Sintra in Portugal: Day Trip From Lisbon Guide
Updated: Sep 17, 2022
Home to ancient castles, extravagant palaces, and beautiful natural scenery, Sintra in Portugal is an absolute must-visit. It is one of the most picturesque places in Portugal. We'll break down how to get there from Lisbon as a day trip and the highlights that you can’t miss in Sintra.
Check out our video about Sintra to get a sense of what it's like there!
Where is Sintra and how to get there?
Sintra is very close to Lisbon. It's located 30 kilometers to the west of Lisbon. This is why Sintra is a popular destination for a day trip from Lisbon. The cheapest way to get to Sintra is by train. The train leaves from the Rossio Train Station in downtown Lisbon once or twice per hour. It takes about 45 mins to get to Sintra from the train station. We took the train at 9 AM, which allowed us enough time to visit the three main highlights. It is best to leave as early as possible, however, the castles only open their doors at 10 AM. Once you arrive at the train station, you will have many options to move around the town. You can either take a bus, a taxi, a tuk-tuk, or walk. Now let’s dive into the things to do on your day trip to Sintra.
Things to do in Sintra
We'll break down the things to do in Sintra in the order we visited them. We recommend following this order to get the best experience and avoid the crowds as much as possible!
Quinta da Regaleira
Sitting on the outskirts of Sintra’s historic center, the Quinta da Regaleira is easily walkable from the train station. It takes about 30 mins to walk there and you have nice views of the town center, flowers, and the Sintra National Palace on the way. Quinta da Regaleira was mainly designed by the Italian architect Luigi Manini in the late 1800s and is a shockingly beautiful estate. It only opened to the public in 1998. You can walk around a romantic palace, chapel, and a lush park that features the famous Initiatic Well, grottoes, and towers. We found the gardens especially peaceful. We recommend visiting this spot first because it’s less touristic and you’ll find fewer crowds during the morning.
Castelo dos Mouros
Located on a high rocky mountain above the town, the Moorish Castle is a spectacular site. To get here, we walked back to the train station and caught the 434 bus. With the bus ticket you can hop on and off as you please for the day. Alternatively, you can also take a tuk-tuk or taxi from the center, which will save you more time at the ruins. The fortification itself was built in the 10th century during the time the Moors occupied the area. Its strategic position helped defend both the surrounding territory and the maritime access routes to the city of Lisbon. It is fun walking on the castle walls and taking in the unique views over the town and the Atlantic Ocean.
For your last main stop of the day we recommend the famous Pena Palace and Park. It’s only a 15 mins walk from the Moorish Castle and it’s less crowded at the end of the day. This is the most famous castle in Portugal for a good reason. The Palace stands in a 200-hectare park, filled with colorful flowers, small ponds, and beautiful viewpoints. Once you step inside the palace itself, you’ll be amazed by the blend of vibrant colors and beautiful architecture. You can also explore the interior and get an idea of the history of this palace, which once served as a holiday residence for the Portuguese royal family. Skip the line and book your tickets in advance to not lose time waiting to get in. You can also book a guided tour from Lisbon to discover more of this beautiful palace.
You’ll want to cap off the fantastic day trip with some free time in Sintra town. There are many cute restaurants and bars in the picturesque center where you can sit down and relax. This is also the perfect time to try some of Sintra's delicacies such as queijada, a small cake with eggs, cheese, milk and sugar, and travesseiros, a pastry with egg yolk and almonds. The trains back to Lisbon run fairly late and we were fine catching one at 9:00 PM.
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More Helpful Info About Sintra
If you still need more information about Sintra, make sure to check out these other great articles below:
15 Best Things to Do in Sintra (Portugal) by The Crazy Tourist
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