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Sintra Day Trips from Lisbon

To make your trip to Lisbon truly complete and discover its surroundings, visiting Sintra and Cascais is the perfect experience.

Sintra Day Trips from Lisbon

Sintra | ©Drew Bae

Sintra is a must-see place on any trip to Portugal. Only half an hour away from Lisbon is this municipality presided by the Pena Palace, one of the most important examples of European Romantic architecture.

1. The best day trips to Sintra

Pena Palace, Sintra
Pena Palace, Sintra

There are different options to go to Sintra from Lisbon. Choosing one or another will depend on what you want to see or how much time you have. Here are the best options:

2. Day trip to Sintra with a visit to Pena Palace

Cascais | ©Jean-Michel Brunet
Cascais | ©Jean-Michel Brunet

High in the Sintra mountains is the spectacular Palacio da Pena built in the 19th century by a German architect for Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. This is one of the most extravagant palaces in Europe and therefore the main attraction of this small town. In this day trip to Sintra and Pena Palace you will be accompanied by an expert guide who will tell you about its history and guide you through its wonderful rooms.

Itinerary

  • Pena Palace
  • Queluz Palace
  • Cabo da Roca
  • Historic center of Cascais
  • Estoril Casino Gardens

3. Half-day trip to Sintra

Pool among the trees
Pool among the trees

If you don't have much time to spare during your trip, this excursion is an ideal option not to miss visiting Sintra. The cost of the half-day trip to Sintra includes the services of a local guide who will accompany you during the tour so that in addition to marveling at the landscapes of Sintra, you can fully understand the importance of this town in its historical context.

The starting point will be the Lake of Camoes and from there you will take a train to Sintra accompanied by the guide and your group. You can use a transport card or pay the five euro fare. In the afternoon you will be brought back to Lisbon.

Itinerary

  • Sintra Municipal Park
  • Arabic source
  • Sintra National Palace
  • Church of St. Martin
  • Regaleira Park

4. Day trip to Sintra with visit to Cascais, Cabo da Roca and Pena Palace

Cabo da Roca | ©Ricardo Vidal
Cabo da Roca | ©Ricardo Vidal

In the surroundings of Sintra, there are also a few places that are well worth a visit. This is the case of the municipality of Cascais or the impressive Cabo da Roca from where you can contemplate wonderful views of the Atlantic Ocean. This day trip to Sintra and its surroundings is perfect for small groups and to enjoy the Portuguese landscape, away from the hustle and bustle of Lisbon.

The best thing about the excursion is that it is all-inclusive: the pick-up and drop-off at the hotel, the transfer in an air-conditioned vehicle, the expert guide who will accompany the group (of maximum 8 people) during the excursion and lunch, are all included.

Itinerary

  • The fishing village of Cascais
  • The natural cave Boca do Inferno
  • The Cabo da Roca
  • The Pena Palace
  • The historic center of Sintra

5. Day trip to Sintra and Cascais

Sintra | ©Patrick Nouhailler
Sintra | ©Patrick Nouhailler

This tour of Sintra and Cascais combines a guided visit to the points of interest of both towns with free time for you to explore them at your leisure. Throughout a whole day, you will visit the two faces of Lisbon's surroundings: the municipality of Sintra which was the retreat of the Portuguese monarchs, and the humble fishing village of Cascais.

Both locations have much to discover and for that, the expert guide that will join your group will be very useful. Nonetheless, these are places to be also enjoyed on a relaxed walk on your own.

Itinerary

  • Pena National Park
  • Historic center of Sintra
  • Cabo da Roca
  • Guincho Beach
  • Hell's Mouth
  • Historic center of Cascais
  • Estoril Casino

6. Half-day private trip to Sintra and Cascais

Views of a castle from the water in Cascais
Views of a castle from the water in Cascais

This half-day tour of the towns of Sintra and Cascais is designed for those who want to leave the stress of Lisbon behind for a while and relax in the surrounding countryside being back in the early afternoon. The tour is completely private: you will have at your disposal a driver who will pick you up at your hotel and an expert guide who will walk you through the different points of interest of these two cities.

