Palácio da Pena, Sintra

The enchanting UNESCO World Heritage landscape of Sintra is an understandably popular destination. Although it’s less than an hour from Lisbon, it’s a world apart. We’re talking forested hills filled with fanciful palaces, romantic gardens, centuries-old castles and convents, all contained within a natural park fringed by beautiful beaches.

In fact, there are so many things to do in Sintra that, after countless visits, I highly recommend you plan ahead to make the most of your time. Or take a tour and let someone else take care of the logistics for you.

Note: See my Sintra hotels and accommodation tips if you intend to stay overnight.

Best things to do in Sintra

These are the most popular sights in Sintra but you won’t have time to see them all in just one day so either choose a couple of them or stay overnight.

1. Be wowed by the fairy tale excess at Pena Palace

Palácio da Pena, Sintra, Portugal
Palácio da Pena, Sintra, Portugal

The multicoloured icon of Sintra is Palácio da Pena. Never mind icing on a cake, it actually looks like an extreme wedding cake with its bright colours, teeming with turrets and extravagant architectural details like the famous window (see photo below).

It is worth the journey uphill but, being one of the most popular things to do in Sintra, expect to find tourists crawling all over the palace and long queues to see into roped-off rooms. If sounds like your idea of hell, choose a quieter palace, such as Queluz, Sintra National Palace or Biester.

Tip: If you visit very early in the morning or late afternoon you should miss the worst of the hoards. Otherwise, at least try to avoid weekends and preferably come during the winter months. Or visit with an organised tour, like this one.

Try to create space in your Sintra itinerary to allow you to explore the surrounding park and woodland at a more relaxed pace.

You’ll need at least 2 hours to visit Pena Palace plus travel time. At the moment, you need to buy a timed entrance ticket so make sure you allow plenty of time to get to the actual palace before your visit is due to start. Give yourself 30 minutes between the park gate and the palace entrance. Open daily from 9:30, park only is €7.50, palace and park €14. Buy tickets online.

2. Explore the folly-filled garden at Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira and trees in Sintra, Portugal
Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, Portugal

What happens when you give an extremely talented and visionary designer unlimited funds and a free rein to renovate a property?

Go to Quinta da Regaleira and you’ll find out.

Luigi Manini, an Italian artist, set designer and architect, landed the job of transforming the property at the beginning of the 20th century. He spent the next nine years detailing every aspect of both the gardens and the house.

The grottos, caves and secret tunnels that are scattered throughout the grounds bear a striking resemblance to his theatre sets. Follies include a Dante-inspired inverted well, various fountains, turrets and bridges and a neo-Manueline chapel, providing immense fun for children and adults alike.

The house may not hold great appeal for kids but it definitely merits more than a quick peek.

My favourite room is the Sala da Caça (the Hunting Room), which was used as the family dining room. I’m no fan of hunting but the workmanship of the sculpted mantelpiece and doorways is awe-inspiring. Best of all is the brightly coloured mosaic floor, decorated with scenes from nature and hunting.

Each room has a unique floor and ceiling, as you’ll see when you get to the upper floor which is filled with Manini’s designs and more information than you can possibly take in during a single visit. To be fair, this is probably of most appeal to architects and designers but the ground floor rooms should not be rushed.

There’s a café in the grounds if you need a break between house and gardens.

Detail, ceiling, Music Room, Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra
Detail, ceiling, Music Room, Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra

Buy this skip-the-line ticket with a guided tour.

Expect to spend around 2 hours at Quinta da Regaleira. Open daily from 9:30 am.

3. Discover centuries of history at Sintra National Palace

National Palace, Sintra, at night
National Palace, Sintra, at night

One of the oldest and certainly the most central of Sintra’s monuments is the National Palace, which is also one of my favourites. Its iconic double chimney stacks belong to the kitchen and are impressive from inside and out.

Other special features of the town’s oldest royal palace include the ceilings painted with swans, magpies and ships and the fabulous array of original azulejos (painted tiles) which span the 15th to the 19th centuries. You’ll also find some splendid examples of Mudejar and Manueline architecture.

Allow at least an hour for visiting Sintra National Palace. Two if you like to take your time over details. Open daily.

Buy your skip-the-line ticket here.

