Sintra is a wonderful little village just 20 minutes away from Lisbon. It has a unique mystical vibe, as it is surrounded by big mountains and a constant fog, several gardens and charming palaces. It is also home to two of the best Portuguese pastries – travesseiros and queijadas. Make sure you go on a Sintra day trip if you’re visiting Lisbon!
I don’t live in Sintra but I’ve been there more than 50 times, I would guess. I actually used to live in Cascais, which is only 10 minutes away from Sintra. As such, I really enjoyed going to Sintra on weekends. I really like the vibe of the village! Going there for walks in the woods, eating local pastries, having an Irish Coffee in a pub in the middle of the mountains were some of my favorite things to do.
I definitely think you should go on a day trip to Sintra – so here are my local tips on what to do and visit!
How to get there
You can easily get to Sintra by train from the center of Lisbon! You can catch the train at Entrecampos or Sete Rios stations in the center of Lisbon, for example. From the last train station, “Sintra”, you can walk to the village center – it just takes 10 minutes.
What to do & visit in Sintra
Start by having breakfast there and eat your travesseiro with a Portuguese expresso coffee. Go to “Piriquita“, the most famous (and best) place for travesseiros.
Quinta da Regaleira
Quinta di Regaleira in Palace
Then, after the sugar kick from the travesseiro, walk (about 1.5km) to Quinta da Regaleira. This is a beautiful place with a palace, chapel and a charming garden where you’ll probably get lost. It’s full of secret passages, tunnels and labyrinths. It’s absolutely worth spending the whole morning there, as you have a lot to see. The ticket price is just 10€!
Typical Portuguese lunch
After your visit to Quinta da Regaleira, return to the village center. There, have some traditional Portuguese lunch in one of the many delicious restaurants. Take this opportunity to eat some Portuguese traditional food: codfish with cream, roasted codfish, steak with mushroom sauce, piglet, Portuguese stew or try several “petiscos” (like tapas, but a Portuguese version)! If you have a sweet tooth, have a queijada for dessert.
Inside Pena Palace
After your traditional Portuguese lunch, it’s time for more sightseeing. Right in the village center, you can catch a bus to Pena Palace – the ticket costs 7€ return. Pena Palace is also a must-see due to its vibrant colors and amazing location, on the top of a mountain. If you’re lucky, there’ll be no fog and you’ll have a fantastic view to Sintra. If not, it’s also beautiful, as fog will give the palace a mystical vibe. The palace is in an excellent condition, as you can visit it indoors as well and see the king’s and queen’s rooms.
Cabo da Roca
Finally, if you still have time, go visit the Westernmost point in Europe: Cabo da Roca. From Sintra train station, catch the bus 403 (or hire a cab) to Cabo da Roca, a beautiful viewpoint. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to witness the fantastic sunset!
Other things I enjoy doing in Sintra as a local
- Enjoying a live Celtic music show at Casa do Fauno
- Going for tea and scones at Café da Natália
- Having a picnic at Lagoa Azul
- Going to the Medieval Fair in July and shopping for cute jewelry
- Go for walks and hikes in Sintra Mountains
I’m sure you won’t regret visiting Sintra, as it is full of culture, beautiful nature, history and mesmerizing art!