You will set the pace of the tour and get to see the following points of interest (although if you want to see something different or skip a stop, just let your driver know):

Itinerary

  • Pena Palace
  • Moorish Castle
  • Regaleira Palace
  • Cabo da Roca
  • Montserrat Palace
  • Historic center of Sintra

7. Two-day trip to Sintra, Cascais, Fatima, Nazaré and Óbidos

Patio del Monasterio Batalha | ©xiquinhosilva
Patio del Monasterio Batalha | ©xiquinhosilva

Surely, once you get to know the surroundings of Lisbon, you'll completely fall in love with the landscapes and the quaint little towns. If you have time during your trip, I recommend this two day trip around Lisbon which includes stops in Sintra, Cascais, Fátima, Nazaré, and Óbidos. It is an ideal option for an in-depth visit to the wonderful places of the Portuguese countryside to make your trip much more than just a regular Lisbon holiday.

As this tour is split in two separate days you will always return to Lisbon at the end of each day trip, with round trip transportation from and to your hotel. On the first day, you will see Sintra and Cascais, and on the second day Fátima, Nazaré, and Óbidos. To comfortably enjoy this two-day trip, the group is reduced to a maximum of eight people.

On both days you will have free time to visit the cities at your leisure and the price of the tour includes a Portuguese liqueur tasting as well as the transfer in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle and the services of the expert guide (lunch is at your own expense).

Itinerary

  • Pena Palace
  • Historic center of Sintra
  • Cabo da Roca
  • Guincho Beach
  • Hell's Mouth
  • Historic center of Cascais
  • Estoril Casino
  • Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima
  • Batalha Monastery
  • Cliffs of Nazaré
  • Church of Our Lady of Nazaré
  • Medieval village of Óbidos

8. How to get to Sintra from Lisbon on your own

Lisbon train at Sintra station | ©Jason
Lisbon train at Sintra station | ©Jason

If you are not a fan of guided tours (although it is something 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 (if you have a Lisbon tourist card, you will not have to pay for the train tickets).

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 planning on visiting something else on the way. 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 traveseiros in Sintra's pastry shops; they are the typical sweets of the region.

9. What to see in Sintra

Quinta da Regaleira | ©Susanne Nilsson
Quinta da Regaleira | ©Susanne Nilsson

Any guided tour will cover the main points of a 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 to see them all).

Pena Palace

It is the main attraction of Sintra and the greatest architectural exponent of the romanticism of the nineteenth century that Portugal has. 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 about the entrances to 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 façade. 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

Palaces are the main attraction of Sintra, but this one is definitely different from the rest. The Quinta da Regaleira palace looks like an enchanted castle full of turrets and sculptures adorning its brick-colored walls. The entrance fee ranges from 8 to 16 Euros depending on whether you want to visit with or without a guide and the opening hours change according to the season (although you can usually visit every day of the week all year round).

Moorish Castle

On top of a mountain is located this enclave also known as the Moorish 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 are passionate about top-chef cuisine, in Sintra you will find the Bristol restaurant by chef Sergi Arola, but you will have to book well in advance.

10. When to go to Sintra

Aerial view of the Castle of the Walls in Sintra
Aerial view of the Castle of the Walls in Sintra

Like Lisbon, Sintra receives tourists all year round. During high season (June to August) you will find the town more lively, but there will also be greater queues to visit the Pena Palace and the entrance fees to the tourist sites will be higher.

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 during the summer Sintra will always be less hot than Lisbon. The ideal month to visit the city is September since the weather will be ideal and you will skip the summer crowds in the tourist spots.

11. If you liked the excursion to Sintra, you will also like...

Nazaré | ©Sergei Gussev
Nazaré | ©Sergei Gussev

Sintra is not the only must-see place close to Lisbon. The surroundings of the Portuguese capital are quite impressive so, if you have not yet booked your plane ticket, let me tell you that adding a couple of extra days to your trip and fit in an excursion or two is the best thing you can do.

The Algarve, Fatima, Sesimbra, Nazaré, Óbidos, Arrábida, Evora... if you haven't heard of these places, after visiting Lisbon I'm sure you will. In this article about Best Tours and Day Trips from Lisbon you will find all the information about which places you should not miss during your trip to Portugal.