4. Conquer the rugged battlements at Castle of the Moors

Moorish Castle walls, Sintra
Moorish Castle walls, Sintra

As an antidote to all this ostentation, the coarse ruggedness and unadorned simplicity of Sintra’s Castelo dos Mouros works well.

Originally built in the 10th century, the Moorish Castle has been added to many times over the centuries that followed and used in strategic defense.

I enjoyed clambering around the ramparts and taking in the stunning views, although you have to work for them!

You’ll need to factor in transfer times as it’s away from Sintra town centre but once there, I’d say you’ll want up to an hour.

Book your skip-the-line ticket to the Castle here or maybe combine the Castle with the park and Pena Palace.as they are very close to each other.

Open daily from 9:30 am.

5. Visit Queluz National Palace & Gardens for 18th century splendour

Polychrome tiles on every wall, Queluz National Palace, Sintra, Portugal
Polychrome tiles, Queluz National Palace, Sintra, Portugal

Thanks to its location a few kilometres outside of Sintra, Queluz National Palace often gets overlooked by visitors. This is a shame because the recently renovated 18th century royal palace is a magnificent example of Rococco architecture and finery, surrounded by manicured gardens.

It’s also full of amazing azulejos, both inside and out, and home to the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art.

If you do go there, you won’t have to worry about crowds, which is a real bonus compared to other Sintra monuments.

Practicalities: The Royal Palace of Queluz is about a 15-minute walk from the Queluz-Belas train station, which is on the Lisbon-Sintra line, departing from Oriente or Rossio station every 20 minutes or so. You could break your journey to Sintra here, visit the palace and then continue to old town Sintra to see another monument.

Open daily from 09:00 to 18:00, last admission 17:30. Palace and gardens €13.

Allow a good couple of hours to explore Queluz Palace and gardens, more if you want to catch any of the equestrian activities.

6. Escape the crowds at Chalet da Condessa d’Edla and Pena Farm

If you’d rather avoid queues at Pena Palace and be content with viewing it from the outside, you could aim straight for this small but beautifully restored chalet inside Pena Park.

Chalet da Condessa d’Edla

The Swiss-German origins of the Countess of Edla may explain some of the decorative features of the “House of Delights” that she and her husband, King Ferdinand II, had built in the forest. The building was severely damaged in a fire but has since been reconstructed with replicas of the original interior decor and imaginative use of cork.

Though mostly unfurnished, the items on display, such as the royal picnic basket, and information panels give fascinating insights into their lifestyle at the end of the 19th century.

A visit to the chalet itself will probably take up no more than half an hour (plus travel time) but allow another hour or more to explore the surrounding park, which encompasses and offers great views of Pena Palace. Open 9.30 am to 7 pm in high season, €9.50 full price, which includes access to the Pena Park.

Tip: If you intend to visit Pena Palace and/or the Moorish Castle, buy a combined ticket at the chalet and walk through the woods to reach the other entrances via the lakes. If you’re not up to walking far, there is a hop on hop off bus that does the rounds of the Pena Park for an extra €3.50.

Pena Park, farm and equestrian activities

Pena Park holds many treasures such as the Valley of the Ferns, restored greenhouses and a small ornamental farm with vegetable plots, sheep, chickens and horses that was built in the 19th century along the lines of the one that Louis XVII had.

You can take a look behind the scenes of the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art and watch the training and rehearsals required for their special galas and shows. More details here.

7. Hike the Villa Sassetti trail

Villa Sassetti, Sintra, Portugal
Villa Sassetti, Sintra, Portugal

If you’re reasonably fit, you can hike between Sintra old town and the hilltop monuments of Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle. The steep forest path takes you past the restored Villa Sassetti and Penedo da Amizade, a huge boulder that climbers like to tackle.

Mike and I were pushed for time and are not keen on climbing hills so we opted to take an Uber to the Chalet da Condessa D’Edla and then walked back downhill through Pena Park and via Villa Sassetti.

We got a little lost once we reached the cobbled road at the Lakes Entrance to Pena Park but eventually located the start of the Villa Sassetti trail. It is a worthy walk and offers plenty of shade and great views so I’d recommend doing it at least one way if you have time (allow about 45 minutes to 1 hour each way).

See this post for more wonderful hikes in Sintra Cascais Natural Park

Tip: The trail downhill starts at the end of the car park opposite the Lakes Entrance to Pena Park. In other words, cross the road and walk through the car park. The other end is beside the Parque das Merendas (picnic area) marked on this map.

