside below.
You can walk along the defensive walls and climb up the towers at your own leisure.
There’s also a museum about the history of the fortress and ancient settlements in the region.
From here, you can make your way down to the town centre. There’s a path that zigzags across the wooded hillside and takes you through a quiet part of Sintra.
Castle of the Moors tickets
You can get a fast-track ticket for Castle of the Moors if you book it in advance.
To get there, you can walk up the hill from the town centre. If you’re visiting Pena Palaca first, you can hike to the castle or get a tuk-tuk.
National Palace of Sintra
The National Palace of Sintra (also known as the Palácio Nacional) is a stunning example of Portuguese medieval architecture. Its distinctive twin chimneys are a landmark of the town.
Inside, you’ll find beautifully decorated chambers, including the Swan Room and the Magpie Room, each showcasing different historical styles and periods.
I recommend purchasing a fast-track Sintra Palaca ticket online to skip the queues.
Other attractions in Sintra
If you want to make the most of your Sintra day trip from Lisbon, you can also try visiting the following sites.
Monserrate Palace is a hidden gem within Sintra’s lush hills. This 19th-century buildins has a unique blend of architectural influences, including Gothic, Indian, and Moorish styles.
The surrounding gardens contain exotic plants from around the world.
Sintra-Cascais Natural Park
This vast natural park is a haven for outdoor lovers. You can hike along scenic trails, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy panoramic views of the Sintra coastline.
The park also encompasses several pristine beaches, including Praia da Ursa and Praia da Adraga.
Convent of the Capuchos
Built in the 16th century, this montasery is a truly serene place, surrounded by pristine forests and protected by the boulders of the Serra de Sintra hills.
You can walk through its well-preserved stone chambers and chapel, and explore the peaceful grounds.
Frequently asked questions
Still not sure about visiting Sintra from Lisbon? Let’s answer some common questions.
Is Sintra worth a day trip from Lisbon?
Yes! Sintra is a magical place, with beautiful attractions like the colourful Pena Palace and quaint alleys lined with shops and cosy restaurants.
How do I plan a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra?
You can book a Sintra day trip from Lisbon with a local guide or tour agency. Alternatively, you can travel there by train and explore the main attractions at your own pace.
Is a day trip to Sintra enough?
If you just want to see the main attractions (the Pena Palace, Castle of the Moors, and Quinta da Regaleira), then yes – a day trip to Sintra is enough.
However, you might want to consider spending a night in Sintra. This place is so magical and romantic, and it will give you time to explore the pretty town centre and enjoy a local meal.
How to get to Sintra from Lisbon fast?
The quickest way to get to Sintra from Lisbon is by train. This departs every half an hour or so from the Rossio train station, and the journey only takes 40 minutes.
Best Sintra day trips from Lisbon
Prefer to visit Sintra with a guide? Here are some of the best-rated Sintra day trips and tours.
Sintra day trip from Lisbon: A quick summary
How to get there
- By train from Lisbon’s Rossio Station
Places to see
- Pena Palace
- Castle of the Moors
- Quinta da Regaleira
- National Palace of Sintra
- Convent of the Capuchos
- Monserrate Palace
- Quinta da Regaleira e-ticket & optional audio guide
- Pena Palace & Park entrance ticket
- Castle of the Moors fast track ticket
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