Headed to Portugal and looking to take a day trip to Sintra from Lisbon? First of all – good choice! Secondly – I’m jealous (I wanna go back already!). Keep on reading for everything you need to know to plan the perfect Sintra day trip! Recommended Sintra itinerary included!
If you’re looking to explore royal palaces and stunning natural scenery (plus the cutest little medieval town), add a day trip to Sintra to your Portugal itinerary. It’s crazy popular for a reason! Not only is it majestic and ethereal, but easily one of the most beautiful places in the entire country.
I fell head over heels for this magical fairy tale land, and I have a feeling you will too! Just imagine walking beneath the rainbow towers of Pena Palace, exploring the Gothic mansion of Quinta da Regaleira, and wandering all the lush gardens. Plus all the interesting architecture — I was in awe! Yes, you NEED to go!
Sintra is where all my Portuguese fairy tale dreams came true – I spent the whole day amongst whimsical castles and extravagant villas, plus all those enchanting gardens! Expect dramatic cliffs, evergreen fairy tale forests, and a whole lotta uphill walking. From the moment I walked through the gardens of Peña, I was hooked!
You really need an entire day here, but with some advanced planning, your Sintra day trip will be absolutely amazing. One day will suffice, but understand you won’t be able to see and do everything in this charming little area. Read on for everything you need to know to plan the best one day Sintra itinerary!
Psst — it’s oh so easy; you can get straight from Lisbon to Sintra by train! But more on that later!
Planning a Day Trip to Sintra
What is Sintra?
First of all, what is Sintra exactly?! I know you probably heard of it when planning your Portugal itinerary (and if not, well, here ya go)! It’s gotta be one of the best day trips from Lisbon for a reason, right?!
Sintra is a municipality/area in Portugal, famous for its whimsical palaces (like the crazy-popular and colorful Pena Palace), royal castles, 19th-century Romanticist architecture, historic estates and villas, and stunning natural scenery. There’s also ruins of a 10th century Moorish Castle!
The sites are pretty spread out, so that’s why you really need an entire day. Especially if you wanna see the main highlights.
And it’s such a Portuguese gem! I highly recommend adding at least a day trip to Sintra to your much-longer Portugal itinerary – it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before!
Where is Sintra
Sintra is located high up in the mountains of Serra de Sintra — so yes, expect some stunning views! It’s super close to central Lisbon (Portugal’s capital city), only 15 miles or so northwest! So there’s really no reason not to go…
Because of its close proximity to Lisbon, most people day trip to Sintra from Lisbon. You can get there in a quick 35-40 minute drive from central Lisbon, but since parking is crazy challenging, taking the train or signing up for a guided day tour are the better options. Much more info below!
Note that the area is significantly further from other popular Portuguese towns and cities (a 3 hour drive from both Porto in northern Portugal and Lagos on the southern coast).
Psst: Sintra actually encompasses a few parishes/towns – Santa Maria e São Miguel, São Martinho, and São Pedro de Penaferrim. The palaces and castles are scattered throughout them. Everyone just calls this entire area Sintra!
How to Get to Sintra from Lisbon
While you can drive yourself to Sintra, most people opt for the train or go on a guided day tour. Both awesome options, but if you want the history behind all the glam, I found a guided tour to be super informative!
Psst – no matter what option you choose (train, tour, drive, Uber, etc), just know you’ll still need to get yourself to the castles themselves. More info on getting around Sintra below.
Option 1: Lisbon to Sintra by Train
Getting to Sintra via train is super easy, and super cheap! Trains leave from Rossio Station in Lisbon’s historic city center every 15-30 minutes or so (depending on time of year), and cost less than €5 round trip. It doesn’t get cheaper or more convenient than that! The trip from Lisbon to Sintra by train should take about 40 minutes or so.
- One-way train from Lisbon to Sintra: €2.25
- Roundtrip cost of train: €4.50
You can also catch a train from Lisbon to Sintra via Lisbon’s Oriente Train Station. Note that Oriente Station is further from Lisbon’s city center and not as convenient if you’re staying in the main part of the city.
