The excursion to Sintra is a must. Only half an hour away from Lisbon is this town presided by the Pena Palace, one of the most important centers of European romantic architecture.
There are different alternatives to go to Sintra. Choosing one or another will depend on what you want to see or how much time you have. I tell you the best options:
The most popular and complete tour, at the best price
If you want to enjoy the charm of Sintra, Cascais, and Cabo da Roca while seeing the outside of the Pena Palace, this is the most economical option.
A visit to Sintra during our trip to Lisbon will allow us to know a little more of the neighboring country and leaving the Portuguese capital, we can enjoy landscapes with a unique charm. But since we are determined to leave Lisbon for a few hours, it is best to make the most of the visit and make the most of our journey through Portuguese lands.
To begin with, in the surroundings of Sintra there are tourist sites that are worth a visit. This is the case of the town of Cascais or the impressive Cabo da Roca from which you can see wonderful views of the Atlantic Ocean. This day trip to Sintra, Cabo da Roca, Cascais and Estoril is designed to enjoy the contrasts of the Portuguese landscape.
And of course, high in the Sintra mountain range is the spectacular Pena Palace built in the 19th century by a German architect for Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. On this tour to Sintra you will go hand in hand with an expert guide who will reveal its history.
Why I like this option: The best thing about the tour is that it is the most complete tour I could find at the most affordable price. In addition, it also includes pick up and drop off at your hotel. It couldn't be more convenient!
Recommended if... you are looking for an economical and quality option to spend a different day during your trip to Lisbon, getting to know the highlights of the region.
Tour Sintra, Cascais and Cabo da Roca with an expert guide and entrance to the Pena Palace
If you want to make the most of your excursion and not give up seeing the inside of the charming Pena Palace, this is the best option with entrance to this monument.
By now you must be convinced that Sintra is a must-see during your trip to Lisbon, so all that remains is to choose the option that best suits you. The main attraction of this beautiful city is undoubtedly the Pena Palace, so in this excursion to Sintra and Cascais from Lisbon you will not want to miss its beautiful rooms, taking advantage of having an expert guide who will tell you all the historical details.
You will start the day in Sintra, where in addition to visiting the historic center, you will visit the Town Hall (also known as Queluz Palace) and stop at Casa Piriquita, a legendary bakery where you can taste the typical sweets of the area, the Travesseiros and Queijadas.
You will also pass by Cabo da Roca to enjoy spectacular views of the Atlantic and head to the famous Pena Palace, where you will have an hour and a half to explore it in depth. Later, on the way back home you will pass through the Estoril Coast.
Why I like this option: for a slightly higher price than other tours you will have an expert guide and the entrance to the National Palace da Pena included, which will give you a much more complete experience, as well as including round trip transfers in minivan ....
Recommended if... you want to enjoy a more premium experience than other tours that do not include entrance fees to the monuments you will see along the way.
In summary, we compare the two options
The most popular and complete tour, at the best price
If you want to enjoy the charm of Sintra and see the outside of its famous Pena Palace, this is the most economical option. It also passes through Cascais, and Cabo da Roca.
Sintra, Cascais and Cabo de Roca with a guide and entrance to the beautiful Pena Palace
If you want to take advantage of your excursion to Sintra and see its star monument from the inside, take advantage of this tour, which for a little more than the previous one takes you to know its rooms with the explanations of the guide.
Any guided tour will cover the main points of the visit to Sintra; some will focus more on the historic center, some on the surroundings and some on the scenery. If you visit Sintra individually this is the list of sites you have to see (I recommend leaving Lisbon early so you can see them all).
It is the main attraction of Sintra and the greatest architectural exponent of 19th century romanticism in Portugal. It is located on top of a hill and you will distinguish it by its yellow and pink walls. You can find all the information you need to visit it in this other article on how to visit the Pena Palace.
Sintra National Palace
In addition to the Pena Palace, Sintra has this other palace with white walls and orange roofs that is well worth a visit both inside and outside. Architecture lovers will delight in analyzing the medieval, Gothic, Romanesque, Manueline and Renaissance elements present on its facade. Although the opening hours change according to the season, you can visit it every day of the year for an approximate price of 10 euros.
Quinta da Regaleira
The palaces are the main attraction of Sintra, but this one is different from the rest. The Quinta da Regaleira palace looks like an enchanted castle full of turrets and sculptures that adorn its brick-colored walls. The entrance fee ranges from 8 to 16 euros depending on whether you want to visit with or without a guided tour and the opening hours change according to the season (although you can usually visit every day of the week all year round).
The Moorish Castle
On top of a mountain is located this enclave also known as the Castle of Sintra. To get there you have to climb some stone stairs and from the top you will have stunning views of the Atlantic if the day is clear.
Ana's Traveller Tip
If you like gastronomy, in Sintra you will find the Bristol restaurant of chef Sergi Arola, but you will have to book well in advance.
When to go to Sintra
Like Lisbon, Sintra receives tourists all year round. In high season (June through August) you'll find the town more lively, but there will also be longer lines to visit the Pena Palace and higher entrance fees to tourist sites.
As for the weather, it is good at any time of the year as there are no low temperatures that prevent you from visiting the city and in summer in Sintra will always be less hot than in Lisbon. The ideal month to visit the city is September since the weather will be ideal and you will not find the crowds of summer in the tourist spots.
How to get to Sintra from Lisbon on your own
If you are not a fan of guided tours (although it is something that I always recommend both when it comes to sightseeing and visiting the most emblematic points of a city) you can also get to Sintra on your own easily and quickly.
The train to Sintra departs from Lisbon's Rossio station, located in the city center between the botanical garden and the Santa Justa elevator. The journey takes approximately 40 minutes, trains leave every half hour and cost approximately five euros (with the Lisbon tourist card you will not pay for the train).
You can also get to Sintra by rental car from Lisbon, but the train works so well that I do not recommend it unless you are going to follow the route around the capital. Once you arrive in Sintra, you can move around the town on foot or by bus 434 that connects the historic center with the Pena Palace.
Ana's Traveller Tip
Ask for queijadas or travesseiros in Sintra's pastry shops; they are the typical sweets of the region.
If you liked the excursion to Sintra, you will also like
Sintra is not the only attractive place you can visit during your trip to Lisbon without having to travel long distances. The surroundings of the Portuguese capital are exciting and if you have not yet booked your plane ticket what I advise you is to add a couple of extra days to your vacation to be able to visit them all.
The Algarve, Fatima, Sesimbra, Nazaré, Óbidos, Arrábida, Evora... if you haven't heard of these places after visiting Lisbon, you will have heard of them several times. In this article about Best Tours and Day Trips from Lisbon you will find all the necessary information about what you can see during your trip.
Frequently asked questions
How far is Sintra from Lisbon?
Between Sintra and Lisbon there are 28 km, less than half an hour by car.
Is it worth visiting Sintra from Lisbon?
Yes: it is a very nice excursion perfect to do in one day, as it is very close and you can take the opportunity to visit the famous Pena Palace.
Which is better, Sintra or Cascais?
Both places have their charm and best of all, if you feel like visiting both, there are organized tours that cover both in the same day.
What will I see on the excursion to Sintra and Cascais?
You will see the Pena National Park, the historic center of Sintra, Cabo da Roca, Guincho Beach, Boca do Inferno, the historic center of Cascais and the Estoril Casino.