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215 215 9814

Sintra Travel Guide: Notes to Visit Sintra

June 12, 2024 11 min read.

Sintra is a historical and natural treasure of Portugal. In this Sintra travel guide, you will find the necessary information to visit Sintra and plan your vacation without missing a thing.

Visit Sintra: General Information

If you are thinking of taking a trip to Sintra then keep reading and start imagining your trip.

Sintra, located on the Atlantic coast of Portugal, is a jewel that perfectly combines history, architecture and natural beauty. Known as the "Sacred Mountain", this enchanting city has captivated visitors for centuries with its magical atmosphere and impressive heritage.

In Sintra, visitors can take a journey back in time as they explore the majestic palaces and castles that grace the region. The iconic Sintra National Palace, with its characteristic conical fireplace and ornate tiles, offers a fascinating glimpse into the real lives of Portuguese royalty. Another must-see is the Pena National Palace, a jewel of romantic architecture that stands on top of a hill, with vibrant colors and exquisite details.

Sintra is also famous for its impressive natural landscapes. The Sintra-Cascais Natural Park is a nature lover's paradise, with lush forests, winding trails, and panoramic views. The imposing Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe, offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

In short, Sintra is a destination that combines history, culture, and natural beauty in an unforgettable experience. Whether exploring the palaces and castles, enjoying the lush nature or simply strolling through its charming cobbled streets, Sintra is sure to leave a lasting impression on the hearts of those who visit.

Sintra es un tesoro histórico y natural de Portugal. En esta guía de viaje a Sintra encontrarás la información necesaria para visitar Sintra y planear tus vacaciones sin perderte de nada. Picture of Katia De Juan en Unsplash

What to See and Do in Sintra

Sintra is a magical destination that combines history, architecture, and natural beauty. Below we will tell you about some of the places of interest in Sintra that you cannot miss during your visit. Get ready to live an unforgettable experience in this fascinating place!

  1. Sintra National Palace: Dive into Royal History

The Sintra National Palace is a must-see on your itinerary. With its unique architecture and iconic tiles, this palace will transport you to the life of Portuguese royalty. Explore its majestic rooms, admire the ornate ceilings, and marvel at the famous conical fireplace. Do not miss the palace gardens, where you will find quiet corners and impressive panoramic views.

  1. Pena National Palace: A Fairy Tale Come True

Step into a fairy tale at the Pena National Palace. This jewel of romantic architecture stands majestically on top of a hill and offers a fascinating combination of architectural styles. Its vibrant colors and exquisite details will leave you speechless. Explore the royal interiors, stroll through the gardens, and enjoy spectacular views from its terraces. Picture of Julia Solonina on Unsplash

  1. Sintra-Cascais Natural Park: Nature in its Splendor

The Sintra-Cascais Natural Park is a paradise for nature lovers. With its dense forests, winding trails, and panoramic views, this park invites you to explore its natural beauty. Take rejuvenating hikes, discover hidden waterfalls, and enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings. Don't forget to visit the emblematic Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe, and take in the impressive seascape.

  1. Quinta da Regaleira: Mystery and Symbolism

Dive into a world of mystery and symbolism at Quinta da Regaleira. This palace and its gardens will surprise you with their enigmatic caves, mysterious towers, and unique initiation. Explore the underground mazes and discover the connection between nature and the hidden symbols in every corner. A truly fascinating experience that you cannot miss.

  1. Sintra Old Town: Historical Charm

Walk through the cobbled streets of the old town of Sintra and be captivated by its historical charm. Explore its traditional shops, taste the delicious local gastronomy, and admire the traditional architecture. Don't forget to visit the Iglesia de Santa María, a Gothic jewel, and enjoy a coffee in one of the cozy squares while you immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of the city.

Eating in Sintra

Immerse yourself in the authentic flavors of Sintra - a delight for foodies. This charming Portuguese city is not only known for its historical heritage and stunning landscapes but also for its exquisite traditional cuisine. As you walk through the cobbled streets, you will come across a variety of dishes that will delight your palate.

One of the emblematic dishes of Sintra is the "Leitão Assado", a tender and juicy roast suckling pig with a crispy and golden skin. This regional specialty is a true delight for meat lovers.

Another dish that you cannot miss is the "Bacalhau à Brás", a dish of shredded cod with eggs, onion, and fried potatoes, which surprisingly combines textures and flavors.

If you are a seafood lover, you cannot miss the "Arroz de Marisco", a tasty rice mixed with a variety of fresh seafood such as prawns, mussels, and squid. Each bite will transport you to the nearby Atlantic coasts, with the flavor of the sea in each spoonful.

Also, you cannot miss trying the "Queijada de Sintra", a traditional dessert made from fresh cheese, sugar, and eggs, which melts in the mouth and leaves a sweet memory.

To accompany these delicacies, I recommend trying the local wines, especially those from the Colares region. These wines, produced on the sandy slopes near Sintra, are known for their unique taste and distinctive character. Picture of Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash

The Cultural Identity of Sintra

A city steeped in history and charm, Sintra's cultural identity manifests itself in various ways that reflect its rich heritage and deep-rooted traditions.

Sintra's architectural heritage is one of its greatest treasures. The majestic palaces and castles that dot the region bear witness to the opulence and splendor of bygone ages.

