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How to Plan a Fairytale Lisbon to Sintra Day Trip: Everything You Need to Know

Planning a Lisbon to Sintra day trip? Here is everything you need to know about spending the perfect 1 day in Sintra, including the perfect Sintra itinerary, travel tips, and more!

With its historic charm, fascinating monuments, and close proximity to Lisbon, taking a Lisbon to Sintra day trip is a must on any Portugal itinerary. The historic town is famous for its extravagant palaces and mansions, dewy forests, and rich cultural heritage.

There is so much to see in Sintra that it is impossible to do it in just one day. However, spending one day in Sintra will give you a great introduction to the town, its beautiful monuments, and fascinating history. If you have more time on your Lisbon itinerary, you might consider spending an extra day in the town in order to see more of what it has to offer (I certainly wish I did).

While Sintra is located only about 30km (~18.5 miles) outside of Lisbon, it feels like a whole different world. Its green mountainscapes, thick, dewy forests, fairytale castles, opulent mansions, and exotic gardens feels like a page torn straight out of a fairy tale.

This is where the Celts once worshipped their moon god, where the Moors built a medieval castle up on the peak of the Serras, and where Portuguese royals and aristocrats escaped to during the sweltering summer months. This unique mix of natural beauty and historical significance has earned the town its UNESCO World Heritage site status.

Want to know how to plan the perfect Lisbon to Sintra day trip? Here is my exact one day in Sintra itinerary, what I saw, and what I wish I did differently, and everything else you need to know in order to plan your own fairytale Sintra day trip from Lisbon!

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Tips for Planning a Lisbon to Sintra Day Trip

Get there early!

You know what they say – “the early bird gets the worm.” I cannot stress this enough, especially for a popular tourist destination such as Sintra! As Sintra is the most popular day trip from Lisbon, it draws huge crowds, especially during the summer and on the weekends.

Therefore, you should plan to arrive by the time the monuments and castles open (9am during the summer months, and 10am in the winter). Remember that Sintra is very big and you will need time to make your way to your first stop of the day – give yourself an extra 30 minutes to an hour.

You may still encounter some crowds, but starting earlier will give you a huge advantage. An hour or so after opening, the tour buses will start arriving, and the madness will start!

You will probably only see 3-4 attractions, max

There are so many fascinating castles and monuments at Sintra that it’s impossible to see them all in just one day. A Lisbon local told me that realistically, you should only plan to see 2-3 monuments during a day trip.

As someone who travels very fast and loves to pack in a ton of activities in a very short period of time, I initially did not believe him. However, after spending a day in Sintra, I found his statement to be more or less true. After two castles, I was already pretty tired. After the third, I was pooped and absolutely done for the day.

Keep in mind that you will do a lot of walking during your Lisbon to Sintra day trip, and this walking will tire you out! (especially if you go on a hot day).

I originally wanted to see a fourth castle, and in hindsight, probably could have made it happen had I made some adjustments to my Sintra day trip itinerary. However, there was no way I could’ve mustered the energy to do any more than that.

If you want to see more than that, consider extending your trip to Sintra by staying overnight.

Consider visiting Pena Palace at the end of the day

I know, I know, I just said arrive early to beat the crowds. Most suggested itineraries for a Lisbon to Sintra day trip will suggest going to Pena Palace first to beat the crowds – heck, I did that very thing myself.

However, think of it this way – if everyone is telling you to go to Pena Palace first, then everyone else probably has the same idea. 

I never thought of it that way…but because of this rationale, a friend of mine decided to leave Pena Palace for the end of her Sintra day trip itinerary, and said she encountered few crowds by doing this.

I can’t say for sure that it is better this way because this is not what I personally did. However,I did find Pena Palace to already be super crowded not long after opening, so  it is definitely something to consider! (If you end up visiting Pena Palace at the end of the day, let me know how it goes!)

Wear good shoes + layers

Sintra has lots of cobblestone streets and uneven sidewalks, so you will want to be prepared with a pair of sturdy shoes. On top of that, you will be doing lots and lots of walking, so you will want to be comfortable!

