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What to See in Sintra and Surroundings in One Day

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Publication

June 21, 2024

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Reading time

15 minutes

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Author

Galyna Rogovska

Discover the enchanting Pena Palace, magical Quinta da Regaleira and historic Moorish Castle in just one day.

Intro

One of the best ideas to spend a day outside Lisbon is to visit Sintra. Sintra is a small city 25 km from Lisbon, remarkable for being entirely included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. 

 

Sintra is an exciting and comfortable destination with good tourist infrastructure. It is suitable for an active and fun day for the whole family. Even if you come here without the guided tour and just on your own, you won't be bored. 

 

 

It is always a few degrees cooler here than in Lisbon. The main reason Portuguese monarchs and nobles preferred to spend the summer here is that even in hot summertime, it's super comfortable here, as Sintra is in the mountains.

 

The city is full of remarkable attractions, parks and palaces. The streets are cobblestone with fresh fountains, colorful azulejo tiles, and lush greenery. Regarding the tourist infrastructure, the city is an excellent spot for walks and photo sessions, with numerous opportunities for lunch or shopping. 

 

Travel tip: The prices in the historical part of the city are high, so choose cafes and shops outside the center.

The Pena Palace

 

The well-known Pena Palace is the city's most remarkable attraction and highest point. This site is the most popular in Sintra, as tourists visit to take photos and experience its beauty. 

 

Since 2015, Pena Palace has been considered the most beautiful European palace, worth visiting at least once in a lifetime.

 

While you're here, take advantage of an opportunity to take panoramic photos of Pena Palace. Surrounded by a large park with alleys and rare plant species, such as sequoias or relict varieties of ferns, it would leave an unforgettable impression.

 

Tickets to Pena Park:

 

  • 18-64 years old — €13;
  • 6-17 years old — €10;
  • under 6 years old — free. 

 

Schedule: 

 

  • from 09:30 to 20:00 in summer;
  • from 10:00 to 18:00 in winter. 

 

The ticket office closes an hour earlier.

 

Travel tip: Purchase tickets online in advance to avoid long lines. The official website offers a 5% discount on tickets purchased online.


Location: Estrada da Pena, 2710-609 Sintra, Portugal

The Park of Pena and Cruz Alta

Sintra Park

For real connoisseurs of pristine nature, the park around the Pena Palace is even more interesting than the palace itself. It's never too crowded here, tranquil and accessible, the perfect escape from the busy city life.

 

Take your chance to have a lazy stroll and admire the surroundings. The top of the Cruz Alta hill in the southern part is a must-visit place in the park. This highest point of Sintra is located at an altitude of 529 meters above sea level.

 

The view opening from Cruz Alta is stunning. On a clear day, you can even see Lisbon on the horizon. On the opposite side, there is the Pena Palace in all its grandeur.

 

A bit lower than Cruz Alta is the Queen's Throne platform. Here, you can sit on a real throne and admire the surrounding beauty. You can also get a good view of the Pena Palace from here.

 

Tickets prices:

 

  • 18-64 years old — €6;
  • 6-17 years old — €4.5;
  • under 6 years old — free. 

 

For purchasing tickets online on the official website, there is a 5% discount.

 

Schedule: from 9:00 to 19:00.

 

Travel Tip: Come early in the morning when there are few visitors, as it's the perfect time for a photoshoot.

 

Location: Estrada da Pena, 2710-609 Sintra, Portugal

The Castle of the Moors

 

The Castle of the Moors is one of the epic monuments of the Middle Ages, built on top of a picturesque hill. During the Reconquista, the castle was a strategically important object. Today, the castle is only partially preserved and looks more like ruins. However, the atmosphere of grandeur and power has survived to this day, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

The view from the heights of the castle walls is breathtaking, so, unsurprisingly, many tourists visit the attraction, enjoying the beautiful views of Sintra, the expanses of the ocean, valleys and green hills.

 

Tickets prices: 

 

  • adults — €12;
  • children under six years old — free;
  • from 6-17 years old and pensioners — €10.