These imposing structures fuse diverse architectural styles, such as Gothic, Manueline, and Romantic, creating a unique aesthetic that has become a hallmark of the city.

In addition to its architecture, Sintra hosts a large number of festivities and cultural events throughout the year. The Fiesta de San Pedro, held in June, is a colorful tradition where residents come together to honor the city's patron saint. During this festivity, parades, concerts, and fireworks are held, creating a festive and lively atmosphere that unites the community.

Music and the arts also play an important role in Sintra's cultural identity. The Casa de la Cultura de Sintra and the Olga Cadaval Cultural Center are spaces dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of various artistic expressions, such as concerts, exhibitions, and theatrical performances.

 These cultural events not only enrich the lives of residents but also attract artists and visitors from around the world, fostering a stimulating and multicultural dialogue.

Sintra also has a strong connection with nature and the surrounding landscape. The beautiful parks and gardens, such as the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and the gardens of the palaces, offer a space for contemplation and connection with nature.

These green spaces are an integral part of Sintra's identity and provide a serene environment where visitors can enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the region.

How to Get to Sintra

Getting to Sintra is quite simple, as it is located a short distance from Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Here are some options to get to Sintra from Lisbon:

  1. By Train: The most popular and convenient way to get to Sintra is by train. From the Rossio train station in Lisbon, you can take a commuter train on the Sintra line that will take you directly to the Sintra station. Trains run frequently and the journey takes approximately 40 minutes. Once in Sintra, you can walk or take a bus to get around the city and visit its main attractions.

  2. By bus: Another option is to take a bus from Lisbon to Sintra. Several bus services operate the route between the two cities, such as the Scotturb company. You can check the schedules and bus stops online or at the Lisbon bus terminal. Travel time by bus can vary depending on traffic but is generally around 1 hour.

  3. By car: If you prefer the comfort and flexibility of driving, you can rent a car in Lisbon and drive to Sintra. The drive from the center of Lisbon to Sintra is approximately 30 minutes, depending on traffic. However, you should keep in mind that finding parking in Sintra can be tricky, especially on busy days.

How to Get around in Sintra

To get around Sintra and explore its wonders, you have several options available:

  1. On foot: Sintra is a compact city and many of its tourist attractions are located in the historic center. You can enjoy pleasant walks through the cobbled streets and the beautiful natural landscapes. This will allow you to appreciate the local architecture and discover charming corners that might otherwise be overlooked.

  2. Bus: Sintra has a bus service that connects the main attractions of the city. You can buy a ticket and use the bus to move between the different points of interest, such as the palaces and the Natural Park of Sintra-Cascais. Buses are a comfortable and practical option, especially if you want to cover longer distances or avoid steep walks.

  3. Tuk-tuk: A fun and scenic way to get around Sintra is by tuk-tuk. These motorized three-wheelers are popular in the area and offer sightseeing tours of the city's highlights. You can hire a tuk-tuk to take you from one place to another or even enjoy a guided tour of the main points of interest.

  4. Taxi: if you prefer more comfort and privacy, you can choose to take a taxi in Sintra. Taxis are readily available on the streets or at designated ranks. Be sure to agree on a price with the driver before getting into the taxi or use the meter to ensure a fair rate.

When to Visit Sintra

Sintra is a lovely destination all year round, but the best time to visit depends on your personal preferences and the type of experience you want to have. Below, I provide you with information about the different stations so that you can decide which one best suits your needs:

Spring, especially the months of April, May, and June, is a popular time to visit Sintra. During this season, Sintra's gardens and parks are in full bloom, creating a colorful and enchanting environment. The temperatures are mild and pleasant, which makes it easy to explore the various sites of interest on foot.

Summer in Sintra is hot and sunny, with higher temperatures and a greater influx of tourists. If you visit Sintra in summer, you can enjoy long days and make the most of your time to explore the palaces and parks. However, you should be prepared for crowds and consider that some places may be busier.

Autumn, particularly the months of September and October, is another recommended time to visit Sintra. During this season, temperatures begin to drop and autumn colors adorn the landscapes. There are also fewer tourists compared to summer, which will allow you to enjoy a calmer and more relaxed experience.

Winter in Sintra is mild, with moderate temperatures and some rainfall. If you don't mind cooler weather and are looking for a quieter, less crowded experience, winter might be a good option. Plus, many of the palaces and tourist attractions are open year-round, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of Sintra without the crowds.

Destinations Near Sintra

Sintra is a fabulous destination thanks to its fascinating cultural historical heritage and its natural beauty.

In turn, due to its proximity to Rome and Venice, many travelers combine their visit to Sintra with these beautiful destinations.

Don't wait any longer and book your trip to Sintra!

More Travel Guides!

If you have been interested in our Sintra travel guide and want to continue learning about this and other wonderful destinations, we invite you to look at the section of all our Travel Guides. Plan your next adventure with Greca!

How much time does it take to tour the main sights in Sintra?

It depends on the number of places you want to visit, but it is recommended to dedicate at least one full day.

Do you need to book tickets to visit the palaces of Sintra?

Yes, it is recommended to book in advance, especially during the high season.

What is the best time of day to visit the Pena National Palace?

Early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds.

Are there accommodation options in Sintra?

Yes, Sintra has a variety of hotels, hostels, and guest houses for all budgets.

What other places of interest are there near Sintra besides the palaces?

Some nearby places include Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe, and Adraga Beach.

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