Sintra is a beautiful town located in Portugal that is just a short day trip away from Lisbon. Here, you will find stunning palaces and castles that date back to the Moorish era. In this blog post, I will tell you about some of the best things to do in Sintra including the Peña Palace, Sintra Moorish Castle, Quinta da Regaleria and more! I spent the most wonderful day trip from Lisbon to Sintra during my month stay in the city. I’ll also give you information on how to make a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra, and the best ways to travel between the two cities. There are many different options, each at different levels of price and convenience. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
About Sintra in Portugal
Sintra is a town located in the Lisbon district of Portugal. It is situated on the north coast of the country, just outside of Lisbon. The town is known for its many palaces and castles, which date back to the Moorish era. Sintra was once the summer retreat for Portugal’s royal family, and you can still see evidence of this today. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is easy to see why.
Sintra is a popular day trip destination from Lisbon, and it is very easy to get to by public transport or private car. The best way to travel between Lisbon and Sintra on a budget is by train, which takes just under an hour. Once you arrive, there are plenty of things to do in Sintra. From palaces to beautiful gardens, you can certainly see everything on this list in one day at a fast pace. If you like a slower pace, it may be best to stay in Sintra in Portugal for one or two nights. This way you will have plenty of time to see everything at a slower pace. Either way, here are some of the best things to do in Sintra in Portugal:
Best Things to Do in Sintra in Portugal
1. Peña Palace
One of the best things to do in Sintra is visit the Peña Palace. The palace is located on a hilltop and offers stunning views of the town below. Easily the most beautiful palace in all of Portugal, the palace of Pena is iconic for its unique colors and almost cartoonish design.The romantic palace was built in the 19th century and features a mix of Moorish and Gothic architecture. Inside, you’ll find a beautiful chapel, an art gallery, and a library with over 30,000 books. The Peña Palace is one of the most popular things to do in Sintra in Portugal.
The palace’s design draws inspiration from multiple styles, including Moorish, Manueline, Renaissance, and Gothic Revival. The exterior is decorated with intricate statues and friezes, while the interior is filled with luxurious furniture and tapestries. Without a doubt, if you are looking to only do one of the things to do in Sintra on this list visiting the Peña Palace should be at the top of your list.
The palace gets extremely busy very early so I suggest coming as early as possible. I arrived at the Peña Palace minutes before opening and I’m glad I did. I got to enjoy the beauty of the castle before the large crowds came. By the time I left coming out of the gates, the line was already wrapped around the block. Be sure to buy your tickets online to save time. You even get a discount by booking online.
2. Sintra Moorish Castle
The Sintra Moorish Castle is a former castle that was built in the ninth century by the Moors. The castle sits on a hilltop above the town and offers sweeping views of the surrounding area. Inside, you can explore the ruins of the palace, including the baths and kitchens. The castle is open to the public and is a popular tourist destination. It is definitely one of the best things to do in Sintra in Portugal. Be sure to add the Moorish Castle to your itinerary. It’s a fascinating piece of history and an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. Plus, the views from the top of the hill are simply breathtaking.
Built in the ninth century by the Moors who occupied Portugal at that time, this castle is a must-visit. It was one of several castles they constructed in order to defend their territory against invaders. After the Moors were driven out of Portugal in the early 11th century, the castle was abandoned and fell into ruin. It wasn’t until 1839 that it was restored and opened to the public. Today, it is a popular tourist destination.
The castle is only a short walk or car ride from Peña palace and is worth a visit on your day trip from Lisbon to Sintra. Compared to the Peña palace, the Sintra Moorish Castle does not get nearly as busy. It is the less popular attraction of the two, so you can enjoy this castle at a more relaxed pace. You can also buy tickets online to save time and money. If you buy tickets in a package deal, you can save even more money!
3. Quinta da Regaleira
Quinta da Regaleira is a historic estate located in Sintra, Portugal. The estate includes a palace and extensive gardens. Quinta da Regaleira was built in the early 20th century by millionaire Antonio Carvalho Monteiro. The Quinta da Regaleira Palace is a mix of different architectural styles including Neo-Gothic, Manueline, and Renaissance. The gardens are equally as impressive as the palace with fountains, grottoes, and hidden tunnels. Quinta da Regaleira is one of the best things to do in Sintra in Portugal!
The Quinta da Regaleira Palace was built between 1904 and 1910. Construction of the palace cost approximately two million dollars. The palace was originally intended to be used as a summer residence. Quinta da Regaleira was eventually sold to new owners in the 1940s. The new owners opened Quinta da Regaleira to the public as a tourist attraction. Today, Quinta da Regaleira is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Portugal. Visitors can tour the palace and gardens, and even explore some of the hidden tunnels. If you’re planning a trip to Portugal, be sure to add Quinta da Regaleira to your list of places to visit!
I spent a wonderful afternoon here touring the grounds and even sipping some coffee in the cafe. So, I recommend allowing at least a few hours of your day trip from Lisbon to Sintra here as the grounds are quite extensive. This was one of my favorite things to do in Sintra, as I found the gardens to be very relaxing. Depending on the time of year, this also gets very busy. But it is easy to see why. Again, you can purchase tickets online to save time.
