Visit Sintra should be a priority when in Lisbon. This is a picturesque town with amazing adventures and millennial histories.
Sintra is an all-in-one destination. You can learn history dating back to the neolithic age, it has great natural resources due to its geography and as well an amazing cuisine and pastry selection.
The most remarkable aspect is the cultural landscape, in 1995 entered the Unesco, World Heritage List.
Get ready, buckle up and let us tell you the highlights and how you can get there from Lisbon. We hope that you visit Sintra on your next trip to Lisbon and you will see that we are not overselling it.
Dating back to the Roman occupation, Sintra had always a strong strategic reference only shaded by Lisbon, so there were left plenty of landmarks from the Romans, Moors and from the XI century onwards when it was conquered back.
Sintra has several architectural landmarks to visit and Palácio da Pena should be the top of your priorities. Other sites of interest are Castelo dos Mouros, Palácio Nacional de Sintra, Palácio da Regaleira, Palácio de Setais (now a luxury Hotel), Palácio de Monserrate, Palácio de Queluz and Cromlech de Barreira.
The stories behind each of these buildings are amazing, several of them had strong international influences and for a long time, they served only the wealthy people. During the 19th century, the town was driven by the king Fernando II to become a reference in the Romantic Architecture in Europe.
Several of the palaces above are included in local parks of immense beauty. The weather conditions of the area and the fertile lands make Sintra a piece of beauty. Palácio da Pena, maybe the most remarkable one in Sintra, during its construction included a 200 acres park with plant types from all the globe, bridges, statues lakes and other points of interest making it almost a mystical place to visit.
Because the town is part of a hill you need to prepare yourself to walk, however, there is plenty of shade to catch your breath and we would recommend making some stops along the way to enjoy the views over the city and the Ocean.
If making a day long walk we advise taking a lunch with you, there are plenty of secluded and wild places that would make an amazing scenario for a picnic.
A little further from the town of Sintra, sits Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe, here you will get to feel the power of the ocean and the winds.
Sintra is also an amazing place for all kinds of outdoor sports. Its geographic location offers great conditions for Mountain Biking, Downhill, Bouldering, Climbing, and Surfing.
The easiest experience to reserve would be a surf lesson in one of the local beaches, such as Praia das Maças, Praia Grande, Praia do Magoito, Praia da Adraga and Praia do Guincho. There are plenty of local schools that will offer classes including equipment, transportation and instructor.
Other experiences available require a pre-booking or a reservation. Unless you just want to rent some gear.
To book other experiences you could use:
Muitaventura they arrange for safaris, paragliding, mountain biking, golf, touristic tours, rappel and many other activities in Sintra.
Sintra Climbing Tours, offer a great climbing experience in the area of Sintra, all the equipment and a guide are included to help you. If you are looking to take an independent experience, they also rent crash pads so that you can boulder on your own.
Fuga Perfeita offers several hiking tours in Sintra and as well speleology.
Cycling Rentals has available several Mountain Biking tours in the area of Sintra. If you would like to explore on your own you can rent a bike and hit the road.
Self Guided Adventures
Climbing – If you would like to climb on your own, Penedo da Amizade should be your destination. You will climb one of the faces of Castelo dos Mouros, with great views of the town and the ocean.
Other climbing routes are available in Active Sintra
The town is serviced regularly by public transports making it easy to get there from Lisbon. There are several trains from Rossio to Sintra and it takes 1h to get there. From Sintra train Station to Palácio da Pena is a short but steep 2.3Km walk, however, if you prefer you can also take a bus or taxi.
There is available a touristic bus route from the station, number 434 that covers the historical town centre, Palácio da Pena and Castelo dos Mouros in a day.
Driving is the other option, the traffic over the weekends can be intense and it isn’t always easy to park.
If you are spending several days in Sintra, you could look into renting a scooter, it will make your life easier for sure.
Places to eat
As in all in coastal towns, the fish is fresh and it has good quality. You can find plenty of restaurants with freshly prepared sea food along the way.
We also recommend the places below for a less formal experience. They have available brunch menus and other snacks.
Special thanks to Carla Santos for contribution.
We hope you enjoy our suggestions and that you visit Sintra the next time you are around.