A daytrip to Sintra, Portugal

As I was researching things to do in Lisbon, Portugal, the town of Sintra kept coming up as a must-see day-trip.  Sintra is just 15 miles and about a 40 minute train ride outside of Lisbon.

Get ready to see fantasy castles with beautiful interiors, Moorish ruins guarding the town, beautiful houses with mysterious Masonic towers and drink the local liqueur delicacy ginja.

Quinta da Regaliera in Sintra Portugal
Quinta da Regaliera in Sintra Portugal

My Itinerary

  • Train – Lisbon toSintra – See “Getting There” below – 4.60 euros
    • TI station in Sintra train station for a map.
    • Walk to National Palace – 10 min
  • National Palace of Sintra – Free on Sunday until 14:00.
    • Walk to Quinta da Regaliera – 10 min
  • Quinta da Regaliera – 6 euros
    • Walk back to Historical Center – 10 min
  • Lunch in Historical Center
    • Taxi to Pena National Palace Entrance – 10-15 min
    • Green Shuttle bus RT to Pena Palace – 10 min – 3 euros RT
  • Pena National Palace – 16 euros combo ticket with Moorish Castle
    • Green Shuttle bus back to Pena Palace entrance
    • Walk to Moorish Castle (Downhill) – 5-10 min
  • Moorish Castle
    • Walk downhill to Historical Center – 20 min
  • Dinner and Tasting Ginja
    • Return to Lisbon via train – 40 min

Getting there:

  • Train – I took the train from Lisbon Rossio to Sintra (Note: Do not get off at Portela de Sintra… go all the way to the end to Sintra). Trains leave every 15-30 minutes dependent on season and the trip takes ~40 minutes. Cost ~4.60 euros RT. I bought tickets last minute with no problems at the station buying an open return. Train website for times.
  • There is a TI at the Sintra station to pick up a local map or in the historical center, though there are many signposts to find the tourist sites.

Getting around Sintra:

  • The National Palace of Sintra, historical town and Quinta da Regaliera are a fairly easy walk from the train station. About a 10 minute walk to town and another 10 min to Quinta da Regaliera with a mild incline.  Bus 435 does go to Quinta da Regaliera but I did not take this as the walk was easy and beautiful views along the way.
  • The Moorish Castle and Pena National Palace
    • These are both a SOLID hike up the mountain. Recommend taking the bus 434 or taxi up to Pena National Palace and then walk down to the Moorish Castle and another walk downhill to town (The walk back to town was steep in areas coming down from the Moorish Castle as a caution if you have bad knees, but I found it easily doable and a pleasant walk).
    • Bus 434 starts at the railway station, stops in the historical center and goes to both the Moorish Castle and the Pena National Palace. It costs ~3 euros one way and there is a ~6 euro all day pass.  The bus was rather crowded even in November as this was my first option until I hooked up with some other tourists and took a taxi.
    • As I only wanted transportation up to Pena National Palace from the historical center, I went by taxi with a few tourists I had met. This cost 7 euros one way which we split 4 ways. So taxi is your best option & less expensive with a group for this route.
    • Parking is limited at both locations.
    • From the entrance of the Pena National Palace to the actual Palace is another steep walk and there is a separate shuttle that goes up for ~3 euros round trip.. You can only see the rest of the palace grounds on foot.
    • There are also several tour companies that take in many of the items listed above and othersights including
      • Cabo da Roca – Westernmost tip of Portugal
      • Cascais & Estorial – Resort towns

Tips

  • This was a pretty packed day. Sintra is a lovely spot and I easily could have stayed overnight and enjoyed more at a more leisurely pace to enjoy more of the Pena Palace ground and other sights around town, but it is doable in one day.
  • You can easily spend 1-2 hours at each of the four major sites detailed. I spent ~1 hour at the National Palace of Sintra & Moorish Castle and about 2+ hours at the Pena National Palace & Quinta da Regaliera as these were more my focus for the trip.