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Explore Sintra With logo

Magical Place with Fairytale Palaces, Lush Gardens, and Enchanting Landscapes.

Sintra

Sintra is an ancient Portuguese city with a magical atmosphere and rich history.

Sintra is located near the capital of Portugal, east of the Sierra de Sintra mountains that separate it from the Bay of Biscay, being a perfect destination for day trips from Lisbon. Sintra is known for its numerous castles, parks and gardens, green vineyards, narrow streets, rich villas, and picturesque views of the sea and mountains.

You can start the Sintra sightseeing tour with a walk around the city center. Here is located one of the most famous attractions and its main symbol, Sintra Pena Palace. Built in the 19th century, the palace is not only a Sintra UNESCO World Heritage object but is also considered one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. Sometimes it is even called Disneyland for adults as the building seems to have been copied from a collection of fairy tales! Thanks to the bright paintings, numerous turrets, courtyards, and elaborate romantic architecture, the building looks like a toy.

The next must-visit spots are the Pena Gardens and the summit of Cruz Alta. Here you can simply walk, admiring the numerous statues, decorative pools, and elegant gazebos. Additionally, it is worth visiting the top of the Cruz Alta hill in the southern part of the park. Here, at an altitude of 529 meters above sea level, is the highest point of Sintra, from where Lisbon can be seen in good weather.

A 20-minute walk from the Pena Gardens is the medieval Sintra Moorish Castle, which was founded in the 10th century. Its powerful towers, parapets, and battlements will delight any fans of history. However, even if the Middle Ages are not the focus of your interest, you will probably enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Sintra lives its own life below, and far on the horizon are seen the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Montserrat Manor is another famous object of Sintra cultural heritage and the second must-have palace in Sintra. The villa is decorated in a romantic style, attracting attention with the impeccable decoration of the interior rooms. No less charming is the luxurious park around the mansion with a lake in the middle, numerous springs, grottoes, and rare species of trees.

There is hardly a list of attractions that does not include Sintra Quinta da Regaleira. A huge mansion with a mystical 19th-century park in the Gothic style is rightfully considered the pearl of Sintra. The gardens of Quinta da Regaleira are full of symbolism and secret meanings, references to religion, alchemy, and Freemasonry. Quinta da Regaleira is full of unexpected finds and sudden discoveries. But undoubtedly the main attraction here is the Well of Dedication (Poço Iniciático).

The Well of Dedication is a spiral staircase that goes 27 meters deep. The staircase looks like a tower screwed into the ground and, thanks to this strange shape, is shrouded in many outlandish legends.

If you have free time in Sintra and want to see it from another angle, pay attention to the shoreline as here is located the incredibly popular Agrada beach, famous for its waves and the sports competitions that constantly take place here (including world-class ones). Among others should be mentioned large Grande Beach, the most beautiful beach in Portugal, Baby Ursa, Praia das Masanches, and Magoito. If you take the opportunity to go surfing, fishing, and other water activities in the clear water of the Atlantic Ocean and on the golden sands of local beaches, then Sintra will be a paradise for travelers. No big surprise, that this city is considered the main tourist destination of the so-called Portuguese Riviera.

 

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All About Sintra

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When to Visit

The optimal time to explore Sintra in Portugal is during the spring or early autumn months when it's already warm, but still not too hot. Delightful weather perfect for discovering the rich cultural heritage of Portugal, and savoring its delectable cuisine, is guaranteed.

Unlike Lisbon, Sintra typically stays a bit cooler, with temperature usually a few degrees lower. The coldest months in Sintra are December, January, and February, with temperatures from 5°C to 14°C. 

The hottest months are July and August when temperatures can stay between 25°C to 30°C with high humidity a bit softened with refreshing breezes blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean. Be sure to keep an eye on the Sintra weather forecast to plan your perfect outdoor activities.