Tip: Although full on hiking gear is not necessary, the terrain is uneven so you need sensible shoes.

8. Experience simplicity and nature at Convento dos Capuchos

For a complete contrast to the excessive grandeur of Sintra’s palaces, head a few kilometres out of the town centre to the 16th century Convento dos Capuchos.

This jumbled maze of low-level buildings is nestled in woodland, providing a relatively peaceful respite from the heavily touristed sites.

It’s easy to see why the Capuchin monks chose this location, surrounded by natural beauty with views that extend to the coast.

As you’ll see from patchy, peeling plaster, mossy boulders and cork-clad walls, the convent fell into disrepair during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Nevertheless, it provides a fascinating insight into the austere lifestyle of the Capuchin monks who lived and trained here. Enter the convent itself through the Door of Death and poke around the tiny dormitories, the kitchen, chapel and cloisters.

Although I walked along the road from Sintra to the convent, it’s quite a trek and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, especially in summer. There’s no public transport, so the only alternative would be to drive or take a taxi /Uber.

Once there, you can easily while away an hour or more.

9. Romantic Monserrate Palace and gardens

Monserrate is another one of Sintra’s lesser-visited sites but well worth the extra effort involved in getting there. After all, it’s only a short bus ride (bus #435) or drive from the town centre.

Monserrate Palace itself is smaller than I expected and has only been open to the public for a few years. Although still beautiful enough to inspire Lord Byron to write a poem, Monserrate’s original neo-Gothic palace was already in ruins by the time he visited.

The subsequent rebuilding, interior decoration and ingenious infrastructures plus much of the landscaped gardens you can see today were down to Sir Francis Cook who took over the property in 1858. The ceilings alone are worth straining your neck for, especially the one in the main atrium between the colonnaded galleries leading to each end of the palace.

There’s little furniture in the house now but the information boards have black and white photographs of how each room looked while the Cook family lived there. If that’s not enough, you can have a go on Edgar, the interactive butler, to find out more about the family and the history of the property.

It was raining when Mike and I visited Monserrate Gardens but that didn’t stop us following the walking trail through the romantic and exotic gardens that separate the palace from the road.

With waterfalls, lakes, ferns growing out of trees and tropical plants from around the world, it’s a wonderful sanctuary to roam. It too has follies, including a neo-Gothic chapel, deliberately ruined to create a whimsically romantic atmosphere. These days, it’s partially covered by a strangler fig and one of the ponds is home to a salamander lizard.

You can choose Monserrate Palace on this full-day private guided tour of Sintra from Lisbon, which covers gardens and palaces.

Factor in a couple of hours for this visit, plus travel time. Open from 9:30 am.

Buy your skip-the-line ticket for the palace here.

Time in Monserrate and at the Capuchos Convent are included in my 2-Week Portugal Discovery Tour.

Or arrange a one-day guided hike to these off-the-beaten track sights by completing this enquiry form.

10. Neoclassical features at Seteias Palace

Seteias Palace was originally built in the 18th century for the Dutch Consul and is now a luxury hotel, part of the Tivoli Group.

High on the hill overlooking Sintra, its noble neoclassical facade is matched by the period decor inside, including frescoes and beautiful wooden furniture.

Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, you can treat yourself to lunch or dinner in the elegant restaurant. We did none of those things but the staff very kindly let us have a nosy around the public spaces for a few minutes.

11. Biester Palace and Park

I haven’t managed to make it to Biester Palace yet but I want to pass on the reports I’ve heard about it to you. It’s not on the ‘Sintra must-sees’ but it’s only a question of time. The photos and descriptions show a beautiful palace set in gorgeous grounds. A (very big) plus side is there are no crowds! So take this opportunity to explore this fascinating place- I will soon!

Check out the site for details and the chance to look at photos. Open April to October 10am to 8 pm, November to March 10 am to 6.30pm. Cost €10 and with a 90 minute guided tour €18.

12. Taste Colares wine

Portugal has many microclimates and terroirs and the unique growing conditions in the tiny Colares wine region produce some of Europe’s oldest rootstock wines.

Grown in sand, in proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, the local vines were protected from the devastating phylloxera plague that destroyed many European vineyards in the 1900s. The resulting wines have a curious mineral flavour and are something of an acquired taste but worth trying if you get the chance.

