Sintra Day Trip From Lisbon – The Comprehensive Itinerary (2024)

Sintra is a charming Portuguese town with stunning architecture and natural beauty, making it a popular day trip from Lisbon.

One of the main reasons that make Sintra an ideal day trip destination from Lisbon is its close proximity to the Portuguese capital.

The short distance between the two cities allows visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history, stunning architecture, and picturesque gardens and castles in Sintra without spending too much time on transportation.

This convenience leaves ample time to explore iconic landmarks like Pena Palace, Moorish Castle, and Quinta da Regaleira during your day trip while still enjoying a great evening back in bustling Lisbon.

Apart from its grand buildings, Sintra also has significant cultural importance to Portugal’s history. For instance, during medieval times, Sintra served as a summer residence for Portuguese royalty who sought refuge from Lisbon’s heat.

In this post, I will be including everything your need to know to plan the perfect Sintra day trip from Lisbon to make the most of your time when you come to explore Sintra.

See related post: 2 Days in Porto – The Ultimate Itinerary

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Summary of Sintra Day Trip Itinerary

  • Pena Palace
  • Moorish Castle
  • National Palace of Sintra
  • Quinta Da Regaleira
  • Monserrate Palace And Gardens

How to Get to Sintra?

Getting to Sintra from Lisbon is easy and affordable. Here are the transportation options:

  • Train: The best way to get to Sintra is by train. The train from Lisbon to Sintra takes around 30 minutes, and trains run every 20 minutes during the day. It costs less than €10 for a roundtrip ticket. If you have the Viva Viagem Card topped up, you can use it and skip buying the tickets. I prefer taking the train as it is a more convenient option to get to Sintra.
  • Bus: Several bus companies offer direct service from Lisbon to Sintra, including Scotturb. The journey takes around 45 minutes. I do not recommend taking the bus as it depends heavily on traffic which often causes journey delays.
  • Car: I also do not recommend driving to Sintra as it is a small town and the roads are somehow restricted. You will also have to park in town and use public transport or walk to the places of interest. But if you do choose to drive, come as early as you can as the car parks available are filled up quickly, especially during summer. 
  • Guided tour: If you want more flexibility or prefer a more comfortable ride, getting a tour from Lisbon is also an option. Check out some of the day tours provided below if you are interested:

Try to get to arrive in Sintra before 9 am in order to cover all the famous landmarks in Sintra. Use the itinerary to arrange the time wisely to purchase the tickets right in time to get back to Lisbon.

Highlights of Sintra

09:15 – 11:15 am:  Explore Pena Palace

sintra day trip from lisbon

One of the most iconic and breathtaking attractions in Sintra is Pena Palace and Park. It was built in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II as a romantic retreat. 

This colorful palace sits atop a hill, overlooking the town, and offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area.

The palace features a blend of Gothic, Manueline, and Romantic architectural styles that showcase Portugal’s rich history.

This whimsical palace has turrets, domes, statues, and intricate details that will leave visitors in awe.

Visitors can explore both the inside and outside of this landmark attraction as they stroll through lush gardens with exotic plants from all over the world.

Don’t miss taking photos at one of the palace’s most famous spots – the Triton Lake with its impressive statues guarding its tranquil waters, as well as the impressive landscape of Sintra that can be seen from the palace.

Pena Palace opens at 9:30 am daily. To save time on lunch, bring sandwiches and find benches in the park’s shaded areas before heading to the next destination.

Getting around Sintra: Take the tourist bus no 434 near Sintra train station to reach Pena Palace. It will take around 20 minutes to get to the top. Purchase the 24-hour pass (it costs around €15 for unlimited rides around Sintra on the day of purchase). Do expect long queues, especially during peak season. Avoid hiking the steep hill as you will possibly waste your time especially if you have only one day in Sintra.

Price ticket: The timed-entry ticket costs €20. You also can purchase discounted combo tickets to visit two landmarks in Sintra. The tickets can be purchased here.

11:15 am – 12:30 pm:  Visit the Moorish Castle

The Moorish Castle is one of the top attractions to visit in Sintra. The castle is located just right beside Pena Palace and only requires around 10 minutes walk from its entrance.

The castle used to be inhabited by the Moors until it was conquered by Alfonso Henrique, the first King of Portugal.

Since then it was abandoned and was hugely damaged by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. It is all thanks to King Ferdinand II who went to great lengths to ensure the castle is preserved until this very day.

The Moorish Castle holds a great similarity to the Wall of China, unlike other castles and fortresses that you find in Europe.

You will find here more tranquil in contrary to Pena Palace which is usually crowded with tourists.

The main reason to visit here is its impressive panoramic views of Sintra’s mountains and coastlines – but if you are visiting Sintra during unfavourable weather, you might want to skip visiting this castle.

Spend around 1 hour to leisurely stroll through the castle’s grounds, along its rugged walls and towers while soaking up some history and culture along the way. 

Price ticket: The skip-the-line ticket costs €12. You also can purchase discounted combo tickets to visit two landmarks in Sintra. The tickets can be purchased here.

12:30 – 1:45 pm:  Uncover the National Palace of Sintra

It’s time to explore the centre of Sintra. There are a few options to get from the Moorish Castle to Sintra National Palace.

  • By bus 434: Take the bus to get to the town, the National Palace bus stop (Sintra Vila) is just after the Moorish Castle bus stop.
  • By Tuktuk: You also can get into a tuk-tuk at the castle exit which costs €5 per person.
  • By Uber: Another way to get there faster is by hiring a Uber. Do note that it heavily depends on the traffic, so it might take longer if you are using this option. 
  • On foot: The easiest way is walking from the castle to the town. There is a shaded pedestrian path from the castle exit to the town centre, search for the sign Sintra Centro Historico. Walking will take approximately 15 minutes to get to the National Palace of Sintra.

