Sintra: Day Trip from Lisbon

Sintra is a must do day trip from Lisbon. The cultural landscape of the little town of Sintra, together with the colourful Pena Palace and Moors Castle, feature in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Having visited the site, I can safely say that it sure does deserves to be on the list.

The Pena Castle is one of the most colourful castles that I have ever seen. Walking through the palace corridors made me feel like a little girl in fairyland.

If you are in Lisbon, you must make time to visit Sintra. While Sintra can be done as a day trip from Lisbon, I would recommend spending a night in the little town, away from the hustle bustle of Lisbon. There is plenty of green vegetation and the views from the hill are the perfect remedy to overcome travel jade.

Here are some tips for your trip to Sintra…

  1. Sintra can be easily reached by public transport from Lisbon – the distance between the two cities is a mere 25 kms. The best way to reach Sintra from Lisbon is by train, which ensures that you do not get stuck in traffic, especially in peak tourist summer months. The prime attractions of the Pena Palace and Moors Castle can be accessed easily by hoping on the tourist bus 434, which departs from the Sintra train station.
  2. The Pena Palace is lovely, especially from the outside and offers magnificent views. The bright colours make it a lovely backdrop for gorgeous pictures. However, it can get a tad warm, especially after walking around the palace and the hilly slopes around it. I would recommend that you wear comfortable breathable clothing in the summer months and dress in layers during the winter months.
  3. Exploring the Pena Palace and the Moors Castle involves a LOT of walking. Remember to wear comfortable shoes that let you walk around. The route isn’t paved in quite a few spots and there are pebbles that surely do not call for stilettos!
  4. There is a small souvenir shop that sells some snacks as well at the Pena Palace. I could not find a restaurant serving warm food. Also, getting vegetarian food is a little bit of a challenge in Portugal, especially if you are not in Lisbon. I would recommend carrying a snack (especially if you are vegetarian) with a bottle of water while you are out on your exploratory journey.
  5. While in Sintra, make time for the Initiation Wells of the Quinta da Regaleira. These ‘secret’, spiralling wells had been on my bucketlist for a very long time and I was delighted to be there. These majestic wells were never used for water, but were used for secret initiation rites.
  6. Various sites in Sintra, including the castle require a ticket. The line can be fairly long and hence, I would recommend buying your tickets online. Online, advance purchase of the tickets comes with a 5% discount as well.
  7. Sintra can be difficult to navigate without a map. I picked one up before I started my exploratory journey. However, even with a map, I would have been lost, had I not had my Portuguese friend with me. So, get ready to be lost…and enjoy it! The views are splendid and the architecture is great!
  8. To understand more about the history of the site, I would highly recommend the guided tour. There is plenty to see, but not much of information displayed across the sites. Etiherways, I am a big fan of guided tours, so I will always recommend one!

Enjoy Sintra…take lots of pictures…and come back with tonnes of memories! I did…and I am sure you will too!

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