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
Guided tours in Sintra
Do you want to visit Sintra in the company of an experienced guide, knowledgeable of the history and culture of this town? If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to book one of the activities I suggest below.
After visiting Lisbon, I recommend that on one of your next tours you visit the beautiful towns of Sintra and Cascais. When booking this activity (affiliate link), you will have the opportunity to enjoy a complete tour that will show you some of the must-see wonders of this region.
Start with the beautiful palace Palácio Nacional de Queluz, visit the historic centre of Sintra with a unique cultural landscape, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Next, you’ll go up to the old castle Castelo dos Mouros and the idyllic palace Palácio Nacional da Pena. Finally, go to Cape Roca, the westernmost point in Europe and end this activity with a stroll in the beautiful streets of Cascais. Worth it!
Alternatively, choose this 8-hour long activity (affiliate link). Go directly from Lisbon to the historic centre of Sintra where you will have the opportunity to stroll, have lunch and go to Pena National Palace. In the afternoon, continue to Cape Roca, then admire the beach Praia do Guincho and the Boca do Inferno cliffs before your visit to Cascais.
If you prefer, you can also book a private guided tour (affiliate link). If you choose this activity, know that, in addition to some of the places mentioned above, you will also have the opportunity to visit the magnificent Quinta da Regaleira, a place full of magic and mysticism and, without a doubt, one of the landmarks of this region.
Contrary to the previous activities, this activity has as its main objective showing you the beaches of Sintra and Cascais (affiliate link). Start your adventure at the historic centre of Sintra, then go to the beautiful villages of Colares and Azenhas do Mar.
You can also discover the wonderful beaches of this region such as the Praia Grande, where you can admire the dinosaur footprints, the Praia Pequena and the Praia da Adraga. You’ll have the opportunity to escape the most touristy places thanks to the jeep that’ll take you to places only a few know. A must!
Where to sleep 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.Information
Price: 109 €/night, double room
Services: free Wi-Fi
Check-in: Starting at 14h
Check-out: Until 12h
Location: Rua Visconde De Monserrate nº 48, 2710-591 Sintra, Portugal
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.Information
Price: 90 €/night, double room
Services: free Wi-Fi
Check-in: 14h – 16h
Check-out: Until 12h
Location: Rua Gil Vicente nº 10-12, 2710-568 Sintra, Portugal
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.Information
Price: 70 €/night, double room
Services: free Wi-Fi
Check-in: 15h30 – 24h
Check-out: 8h – 12h
Location: Travessa do Ano Bom nº 4, 2710-190 Sintra, Portugal
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.Information
Price: 79 €/night, double room
Services: free Wi-Fi
Check-in: 15h – 19h
Check-out: Until 12h
Location: Rua Dr. Alfredo Da Costa, nº 23, 2710-524 Sintra, Portugal
Where to eat in Sintra
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 in Sintra
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 hire 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!