 

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Getting Around

Sintra transportation options are variable, so anybody can choose the best one. Taxi service is available at the train station or opposite the Sintra Vila post office. The one-way fare is approximately 10 EUR to the Pena Palace or 18 EUR to the Capuchin Monastery and back. On weekends and holidays, there is a 20% surcharge.

There is a regular bus (number 433) which runs from Portela Interface to San Pedro for 1€. Bus number 434 (circular bus route), which leaves from Sintra train station, will take you to Pena Palace. The ticket price is 5 EUR for all day.

For 12 EUR you can buy a Day Rover - a ticket valid on all Scotturb buses.

One more option is to get a bicycle as cycling in Sintra can be quite fun and interesting. You can rent it at Caminho do Castelo.

On weekends and holidays, there are a lot of cars in the city, and parking becomes a problem.

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Travel Information

You can get an unforgettable experience while traveling in Sintra if you consider a few simple Sintra travel tips:

1. How to make the first trip to Sintra unforgettable?

Sintra is a place with a magical atmosphere, filled with fairy tales and romance, so visiting it is an unforgettable experience.

Architectural masterpieces can be found here at every step. The splendor of ancient castles coexists with modern amenities. Sintra boasts stylish restaurants and pleasant cafes, together with comfortable old-fashioned hotels. Give yourself the pleasure of enjoying the beauty, and then relax, sitting comfortably in one of the picturesque cafes. A professional guide would show the hidden treasures of Sintra, creating an unforgettable impression, so you'd like to return here again and again.

2. What is a list of Sintra hidden gems?

There is an attraction of Sintra within the territory of Montserrat, unknown for most of the tourists. These are the ruins of an ancient chapel.

The ruins are close to the entrance gate, but away from the main path. According to legend, the chapel was destroyed by the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755. Over the years, the trees around grew and completely swallowed up the ruins.

In reality, in 1855, Montserrat was bought from a Portuguese family by a wealthy English merchant, Sir Francis Cook. He was much into the artificial ruins and wanted to give it a more mystical aura. The chapel looks amazing, and nothing shows its man-made origin.

3. What dishes are the must-try in Sintra?

Sintra is a town lost in time, although it is not so far from Lisbon, the spirit of antiquity is felt everywhere, which means this is where you can try classic Portuguese dishes. Sintra local cuisine mainly consists of fish, seafood, cheese, and vegetables.

There are a lot of fish restaurants in Sintra, probably every establishment serves seafood, and this is not surprising, there are so many local seafood delicacies!

Traditional sweets of Sintra are the Queijadas de Sintra and Travesseiros. You will find them in any cafe (pastelaria) in the old town.

Top Attractions Near Sintra

Explore Sintra's excellent selection of attractions, from ancient historic wonders to vibrant cultural sightseeing

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Cascais

The oceanfront resort town, both a seaport and a municipality nearby Lisbon, the destination attracts tourists around the year. Cascais with its history, nature, and pleasant warm atmosphere is a must-visit spot.

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Lisbon

The capital of Portugal is one of the oldest cities in Europe, filled with countless historical, architectural, and cultural attractions. Located on the picturesque banks of the Tagus River, Lisbon is a perfect spot to start the journey through Portugal.

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Obidos

The charming, wonderful open-air museum of white houses surrounded by a medieval castle is also home to a great religious spirit. Obidos' cultural heritage is expressed in its churches and shrines, emphasized by their scale and architecture.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Get clear and useful insider tips for the most common queries about Sintra

Are there any hiking trails in Sintra?

Yes, Sintra hiking trails are well known for their scenic views. The most popular route is the trail from the town center to the Moorish Castle, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape along the way.

What other destinations should be visited from Sintra?

Sintra has a great location, so the visitors can easily explore other nearby destinations such as Cascais, known for its beaches and seaside promenade, and Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of mainland Europe. Both are easily accessible by public transportation or car.

Is it necessary to book tickets in advance for attractions in Sintra?

It's advisable to book tickets in advance for popular attractions like Pena Palace to avoid long queues during peak tourist season. But in off-peak season it's not a problem, and you may purchase tickets on the day of your visit.