Insider Tip: The ticket machines in Lisbon can get exceptionally busy at peak times, and you’ll most likely encounter a line. Bypass the long lines by getting a Via Viagen reloadable card ahead of time. You can simply tap and go (to validate your card) without even waiting on line to buy a ticket to Sintra!
These few minutes may mean accidentally missing the train (and getting to Sintra later than anticipated), so plan in advance especially if you’re visiting in the busy season!
On my way back to Lisbon from Sintra, the ticket machines were not working correctly. I could not buy a ticket without my Via Viagen card (which I stupidly left in my hotel room). Thankfully it all got sorted out, but if that happened in the morning on my way to Sintra, I would’ve wasted so much time.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you get off at the right stop – Sintra Station (Estação de Sintra)! Portela de Sintra (Estação Portela de Sintra) is immediately before this, and it’s easy to get confused! Just remember, the correct station for Sintra and all the palaces is Sintra Station (plus, it’s the last stop on the line so hard to miss).
Once you get to the train station in Sintra, you’ll be about a 15 minute walk to historical Sintra Town. However, I recommend you use the bus to go directly to your first palace of the day. Either Pena Palace, as it’s the most popular and therefore most crowded, or Quinta de Regaleira if you’re planning to visit Pena later on.
If you already bought your tickets to the castles and palaces, you’re ahead of the game (more info below). You’ll need to use the 434 and 435 buses to get to the castles themselves (Sintra is way bigger than you think).
Option 2: Sintra Day Trip Guided Tour
Does navigating the train and multiple buses sound super complicated or time-consuming? Would you rather have someone else (a Sintra expert!) drive you around (in AC!) while delving out interesting info about the palaces? Book yourself on a guided tour!
The first time I went to Sintra, I went myself via the train. I was with a bunch of friends and let’s just say we weren’t very time efficient. We saw one palace, and by the time we got to the second, we only had ½ hour until they were closing. Whoops!
The second time I went, I chose a guided day tour and I saw SO much! We saw 4 palaces/castles (Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira, Monserrate Palace and its exotic gardens, and Sintra National Palace), PLUS had some free time in Sintra Town for lunch. That’s practically unheard of!
Here’s the EXACT tour I took. Know it was fast-paced and you won’t get to see each palace in detail, but it’s a great introduction to the area. The tour was such a good value (it was just $65; I’ve seen others going for around $90), and my guides were so helpful and knowledgeable! Highly recommend it!
A disadvantage to any guided tour is that you’re on a strict timeline – you need to follow the group and can’t go off exploring every nook and cranny that looks interesting to you. But the guides know the best spots anyway!
→ Book your Lisbon to Sintra Highlights Tour here! We saw SO much!
If you’d rather combine a visit to Sintra with Cascais (such a cute beach town) and Cabo da Roca (the westernmost point of Europe), there’s plenty of tours that do just that! I highly suggest at least a full ½ day exploring all the best things to do Cascais itself, but if you don’t have time in your Portugal itinerary for that, an add-on to Sintra is the next best thing!
Choose this tour to Sintra and Cascais if you wanna explore other areas of Portugal as well in one day. Just know you won’t have as much time to explore the palaces in Sintra themselves, but perfect if all you wanna see is Pena Palace!
Important: I should add that almost ALL day tours to Sintra do not include admission to the palaces/castles themselves. Our guides helped us book skip-the-line tickets to all palaces we were visiting, which was so helpful since we got to essentially cut the line!
You’ll need to pay for these separately (either paying for a ticket in advance – highly recommended, or by waiting in line at the individual palace ticket booths). Just something to keep in mind so you’re not surprised when your tour guide asks you to buy tickets and shell out more cash.
