Going on a Sintra tour is discovering a town full of magic and splendour; it is like entering a romantic realm where majestic palaces, a fairy tale castle and wonderful mansions emerge from the lush hills and woods.
Sintra is located in the district of Lisbon, 30 km from the Portuguese capital. It has approximately 380 000 inhabitants scattered over an estimated area of 319.23 km². According to Sintra City Hall, this municipality is the second most populous in Portugal.
Here is the top 10 of the places to visit – the perfect Sintra tour!
1. Quinta da Regaleira
One of the places you must visit in your Sintra tour is Quinta da Regaleira. This fabulous place was built between 1904 and 1910 and is located at the town’s historic centre.
Its architecture takes us to the times of kings and queens, with its romantic structure, surrounded by gardens, caves, lakes and even enigmatic constructions that bring to life the Gothic and Renaissance style.
Places you should visit in Quinta da Regaleira:
- Patamar dos Deuses
- Santíssima Trindade Chapel
- Regaleira Tower
- Poço Iniciático
- Tips: When you visit Quinta da Regaleira, don’t miss the opportunity to go to the restaurant and bookshop. It’s a good tip for those who need to relax a little and read more about this mysterious place.
- Site: http://www.regaleira.pt/en
2. Pena National Palace (Palácio Nacional da Pena)
Pena Palace is so divine that, in 2007, was considered as one of the 7 Portuguese wonders. Furthermore, it is characterised as being the first palace in Europe with a Romantic style.
In 2013 it was the most visited palace in Portugal with approximately 800 000 visitors.
Places you must see:
- Main Entrance of the Royal Family
- Queen D. Amélia Chambers
- Queen Terrace
- Noble Hall
Do you want to discover the amazing Pena National Palace and its park in a different way? If that’s the case, book a tour with a guide that will show you around and tell you some of the stories behind the beautiful cultural landscape of Sintra, listed by UNESCO as World Heritage.
Apart from Sintra, know that, by booking this tour, you’ll also have the opportunity to get to know Cape Roca, Europe’s westernmost point, and the beautiful town of Cascais.
3. Moorish Castle (Castelo dos Mouros)
The Moorish Castle, also known as Sintra Castle, is a fortification built in the 10th century, after the Moorish conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, and expanded after the Christian conquest.
Whoever has the opportunity to get to know this peculiar architecture, located between rocks and cliffs, will also get a privileged view extending to the Atlantic Ocean.
4. Sintra National Palace (Palácio Nacional de Sintra)
Sintra National Palace was the most visited palace in 2008 with approximately 409 000 visitors.
Its construction began in the 15th century and Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance and Romantic styles stand out in this monument. Sintra National Palace was the Portuguese Royal Family’s refuge until 1910.
5. Monserrate Park and Palace (Parque e Palácio de Monserrate)
Characterised as being one of the most beautiful creations of Romantic architecture and landscaping, Monserrate Park and Palace are located in Sintra valley.
The Palace leaves you in awe with its Gothic, Moorish, Indian and even vegetal style decoration. Furthermore, it houses one of the most valued and rich botanic gardens in Portugal – a must see in your Sintra tour.
6. Chalet and Garden of Condessa d’Edla
The Chalet and Garden of Condessa d’Edla are located west of Pena Palace and must be part of your Sintra tour.
It has an eclectic decoration with wall paintings, glazed tiles and cork. On the outside you will find lush vegetation with many botanical species.
Points of interest:
- Vale dos Lagos
- Feteira da Condessa
- Gardener’s House
- Chalet Stones
7. Azenhas do Mar
Located 14 km away from the historic centre of Sintra, you’ll find Azenhas do Mar. This is a unique village almost carved in cliffs facing the Atlantic Ocean, in a magnificent head-to-head.
In the surrounding area, you can enjoy the fantastic natural pools and go to the wonderful viewpoints that offer the most amazing views over the picturesque village and over the Atlantic Ocean.
8. Queluz National Palace and Gardens (Palácio Nacional e Jardins de Queluz)
Queluz National Palace and Gardens were built primarily as a summer house so that the Royal Family could rest, between 1794 and 1807 when they moved to Brazil.
The Palace is surrounded by gardens making justice to the exuberance in the harmony of palatial landscape and architecture. They portray the good taste of the Court in a time characterised by the baroque and neoclassical styles.
9. Cape Roca (Cabo da Roca)
Cape Roca is located in Colares parish, Sintra. It is the westernmost point of continental Europe.
Luis de Camões described it as the place “Where the land ends and the sea begins”. There you will find Cape Roca lighthouse, erected in 1758 and measuring 22 metres high and a souvenir shop.
- Location: Estrada do Cabo da Roca s/n, 2705-001 Colares, Portugal
10. Bear Beach (Praia da Ursa)
Ursa (bear) beach is located 1 km north of Cape Roca. The name is due to two rock formations, in the water, called Bear and Giant. You can also admire a waterfall and a small cave at the Ursa Creek.
To go to Ursa beach you can take the dirt trail to the south, originating from Cape Roca road. Be careful with this trail because it is tricky and should only be done by experienced visitors.
- Location: Google Maps
- Days you will need to visit Sintra: 2 days minimum
Where you can spend the night in Sintra
Sintra Boutique Hotel**** (affiliate link)
Located at the heart of Sintra, UNESCO World Heritage, this boutique hotel offers rooms and suites with views to the old town and to Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. It has a landscaped garden with a bar at the patio where the hotel guests can relax and plan their Sintra tour.
Sintra 1012 Boutique Guesthouse (affiliate link)
Located at the historic centre of Sintra, this charming lodge is at a 3-minute walking distance from Sintra National Palace and a 7-minute walking distance from Quinta da Regaleira.
Cosy Sintra (affiliate link)
Located in Sintra at 1.4 km from the Moorish Castle, Cosy Sintra offers a sunbathing terrace and its guests can enjoy the bar.
Chalet Saudade (affiliate link)
Chalet Saudade dates back to the 19th century and is located at the centre of Sintra but far from the tourist attractions. It offers its guests fantastic views over the surrounding area and free Wi-Fi.
How to get to Sintra
You can travel to Sintra by car, train or bus.
If you come from Lisbon I would suggest for you to take the train at Rossio train station. It’s a 45-minute journey.
If you come from Ericeira, Mafra, Cascais, Oeiras, you can take the bus. Check timetables here.
Getting around the town
In your Sintra tour you can walk around the historic centre but be ready to walk up and down for at least 5 km.
The best way is to use Sintra’s tourist buses. Take bus 434 (Pena tour) to visit Pena Palace, the Moorish Castle and Sintra National Palace.
To visit Quinta da Regaleira and Monserrate Palace take the 435 bus (Vila Express 4 Palaces)
Click here to view Sintra Map
To visit the other tourist attractions that I have mentioned in the article, you should drive a car.
Are you going to visit Sintra? Then don’t hesitate to book your hotel room, your car or the best activities by clicking the links below. This way you are helping me in the development of my blog and I’ll be able to offer you free tips and travel guides so that you can better prepare your visit to Portugal. Thank you!