The shoes I brought with me on my Lisbon trip are these boots, which are my fave, and my trusty pair of Rothys (these flats are also comfy and another favorite when I travel).

The weather in Sintra can be unpredictable and get super chilly, super quick. Not only that, it can be wet and foggy (which is one of the reasons that the nobility used it as their hideaway). Dress in layers! Carry a cardigan or light sweater with you in the summer, and as I went in the winter, I brought a packable puffer jacket (like this one) with me.

Bring snacks (and water!)

You’ll have a busy day of exploring ahead of you on this Sintra itinerary, so you don’t want to end up getting hangry! I ended up waiting too long to eat and ended up having to grab something to eat at the cafeteria at Pena Palace out of desperation. Needless to say, the food was bland and overpriced.

To avoid this, bring food and snacks so you don’t get hangry like me!

You’ll also be doing lots of walking during your Lisbon to Sintra day trip, so it is important to stay hydrated. I always carry this reusable water bottle on all of my trips – it is perfect for travel because it folds up into a compact size in your bag when it’s not in use!

Consider buying tickets online in advance

This requires a bit of advance planning, of course. I didn’t personally do this because I was lazy, and I wasn’t sure exactly how many monuments I’d be able to fit in on my Lisbon to Sintra day trip itinerary.

However, now that I’ve told you that you can realistically only fit in three, maybe 4 attractions on your Sintra day trip, buy your tickets in advance! This not only saves you time waiting in line, but buying your tickets online will give you a 5% discount.

In the summer months, wait times can be up to an hour (especially at the most popular sites, like Pena Palace), so pre-booking the tickets would be a huge advantage and time saver!

Buying combined tickets to multiple attractions will give you a discount, even if you buy them in person once you get to Sintra. For two sites, you receive 5% off, 6% off for three, 7% off for four, 8% off for five, and 10% off for six. You have up to 30 days to visit, so this is an especially great option if you plan to extend your stay in Sintra over multiple days.

How to Plan the Perfect Lisbon to Sintra Day Trip

How to Get From Lisbon to Sintra

Option 1: Driving from Lisbon to Sintra

Sintra is about 30-40 minutes by car from Lisbon, so driving is the fastest way to get there. By driving, you can have full control of how much time to spend in Sintra and at each of the monuments without worrying about train or bus schedules. Driving is also a good option if you are already planning a road trip around Portugal and plan to make Sintra one of your stops.

However, everything I had read about Sintra advised against driving there. The roads are narrow and hilly and not well equipped to handle tourist traffic. Parking is also a point of frustration, as many drivers fight for a very limited amount of spots.

Basically, even if you drive, you may end up doing a lot of walking and/or taking public transport within Sintra anyway. Plus, there are many guided tour options (which I will get to in a moment) available, or you can take the train, which is efficient, clean, AND cheap.

Which brings us to…

Option 2: Lisbon to Sintra via Train

Taking a train from Lisbon to Sintra is an easy, cost-effective option. Trains depart every 15-30 minutes (depending on day of the week and time of day) from the Rossio station in the Baixa district, close to many hotels and tourist destinations in central Lisbon. 

The trip takes approximately 45 minutes. Sintra is the final destination on the line so it is super easy and there is no chance of you missing your stop!

Trains start running before 6am so taking a Lisbon to Sintra train is a great option even if you are trying to get there super early! The last train departs around midnight, so you have plenty of time to explore without having to worry about making your way back to Lisbon.

If you are coming from the Lisbon airport, the Sete Rios bus station, or connecting via train from other cities in Portugal, there is another route that departs from the Oriente station, which is Lisbon’s main intercity rail station.

A one-way fare is €2.30, or €4.60 round-trip, making the train the cheapest option for getting from Lisbon to Sintra. If you are planning to use public transportation in Lisbon before or after your one day in Sintra, you may also consider getting a CP/Metro/Carris day pass for €10.70.

Option 3: Lisbon to Sintra Day Trip via Guided Tour

As Sintra is the most popular day trip from Lisbon, you will find no shortage of options for guided tours. This is definitely the easiest and most convenient option for planning a Lisbon to Sintra day trip.