Option 3: Drive from Lisbon to Sintra
Renting a car in Lisbon? You can drive to Sintra in 30 minutes or so, making it the fastest way to get there. BUT there are a bunch of negatives – which is why I honestly don’t recommend it. The roads are steep, windy, and narrow, parking can be crazy difficult (basically nonexistent), and the train is just too easy not to take.
Plus, with all the guided day trip options, there’s really no reason to drive yourself. You don’t wanna waste half your day trying to find a parking spot (and ripping your hair out in the process). Guides know exactly where to park and some of the lots are actually only for tours. Do yourself a favor: take the train or book yourself on a guided day tour.
How to Get Around on Your Sintra Day Trip
Once you make your way to Sintra, you’ll instantly realize that everything is up in the hills. Thankfully there’s lots of options besides the obvious — walking.
Walking in Sintra
Sintra is HUGE! So no matter what, you’ll be doing a ton of walking during your day trip to Sintra. There’s no way around it. But you can make your life easier by taking the bus, a tuk-tuk, uber/taxi, or on a guided day tour.
Technically, you can walk to all the castles and palaces in Sintra. But just remember – most of the palaces sit on top of giant hills. Looking at a map, Pena Palace and Sintra Station don’t seem to be terribly far (and they’re not). BUT you’ll need to walk up a STEEP 45-minute hill.
Don’t waste your precious time, especially since you’ve only got one day in Sintra! Use your time wisely – just take the bus.
There are a few instances where walking isn’t the most terrible idea:
- From Sintra Town to the National Palace of Sintra (about a 5 minute walk)
- From Sintra Train Station to Sintra Town (about a 10 minute walk)
- From Pena Palace to Castle of the Moors (about a 15 minute walk)
- From Sintra Town to Quinta da Regaleira (about a 15 minute walk)
Public Transport: 434 and 435 Sintra Tourist Buses
With all the steep hills, I highly recommend using the 434 and 435 tourist buses. There’s no way you’d wanna walk from the train station/Sintra Town to Pena Palace, Castle of the Moors, or elsewhere!
Especially on a hot day – that just sounds brutal and a great way to ruin your day trip to Sintra right from the start. Plus, you’ll most likely tire yourself out after the first palace and lose motivation to see others.
Important info about the tourist buses:
There are TWO buses with two different routes. You’ll eventually need to head back to Sintra Town/the train station to take the other. Take a photo of the routes ahead of time to get more familiar with this.
- 434 Bus Route Circuito da Pena (circular route): Sintra Train Station → Moorish Castle → Pena Palace → Sintra National Palace/Sintra Town → Natural History Museum → Sintra Train Station (timetable here)
- 435 Bus Villa Express Route (one-direction): Sintra Train Station → Sintra National Palace/Sintra Town → Quinta da Regaleira → Seteais Palace → Monserrate Palace → Sintra Station (timetable here)
The buses only run in one direction. This means you’ll wanna carefully plan out your day so you’re not wasting time making extra circuits if you don’t need to. For example, you cannot visit the Moorish Castle after Pena Palace without making the entire loop around.
Buses come a few times an hour, kinda depending on how busy it is. You may get lucky and have a bus waiting for you at the bus stop, or you may need to wait 15 minutes or so. Buses come more frequently during the peak summer months.
Have cash for the tourist buses. Bus rides were kinda expensive (€4 for a single bus ticket), which I was definitely not expecting. The bus tickets add up, so just keep this in mind when planning. I’d recommend purchasing the Hop-on Hop-off ticket for €6.90, as you’ll be able to ride the entire loop once. You can buy tickets directly from the bus driver.
You’ll still need to do a fair bit of walking. Even when taking the bus, prepare for some uphill walking. From the bus stop at Pena Palace, you still gotta climb 10-15 minutes up a fairly steep hill, or you can take a separate bus straight to the entrance for 3euro (after you present your entry ticket).
Note that these tourist buses act just like regular city buses (they’re not tours in any way, shape, or form). Don’t expect commentary or any info about the palaces/castles. Stops are typically not announced, so keep an eye out for where you are and take note of how many stops you need to stay on for. Remember — if you miss your stop you’ll need to make the whole loop again!
