Once a hot spot destination for Portuguese royalty—Lord Byron called it a “glorious Eden”—Sintra is widely acclaimed as one of Portugal's most beautiful destinations, full of gardens, tiled villas, colorful palaces, and neo-Gothic structures, all surrounded by verdant hills rolling toward the Atlantic Ocean.
Visitors who experience Sintra on a guided tour from Lisbon benefit from a tour guide’s insight and included transportation. Popular attractions within this UNESCO World Heritage Site include the Museum of Modern Art, Monserrate Palace (Palacio de Monserrate), Pena National Palace, Castle of the Moors, and the beautiful Gothic architecture of the Quinta da Regaleira. While it’s possible to spend an entire day (or week) in this captivating town, travelers with limited time can also combine a visit to Sintra with stops at other nearby points of interest, such as Praia Grande, Cascais, Guincho Beach, or the wineries of Colares.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Travelers can dedicate an entire day to the UNESCO-listed city, or incorporate other stops, such as Cascais, Colares, and Guincho Beach.
- Day trips to Sintra generally last about eight hours and typically include return transportation.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking on uneven surfaces.
How to Get There
The easiest way to get to Sintra is by train from Lisbon. Trains depart every 10 to 20 minutes from Estação do Rossio to the Sintra Railway Station, and the journey takes about 45 minutes. There’s also a slower bus service from both Lisbon and Cascais.
When to Get There
For the best experience and minimal crowds, plan to visit early in the day, midweek, and outside of the summer high season. Classical music lovers gather in late spring and early summer, when the Sintra Festival takes place and concerts are hosted all over town.
Getting Around Sintra
There are a number of cost-effective ways to get around Sintra, including Bus 434, which goes from Sintra station to most of the major attractions. If you're looking for a more romantic and historic mode of transportation, try a horse-drawn carriage ride around the town center or through the Park of Pena.