There are a few wineries close to Sintra. I visited the small Adega Viúva Gomes, although the larger Adega Regional de Colares is probably easier to visit (closed Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday). Both require vehicle transfers from Sintra so factor in travel time plus and hour or so for the tour and tasting.

For other wineries to visit in the Lisbon area, check out this post.

13. Walks in and around Sintra

As well as the Vila Sassetti trail, you’ll notice lots of markers around town for PR (Pequenas Rotas = Short Routes) walks painted with yellow and red stripes but having tried unsuccessfully to follow a couple, I would not rely solely on these markings.

Within the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, you’ll find the GR-11 Atlantic Route which takes you along spectacular coastline and through small villages, including the picturesque Azenhas do Mar.

See this article about hiking in and around Sintra for more details.

If you’re interested in a guided hike, let me know and I will connect you with a suitable tour operator.

14. Visit Sintra old town for souvenir shopping

The town has cashed in on the never-ending flow of tourists that visit Sintra each day. The narrow cobbled streets leading away from the National Palace are littered with souvenir shops, cafés named after famous poets and port wine tasting outlets.

While some of these shops sell pure tat, there are still gems to be found.

My two favourite shops in Sintra are Páteo do Titão, a treasure trove of gorgeous, quality Portuguese arts and crafts and Olaria S. Pedro, a ceramics shop that I first discovered in the medieval town of Óbidos.

FAQs about visiting Sintra

These are the most common questions people ask me. (Click the question to see my answer.)

Can you see Sintra in one day?

Many people come here on a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra but one day is not long enough to see all of its attractions.

If you really can only spend one day in Sintra, it’s wise to plan ahead to create an itinerary that maximises whatever time you’ve got. If this sounds like too much work, there are several guided tours that will take care of the decision-making and logistics for you.

Ideally, you’ll need two, if not three or four days to fully appreciate Sintra’s charms, especially if you want to do any walks in the surrounding Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.

Alternatively, let my partner travel agent take care of everything on one of my Portugal Itineraries. My 8-Day Introduction To Portugal Itinerary includes a day trip to Sintra while the 2-week tour gives you two nights here and the chance to explore the natural park.

Do I need a guide in Sintra?

A visit to Sintra at the height of the tourist season can be overwhelming. You could be standing in queues for hours or packed like sardines on a bus.

Taking a guided tour can take care of all of the logistics and provide you with someone who has an insiders guide to the monuments.

You can tackle Sintra without a guide but you’ll need a carefully planned itinerary and lots of patience.

Alternatively, let my partner travel agent take care of everything on one of my Portugal Itineraries. My 8-Day Introduction To Portugal Itinerary includes a day trip to Sintra while the 2-week tour gives you two nights here and the chance to explore the natural park.

Is Pena Palace worth it?

Bear in mind seemingly everyone who spends time in Sintra has to visit Pena Palace. Understandably, it can get VERY crowded.

Because of this, when you purchase your ticket to the Park and National Palace of Pena, you must now choose the day and time at which you want to visit the Palace. And they are VERY strict. If you’re late turning up you won’t be allowed in and tickets are non-refundable.

Be careful with your planning. It takes 30 minutes to get to the Palace once you’ve entered the Park so make sure you factor this in.

Maybe avoid the crowds and visit Biester or Queluz Palace instead.

How to get to Sintra?

By train: If you’re based in Lisbon it’s an easy, direct train journey from Lisbon’s Rossio station to Sintra, although it’s a 20-minute walk from Sintra train station into the historical centre. It’s downhill on the way there but you might want to Uber your way back up after a long day of sightseeing. See train timetables here.  

Take a guided tour from Lisbon: You can relieve the stress by letting someone else organize the travelling. There are many tours on offer from small group to private.

Driving: Don’t drive! Driving into Sintra itself is something I wouldn’t recommend, especially in high season as the narrow roads quickly get clogged. I got so fed up with the traffic jams when I tried to visit one September, I gave up and drove back to Lisbon.

The local council has now barred all but essential traffic from the historical centre so getting from one side of Sintra to to hilltop monuments involves quite a circuitous one way system, which is at least less scary than having to deal with two-way traffic on narrow roads.