4. Explore Downtown Sintra
Downtown Sintra is a small town located in the foothills of Portugal’s Sintra Mountains. The town is known for its historic buildings and picturesque scenery. Downtown Sintra is a popular tourist destination for visitors to Portugal. The history of Downtown Sintra dates back to the 12th century when the town was founded by the Moors. Downtown Sintra has been inhabited by a variety of different cultures over the centuries including the Romans, Visigoths, and Arabs. The town was captured by Christian forces in 1147 during the Second Crusade. Downtown Sintra remained under Christian control until 1808 when it was occupied by French troops during the Peninsular War.
Downtown Sintra is home to a number of historic buildings and sites. The most notable of these is the Palace of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Palace of Sintra was built in the 15th century by the Portuguese royal family. Other notable buildings in Downtown Sintra include the Convent of Capuchos, the Castle of the Moors, and the Pena National Palace. The downtown area is beautiful. There are many great restaurants and cafes. Since this town was once home to the ultra wealthy, everything is high end. Also, you will find beautiful old homes here. We enjoyed a nice stroll as one of the many great things to do in Sintra in Portugal.
5. Park and Palace of Monserrate
The Park and Palace of Monserrate is a historic estate located in the Sintra Mountains of Portugal. The estate includes a palace, gardens, and a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Monserrate. The Park and Palace of Monserrate was once owned by the Portuguese nobility but is now open to the public as a tourist attraction. The Park and Palace of Monserrate dates back to the early 18th century when it was first built as a summer residence for the Portuguese nobility. The palace was designed in the Moorish Revival style and features intricate tile work, fountains, and gardens. The Park and Palace of Monserrate was later expanded to include a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Monserrate, which is a popular pilgrimage site.
Today, the Park and Palace of Monserrate is open to the public as a tourist attraction. Visitors can explore the palace, gardens, and shrine on guided tours. The Park and Palace of Monserrate is also a popular venue for events such as weddings and concerts. While I sadly did not have time to visit this place on my day trip from Lisbon to Sintra, you should make time to see it. I have heard that the grounds are absolutely beautiful and one of the best things to do in Sintra in Portugal.
6. Sintra Palace
Sintra Palace is a romantic and luxurious palace located in Sintra, Portugal. The palace was built in the 15th century by King John II of Portugal and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sintra Palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Portugal and receives over 200,000 visitors per year. The palace grounds are also home to the National Palace of Sintra, another popular tourist attraction. Sintra Palace was originally built as a summer residence for the Portuguese royal family. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that Sintra became a popular tourist destination. Sintra Palace was one of the first buildings in Portugal to be classified as a National Monument in 1910. In 1995, Sintra Palace was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
Sintra Palace is a must-see for anyone visiting Portugal. The palace grounds offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside and the town of Sintra. Visitors can also explore the many rooms and corridors of the palace, which are filled with furniture and artwork from the 15th century. Sintra Palace is a truly magical place and is sure to leave visitors with lasting memories. If you planning on visiting, this is also something you should book online before coming. You can save time and money by booking your tickets online.
How to take a Day Trip from Lisbon to Sintra to see Peña Palace, Moorish Castle and More!
There are many different ways to get from Lisbon to Sintra for a day trip. Taking the train from Lisbon is the most affordable and popular method. Find train times here. The train trip is under and hour and the connection route is very direct. You can catch the train from the main train station in downtown Lisbon. The only problem with taking the train is that you will undoubtedly be a part of the massive herd of people. So, you won’t be able to get to the attractions before the large groups.
Personally, I recommend taking a car. Depending on the time of day, you can easily get there and back in an affordable car service. We took an Uber there and back and it was a fantastic choice. Not only did we get to the attractions before everyone else, it wasn’t even crazy expensive. We spent about €30 each way, which divided amongst a group of people is not too expensive. Depending on the time of day, you can get it even cheaper than that. Getting around Sintra on foot is rather easy as well.
If you are looking to save the most money possible, then the train is still your best option. I never took the train, but I have heard it is very easy and reliable. But if you are going with a group of people, you could easily split the cost of an Uber and pay near the same price as the train. Then you get there much quicker and more relaxed. Either way, by train or car, getting to Sintra in Portugal from Lisbon is very easy and efficient. Check out the best things to do in Lisbon here.
As you can see, there are so many amazing things to do in Sintra in Portugal. This list is obviously just my personal picks for the best things to do in Sintra. Honestly, if I ever came back to Portugal I would stay longer in Sintra. The town itself is beautiful and there is so much to see and do.
You could easily spend an entire day at any one of these attractions. The Peña Palace has an entire garden area attached that I never even got to visit. And as for Quinta da Regaleira, I could easily spend an entire day wandering around that beautiful garden. The Sintra Morrish Castle can be enjoyed in a half day trip. If you have time in your schedule, maybe consider staying a night or two in Sintra to really enjoy the beauty of this town. There are some beautiful hotels in this area for you to choose from.
I hope that you found this guide to the best things to do in Sintra in Portugal to be useful and informative. Whether you are planning a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra or staying longer, be sure to find time to do all of these things. Sintra was one of the highlights of my entire three months visit to Portugal. It is such a beautiful area of this magnificent country. If you found this content to be enjoyable, please consider sharing it with your friends and fellow travelers. Also, be sure to check out all of my other Portugal content here. Thank you so much for visiting my travel blog!