Sintra travel guide

Sintra Tourism | Sintra Guide

You're Going to Love Sintra

A small city near Lisbon, Sintra in Portugal is the historic center of many takeovers and royal sieges. The quiet and grand slopes of the Sintra mountains, that overlook the city and its natural beauty, are one of the reasons why it's classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Come and discover the mysterious alleyways and sample classic Portuguese cuisine.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Sintra

1. Catch A Sunrise (or Sunset) at Praia da Ursa

Sintra's beauty is tucked away in plain sight and the same is true of its beaches like Praia da Ursa. While its stunning rocky shores will captivate you, visit during sunset for true intrigue and drama.

2. Visit the Quinta da Regaleira, a UNESCO World Heritage site

Like something out of a fairytale is the old Quinta da Regaleira palace. Its ancient stone-facade that's covered with greenery, decaying grottoes, holy well and eerie lake will capture you.

3. Wind Around the Quaint Village

After strolling its narrow, winding streets, take in the village in its entirety by hiking up the mountains. Have your camera ready, because scenic views await.

4. Take a Day Trip to Pena and the Moorish Palaces

Known as Palácio da Pena and Castelo dos Mouros, these are both a testament to the power of royal history against time.

5. Eat your Way Through Portuguese Delicacies

Besides incredibly-spiced rotisserie chicken, Sintra is famous for its queijadas, which are sweet cakes, and travesseiros, which are light and fluffy pastries.

What to do in Sintra

1. Majestic Medieval Palace

Dating back to the 15th century, the Palácio Nacional de Sintra now functions as a museum. Known as the most exquisitely preserved medieval palace in Portugal, the royal residence is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its extravagant interior features a combination of Moorish and Manueline styles. Noted for its stunning 15th century geometric tiles and its arabesque courtyards, the palace also boasts three sumptuously decorated halls, known as the Swan Room, the Magpie Room and the Arab Room, which feature elaborate murals painted on the ceilings.

2. Magnificent Moorish Castle

Located on a hilltop above the civil parish of Santa Maria e São Miguel, Castelo dos Mouros is a medieval palace built by the Moors in the 8th century. It was eventually conquered by the Christians in the 12th century and is currently classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally a military outpost, the castle was restored in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II, who preserved its medieval frescoes. Currently, visitors can enjoy the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the five medieval towers and a number of battlements, which remain intact.

3. Romantic Renaissance Refuge

Consisting of a romantic palace and a chapel, Quinta da Regaleira, which dates back to 1904, is a majestic estate surrounded by a lavish park, featuring a number of lakes, grottoes, benches and fountains. Designed by Italian architect Luigi Manini, the estate was inspired by Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, and Manueline styles. The Gothic façade features a striking collection of pinnacles, gargoyles and capitals, as well as an octagonal tower. The chapel showcases stunning frescoes, stained glass windows and stuccoes.

4. Rediscover 19Th Century Romanticism

Located in São Pedro de Penaferrim, the Palácio Nacional da Pena, a 19th century Romantic castle, combines elements of Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance. The palace is divided into four sections, which include the foundations and the surrounding walls, two gateways, the convent and the clock tower, and the Moorish arches. The interior is designed in a cathédrale style. The lush park that surrounds the palace features hidden pathways, elaborate features and spectacular outlooks.

5. Modern Art Mecca

Established in 2014, the Museu das Artes de Sintra, a modern art museum located in a neo-classical building, houses the impressive art collection of José Berardo, who has gathered over 1000 surrealist, minimalist and pop art pieces that comprise one of the largest private collections in the world. The selection of 20th century artworks, includes paintings by Picasso, Duchamp, Mondrian, Bacon, Magritte, de Kooning, Pollock and Warhol, among others.

1. Majestic Medieval Palace

Dating back to the 15th century, the Palácio Nacional de Sintra now functions as a museum. Known as the most exquisitely preserved medieval palace in Portugal, the royal residence is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its extravagant interior features a combination of Moorish and Manueline styles. Noted for its stunning 15th century geometric tiles and its arabesque courtyards, the palace also boasts three sumptuously decorated halls, known as the Swan Room, the Magpie Room and the Arab Room, which feature elaborate murals painted on the ceilings.

2. Magnificent Moorish Castle

Located on a hilltop above the civil parish of Santa Maria e São Miguel, Castelo dos Mouros is a medieval palace built by the Moors in the 8th century. It was eventually conquered by the Christians in the 12th century and is currently classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally a military outpost, the castle was restored in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II, who preserved its medieval frescoes. Currently, visitors can enjoy the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the five medieval towers and a number of battlements, which remain intact.

