Sintra is resort town in the foothills of Sintra Mountain in Portugal, it is a UNESCO site with hilltop castles and exotic gardens. It is so easy to get to Sintra from Lisbon by simply taking a 40 minute train ride, which is why it is easy to include it in things to do in Lisbon. You can spend half a day in Sintra and it would be enough, but if you want to stay for more time there are accommodation available there, you can easily find restaurants as well as transport to the castles and palaces there. It is better to buy tickets prior to going there as the ticket booths will be busy, you can either buy tickets for each palace or castle separately or you can simply book a day tour with a guide. You can buy tickets or book a tour through GetYourGuide.
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10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Sintra
1. The Most Picturesque Town in Portugal
Sintra is by far the most picturesque town in Portugal, it is home to a number of castles and gardens that will take your breath away. As well you will find the most beautiful viewpoints of the pretty buildings there.
2. The Best Hotels
Since Sintra is a stunning village with amazing architecture, you will find the most beautiful hotels. Sintra has one of the country’s amazing, best, oldest, and also most famous hotels. If you are planning on staying more than one day, then you do not have to worry about finding a good hotel there.
3. The Colourful Pena Palace
The Pena Palace looks like something out of Disneyland, located at the top of the Sintra mountains and inspired by German Romantic architecture. The views are amazing from the top as well, this is a must visit.
4. Secret Gardens
Sintra is home to secret gardens as well as enchanting woods, Sintra is one big fairytale so this shouldn't be a surprise. All the gardens in Sintra are worth visiting, but the most visited one is the botanical gardens surrounding the Monserrate Palace.
5. UNESCO World Heritage
Sintra is one of Portugal’s oldest inhabited locations with a UNESCO World Heritage status, it captivated the hearts of King Consort Ferdinand II and his wife Queen Maria II of Portugal. The couple then created a wonderland of manicured parks, elaborate castles and manors that today lend the city an uncanny aesthetic.
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6. Quinta da Regaleira
Quinta da Regaleira is classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO within the cultural landscape of Sintra. It was essentially designed to hide network of tunnels, passageways, and even towers. The inverted tours there look like a well which is accessible by a spiral stair which goes down to one of the tunnels.
7. Breath Taking Beach
Besides the Castles & gardens in Sintra, you will find a beautiful beach, and even if the weather isn't suitable for a swim, but it is still worth a stop.
8. Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors)
Castelo dos Mouros is a hilltop medieval castle, it was once a military fort. Taking the stairs up to the top for an impressive view is a must. Castelo dos Mouros has one of the most amazing viewpoints in Sinta, so you do not want to miss it.
9. Palácio de Monserrate (Monserrate Palace)
The Monserrate Palace is a palatial villa, which is gothic, Arabic, and Indian in design with an exotic garden. People who visit Sintra often skips it as it is slightly off the route so it is not as crowded as other locations in Sintra.
10. Palácio Nacional de Sintra (Sintra National Palace)
Palácio Nacional de Sintra or Sintra National Palace, which is also called Town Palace is a present day historic house museum. This palace is in the heart of Sintra with two huge chimneys which became the iconic view of the town.
How 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.
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How to Move Around Sintra
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