Wandering around Sintra you’ll undoubtedly see a few tuk-tuks here and there. They typically hang out near the train station (at the bus stop), Sintra Town, and at the bottom of the hill to Pena Palace.
While they might seem like a great option (especially when the bus line is long), the tuk-tuk drivers will most definitely try to rip you off. A ride from Sintra Town to Pena Palace should be 5euro per person, but many don’t accept less than €10 a person. The bus is 4euro… so….yeah. Psst – just like the bus, you’ll still need to walk 10 minutes up a steep walking path to get to Pena Palace anyways.
Honestly, I’d avoid the tuk-tuks altogether unless you realllllly wanna ride one, haha. They are quite fun (we’ve ridden them in both Thailand and Colombia), but save yourself some money if you’re not in a major rush or the bus is coming!
Ride Shares and Taxis
You probably don’t wanna rely on typical taxis to get yourself around Sintra. There aren’t tons of them just waiting around at the different palaces and castles, and you’ll waste precious time looking for one!
Instead, call an Uber/Bolt/FreeNow!
Uber is now available in Sintra, along with Bolt and Free Now (other rideshare apps similar to Uber). And they’re pretty inexpensive in all of Portugal! They typically have much better pricing than regular cabs, and there’ll be no language barrier to worry about (since you input your destination and pay directly in the app).
Rideshares can take you from palace to palace, and split between a few people, will be less expensive than taking the bus. Just remember, depending on traffic, it may take a while for a car to arrive.
If you booked yourself on a guided tour, then your guides will be right alongside you, guiding the way! This is by far the easiest option if you don’t wanna mess with all the trains and buses and all that nonsense (buying transportation tickets, waiting for the bus, figuring out where to get off, etc).
Driving in Sintra
And well, if you decide to drive, you can get around that way! But remember – parking can be a nightmare, especially in busy season (June to September)! You may want to keep your car in one spot for the day and use the buses anyways, haha. Do yourself a favor and keep your car in Lisbon.
When to Visit Sintra
Time of Year: In general, summers in Sintra are warm, dry, and mostly clear. Winters are cold and wet, with at least some overcast/clouds. It’s pretty windy year round, but with the chilly temps in winter, it’ll feel pretty frigid! You’ll definitely need to take along your layers!
The weather is quite unpredictable from mid-autumn to early spring, so you never really know what you’re gonna get. But this means there’ll be less crowds…
Of course it’s way more crowded during the prime summer months, so if you’ve got max flexibility, I’d recommend visiting in either May or October.
For reference, I visited Sintra in early August – and it was cool and a bit misty in the morning, much warmer later in the day, and the crowds were outta control.
Time of Day: There’s no need to get to Sintra super super early, since the palaces and castles don’t open up until around 9am. So nope, no sunrise missions here! I’d aim to get on an 8am train from Lisbon, arrive in Sintra around 8:45, and hop right on a bus to your first castle (either Pena Palace or Quinta da Regaleira).
Whatever you do, DO NOT VISIT PENA PALACE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY. It’s ridiculously jam packed and will drastically impact your experience in the worst way possible. Plan to either get to Pena Palace as soon as the gates open (at 9am) or even a bit before, or much later in the day, after 4pm.
For less(er) crowds, plan to visit Sintra on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Avoid weekends if you can!
Remember to time it right; the palaces and castles don’t stay open all night. They actually close quite early, even in summer when the sun doesn’t set until 9pm. The last entry for Pena Palace is around 5:45pm, so give yourself plenty of time to walk up that hill!
Weather in Sintra
Being high up in the mountains (and closer to the coast), Sintra’s climate is way cooler than that of Lisbons. Which feels super refreshing if you’re visiting Portugal in the dead of summer, when temps are known to reach upwards of 90F!