The biggest advantage to taking a guided tour to Sintra is that many of them include an option to visit Cascais, a neighboring seaside town, and Cabo do Roca, the westernmost point in Europe. While you can technically visit one or both of these places yourself using public transportation, it is not an efficient route and not recommended.

In hindsight, I absolutely would have booked a guided tour for my Sintra day trip because I would have loved to see both Cascais and Cabo do Roca. I toyed with the idea of visiting Cascais later on my Portugal itinerary, but just did not have the time to return. Therefore, I wish I had taken a tour that made these stops as part of my Sintra day trip itinerary.

One disadvantage of booking a guided tour is that you are on a rigid time schedule so you usually only have very limited time to explore (which dissuaded me from booking one in the end).

That said, here are the best options for Lisbon to Sintra tours that I considered and would recommend:

  • Sintra, Cabo do Roca, and Cascais Full-Day Tour: This 8-hour tour includes hotel pickup and drop off from Lisbon. The itinerary includes stops at Sintra, Cabo do Roca, and Cascais. While in Sintra, the tour stops at Pena Palace, along with some free time to explore on your own. You can use this time to see Quinta da Regaleira, the Castle of the Moors, or spend time wandering the charming historic center of Sintra.
  • Sintra Highlights Full-Day Tour: This 8-hour tour picks up and drops off from Restaudores Square in central Lisbon and spends the entire day in Sintra. It makes stops at Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira, and Montserrate, which were the three attractions that I wanted to see most on my Sintra day trip. You get a guided tour inside each of the monuments, along with extra time to explore them on your own. Note that admission isn’t included, but your guide will help you purchase tickets and you get skip-the-line privileges, which is a huge advantage so you don’t have to wait in line.
  • Sintra, Cascais, and Cabo do Roca Small-Group Tour from Lisbon: I prefer tours that are done in smaller groups because they feel more personalized. This one is a good option for seeing Sintra, Cascais, and Cabo do Roca with a group of no more than eight people. This option also covers your admission ticket to Pena Palace.
  • Sintra and Cascais Private Full-Day Tour: This private tour is a great option because it gives you much more flexibility than a group tour. You can customize your Sintra day trip itinerary with this option so you can see what you really want to see and skip the rest!

How to Get Around During Your One Day in Sintra


While you can technically walk in between all the monuments in Sintra, it is generally not recommended. Keep in mind that Sintra is huge (like, really huge), and many of its main attractions sit on top of a giant hill. 

While you can walk to these sites, it is a pretty strenuous hike and can take up to 45 minutes to get there from the historical center. If you are trying to see Sintra in one day, this is a colossal waste of time – precious time that can be spent seeing another monument or two on your itinerary!

There are two exceptions to this rule: you can easily walk from the historic center to Quinta da Regaleira (about a 15 minute walk); and in between Pena Palace and the Castle of the Moors (about a 12 minute walk).

Public Transportation in Sintra

There are two bus routes that serve Sintra, which makes stops at the most popular castles and monuments.

Bus #434: 

  • Sintra Station
  • Historic center of Sintra/National Palace of Sintra (Palacio Nacional de Sintra)
  • Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros)
  • Pena Palace (Palacio Nacional da Pena)
  • Sintra Station

Every 15 minutes; €4.10 for single ride, €7.60 for hop-on, hop-off

Bus #435:

  • Sintra Station
  • Historic center of Sintra/National Palace of Sintra (Palacio Nacional de Sintra)
  • Quinta da Regaleira
  • Setais Palace (Palacio de Setais)
  • Montserrate Palace (Palacio de Monserrate)
  • Sintra Station

Every 25 minutes; €5 hop-on, hop-off fare

You can also purchase a bus ticket that covers both lines (as well as the bus going to Cascais) for €15.

These bus routes were created specifically for sightseeing, and are meant to allow you to see the highlights of Sintra in an easy, convenient, and affordable way. The buses run from 9:15am-7:30pm during peak season, and 9:40am-6:30pm during the off-peak months. 

Both of these buses run in a hop-on, hop-off manner, which means that you can catch the bus and make multiple stops along its route, in one direction only with no backtracking.