3. Romantic Renaissance Refuge

Consisting of a romantic palace and a chapel, Quinta da Regaleira, which dates back to 1904, is a majestic estate surrounded by a lavish park, featuring a number of lakes, grottoes, benches and fountains. Designed by Italian architect Luigi Manini, the estate was inspired by Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, and Manueline styles. The Gothic façade features a striking collection of pinnacles, gargoyles and capitals, as well as an octagonal tower. The chapel showcases stunning frescoes, stained glass windows and stuccoes.

4. Rediscover 19Th Century Romanticism

Located in São Pedro de Penaferrim, the Palácio Nacional da Pena, a 19th century Romantic castle, combines elements of Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance. The palace is divided into four sections, which include the foundations and the surrounding walls, two gateways, the convent and the clock tower, and the Moorish arches. The interior is designed in a cathédrale style. The lush park that surrounds the palace features hidden pathways, elaborate features and spectacular outlooks.

5. Modern Art Mecca

Established in 2014, the Museu das Artes de Sintra, a modern art museum located in a neo-classical building, houses the impressive art collection of José Berardo, who has gathered over 1000 surrealist, minimalist and pop art pieces that comprise one of the largest private collections in the world. The selection of 20th century artworks, includes paintings by Picasso, Duchamp, Mondrian, Bacon, Magritte, de Kooning, Pollock and Warhol, among others.

Where to Eat in Sintra

After a day of sightseeing, sit down to a hearty meal at Regional in Travessa do Municipio. Meals start at EUR13.

When to visit Sintra

Sintra in February
Estimated hotel price
$73
1 night at 3-star hotel
Sintra in February
Estimated hotel price
$73
1 night at 3-star hotel

Sintra is best to visit during the summer. Rain usually falls in the winter and the average temperature is a pleasant 58°F.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Sintra

Plane

As small and hidden away as it is, Sintra relies on Lisbon's Portela Airport, which 18 miles away.

Train

There is a train service from Lisbon to Sintra every 30 minutes, which leaves from Rossio station and arrives at Sintra's central station. A round-trip ticket costs EUR4.30.

Car

While driving around the city is ill-advised, you can use the A37 to the west when leaving from Lisbon, merging on to the A16 to arrive in Sintra.

Bus

Buses to and from Sintra are very crowded but it does stop along the way. It costs EUR5 from Lisbon. If you're coming from Praia das Maçãs, try the historic 8.6 mile tram journey for EUR2.

Airports near Sintra

Airlines serving Sintra

United Airlines
Good (2,618 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (1,734 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,065 reviews)
KLM
Good (317 reviews)
Air France
Good (355 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,169 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,808 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,119 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,022 reviews)
SWISS
Good (407 reviews)
Iberia
Good (773 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (963 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (749 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (236 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (447 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (237 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (83 reviews)
Ryanair
Good (1,376 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (384 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (219 reviews)
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Where to stay in Sintra

Serra de Sintra - This district is famous for its Park of Pena, the Pena Palace, the Moorish Palace and eerie but beautiful Quinta da Regaleira.

Popular Neighborhoods in Sintra

Sintra Town Center - Overlooking the Gothic style National Palace are the beautiful mountains, visble from the center of town. This neighborhood is crammed with great outdoor restaurants and small souvenir shops.

Portela de Sintra - Quiet but accessible, this neighbourhood has lots of winding streets, a popular Bar Saloon and is close to the railway station.

Where to stay in popular areas of Sintra

Most booked hotels in Sintra

Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon
Excellent (8.8, Excellent reviews)
$890+
Hotel Mundial
Excellent (8.4, Excellent reviews)
$179+
Lutecia Smart Design Hotel
Excellent (8.3, Excellent reviews)
$99+
Tivoli Sintra
Excellent (8, Excellent reviews)
$129+
Pestana Sintra Golf
Good (7.9, Good reviews)
$134+
Vila Gale Opera
Good (7.8, Good reviews)
$173+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Sintra

Public Transportation

Use Bus 434 to get from the town center to Castelo dos Mouros and Palácio da Pena for EUR5.

Taxi

Taxi fares in Sintra start with a flat rate of EUR3.42 and then charge EUR0.76 per mile.

Car

Parking is expensive and difficult to manage. It's best to park outside the city and then walk to the center. Car rentals start at EUR90.

The Cost of Living in Sintra

Shopping Streets

Because it's just a day-trip away and mostly focused on its history, Sintra is not where you go for grand shopping. You can pick up local crafts and souvenirs at smaller shops in the town center district.

Groceries and Other

A quart of milk costs EUR0.62 and a dozen eggs is EUR1.58.

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