Some places you can’t miss when visiting Portugal definitely includes Sintra from Lisbon. Here, you there is a lot to see and do such as an old mansion, 3 palaces, a Moorish Castle, and a lot of hiking paths in the surrounding forests. This is a great day trip from Lisbon; however, if you truly want to be able to see everything, take at minimum 2 days to explore everything this beautiful city has to provide. However, if you really only have one day, make sure to at least visit Quinta da Regaleira and Pena Palace.
How To Get To Sintra From Lisbon
The simplest way to go from Lisbon to Sintra is by the Comboios do Portugal railway. You can get the rechargeable Viva Viagem card for only 0.50 euros with the addition of the train ride price. It is possible to get the card in any metro station including the Rossio.
- Two one-way 4 zone tickets: The price is 2.15 euro one way or 4.30 round trip
- 24 hours: The price for the 24 hour ticket is 10 euros. It gives you the right to unrestricted rides on the train, bus, tram, and metro.
- Zapping: The price is 1.80 euro one way or 3.60 round trip. This is probably the most economical form of payment for transportation around the city. It costs no more than 3 euros for the card and gives you the best rates on public transportation in the city.
Getting Around Sintra
The best way to get around Sintra is by the Sintra 434 bus it goes on a circular route from the train station to the city’s 3 main tourist locations: the Castelo dos Mouros, Palácio Nacional de Sintra, and Palácio Nacional da Pena. The ticket that allows you to get on and off only costs 5 euros. However, it only allows you to go on a single loop of the bus. The farthest location from the train station is Pena Palace. While it is only 3 kilometers away, the road is very steep, so the walk can be quite difficult.
Another bus to take is the Sintra 435 bus. This bus takes a circular route from the center of the city to the Palace of Monserrate and Quinta da Regaleira. The price for a ticket that allows you to get on and off the bus is only 2.50 euros. You can walk to Quinta da Regaleira from the railway station; however, the palace is 3 kilometers farther along the road.
Be warned that Sintra is not a big city. In fact, it is quite small and crowded with not a lot of parking making it difficult to drive around. If you do not want to wait for the bus, you can also take a tuk tuk or taxi that are easy to find.
Some Tips When Visiting Sintra
In 2 visits to Sintra (in July and October), we managed to visit the main five sites in the city. Therefore, we really recommend spending at least two days. However, if you only have 1 day to visit, we recommend that you pick no more than 3 places.
When we visited Sintra during the month of October, there weren’t any lines at the different sites. However, July is another question. In order to help in July, we made sure to leave Lisbon on the train really early by taking the 1st train from Lisbon for Sintra. This is very important as if you leave later in the day the lines for tickets, buses and everything will take a long time and might ruin your chances to see everything in Sintra in a single day.
If you decide on going on the 434 bus, we recommend visiting first Pena Palace, followed by a short ten mins. walk to Moors caste, and finished by taking a bus towards the city center. The second time we visited the city, we went to Quinta da Regaleira which is a couple of minutes walking distance from the city. In addition, we did not have to wait in any lines.
Things To See In Sintra
The 434 loop will take visitors to see the Pena and National Palaces as well as the Moorish Castle. It is possible to buy a single ticket that will get you into all of the sites. The prices for tickets are 25 euros for adults and 20 euros for children. If you do not have a lot of time, it is also possible to just get a ticket for only a single site. However, if you are not looking to go in to any of the places, you can just get a ticket to see the Pena Palace gardens.
Going To Palácio Nacional da Pena
The Pena Palace is the last destination for the 434 line. Ferdinand II built this place in order to try and one up the Neuschwanstein in Bavaria. You can better understand the castle with its colors. The red parts are the oldest parts of the place which were constructed over the original monastery that collapsed in 1755. The yellow parts reflect the influence of the Moors. The blue parts reflect the Manueline influences.
Going To The National Palace In Sintra
The 14th-century palace, Palácio Nacional de Sintra is right in the city center. It has great architectural decorations found throughout the entire place. For example, on the outside there are 2 large cone shaped chimneys hinting at the large kitchens inside.
Going To Castelo dos Mouros In Sintra
The Castelo dos Mouros is a partially restored fortress first constructed during the middle ages. It provides great shaded paths while walking up to the fortress. After getting to the top, you are rewarded with beautiful sights of Sintra, and Pena and National Palaces.
The Palace Gardens In Sintra
After walking around all of the other places, you might be a bit tired. But if you are up for it, make sure to visit the Pena Palace grounds. From here, you can get a great outlook of the rest of the grounds.
The Mansion of Quinta da Regaleira
The place is also known as The Palace of Monteiro the Millionaire. You can quickly understand why when checking out the beautiful gardens, and cool caves and tunnels of the place. You can get to this place by the 435 bus; however, it is also only 20 mins walking distance from the train station.
Places To Eat In Sintra
When you are in the center of town, the places are generally overpriced tourist destinations. Therefore, if you are looking for something cheaper and more authentic, make sure to head over to the sandwich place Café Saudade right next to the train station. Whenever we are here, we make sure to get the pasteries at this place. The Travesseiros or pillows are fluffy pastries bursting with egg and almond filling. The best place to get them is Piriquita. Another thing to try is the Queijadas de Sintra. They are like small cheesecakes that are browned on the top.