Do note that the buses can get very, very crowded during the peak summer months, so you may end up waiting a long time to get on one.

Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tour

Taking one of these hop-on, hop-off bus tours is another great way to make your way to all the highlights of the town during your Sintra day trip. Not only that, you also get audio commentary which gives you an insight into the history and significance of each site.

There are two routes included on the tour: the blue line, which makes stops at many of the town’s attractions; and the red line, which goes out to the coast and stops at Cabo do Roca. This option to go to Cabo do Roca makes this tour a good option!

Uber or taxi

Sintra is serviced by Uber, and there are taxis that make their way all around town. I actually ended up just missing the bus and didn’t want to wait for the next one, so I did end up taking an Uber. Fares were relatively affordable, but depending on where you are situated, you might end up waiting a while for a car since the roads are rather narrow and steep.

Tuk Tuk

You’ll find tuk tuks all over Sintra – you’ll find plenty lined up to greet you as you leave the train station. The bus is both cheaper and faster, so this isn’t the most efficient way to get around during your one day in Sintra, but it might just be the most fun!

One Day in Sintra Itinerary: What to Do and See on a Lisbon to Sintra Day Trip

Pena Palace (Palacio Nacional de Pena)

Chances are that when you think of Sintra, the image that comes to mind is the colorful Romantic towers of Pena Palace. Once I arrived in Sintra, I made a mad dash towards Pena Palace. It is by far the most popular out of the palaces and monuments in Sintra, so you will want to arrive as early as you can! (or consider leaving it until the end of your Sintra itinerary).

Pena Palace opens at 9:30 am during the summer season, and at 10am during the winter months. Keep in mind that the palace itself is located about 1.5 kilometers from the entrance – you will either have to walk 15 minutes, or take a shuttle bus for €3.

By the time I purchased my ticket and made my way to the palace, it was already 10:30am and swarming with people. During the summer months, it’s said that the ticket lines can be up to an hour long – ouch. It’s definitely a good idea to book in advance online to avoid any delays! 

There may already be a small crowd forming because many people will also have the same idea as you – however, you definitely want to make it to Pena Palace before the tour buses start arriving (usually between 11am and 3pm), because this is when things start to get REALLY crazy.

That said, there is a reason why Pena Palace is so popular – the Romance-style towers and the vividly painted facades look like a scene straight out of a Disney movie, and are unlike any other castle that I’ve seen before. 

Pena Palace sits 480 meters (1574 feet) high at the second highest point in the Serra Mountains. The site once used to be home to a monastery, which operated there until it was damaged and abandoned after the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755. Some aspects of the original structure can still be seen on the site.

The site was then acquired (along with the Castle of the Moors) by King Ferdinand II in the 19th century. Ferdinand was known to have an artistic eye and a taste of the extravagant, which resulted in this masterpiece. Pena Palace is a magnificent example of Romance style architecture (it was actually designed by a German architect who was inspired by Neuschwanstein and other castles in Bavaria), but is also influenced by Asian, African, and the Manueline styles. 

You should definitely take some time to walk around the entire exterior of the castle, admiring the terraces and towers. Be sure to not miss the little paths that lead around the main part of the castle. From here, there are views of the valley below, leading all the way out to the ocean on a clear day, as well as of the Moorish Castle.

There are many, many photo ops at Pena Palace, a big reason why it’s such a must-visit on your Sintra day trip from Lisbon! Even though I encountered a crowd of people during my visit to Pena Palace, I found that with a bit of patience, I was able to snap some photos without any people in it. 

There are two ticket options: one for the park only, which also allows you to see the outside of the castle; and one for a combined park and palace ticket, which will allow you to see the inside of the castle. I bought the combined ticket, but to be honest, I found the inside of the castle to be underwhelming – the highlight here is definitely outside!

The inside of Pena Palace

There is also usually a line to get inside the castle, even if you have already purchased your tickets. When I went (in late November), the line was not too bad (I waited maybe 10 minutes), but they can get very long – up to an hour. This is time that can be spent adding another attraction to your Sintra itinerary!

All in all, allow for an hour to walk around and take photos of the outside of the castle, and another hour if you want to see the inside. I ended up getting super hungry at this point, so I spent another 30 minutes to eat a very mediocre and overpriced lunch. 

