Top 10 Things To Do In Sintra

Why Sintra?

If you are staying in Lisbon, Sintra should definitely be on your day trip bucket list! It is SO close to Lisbon, it makes a perfect day trip location. Known for fairytale palaces, castles and awe-inspiring natural scenery - there are plenty of things to do for everyone! This article is going to cover the top ten things to do in Sintra, including a comprehensive guide on getting there from Lisbon, and getting around Sintra.

So here are our favorite things to do:

Sintra Palaces and Monuments Loop

1. Pena Palace and National Park

Arguably the top attraction in Sintra, Pena Palace can be seen for miles due to the characteristic bright yellow facade. A lot of people skip straight to the castle but we recommend spending time exploring the beautiful National Park that Pena is surrounded by. Beautiful sights include an incredible lookout point of Sintra (Cruz Alta), hidden lakes and pathways, secret caves and lush forests.

2. Chalet da Condessa D’Edla

Technically this is inside the park of Pena Palace but we believe this hand-carved chalet made out of Portuguese cork should be an attraction in its own right!

Quinta Da Regaleira

3. Quinta Da Regaleira

Quinta Da Regaleira is not your ordinary palatial home. This gothic style palace is full of hidden cave passageways, grottoes and spiral staircases – all inspired by the Knights Templar and Freemasons. Think ornate turrets, gargoyles, and dark mystic signs!

4. Castelos Dos Mouros

Castelos Dos Mouros translates to ‘Castle of the Moors’ and is perched on a 450m summit. You won’t be able to miss this iconic castle looming over Sintra. You can walk around the castle walls and get panoramic views over Sintra and beyond from here. 

Monserrate Palace

5. Monserrate Palace

This exotic palace will have you checking your Google maps to see if you are still in Portugal. Inspired by Middle Eastern design – there are ornate lattice carvings, geometric designs and grand arches. 

It is also surrounded by acres of botanical gardens that you can stroll through at your own leisure. 

This palace is often over-shadowed by the popular Pena Palace but it is definitely worth a visit for the architecture alone and to escape the crowds!

6. Convento Dos Capuchos

Carved from rock, this convent is rustic, slightly spooky but a great example of imagining how the Franciscan monks used to live. This is Sintra’s least visited attraction as it is not included on the tourist bus loop. To get to this spot, we recommend hiring one of our scooters for the day, having a car or being willing to hike.

In the Old Town:

7. Wander through the streets of the Historic Centre

This small yet charming centre is perfect for a wander and has to be one of the top things to do in Sintra. Explore the side streets full of cute cafes, artisan galleries, and souvenir shops.

8. Try a ‘Queijada de Sintra’ or ‘Travesseiro de Sintra’ at world famous bakery Piriquita

A must when in Sintra is trying their local dessert ‘Queijada’ – basically translating to Small Cheesecakes. However it is a little different to the cheesecakes we are used to! 

World famous bakery Piriquita is the perfect place to try one – AND many other delights such as Travesseiros (translating to ‘Pillow’) which was invented by the bakery in the 1940’s. Consisting puff pastry and almond and egg cream filling. Yum!

9. Try a Ginjinha Chocolate Cup

Ginjinha is a popular cherry liquor drink that is popular throughout Portugal. In the historic centre, there is a small booth where you can try this drink. And the best part? You can eat the shot glass! As it is made out of chocolate. Double Yum!

10. Sintra National Palace

Last on the list is the Sintra National Palace with its iconic white pointy towers. If you are really not up for a day of traveling around Sintra’s attractions, this landmark is perfect as it is in Sintra’s center. 

We recommend having your lunch on the steps outside also, with the landscaped old town, and Castelos dos Mouros being your view!

BONUS SUGGESTION – Watch the sunset at Cabo de Roca

Because we’re nice, we thought we would give you one EXTRA thing to do on your day trip to Sintra. What better way to finish your day trip to Sintra with a sunset at the most westerly point in Europe!. Known for rugged cliff faces and panoramic ocean views – you’ll want your cameras for this once in a lifetime visit (selfies or it didn’t happen, right?!). You can catch the 403 bus opposite Sintra train station or why not bike it instead with one of our E-Bikes at Bike N Company!

How to get to Sintra

To get to Sintra from Lisbon you have a couple of options: 

  • The Train 

You can catch the train to Sintra from Rossio or Oriente Train Station in Lisbon . There are multiple trains an hour there and back and the journey will take between 40 minutes to an hour. 

A one-way ticket will cost 2.30 each (so 4.60 for a return). 

Find out the train timetables on Portugal’s official train travel (CP) website here

  • Rent an E-Bike

Escape the queues, long waits and why not make it an adventure to remember?! You can rent an E-Bike for the day at Bikes N Company (Find out more here) and take it at your own pace!

E-Bike rentals start from 15.00 offering you the flexibility to go wherever and whenever you like! 

How to get to Sintra’s attractions

  • Walk 

You CAN walk but Sintra is very steep and very hilly. Which is fine if you love a hike and if you are only going to visit one or two attractions BUT if you want to make the most of the day in Sintra, you will want to save your legs for them!

  • Bus 434 (Circuito Da Pena)

Photo Credit: Scotturb

There is a regular hop on hop off bus specifically designed for tourists  that includes most of the main attractions (look out for the Scotturb branded buses).

The bus stop is right outside the train station making it easy to jump from one to the other. 

However, in the Summer, these buses are SUPER popular and are often packed with long waits in queues for them. Additionally, the loop goes in one direction only. 

How much? 

  • A single journey costs 3.90 euros or hop on and off for 6.90 euros
  • OR if you’re going to Cascais, Cabo De Roca or Estoril too: a Scotturb day pass will cost 15 euros allowing you unlimited travel on all services.
  • A scooter

OR take it at your own pace, leave the packed buses and queues behind and travel easily around Sintra and attractions by E-Bike! 

The furthest attraction, Pena Palace is only 3.1km away and you can team it up with a cycle over to Cascais (16km), Cabo de Roca (17km) or Estoril (13km). 

So there is our top ten list (but by no means exhaustive!). In one sentence, Sintra has it all!  

Moorish Castles, Gothic Grottoes, Fairytale Palaces, and a beautiful historic center to stock up on lots of tasty pastries, drink and more. 

And even better is how close and easy it is to get to from Lisbon. 

What are you most excited to visit? We’d love to hear!