How to Get to Sintra from Lisbon

Just 30 kilometers from the capital of Portugal, it is an essential excursion. If you want to know how to make this trip, here you have all the options

Joaquín Montaño

Joaquín Montaño

9 min read

How to Get to Sintra from Lisbon

Palácio da Pena, Lisbon | ©Katia De Juan

Despite all that Lisbon has to offer, it is also worth looking at what you can see in the surrounding area. A few kilometers away there are several places that do not detract in beauty to the Portuguese capital and that you can approach in a short excursion.

Among all these places there is one that stands out in its own right: Sintra. Among other monuments, the city is home to one of the most extraordinary palaces on the continent and just to see it you should consider taking a trip. There are several options to go from the capital to Sintra.

The most complete option

Sintra and Cascais Day Trip from Lisbon

Discover two of Portugal's iconic cities

An 8-hour excursion with a local guide that will allow you to explore the beauty of both cities.

When deciding the best way to go to Sintra from Lisbon there are several aspects to consider, such as what is the most comfortable way, if you want to take advantage to see more things or if you want to get the most out of what you are seeing. Those who want all these advantages have in the excursion to Sintra and Cascais, the best option.

With an approximate duration of 8 hours and with a local guide, you will immerse yourself in all the history, curiosities and interesting facts of both cities: Sintra, declared a World Heritage Site, and Cascais, an ancient fishing village. In addition, you will get to know other beautiful corners of the region such as the cliffs of Boca do Inferno, Cabo da Roca or Guincho beach and, of course, you will also explore the landscape of the Natural Park of Sintra and Estoril.

Recommended if... you are going to spend several days in Lisbon.

The best option to go to Sintra from Lisbon: an excursion

Sintra Castle| ©Pedro Cambra
Sintra Castle| ©Pedro Cambra

Undoubtedly, if you want to go to Sintra from Lisbon, the best option is an excursion, since you will not have to worry about the logistics, the journey and if you opt for an option with a tour guide you will have all the details at your fingertips of the different monuments and places of interest that you visit.

In addition, you will have the possibility to enjoy the scenery in a way that the car does not allow, at least for the driver. This is the best way to make the most of the experience.

The best excursions to Sintra

Here are the various options available:

Of course, if you prefer to go on your own, you also have the option to purchase the Lisbon Card, which includes free travel to Sintra. However, in this case I recommend that you book as soon as possible the tickets to the monuments you will see, ie:

Book an excursion to Sintra

The train, the cheapest option to go from Lisbon to Sintra

Train in Lisbon| ©André Marques
Train in Lisbon| ©André Marques

If you prefer to travel to Sintra on your own, the best option is undoubtedly the train. Comboios, Portugal's railway network, offers a service between Lisbon and Sintra from before 6 am until approximately 1 am. The price, moreover, could not be more competitive, since the round trip costs only about 5 €. There are two lines that connect both locations, with departures from different stations in Lisbon:

  • Rossio Station: the line departing from this station is the most convenient for almost all visitors to Lisbon, as it is relatively close to neighborhoods such as Baixa or Chiado. It can also be reached on foot from one of the areas with the most things to see: Alfama. If you prefer, you can get there on the green line of the Lisbon subway. The trip to Sintra only takes about 40 minutes.
  • Oriente Station: those travelers who are in areas farther from the center can take a train to Sintra from this station. However, the journey is longer and in some schedules a transfer is required.

To buy the ticket it is convenient to purchase before the Viva Viagem, a rechargeable card that you can use in public transport. Its cost is only 50 cents and you just have to load it with the amount you want.

How to get from Sintra station to the historic center

The train ride between Lisbon and Sintra does not end when you arrive at the station, as you have to travel about 3 kilometers to the old town. The most convenient way is to take bus 434, which connects the station with the old part of the city.

To do this, you can buy a day pass that costs about 7 €, cheaper than paying the approximate 4 € each way. This bus usually leaves every 15 minutes, but in high season and on weekends there are long lines to catch it. Next to the station you can also rent a tuk tuk.

  • Why I like this option: the train is a very comfortable means of transport and, moreover, in this case very economical.
  • Recommended if you are only interested in Sintra and prefer to visit the monuments on your own.

Joaquín's Traveller Tip:

In summer and on weekends there are usually long queues at Lisbon train stations with departures to Sintra. To avoid problems, try to arrive at least 20 minutes in advance.