In hindsight, I would have skipped touring the inside of the palace and brought snacks so I didn’t have to stop for lunch – this would have given me an extra hour and a half to add another monument on my Sintra itinerary.

There is a lot more to see inside the park itself – you could literally spend all day there! If you have extra time, some highlights include the Chalet of the Countess of Edla, the Cruz Alta viewpoint, the Alto de Santa Catarina and Queen’s Throne or Tee Hill.

Hours: 10am-6pm (winter), daily; 9:30am-7pm, daily (summer)
Admission: €14 for park and palace; €7.50 for park only (buy skip-the-line tickets here)

Historic Center of Sintra

Besides Pena Palace, I knew that I wanted to see Quinta da Regaleira. Because I was taking the buses to get around in Sintra, this meant that I had to head back towards the historic center. From here, you can either take the 435 bus or walk (15 minutes) to Quinta da Regaleira.

It would be a shame to take a Lisbon to Sintra day trip and not spend at least a little bit of time exploring the charming historic center. Lots of cute shops, churches, restaurants, and cafes line the quaint streets and narrow stairways here, which make for perfect wandering opportunities.

The famous travesseiros pastry from Casa Piriquita

If you want to have a proper sit-down lunch, this is a good time and place to do so. I definitely would have preferred to eat at one of the many restaurants here rather than in the Pena Palace cafeteria!

At the very least, stop for a travesseiros pastry. These famous pastries are synonymous with Sintra (what the pasteis de nata is to Lisbon, the travesseiros is to Sintra), so you absolutely must stop for one! The best ones in town are at Casa Piriquita, which have been churning them out since 1862. The word travesseiro means “pillow,” and that is the perfect word to describe these fluffy cakes, made of puff pastry, filled with an egg and almond cream, and sprinkled with a dusting of sugar.

National Palace of Sintra (Palacio Nacional de Sintra)

Because of its close proximity to the historic center, the National Palace of Sintra is an ideal stop on your Lisbon to Sintra day trip. The beautifully preserved medieval palace dates back to the eighth century, during the Moorish occupation. The Poruguese nobility lived in the palace from the 15th to 19th century, making this the most lived-in royal residence in Portugal.

The almost all-white Gothic-style exterior, with two massive chimneys, is one of the most iconic sights in Sintra. Because of its location right in the heart of town, it is also commonly referred to as the Palacio da Vila, or the Town Palace. You can also get some beautiful views of the town and its hills from the courtyard here. 

The interior of the palace is lavishly decorated, with extravagant golden details throughout. The rooms feature beautiful Manueline details on the doors and windows, along with traditional glazed tiles.

The National Palace of Sintra is easily seen in less than an hour, which makes it an ideal stop on your Lisbon to Sintra day trip itinerary. In hindsight, I probably would have moved this one to the end of my Sintra itinerary, as I would have preferred to see one of the monuments that were of higher priority on my list that I did not get to (either Monserrate Palace or the Castle of the Moors). However, at the time, it just made sense to just make a quick stop there since it was so close to the historic center and I was already passing through there anyway.

Hours: 9:30am-6pm, daily (winter); 9:30am-7pm, daily (summer)
Admission: €10 (buy tickets here)

Quinta da Regaleira

The sprawling Quinta da Regaleira spans over 4 hectares (almost 10 acres), and is full of lush trees, vegetation, ferns, and hidden pathways. It is one of the most popular attractions in Sintra, so buying tickets in advance is recommended to avoid wasting time waiting in line. 

However, the estate is so big that it never feels crowded and feels almost like a respite after surviving the madness of Pena Palace – part of the reason I loved Quinta da Regaleira so much on my Sintra day trip!

Quinta da Regaleira was built in the last days of the Portuguese monarchy in the early 20th century and was originally built for the Viscondessa da Regaleira. It was eventually acquired by the wealthy businessman António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, who was also nicknamed Monteiro dos Milhões, (Moneybags Monteiro). Therefore, Quinta da Regaleira is sometimes referred to as the “millionaire’s palace.”