Parking is also a nightmare unless you visit off-peak. There are park and ride facilities at Portela de Sintra and a couple of car parks on the edge of the old town.

Having said that, having a car will give you the freedom to explore the natural park, nearby villages and to head to the coast so if you can visit off-season, it’s worth considering.

I recommend booking a hire car from Discovercars. Try to find a Sintra hotel with parking facilities if you’re staying overnight.

 How do I get between Sintra attractions?

There are many ways of getting around Sintra once you’re there.

On foot: If you’re fit and have plenty of time, you can walk to the main attractions, including the hilltop Moorish Castle and Pena Palace – see the tips about the Villa Sassetti trail.

Go green: You could feel good about getting around Sintra by hiring a two person electric car. You can explore at your own leisurely pace, navigate the winding roads easily and go on to visit some of the beautiful coastal areas. And there’s free parking at designated spots.

Public transport: Scotturb bus 434 will take you to both sites from the train station or town centre. For Monseratte and Seteias palaces plus Quinta da Regaleira, take bus 435. There’s a Scotturb ticket office opposite the train station if you want to buy a pass or you can pay on board for single journeys. These buses get quite crowded at peak times.

There are also taxis, Uber and plenty of tuk tuks eager to drive you around.

Should I buy tickets in advance?

You may lose a little spontaneity but I recommend planning your itinerary carefully, choosing which places are must sees and book tickets in advance.

If you’re visiting Pena Palace select your time to visit and plan around that.

Check here for a selection of Sintra tickets you can get in advance.

The Parques de Sintra website has lots more information about each monument and helpful tools.

What’s the best time of day to visit?

Basically, as early as possible before the crowds turn up. The park opens at 9am and Pena Palace 30 minutes later. Try to avoid peak midday. It eases off gradually throughout the afternoon. 4pm should be a good time to visit. The Palace closes at 6.30pm.

For exact opening and closing times, plus cost, of many of the monuments, see parquesdesintra.pt

When is the best time of year to visit?

If you can be flexible try to avoid the summer months. The parks and monuments in Sintra are open throughout the year, with the exception of Christmas Day and New Years Day.

We’ve spent hours strolling around palaces and gardens with hardly anyone else there purely because it was out of season. It’s not only less congested but cooler!

Note: During summer 2022 many of the palaces and parks had to close for a few days by legal imposition, due to extreme risk of rural fire. You can’t plan around this apart from avoiding that time of year.

Eating and drinking in Sintra

Some of the bakeries have queues out the door for the famous Sintra queijadas (sweet cheese cakes) and travesseiros (sweet pastry) and a day in Sintra is not quite complete without trying one of these, especially when they’re still warm. That said, my favourite café for cakes is Café Saudade, near the train station. They serve light meals, too.

However, if you’re after a more substantial meal, it can be a bit hit and miss.

Mike and I experienced the highs and lows of eating out in Sintra, the low being a plate of slop, sorry bacalhau com natas (cod with cream and potato), something I normally enjoy but resent being overcharged for when it’s way below standard.

Thankfully, the other meal we had was the other end of the spectrum if a little pricey. I had high hopes as the restaurant is called A Raposa (The Fox). It’s small, family run, elegant and in a room with beautiful fresco ceilings.

The food was excellent although don’t go there if you need to eat in a hurry. Dishes are made from scratch and take time to prepare so relax and be prepared to linger over a meal. They also serve interesting-looking sandwiches and teas earlier in the day.

Places to stay in Sintra

Sintra has a wide range of accommodation from luxury palaces to modern design hotels, traditional guest houses and cute, trendy hostels.

Check out all my suggestions for places to stay in Sintra

If you plan to go self-catering, note that we haven’t come across even a small grocery store during any of our stays in Sintra historical centre so if you haven’t got a car, you might find it tricky to stock up on supplies.

More information about visiting Sintra

The Parques de Sintra website has lots more information about each monument and helpful tools such as travel planners and ticket calculators. Download audio guides on an app for the following monuments:

  • National Palace of Sintra
  • National Palace of Pena and Chalet of the Countess of Edla
  • National Palace and Gardens of Queluz
  • Park and Palace of Monserrate
  • Convent of the Capuchos

You can also find out about cultural events being held in Sintra’s monuments as well as temporary closures for restoration works.

Check here for a selection of Sintra tickets you can get in advance.

