Travel Guide to Sintra
As I mentioned in my travel guide to Lisbon, there are several places you can take a day trip and one of them is Sintra. When I was writing out the Lisbon travel guide, I realized that I needed to dedicate a post for Sintra. If you have to prioritize all the Lisbon day trips, Sintra should be on the top of your list!
Sintra is 25km from Lisbon, and it is known for its palaces and castles. It seriously looks like it is straight out of a Disney fairytale. Which by the way, I’ve heard that Walt Disney was inspired by Pena Palace for Disneyland’s castle. How cool is that!
I will admit, we didn’t dedicate enough time if you want to explore more of Sintra. We spent a full day and then before dinner we headed back to Lisbon. We had just enough time to visit Pena Palace and its castle. But if I could, I would love to have a day and a half so I can see more than Pena Palace and the town (it’s so cute!).
From Lisbon, you will need to take the train at Rossio Station. It will be the last stop (you will get off at the ‘Sintra’ stop). You’ll know, because it will probably be the most populated train and filled with touristy people. The ride is about 45 minutes. Not too bad!
I recommend getting on the train early, because as it gets later in the day, it gets more crowded. Also, it limits the amount of time you have to explore Sintra. We thought we were early by arriving at 10 am, and when we arrived at Pena Palace, there was already a very long line to get tickets. We waited about an hour. Therefore, I also advise buying tickets ahead of time!
When you arrive at the Sintra station, there are buses that can take you to the castle and palaces. If you plan on seeing Pena Palace, I recommend using the tuk tuk. Big thanks to my friend Kit for this recommendation! I think it cost about 10 Euros. Most of the the other castles and palaces are walkable, but not Pena. It is on the highest foothill of the Sintra Mountains. It will take you forever to get to the top of the mountain. Plus, it can be a little dangerous because the roads will be narrow, cars and busses will be driving by, and the incline is steep. The tuk tuk did make a fun ride!
Sites to See
If you can’t tell, Pena Palace is first sure a must see site. However, right when you get off the train station you can go to the National Sintra Palace (Palacio Nacional de Sintra). You can easily walk from the stop.
The town of Sintra is really cute and we briefly walked around it. If we had more time, we would explore the town more. Also, right next to the Pena Palace is Moor castle.
Check out this site for a full list of the palaces and castles in Sintra.
About Pena Palace
You can pretty much walk anywhere in Pena Palace. There are a few spots that are roped off, but overall you can see so much of it. Every corner and angle is picturesque. You can also see the interior, which we briefly checked out.
Not only are the castles beautiful, but the gardens are too! The garden is very large and it probably took us over an hour to walk through it. You walk from the top of the hill where the palace is located to the bottom of the hill. I also recommend having a map of the gardens, as you can easily get lost. There are several different paths to take. Some paths will take longer than others.
They also have several shops and a restaurant and cafe. We decided to have lunch in the restaurant and were actually impressed. The only downside is that they don’t serve everything that is listed on the menu. They only had a few options available. It seems that the menu is really just to list what they could be serving for the day versus what they are actually serving.
Where to Eat in Sintra
Now you know that the Pena Palace has a restaurant and cafe, however, there are other places to dine. The town of Sintra has several different restaurants. There are a few right by the train station. From what I hear, there are a lot of good restaurants in Sintra that serve traditional Portuguese cuisine.
Where to Stay
You can stay in Lisbon and take the train, which is what we did. But if you want to stay the night, there are a few hotels. They’re all boutique hotels and are relatively affordable with good ratings. I also heard that there are amazing Airbnb options as well!
This pretty much wraps up my guide to Sintra! Hope you all find this to be helpful! If you do end up going to other palaces and castles aside from Pena Palace, please let me know and share your thoughts!
I always wanted to visit Sintra !
This castle looks so stunning !
Hopefully I’ll visit it one day.
Love your pictures.
It is so worth the visit!!
OMG this is the cutest place ever! I had no idea about it. Definitely putting in on my list for when we plan a trip abroad!
It is! You should definitely go!
This looks like such a fabulous place to travel to! I also love your dress!
I am so glad we decided to go! Thank you so much Cathy!
Tanvi Rastogi says
I am gonna have to bookmark this and come back to it. I plan to visit it in the coming year.
Oo that’s exciting! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!
Elegant Duchess says
I’ve never heard of Sintra and it looks so beautiful, definitely worth to explore xx
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Elegant Duchess xx
I didn’t either until last year when I was researching Lisbon. It is so worth the day trip!
What an amazing spot to travel to – I can’t get over the fact that those castles are real life!
Chic on the Cheap
I know, right?! It is incredible!
Linda Quinones says
The colors! The palaces! I agree, this seriously looks like it’s out of a Disney movie. Such a great recap Rach and so easy to get to. A 45 minute train ride isn’t bad at all and the tuk tuk does sound like so much fun!!
Right?! I wanted to be Disney princess when I was there haha. 45 minute ride went by fast!
FASHION TALES says
Wow, what a great location. I have a friend from Lisbon, but I have not been to Sintra. The castles there look much more lively than the ones in UK, and Europe where they are plentiful but very gloomy even the luxe/gorgeous ones aren’t as fun looking as this. Great post! x/Madison
You should definitely make a trip to Sintra one day!
Laura || Walking in Memphis in High Heels says
Oh my gosh how beautiful! I love all of the colors! I have never been to Lisbon before, I’ll definitely add this to my list of places to go!
Yes! We loved Lisbon!
Laura Leigh says
Oh my goodness these photos are absolutely gorgeous! And I love your polka dot dress. Absolutely perfect for the backdrop. Love your travel guides + recaps – they are so good!
xo Laura Leigh
Aw thank you so much Laura Leigh!
WOW i have never heard of Sintra; it looks amazing! The castles are gorgeous!
It is stunning there!
Ohhh I’ve never seen anyone go here but it looks like the coolest place! Definitely adding to my list!
-Emily | http://www.TheEmilyEdition.com
It was incredible!
I could totally see Walt Disney having based his castles on these palaces. They’re stunning! I love all the bright colors surrounding you in this city!
Right?! I totally could the minute we walked in there!
The castle does remind me of Disney! I love how colourful it is! I’d love to go!
Right?! So pretty!
Okay adding this to my bucket list!! I love that castle!
Yes, you will not regret it!
You’ve got me itching to book a trip with all these amazing shots, gf!
Le Stylo Rouge
Hopefully you can go on a trip soon!
Missy May says
I like travel guides. It really helps people like me. Never heard of Sintra before, but Lisbon is a place I want to visit some day. Thank you for sharing. Lovely shots Rach. 🙂
I love reading them! I am always reading travel guide posts haha. You should definitely make a trip to Sintra whenever you are in Lisbon!
Kinga K says
So pretty ❤ I want to visit it 🙂
Hope you can soon!
I was going to say Sintra looks like Disneyland and then read on in your post to where you said Walt Disney was inspired by Sintra for the castle! What a magical destination. I’d never heard of Sintra previously but it’s now on the top of my travel list!
Haha that is amazing! You can really see his inspiration! Yes, for sure add it to your list!
Omgosh it’s so cute in Sintra!! I love the colorful buildings! And your pretty green dress really pops!
Right?! We were amazed the minute we arrived!
The architecture is gorgeous!!
I totally agree!
JASMINE VARGAS says
Everything looks so beautiful. I need to add this to my travel bucket list.
It is a gorgeous place!
Isha Rani says