Monteiro was an eccentric man who had some strange ideologies, the examples of which can be seen throughout his estate. There are many references to the Knights Templar, the Masons, and dark alchemy hidden throughout the grounds.

The gardens are full of lush trees, ferns, lakes, ponds, and waterfalls. It also has a series of hidden passageways and caves, along with Gothic fountains, statues, chapels, and towers.

The main draw at the Quinta da Regaleira, and the prime example of these ideologies, is at the Initiation Well. Built seven stories into the ground, the well connects to hidden tunnels and passageways that span the entire estate. 

It is said that the well was used for initiation rituals for the Knights Templar, and that it symbolizes Dante’s seven levels of hell. The well is beautiful, but it definitely has a dark, creepy vibe. If you come later in the day, it tends to get dark and photos might be tricky, but I was still able to get these shots just using my iPhone!

You can climb down to the bottom of the well and walk through the tunnels. It’s dark and narrow here, so it is not recommended that you do this if you tend to get claustrophobic. There is a second, unfinished well at the bottom.

It is complete darkness with low ceilings when you get to the tunnels – I was totally convinced that had gone the wrong way and somehow ended up in a place that I shouldn’t be at! Don’t worry, keep going…there will be light at the end of the tunnel. You will eventually exit out back to the main gardens by walking on some stepping stones in the pond, right behind a waterfall – this was so cool!

As I mentioned earlier, the Quinta da Regaleira estate is HUGE, and the initiation well is a bit far out from the entrance. It will be a bit of an uphill walk to get there – the gardens are beautiful and the well is so cool that it is worth it, but just know that it might drain your energy levels. 

Estate Chapel at Quinta da Regaleira

I had intended to stop at Monserrate afterwards, but doing all that walking here definitely tired me out and I was done afterwards – it didn’t help that I took some random side path and got lost and had to do the uphill climb twice! Don’t be like me and just follow the main path!

After you exit out of the well, you will find the Lake of the Waterfall, a little oasis area, and the Estate Chapel from above. Take some time to check these out before walking back down to the Regaleira Palace, the main house.

The five-story mansion is adorned with Gothic turrets, carved gargoyles, and other ornate features. Definitely take some time to walk through the rooms and check out the terraces, from which you can admire the beautiful architecture and greenery of the estate.

Allow at least two hours to fully explore the Quinta da Regaleira. While I was bummed that I had no energy left to make any stops after Quinta da Regaleira, I still loved it because it had a romantic yet mysterious vibe. The lush greenery made it feel like you were transported into a different world. It was such a unique, fascinating place to see on my Lisbon to Sintra day trip!

Hours: 9:30am-6pm (winter), 9:30am-8pm (summer), daily
Admission: €6, buy tickets here

The Moorish Fountain/Fountain of Armés (Fonte de Armé)

At the end of your one day in Sintra, make a quick stop to check out this fountain. I did a little bit of a double take when I saw this, as it looks like something you would find in Morocco (or even Spain), not in the village of Sintra!

The fountain was constructed in 1922 as an ode to the area’s Moorish roots and history. It is built in an Arabic style of architecture, but has details that are unique to Portugal – like those beautiful azulejos tiles!

It is just a short walk away from the train station, and worth a quick stop to admire this beauty on your way out of town!

Other things to see on your Sintra itinerary

If you have extra time on your Sintra day trip, or are feeling extra ambitious, I suggest checking out one of the below sites. I had hoped to add Monserrate Palace and/or the Castle of the Moors to my Sintra itinerary, but could not muster the energy to do so. 

Again, in hindsight, I would have spent less time at Pena Palace and skipped the interior, and/or gone to the National Palace of Sintra at the end of my day to create extra time to visit one of these.

Monserrate Palace (Palacio de Monserrate)

Monserrate Palace is fairly close to Quinta da Regaleira, so it can easily be added to your Sintra itinerary. To reach it, take the 435 bus from Quinta da Regaleira.

Monserrate Palace is located on the outskirts of town so it draws far fewer crowds than many of its other attractions. The palace features ornate architectural details, blending a mix of Gothic, Arabic, and Indian styles, along with stunning tilework. It also has beautiful, lush gardens that are worth exploring. 

