Sintra is a fairytale village in the center of Portugal. Despite its small size, you won't have trouble finding wonderful sights and monuments to explore. Known for its majestic palaces, mysterious green forests, and impressive mountains, Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most magical places in the country that you must add to your bucket list. This travel guide will prepare you for a fantastic time in Sintra, featuring some of the best things you cannot miss!
How To Get Here
Sintra is located less than 30 km away from Lisbon. If you're visiting the Portuguese capital, make sure you take a day-trip to Sintra. As for getting here, you can come by car or train. However, to park in the village you'll have to pay 0,50€ per hour and it can be quite the challenge to find a parking spot, mainly during the peak season. So, the best option might be to take the train from Lisbon. The train station is located near the center of the village and you can easily walk around.
What To Do
The best thing to do in Sintra is to discover why it is called a fairytale village. Sintra has some of the most beautiful palaces and monuments in the country that won't fail to impress you. Start with the Pena Nacional Palace (11,50€), considered one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal and the exponent of Romanticism of the 19th century. Located in one of the highest points of Sintra, it was once an abandoned monastery but D. Fernando II, a king with a big passion for art, had it renewed and transformed into the astonishing palace it is today. Next, is the equally charming Quinta da Regaleira (6€), built between 1904 and 1910 and located in the village's historic center. The palace is surrounded by wonderful gardens, caves, and lakes with Gothic and Renaissance traits. The Moorish Castle (6,50€) is another monument you cannot miss. Built in the 10th century after the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, it will give you an insight into the history of Sintra and an amazing view of the surrounding area. The National Palace of Sintra (7,50€) has also a thousand-year-old history, being the home of Afonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal after the conquest of Lisbon. Not very far from Sintra's historic center, you will find the Park and Palace of Monserrate (7,50€), featuring an impressive example of the Romantic architecture and one of the richest botanical gardens in Portugal. These are only a few of the incredible monuments of Sintra, there are plenty more to discover!
What To See
Aside from witnessing the beauty of all these incredible palaces and monuments in Sintra, you should also take the time to appreciate the beauty of its historic center. Walk through the beautiful cobbled streets, stop at quirky little shops, and sit down at a traditional cafe for a bit of people-watching. Also, don't miss the opportunity to discover the amazing view from the highest point of Sintra, Cruz Alta. After a 20 minute walk from the Pena Palace, you'll be able to see the beauty of the surrounding area, as well as take the classic photograph of the palace.
Where To Eat
While in Sintra, you have to try the famous "travesseiros" and "queijadinhas" at Piriquita, two delicious treats that promise to delight everyone. As for restaurants, you won't have trouble finding one that offers delicious Portuguese food at affordable prices! But we do have a couple of recommendations such as Dom Pipas and Apeadeiro.
If you want to discover a new perspective of Sintra, head over to Azenhas do Mar. Located 15 minutes away by car, on a cliff by the Atlantic, you'll find the picturesque houses that seemed to have been carved into the rock, as well as small natural pools formed by the ocean. It is a sight you will not want to miss as it gives you a fantastic coastal perspective of Sintra. If you have more than a day to explore the village, make sure yous top by Azenhas do Mar!