Sintra has its own microclimate, meaning the weather can change pretty frequently. We got there in the morning to fog and cool temps, and it eventually burned off and got much warmer later in the day. On my first day trip to Sintra a few years back, it was gloriously sunny in the morning, and then all of a sudden it started pouring like crazy! Definitely bring some layers you can easily take on/off.
Kinda reminds me of the weather in San Francisco, haha.
Rain and mist are more common in Sintra than nearby Lisbon (especially in the winter months), so come prepared! If the fog is super thick you unfortunately won’t be able to see much of the view, so just keep that in mind. Don’t get upset – it’s hard to plan around the weather if you’ve only got a few days or booked a guided tour.
Other Info For Your Sintra Day Trip
Is One Day in Sintra Enough?
Yes, if you just wanna see the main highlights and don’t mind being rushed to do so.
No, if you wanna explore the palaces and castles in depth. Whatever you do, buy your tickets to the palaces and castles in advance. You don’t wanna waste time waiting in line for a ticket.
One day in Sintra is a great introduction to the area. In my opinion, there’s far too much to see in only a few hours though (I would’ve loved an extra day but I was on my way to the Algarve shortly after – highly recommended).
While most people choose to simply take a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra, know that you can actually stay the night if you’d like more time to explore! Or, you can hop back on the train from Lisbon for a second day if you don’t feel like switching out accommodation too much – the train is under 5euro roundtrip and only takes 45 minutes or so.
Brief History of Sintra
Sintra has a long and fascinating history – it’s quite complex, so I’ll give you the tiniest gist. Just know that the palaces were all built by Portuguese royalty!
But before the elites and royalty came along, the Berbers (North African Moors) built up the town (and specifically the Moorish Castle to guard it). Once the Christian conquest of Portugal occured in 1147, the area deteriorated and was neglected for quite some time.
Then the Portuguese royals and elites discovered it! Since the area has a cooler climate than surrounding areas (and is oh so pretty with all the greenery), Sintra was the perfect place for them to build their palaces and summer residences. Talk about a mountain retreat! Pena Palace is now the fantasyland of the creative King Ferdinand II.
The whole area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and it surely deserves that title!
Other Important Sintra FAQS
- Is there a beach in Sintra? No beach in Sintra Town itself (or near the palaces), but there’s some popular beach towns on the Sintra coastline! Check out Praia Grande (with its massive oceanfront swimming pool), Praia das Maçãs, and Praia do Magoito.
- Can you walk from palace to palace? Technically yes, but you won’t wanna. The castles and palaces are built on hills, so you’ll be walking up and down all day. No thanks.
- Can I do Sintra if I only have ½ day? Of course, but you’ll only get to see one (max two) castles/palaces. I recommend checking out Pena Palace of course, and if you’ve got more time, Quinta da Regaleira is spectacular and oh so different.
- What should I bring to Sintra? You’ll wanna bring a decent amount of water and a light jacket/sweater, and wear super comfy shoes and layers. Plus sunscreen and a hat!
- Why does Sintra have so many palaces? The royalty and elite LOVED Sintra back in the day (for its beauty and cooler temps than Lisbon), and built their summer homes here! Just imagine waking up in Pena Palace! What a dream!
BUY YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE
One way to really maximize your time in Sintra: buying your tickets to the castles ahead of time. Most people just buy them at the gate, meaning yes, you’ll bypass the long line for tickets! Buying online is super easy, just know you need to choose a designated time to enter Pena Palace.
→ Buy your ticket to Pena Palace here (the most popular one with all the colors), and I guarantee you’ll save time! Most tour groups make sure you buy them in advance to keep the group from waiting anyways.
Don’t expect to show up and get right in. There may be a line, and possibly a VERY long one. Give yourself extra waiting time if you’re not planning on buying a ticket in advance. But that’s just silly!
Palaces and Gardens to Visit on a Day Trip to Sintra
Remember – if you’re taking a day trip to Sintra from Lisbon, you won’t be able to see every single palace and garden in the area. You really gotta prioritize with only one day in Sintra. Don’t fret – most people only spend a day in Sintra on their much longer Portugal itinerary, and if you plan it right, you can see a whole lot!