Definitely have this one at the top of my list for when I make another Lisbon to Sintra day trip!

Hours: 9:30am-8pm, daily (summer), 10am-6pm, daily (winter)
Admission: €8; buy tickets here

Castle of the Moors as seen from Pena Palace
Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros)

The Castle of the Moors is a stop on the 434 bus and is located fairly close to Pena Palace, making it a convenient addition to your one day in Sintra itinerary. Built in the 9th century, this is one of the oldest sites in Sintra and once was used as a military fort, due to its unique vantage point of the Tagus River. 

It was severely damaged by a series of natural disasters and was all but forgotten until it was restored by King Ferdinand II in the 19th century, when he acquired it along with Pena Palace. You can see the Castle of the Moors from the Pena Palace and it looked intriguing, but I decided there were other spots that I wanted to see first and put this one on the back burner.

As it sits on one of the highest points of the Serra, there are supposed to be pretty incredible views from the Castle of the Moors! 

Hours: 9:30am-8pm, daily (summer), 10am-6pm, daily (winter)
Admission: €8; buy tickets here

The National Palace and Gardens of Queluz

This one sits a bit far out from where the rest of the attractions are clustered around in Sintra, so it may be difficult to access without a car. However, the National Palace and Gardens of Queluz has a blue and yellow pastel facade that just looks SO pretty!

Hours: 9am-7pm, daily (summer), 9am-6pm daily (winter)
Admission: €10 for palace and garden, €5 for garden only; buy tickets here

Where to Stay in Sintra

If you have extra time, consider staying overnight in Sintra. This will allow you to see much more of the town than on a day trip!

Here are some suggestions for where to stay in Sintra:

  • Seteais Palace (Tivoli Palácio de Seteais): How cool would it be to be able to say that you stayed in a palace in Sintra? By staying at the Seteais Palace, you can say exactly that! This 5-star hotel sits right near the Quinta da Regaleira and is on the 435 bus route, which makes it convenient for getting around to all the attractions in town. The hotel is decorated with ornate furnishings and stunning tapestries, with privileged views of Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle. If you want an unique, unforgettable experience and want to feel like a royal, definitely consider staying at the Seteais Palace!
  • Casa Miradouro: This guest house’s name translates to “viewpoint house” and it is exactly that – a house with incredible views of Pena Palace, the Castle of the Moors, and the ocean. The affordable guest house also has a bar, library, gardens, and a game room. 
  • Lawrence’s Hotel: Lawrence’s Hotel is the oldest hotel in Portugal and Spain, and is an ideal choice to stay for history buffs. This 5-star hotel once hosted famous authors, such as British poet Lord Byron and the Portuguese writer Eca de Queiros. The rooms have antique furniture and beautiful views, and the property also has a terrace and bar.
  • Sintra Boutique Hotel: This popular boutique hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Sintra, allowing for easy access to all the attractions in town. The property features four room types, including themed rooms that represent a different era from Portugal’s history.

What palaces and monuments would you like to see on a Lisbon to Sintra day trip?

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5 Perfect Days in Portugal
The Perfect Weekend Trip to Porto
A Fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle Day Trip from Munich
3 Days in Barcelona
The Most Instagrammable Places in Barcelona

A few of these photos were taking by Tit, as part of his Magical Photo Session in Sintra experience on Airbnb. Look him up if you’re looking to get some awesome photos in Sintra!


Saturday 4th of July 2020

Sintra castle is a fairytale place! The colours and the view are amazing! Really great post!


Tuesday 4th of February 2020

You covered Sintra SO well! We went last year and fell in love with this fairytale town!!


Monday 3rd of February 2020

So beautiful! Sintra has been on my list for a long time now but I didn't know there was a lot of other beautiful places to see around! I saved it for my trip there later! Thank you!!!

Disha Smith

Monday 3rd of February 2020

This looks like such a fun and dreamy trip! I'm hoping to go to Portugal later this year.

Tiana Bantis

Monday 3rd of February 2020

This guide was sooo helpful for my trip in May! I am going to try and go at the end of the day and hope the crowds aren't to bad!!