Tip: Save money by purchasing combined passes – the more monuments you visit, the greater the % discount. Discounts apply for youths, families and seniors.

Quinta da Regaleira is managed by a separate foundation so you’ll need to visit its own website for more information.

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Deep well. Sintra is bursting with magnificent architecture, from rugged castles to fairy tale palaces, and some of its buildings are delightfully quirky. This charming town is within easy reach of a day trip from Lisbon, Portugal, but the chances are that, after reading this insider guide, you'll want to stay there longer!
Guide to planning your perfect Sintra itinerary
Rugged castle. Sintra is bursting with magnificent architecture and some of its bu
How to plan a Sintra itinerary


50 Comments

  1. Sintra is certainly worth visiting, so many magical palaces and beautiful gardens…

  2. Hey Julie! Just wanted to say thanks – this post confirmed why I need to spend 2 nights in Sintra! So glad we connected!

    1. Author

      Have a great time, Jane. You could easily spend longer if you have time and enjoy the countryside and coast.

  3. Thank you for such a lovely post!
    I recently visited Lisbon and Porto on a short 4-5 days trip and fell in love with the country and the food. So much so that I wrote a small blog about it 🙂 and Sintra was definitely one of the best and most magical places I’ve ever visited.
    https://smitamohanty.wordpress.com/

  4. Great article Julie! We loved. Keep the good work, we will recommend your website to our visitors to know more about Portugal.

  5. What do you consider the off season in Sintra?

    1. Author

      Hi Corrine,

      The winter months will be quietest. I tried to go on a late September weekend a couple of years ago and gave up because of the traffic but weekdays might not be so bad at that time of year. To be on the safe side, I’d say October to April (except Easter, Christmas and Valentine’s weekend)) should be relatively peaceful. And avoid weekends if possible.

  6. Hi Julie! that place you got ripped off, was it the Estrada Velha? a two story pseudo-restaurant with a bar with glass doors?

    1. Author

      No, it was quite a small place at the side of the road.

  7. Hi, Julie…..Thank you for ALL of your wonderful commentary on Portugal! We are planning a trip there in August (I know, bad tourist month 🙂 !) Anyway, we are traveling with our children, a group of 6 adults and a one year old. We wanted to rent a 9-person van to do our excursion-ing in, but my son, who has lived in Portugal for 2 years, said that it might be a nightmare navigating a van down Portugal’s narrow streets and on the freeways. Have you any advice for us? What do you think about a van versus 2 cars? I’d kind of like to stay together! We will be driving from Lisbon-Sintra-Evora to Porto area, with everything in between. We will also be flying to Madiera and renting 2 cars there for transportation.
    Thanks again for your expertise and splendid suggestions! Your perspective is delightful!

    Gratefully,

    Janet Pickup

    1. Author

      Hi Janet, thanks for your kind words. As for your transport dilemma, I’d be inclined to listen to your son. The motorways won’t be such an issue, although you’ll probably have to pay higher toll fees for a larger vehicle. Very narrow roads in villages and historical parts of cities, however, are more likely to be problematic. If at all possible, I’d avoid driving to Sintra in August, whether you have one vehicle or two. You can easily take the train from Lisbon to Sintra and save yourselves the hassle, not to mention the cost of a day or two’s car hire. If you absolutely must drive to Sintra, try getting there super early – it might be a little easier to find a parking spot.
      Getting to Evora shouldn’t be a problem as long as you park outside the city walls.

      I can certainly understand wanting to stick together in the same vehicle though. I think you’ll have to weigh up what’s most important for you and if you decide to go for the larger vehicle, plan your routes with extra care to try and avoid the tiny, troublesome roads. Use Google Maps or something similar to get a feel for the lay of the land.

      Have fun!

  8. I need to go back for Regaleira and Monserrate, but I knew that at the time. Isn’t life irritating sometimes? 🙂
    Great guide, Julie.

    1. Author

      Thanks, Jo. There’s always a reason to revisit Sintra so make the most of it. You might get some walks in too 🙂

  9. Wonderful Post, we spent some time in Southern Portugal last year But we really need to go back and spend more time in this beautiful Country – thank you for sharing I now know where to go for my research on Portugal!