Pena Palace (Palacio Nacional de Pena)
This is everyone’s favorite palace, and it’s easy to see why. Just look at all those bright colors – there’s blinding yellow walls, blue tiles, and a red painted exterior. And that stunning architecture against all the greenery – whoa! Pena Palace is truly wild (in the best way possible) — crazy exotic and tons of interesting architecture. Don’t miss out on this Romanticist castle standing on top of the hill, it’s truly a sight to be seen.
DO NOT MISS PENA PALACE! I repeat, don’t miss Pena Palace!!! It’s probably the main reason you’re coming to Sintra in the first place! So yes, the hype around Pena Palace is real. And this means it’ll be crowded beyond belief (but that’s why you’re visiting either first thing in the morning or much later in the day once the guided day trips have left). Be smart and never visit Pena Palace in the middle of the day – as that’s when it’s the most crowded.
Read Next: Everything You Need to Know About Pena Palace (plus lots of pretty pictures!)
Psst: Once you make it to the bus stop, you’ll need to then get to the palace itself. You can either walk up the hill (about 10-15 minutes) or take a 3euro bus ride to get to Pena Palace.
This is the palace you’ll 100% want to purchase tickets in advance for. There are two different official ticket types for Pena Palace:
- Palace and Park Ticket: The EVERYTHING ticket! You get entry into the palace itself, with all the lavish rooms and history. Plus all the grounds and gardens. (€14)
- Park Ticket: If you don’t think you’ll wanna go inside the palace and just wanna check out the exterior, save a few euros by grabbing a park ticket. You can thankfully still see the Arches Yard and do the Terrace Walk – the views are phenomenal! (€7.5)
At first I thought going inside would be a waste, but I actually enjoyed it way more than I initially thought I would. Every single room was oh so different than the last, and all so lavishly decorated! The cloisters were completely covered in azulejos! It just sucked that it was SO crowded, which made it difficult to truly enjoy. Another reason to get there ASAP in the morning and to buy skip-the-line-tickets ahead of time.
Make sure to walk around the castle walls, especially the Arches Yard and Terrace Walk– this was my favorite thing to do at Pena Palace. There were SO many beautiful views of the surrounding countryside and even the Moorish Castle (which I sadly missed out on visiting). I also wandered around the Palace Gardens a bit — you’ll never see everything (there’s oh so much), but I particularly liked the lily pad pond and forest trees.
I actually visited Pena Palace twice on my last trip – once in the morning on a guided tour, and then later on in the day once the sun finally came out. Yes, I opted to forgo my included ride back to Lisbon, but the palace was really calling my name. No regrets.
Quinta da Regaleira
Moody and mysterious, Quinta da Regaleira is such a vibe. Hidden tunnels, breathtaking gardens, princess-like towers, and even an initiation well in this neo-gothic mansion. Tons of mystery and magic over here, and completely different from Pena Palace. The grand house is five floors, surrounded by lush, green gardens. Don’t miss the secret passageway that takes you below a waterfall – one of my favorite parts of the estate!
Pro Tip: If you wanna see the mysterious initiation well, head there first, and then see the rest of the castle afterwards. It’s the most popular spot in Quinta da Regaleira, so it gets busy!
Before heading off on my guided tour of Sintra, I didn’t give much thought to Monserrate Palace. What a mistake that was – it ended up being one of my favorites! Probably because it was hardly crowded and oh so peaceful (the exact opposite of Pena Palace). The building is striking (with tons of intricate latticework), and I loved all the Islamic/Arabian architectural influences and symmetry (helps so much with photography!).
Wanna escape the crowds of Sintra? Head here! And don’t miss out on the tranquil gardens – so charming and tranquil.
Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros)
Moorish Castle, Castle of the Moors, Castelo dos Mouros – yes, they’re all the same thing! Just slightly different names. I didn’t make it to The Castle of the Moors, but I’ve heard such good things about it. You can easily walk here from Pena Palace, and actually get an awesome view of the castle from the terraces over there!
For starters, it’s got some of the best views over Sintra (and being so high up, you know the views are good). It’s also the oldest monument in Sintra – yes, the castle is crumbling, but this makes it feel as authentic as ever! The Moorish Castle once guarded the entire region – kinda like the Great Wall of Portugal if you may, haha.
And plus, most guided tours don’t stop here, so it’ll be far less crowded than the others!
Historic Center of Sintra (Sintra Town)
A visit to Sintra Town is a must on any Sintra day trip. You’ll probably need to head back to town anyway to switch buses at some point – making it the perfect excuse to explore for a bit!
And the city center is full of charming little shops (with plenty of hand painted tiles), restaurants, and tasty little treats. I recommend spending a half hour or so wandering throughout the quaint streets and up and down the narrow staircases.
Hungry? This is a good place to stop. There’s plenty of sit-down restaurants serving traditional Portuguese dishes, with Incomum, Apeadeiro, and A Praca (vegetarian) being popular places. If there’s octopus on the menu, order it! I had some of the freshest and most delicious octopus of my life in Portugal, and while I didn’t have any in Sintra itself, I’m almost positive the quality is of the same standard.
Whatever you do, don’t miss out on some pillow-like pastries from Piriquita Bakery. This pastry shop is famous for a reason (and there’s always a line out the door). Instead of an actual lunch, I opted for two pastries – when in Sintra, right?!
I tried a queijada (kinda like a tiny cinnamon cheesecake tart), and an almond travesseiro (a traditional puff pastry filled with almond cream and dusted with powdered sugar, very flaky and warm, mmm). I also grabbed a nutella travesseiro to snack on later in the day, haha. Travesseiros are synonymous to Sintra, kinda like pastel de natas are to Lisbon!
National Palace of Sintra (Palacio Nacional de Sintra)
The National Palace of Sintra is super close to Sintra Town, so if you’ve got time and wanna check that out, feel free before leaving town. With its two massive chimneys and white Gothic-style exterior, the National Palace is iconic to Sintra.
I personally chose to skip visiting the inside (as there were other attractions in Sintra I didn’t wanna miss!) and simply admired it from afar.
A recommended Sintra day trip itinerary:
Decided to go on your own and head from Lisbon to Sintra by train? Here’s how I would plan out my day:
Take an early train from Lisbon (leaving around 8am) to arrive in Sintra around 8:45.
- Stop 1 (9:30-11:30am): Quinta da Regaleira. Start your Sintra day trip by hopping right on Bus 435 from the train station, walk down the Initiation Well, and explore the gardens and main palace.
- Stop 2 (12-1pm): Montserrat Palace. Continue on the 435 bus from Quinta da Regaleira and explore the palace and lush gardens.
- Stop 3 (1:30-3): Sintra Town. Back on the 435 bus to Sintra Town for lunch, pastries, and a wander in town; this is where you’ll find the National Palace of Sintra too.
- Stop 4 (3:30-5:30pm): Pena Palace. Take the 434 to Pena Palace – most guided day trips to Sintra head to Pena Palace first thing in the morning, which means it’ll be jam-packed. If you’re traveling yourself from Lisbon to Sintra by train, you have the opportunity to visit later in the day, once the tours have cleared out (a bit).
- OPTIONAL Stop 5: Castle of the Moors. If you’ve spent less time at any of the above stops, walk over to Castle of the Moors from Pena Palace and explore. Remember, last entry to most palaces is 6pm, so plan your day trip to Sintra wisely!
- Dinner and sunset from Sintra Town. Stay and watch the sunset in Sintra — we found a random spot after dinner in Sintra and loved the colors!
Hope this helps you plan out your day trip to Sintra from Lisbon! Get ready to feel like a fairytale princess – all the castles and palaces and lush greenery await!