The bus: an impractical option

Public Bus| ©Verotravel
Public Bus| ©Verotravel

Despite the proximity between Lisbon and Sintra, the bus service between the two locations is quite deficient, which makes it not the best option. First of all, there is only connection between April and September. If, however, you choose this option, you will have to go to the Marques del Pombal square and look for the bus line number 35, which is called Sintra Express.

What does win out is the speed, as it only takes half an hour to travel the route. The stop in Sintra is next to the train station, which means you will have to take the 434 bus that connects that place with the historic center or walk for 3 kilometers uphill.

As for the price, the Sintra Express costs about 10 € if you buy a single trip, while the round trip ticket costs about 15 €. Updated timetables can be found on the Vimeca website, as well as any possible changes to the service.

Getting to Sintra by bus from other locations

In case you have decided to spend the day touring on your own several towns, it may be useful to know that lines 403 and 417(Scotturb company) connect Cascais and Sintra. Line 418 does the same between Estoril and Sintra.

  • Why I like this option: the bus allows you to enjoy the views, although in this case you will find the problem that it only works for a few months.
  • Recommended if you are in Lisbon during the months when this bus operates and you prefer this means of transport.

Book an excursion to Sintra

Getting to Sintra from Lisbon by car: easy until you try to park

Driving a car| ©Jackson David
Driving a car| ©Jackson David

Given the geographical proximity, it is not at all strange that many decide to arrive in Lisbon by car and use it for excursions. Another possibility, increasingly in vogue and economical, is to rent one. Going to Sintra in this way is very simple, but, in spite of that, it cannot be said that it is the best option:

  • Advantage: you will find that the road has no difficulties and in just 30 minutes you can get there by the A37 or IC15 roads, without having to pay any toll.
  • Disadvantage: The problem comes when you are entering Sintra. Unless it's very early in the morning, you're going to start seeing cars parked everywhere, which gives you a clue as to how difficult it is to find parking, although on weekdays in low season you're going to have a chance. Sintra has several parking lots, although with so few spaces that they fill up very early every day. The main ones are located at Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas 4 and Av. Dr. Álvaro de Vasconcelos 13.

To avoid these inconveniences some prefer to hire a cab to get to Sintra. Obviously, this eliminates the parking problem, but the round trip will easily exceed 75 €.

  • Why I like this option: the flexibility of the car allows you to stop anywhere you want.
  • Recommended if you want to go at your own pace and stop at several different places during the day.

Book an excursion to Sintra

Summary of the different options to go from Lisbon to Sintra

  • Excursions
  • From 73 € + entrance fees
  • Advantages: guided tour, transport included and visit to several sites
  • Disadvantages: some excursions do not include entrance fees
  • Train
  • About 4,5 € round trip + tickets
  • Advantages: cheaper option and its speed
  • Disadvantages: long queues at Lisbon station and distance between Sintra station and the monuments
  • Bus
  • Around 15 € round trip + tickets
  • Advantages: you can go sightseeing
  • Disadvantages: only leaves for a few months and arrives at the Sintra train station
  • Car
  • Fuel + entrance fees (rental car: about 15 € per day)
  • Advantages: flexibility to stop anywhere
  • Disadvantages: almost impossible to park in Sintra

A little sketch about Sintra

The Pena Palace| ©laredawg
The Pena Palace| ©laredawg

Whether on your own or with an excursion, the visit to Sintra will focus on its historic center and some nearby places that stand out for their landscapes. Here I leave you a small summary of the points that you can not miss.

Book a tour to Sintra from Lisbon

Is it really worth going to Sintra from Lisbon?

The National Palace of Sintra| ©Diego Delso
The National Palace of Sintra| ©Diego Delso

As is always the case with questions of this type, it is almost impossible to give a conclusive answer. It all depends on the tastes of each traveler and, in the case of Lisbon and Sintra, the time you have.

Although the attractions offered by Lisbon to its visitors are enough to spend several days without stopping to visit its corners, if you are going to be 3 days in Lisbon is interesting to spend a day (or at least half a day) to visit some of the most important nearby towns.

Sintra, for its beauty, stands out among all the places you can visit near Lisbon, so, in my opinion, it is totally worth doing this excursion, especially if you combine it with Cascais. And as I mentioned, there is also the option of getting the Lisbon Card that includes the trip.

Book the Lisboa Card