    1. Author

      Thanks! Let me know if you have any specific questions 🙂

  10. I’ve always wanted to visit here. Thanks for sharing such a thorough guide of the area!

    1. Author

      You’re welcome, Mary. It gave me a great excuse to trawl though my photos and relive the memories.

  11. Great! I loved Sintra when I visited on the day of my 23rd birthday, that now feels like a decade ago! I remember the crazy Moorish castle, and now I wish I can go back one day for lunch at La Reposa!

    1. Author

      Another possibility for lunch seems to be Saudade café. We peered through the window and it looked lovely but we’d just eaten so didn’t go in. Other readers have recommended it and it looked charming.

  12. Great information!! We will be meeting up with my sister and her husband in Portugal in May and we will be adding Sintra to the list of places to visit!

    1. Author

      I’m sure you’ll love it. There’s something very magical and addictive about the place.

  13. Thanks for sharing all this info! Sintra is high on my list of places to see- it looks so amazing! I almost went in April but ran out of time before I made it to Portugal- I’m kind of glad though because I probably would have only had a day and after reading this I think you are right that there’s too much to see in that short amount of time! I’ll have to keep this handy for when I do visit.

    1. Author

      Hi Hannah, there’s never enough time to see everything but if you can factor in two or three days for your return visit, that should allow you to get to quite a few of the highlights. Enjoy!

  14. We went for two days and stayed for seven!! Sintra completely derailed our carefully made plans of travelling all about in Portugal and was worth every moment we spent there! Thank you for this post! Apeidairo is a fantastic family restaurant near a lovely café called Saudade. Bristol was another great café with excellent galao. We actually had some really wonderful meals while there – one night four of us ate with many bottles of wine and dessert for only 60 euros! I cannot remember the name of the restaurant but it was excellent. I have emailed my friend in Sintra for the name as I want to share it with everyone! lol We enjoyed out time there so much we are looking at investing in a condo. Surprisingly affordable! We found two great little grocers during out stay and had nice lunches/snacks with cheese, fruit, wine and of course queijadas!

    1. Author

      Hi Trish, I can definitely understand why you changed your plans! And thank you, too, for the restaurant and café tips. If you do manage to find the name of that restaurant, I’d love to hear it. I can put it on my own list for next time.

  15. Great post Julie – this one is definitely worth bookmarking for future reference when visiting.

    Thanks for the mention about the “Sintra Canopy”. It’s much appreciated!

    1. Author

      You’re welcome, Nick. It sounds like great fun!

  16. We’ve been to Sintra a few times – the most delicious meal we had was at Lawrences restaurant. We also spent the night there, and it was delightful!
    Loved this post for bringing back some very happy memories!

    1. Author

      Thanks for sharing, Leigh. We had a look around Lawrences out of curiosity – it’s mentioned in a classic Portuguese book, Os Maios, and I wanted to see it for myself even though we were staying elsewhere. It’s full of character and looks charming – maybe next time, we’ll stay or eat there.

  17. very informative – I will definitely gen up before I go back to Sintra. Love your photographs!

    1. Author

      Thanks, Louise! Glad you enjoyed the post. There’s always more to go back to Sintra for. Next time, I’d like to go on some of the walks and head to the coast. And I haven’t yet been to the Chalet and Gardens of the Countess of Edla…

  18. Great post about Sintra Julie. I have been to Sintra a few times but I haven’t been inside most of those palaces, so it was great to see the photos. I love the “queijadas” of Sintra.
    A friend of mine here in Perth gets her Mom to post them every couple of months…

    1. Author

      Thank you, Sami. It’s been a real pleasure writing up this post and reliving my time in Sintra through the photos. I had to be very strict with myself to keep the number of pictures down but I might find a way to display some more in the future. Perhaps ‘Ceilings of Sintra’ or something 🙂

      And you’re right about the cakes. I love queijadas!

  19. Very well-written and very thorough. Makes me wish I was there right now! Thank you 🙂

    1. Author

      Thank you for saying so, Lisa. It’s a magical place where it’s easy to indulge fantasies of living like a princess 😉

  20. Julie, this is one of your best and the photos are magnificent. I fell in love with Simtra and wish I was rich enough to live there or close by! Good job as always!

    1. Author

      You and me both, Valerie! It’s a gorgeous area and I’d love to live in one of the palaces or mansions. I’ve got my eye on the one across the road from Quinta da Regaleira. All I need to do now is start playing the lottery…

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