Although Sintra is a great destination in Portugal, it also is a perfect day trip from Lisbon, especially on Monday, as many attractions are closed in Lisbon.
In the middle of the beautiful Sintra Mountain, you will find an ancient castle, luxurious romantic palaces, beautiful exotic gardens, and with its lush hills meeting the ocean, all under its microclimate creates a place with a magical and cinematical aura.
Sintra is also considered the first Center of European Romantic architecture and combined with its landscape, it is classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage center in 1995.
Table of Contents
- How to go to Sintra from Lisbon
- Self Guided Tour in Sintra
How to go to Sintra from Lisbon
The cheapest way to get to Sintra from Lisbon is by taking the train. There are two train stations in Lisbon that have direct trains to Sintra: Rossio and Oriente.
During the day, there are trains almost every 15 minutes and the trip is about 45 minutes.
The price of the tickets is around 2.50€ per person or free if you have the LisboaCard, and it will give you discounts on the major sights, like the Palacio da Pena.
By Bus Tour
If you want to go to Sintra and also visit the Portuguese Riviera, but in a guided tour, there are several tour companies in Lisbon that make daily day tours in Sintra. Just be aware that most of these companies offer half-day tours in Sintra. We do not recommend this, because they are done in a rush and only a few attractions are seen.
By Private Tour
If you want to go to Sintra on a guided tour, but prefer not to share the guide with the rest of the group, consider taking a Private Tour. Although this is the most expensive option and it does not include the tickets for the monuments, this is still the best and most comfortable way to get to know Sintra and the Portuguese Riviera in a full day, as you will be accompanied by your driver-guide, and at your pace.
The easiest way to get to Sintra is by car. Renting a car for a day is an excellent option because it will give you the freedom to explore the mountain and visit the several beautiful sites in Sintra and visit the Portuguese Riviera.
But read the guide on the Portuguese Riviera instead, as this guide is best done by public transportation.
Self Guided Tour in Sintra
If you are taking the train to Sintra from Lisbon, then follow the steps of this guide for a perfect, but tiring, self-guided tour in Sintra.
To take the most of your day, try to be in Sintra at 09 am, and when you are getting ready for this trip, dress comfortably, and please wear comfortable shoes. You will walk a lot, but the experience will be priceless.
Insider tip: When doing this trip, you have a perfect opportunity to pack a lunch and have a picnic in Sintra. When you are getting hungry, just look for a place to sit down on the beautiful grass of Sintra and enjoy a peaceful and romantic meal.
Arrival in Sintra
When you arrive at Sintra train station, catch the number 434 bus, right in front of the train station until the gates of the Pena Palace.
If you don’t want to take the bus, then head up to the tuk-tuk spot in front of the train station, and agree to a price with a driver to take you to the Pena Palace. Normally it is around 5 euros per person.
Once you are there, take your time in the Pena palace, and don’t forget to use your LisboaCard for a discount on the entrance fee.
From the main gates to the entrance of the Palace is a 15 minutes walk uphill, so wait for the shuttle bus that takes the visitors from the gates to the main entrance.
And don’t forget to take the map from the ticket office, because it not only shows the areas of the Palace, and also shows the walking course on park around the Palace.
After visiting the Pena Palace, if you are running late on not feeling up to do some more walking for now, instead of taking the wonderful hike ahead, take the subtle bus again to the main gate and then the 434 bus again and head down to the historical town center.
When you are still inside the park surrounding the Palace, look for the entrance on the Vale dos Lagos (Valley of the Lakes). Right in front of the main gate of this entrance, you will see a pedestrian hiking course. This 45 minutes walk, will take you to the old town center, not only you will enjoy a beautiful walk with amazing views over Sintra and its mountains, but also you will see the Vila Sassetti, a marvelous summer house built in 1890, by a wealthy Portuguese, that wanted a house inspired in the castles of Lombardy and gardens, but with a perfect balance of architecture and nature.
During your hike, you will be at the top of the Penedo da Saudade, a 45-meter cliff (148 feet), with astonishing views over Sintra.
And if you packed your lunch, on this route, you will find several eating spots, to enjoy it with a Portuguese view.
You can download the walking map here, or take one from the tourist office close to the train station or, if in stock, from the ticket office of the Pena Palace.
Old Town of Sintra
When here, take your time exploring the narrow streets and search for a restaurant and a cafe that you like for a relaxing lunch, as you will need your strength again for what’s coming next. And don’t worry, the center of Sintra is very small and it is filled with narrow but short streets. It will take you 15 minutes to explore this area.
After having lunch and depending on your stamina and the weather, you have three options:
- If it is a beautiful day and your legs still have some strength left in them, then head to the beautiful and magical Quinta da Regaleira.
- If it is a beautiful day but you’re tired and don’t want more walking, then take the vintage tram car and head on a 45 minutes tour, through the mountains of Sintra, to the beach.
- If it is raining, visit the National Palace in the main square of Sintra, in the Praça Rainha Dona Amélia.
Quinta da Regaleira
Quinta da Regaleira is your next stop.
When you reach the ticket office of this mysterious place, don’t forget to use your LisboaCard and to pick up a map, like before, it will be your guide. And without it, how could you find the several secret passages and tunnels present in this enchanted garden.
Take your time here and simply enjoy all the details that are present on all its corners. There are several resting spots, some quite obvious, others a bit hidden, but use them and enjoy the magic present in Quinta da Regaleira.
Sintra Tram Ride
If you are just tired of walking, the vintage tram ride, from the center to the beach is a beautiful option to do.
The tram station is very close to the train station of Sintra. Click here to open on Google Maps.
You will pass through the mountains and villages of Sintra until reaching the beautiful beach of Praia das Maças.
The first tram ride was in 1904 and until today, most of the tram cars are the original ones.
There are only three departures from Sintra and from the Praia das Maçãs, so be careful and time your visit.
National Palace of Sintra
Probably when you arrived at Sintra, you saw a big white palace, in the town center. That is the National Palace of Sintra.
It is an extremely well preserved medieval castle, that has its origins from the Moorish time before Portugal existed and for 500 years, it was the favorite destination of the Royal Family, before the construction of the Pena Palace.
Looking from the outside, it will look like the Palace is surrounded by many buildings, but when you are exploring the inside, you will notice the organic flow of the different wings.
When you are done, head back to the train station, to go back to Lisbon.