 

Schedule: from 9:30 to 20:00 in spring and summer, from 10:00 to 18:00 in winter and autumn.

 

Travel tip: It is worth going here only in good weather without fog or rain. It's always windy, so dress warmly.

 

Location: 2710-405 Sintra, Portugal

Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta Regaleira Image

Quinta da Regaleira is #1 entertainment in Sintra according to Tripadvisor. The park creator wanted to make a mystical and mysterious place, and he successfully reached this goal. 

 

The building looks like the castle of a fairy-tale princess. The garden has numerous sculptures of magical animals, secret spots and mystical caves. 

 

However, the focus of the visitors' attention is the nine-tiered dedication well, onnected with numerous legends. According to Dante, the tower symbolizes the circles of hell. 

 

Tickets prices: 

 

  • adults — €12;
  • children from 6 years old and pensioners — €7;
  • under 6 years old, admission is free..

 

Schedule: from 9:30 to 17:00 every day.

 

Travel Tip: There is an exit through underground passages to the waterfall, but be ready to jump over bumps in the pond.

 

Location: R. Barbosa du Bocage 5, 2710-567 Sintra, Portugal

Montserrate Palace

The architectural complex includes the palace and park, which are home to plants from former Portuguese colonies. There are a few thematic zones, from desert to tropical landscapes, and numerous waterfalls with lush greenery surround them. 

 

The place is amazingly breathtaking, so it's no big surprise that many Portuguese couples often hold weddings here. It's also the best place for romantic photo sessions and leisurely walks. Not all tourists know about Montserrat Park, so it is always comfortable and not crowded.

 

If you only have one day to explore all the city's sights, visit the Palace of Monserrate.

 

Ticket prices: 

 

  • adults — €12;
  • children from 6 years old and pensioners — €6.50;
  • under 6 years old, admission is free.

 

Schedule: from 10:00 to 18:00, closed on Monday.

 

Travel Tip: Do not buy souvenirs, as the prices there are twice as expensive. It's better to take them outside the city.

 

Location: 2710-405 Sintra, Portugal

Ursa Beach



Sintra is a good spot for a one-day visit because of its architectural and historical heritage and its great beaches. Even if you don't plan to spend a day at the beach, come for a perfect dinner with seafood in the evening.

 

A narrow strip of golden sand framed by majestic rocks will make you fall in love at first sight. Take advantage of your opportunity to witness the divine sunsets from here!

 

Ursa is not a tourist beach, so the only way to the water is a path winding down a steep rock. But after reaching here, you'll find a peaceful and quiet atmosphere, perfect for personal insights. After the bustle of Sintra, this is a site for your private natural escape.

 

While coming here, remember to wear something more reliable than flip-flops, especially if you're planning to turn back in the evening.

 

Travel Tip: Don't park at the entrance. You better do it at the beginning of the dirt road. Fortunately, the walk from there is pretty close, about 20 minutes at most.


Location: Praia da Ursa, Portugal

Azenhas do Mar

 

Azenhas do Mar is a small but worthy attraction in Sintra. This small coastal settlement is located northwest of Sintra.

 

The city is unique because it was built on a cliff above the raging ocean. It looks stunning, so it's hard to believe that few people have heard of it.

 

There is an observation deck south of the city with a fantastic ocean view, cliff and houses. Come here at sunset, as Azenhas do Mar looks genuinely magical at the sunset.

 

The distance to Azenhas do Mar from Sintra is 15-20 minutes by car. A regular bus also stops there.

 

Travel Tip: Come here for an unforgettable photoshoot; even photographers must often be aware of this stunning place.

 

Location: Azenhas do Mar, 2705 Colares, Portugal

Summary

Of course, the primary purpose of a trip to Sintra is to get acquainted with its sights and fully enjoy the beautiful architecture. However, many other factors create the atmosphere here. You can also have a great day with your nearest and dearest by walking around.

 

Although Sintra is a suburb of Lisbon, it has an entirely different climate, much cooler and fresher. Additionally, in Sintra, you can find rare species of plants that are not found anywhere else in Portugal. This is a natural green paradise with healing mountain air.

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