Updated: May 22
So after Day 1 in Portugal has ended, I woke up the next day early in the morning ready for my day trip to Sintra, I booked half a day there since I wanted to spend the rest of the day in Lisbon. I went to the bus company's office to register first as they told me the day before, and I have to mention that the weather was not great that day, it was raining and cloudy and a little bit cold as well even though we were in August.
Now Sintra is a resort town on top of Portugal's Sintra mountains near Lisbon, so it is easy to get there from Lisbon. Once I arrived at the bus company's office to register they informed me that I was the only one who booked a trip for Sintra only and everyone else there booked for both Sintra & Cascais, and so they asked me whether I wanted to switch without having to pay anything extra but it will then be a full day and not half a day. I accepted this since I really didn't have specific plans.
1, How to Get Your Visa for Portugal
5. Best Time to Visit Sintra & Cascais
2. Day 2 Diary
6. Accommodations in Sintra & Cascais
3. How to Get to Sintra & Cascais
7. Best Cafes & Restaurants in Sintra & Cascais
4. How to Move Around Sintra & Cascais
How to Get Your Visa for Portugal
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If you google Sintra you will be able to see how colourful it is and how beautiful, and I though I would be able to enjoy the nice weather there and take a nice few pictures. Sadly all my plans went wrong, it was cold, and it kept raining all day, that being said I still enjoyed the day. We got to the National Palace of Pena, took a tour inside and enjoyed learning about the history of the place, we were supposed to go to other places but because of the terrible weather we didn't, instead we were told to just wander around and have brunch and buy souvenirs and then meet in two hours to go to Cascais.
I walked around a bit since it stopped raining, then I found a cafe and went there to have a meal, then found a place were I bough some really nice souvenirs. Sintra is quite small so it is easy to walk around and explore. After the two hours we all met and then headed to Cascais, and that's when the weather got even worse! It was now really cold and we were walking around Cascais and trying to enjoy the scenery as much as possible but it was so gloomy and cloudy and that can be shown in the two photos that I managed to take during this trip.
Then after walking around a bit we went to Cabo Da Roca, which marks the most westerly point of mainland Europe. These windswept cliffs and barren lands were believed to be the edge of the world up until the 14th century, and even today the region possesses a remote and untamed atmosphere.
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After that, we went back to Lisbon and I still had a few hours left before sunset, so I took the hop-on and hop-off bus again to continue exploring for the remaining time until I made it back to my Airbnb tired and exhausted, and I have to wake up early the next day since I was going to Aveiro. Now even though this day might seem sad and not enjoyable, I still enjoyed it because I got to see new places and got to meet new people so it is still a win in my books, but for sure in the future I will go back again but maybe this time I would do it when the weather is actually nice.
How to Get to Sintra & Cascais
To get to Sintra you can take a train from Lisbon's Rossio station, you can find a train that departs every 20 minutes from there, and the train ride only takes 40 minutes. Keep in mind that on Sundays the train leave every 1 hour instead. A one-way ticket from Lisbon to Sintra costs 2.25€ and it can be easily bought from a machine or a ticket booth or counter.
To get to Cascais you can take the train from Lisbon which takes around 30 minutes. Train leaves every 10 minutes so make sure to book your ticket at the station and hop-on as there is no seat reservation.
I like to use Omio to find either buses or trains in Europe, and if I am looking for a flight I would use WayAway to find cheap flights. You can also use this promo code - TP-385219 - for WayAway Plus or you can directly visit this link! (You will get 10% off WayAway Plus subscription!)
How to Move Around Sintra & Cascais
Once you arrive in Sintra, there are two bus lines that pass by the palaces and castles, these are line 434 and line 435. You will need to decide which bus line to take prior based on the sites you want to visit. If you are going on a day trip from Lisbon where you will spend half a day, then chose one bus line, but if you plan on staying longer then you can take both to explore more sites.
You can buy bus tickets at the bus itself or at the train station, buses run every 15-20 minutes starting from 9:15 am. You can return on a hop-on hop-off bus which would cost 6.90€.
Train Station - National Palace – Moorish Castle – Natural History Museum – Pena Palace
Train Station – National Palace – Quinta Da Regaleira – Seteais Palace – Monserrate Palace
Once you reach Cascais you can explore on foot, there is no need for transportation inside Cascais, but if you love cycling then you can explore Cascais cycling. If you are arriving in Cascais by car then you will easily find a lot of suitable parking spots and continue exploring on foot.
Best Time to Visit Sintra & Cascais
In comparison to Lisbon, Sintra is a little bit cooler as it has its own microclimate. The best times to visit is from April to June, and from September to November, but keep in mind that Sintra will always be busy and crowded as it one of the best places to visit in Portugal.
Cascais is very busy during the summer times, which is why the best times to visit is during Spring specifically late spring, as well as early summer, before the holidays begin. During this time the weather will be warm and nice but the water will be cold all the time as Cascais sits at the mouth of river Tagus which is the opening of the Atlantic sea.
Accommodations in Sintra & Cascais
If you are planning to spend more than one day in Sintra, you can stay in Sintra if you want or you can simply stay in Lisbon as it would be the cheaper option and as mentioned it is easy to get from Lisbon to Sintra.
As mentioned, it only takes 30 minutes to get from Lisbon to Cascais you can easily go on a day trip from Lisbon if you are there and then go back in the afternoon. If you want to spend more that a day in Cascais then choose a hotel that is on the coastline or an Airbnb.
Best Cafes & Restaurants in Sintra & Cascais
Saudade (Gluten-free options, vegan friendly cafe)
Espaco Edla (Vegan friendly cafe)
A Praca (Gluten-free options, vegan friendly)
Bacalhau Na Vila (Gluten-free options, vegan friendly, Portuguese cuisine)
Roots Cafe (Gluten-free options, vegan friendly)
Bubbles & Bites (Gluten-free options, vegan friendly)
Cafe Galeria House of Wonders (Vegan friendly)
Tanah Vegan Fun Food (Vegan friendly)