The Palácio Nacional de Sintra is one of the most iconic landmarks in Portugal and a must-visit attraction when taking a day trip to Sintra. 

Located in the heart of Sintra’s old town, this palace has been around for over 500 years and was once used by kings as their summer residence.

When exploring the palace, you can admire the stunning throne room with its elaborate ceiling paintings or marvel at the exquisite Arab Room decorated with tiles from Seville.

Skip-the-line tickets are sold from €14.50. For those interested in history or architecture, purchasing a fast-track ticket to this magnificent building will provide an even deeper appreciation for its beauty and significance. 

1:45 – 3:15 pm: Discover the fabled world of Quinta Da Regaleira

To get to our next stop, you have these options in hand:

  • By bus 435:  Take bus 435 (direction Palácio de Monserrate) which will take you from the National Palace of Sintra to Quinta Da Regalia in just 10 minutes. You can use the 24-hour bus pass and need not buy a new bus ticket.
  • By Uber: You can get there by Uber which will take you there in 10 minutes.
  • On foot: Another option is by walking. At the palace exit, turn northwest and follow the main road (N375). It will take approximately 15 minutes to get there.

If you are a fan of Indiana Jones or Tomb Rider, then this place with soothe your craving for adventure in you.

Quinta da Regaleira is a mythical Gothic palace and garden complex that should be on every traveller’s list when visiting Sintra.

The property, which was built in the 19th century, has beautifully landscaped gardens with hidden paths, grottoes, lakes, and wells.

One of the most unique features of Quinta da Regaleira is its impressive Initiation Well. You can descend into the underground tunnel network which leads to small chambers containing wells adorned with symbols such as masonic motifs.

You may purchase your ticket in advance from the options below:

3:15 – 5:30 pm: Monserrate Palace And Gardens

To get to our last stop, there are two options available:

  • By bus 435: The journey will take around 10 to 20 minutes from Quinta da Regaleira to get here.
  • By Uber: You can also take the Uber for around €8, but it might be hard to get a ride during peak seasons.
  • I do not recommend getting there on foot as it will take around 40 minutes to walk from Quinta da Regaleira. You will need to save your energy later to discover the palace and its gardens.

Monserrate Palace and Gardens is a hidden gem located in Sintra that many visitors overlook, but it’s worth a visit.

The palace was built in the 19th century by Sir Francis Cook, an English merchant who was captivated by the beauty of Sintra.

The palace features a mix of Gothic, Indian, and Moorish architectural styles, making it unique from other palaces in Sintra.

The gardens of Monserrate are just as impressive as the palace itself. You can take a stroll through winding paths lined with exotic plants and trees from all over the world.

There are also several water features throughout the gardens, including small ponds and fountains.

It is recommended to spend 30 minutes in the palace and 1 hour in the gardens.

Please be mindful that you need to walk quite long to discover the whole palace and gardens complex – for instance it takes around 15 minutes from the ticket office to the palace.

As Monserrate Palace is usually the least visited landmark in Sintra even during the peak season, you can purchase the ticket directly from the ticket office.

More Fun Things To Do Around Sintra

Cabo Da Roca

Cabo da Roca is the westernmost point of continental Europe, located just a short distance from Sintra. The dramatic cliffs and stunning ocean views make it a must-visit destination for anyone in the area.

Visitors can take in the natural beauty of this rugged coastline while exploring walking trails that wind through pine forests and rocky outcroppings.

There’s even a lighthouse on site – perfect for snapping some unforgettable pictures to share with friends back home.

And if you need further encouragement to visit, consider this: Cabo da Roca has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its cultural and historical significance.

Beach Trips To Cascais

If you’re looking for some fun in the sun during your day trip to Sintra, a visit to the neighboring town of Cascais is highly recommended.

Located just 12km from Sintra, Cascais is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on Portugal’s Atlantic coast.

Praia do Guincho, known for its surfing opportunities and dramatic cliffs, is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

The calm and serene Praia da Conceição offers breathtaking views of the Estoril coastline and gives visitors a chance to soak up some sun or take a dip in the crystal clear waters.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or simply want to relax on a beach with stunning scenery, Cascais has something for everyone.

Wine Tasting Tours

For wine enthusiasts, a visit to Sintra offers an opportunity for unique wine-tasting experiences.

The region is known for its excellent wines with distinctive flavors and aromas.

The wineries offer tours of the vineyards and cellars accompanied by a guide who explains the history of the place, grapes grown in that area, and details about the different types of wines produced there.

Wine-tasting sessions provide an opportunity to taste some exceptional wines accompanied by delicious Portuguese cuisine.

Some popular wineries are Casal Sta Maria Wines & Gardens, Adega Regional de Colares Winery, and Quinta do Piloto Winery.

Where to stay in Sintra?

If you need more time to experience Sintra, then you might want to check these hotels:

Budget: Sintra Green Chalet Bed & Breakfast has stylish and cosy rooms with an en-suite bathroom, perfect for a short stay in Sintra. It also provides delicious breakfast within walking distance of the train station.

Mid-range: If you are looking for a unique stay without breaking your savings, then Villa Estefânia is the one for you! This place will without a doubt make you feel like staying in a royal palace! Each studio includes a kitchenette with impressive views over Sintra. Free breakfast is also included in the price tag.

Luxury: Valverde Sintra Palácio de Seteais is a five-star hotel which provides lavishly furnished rooms with stunning views of the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace. What’s more, the hotel also provides private tours of the landmarks in Sintra. 

Tips For A Seamless Day Trip To Sintra

Plan Ahead And Book Tickets In Advance

To make the most out of your Sintra day trip, it is essential to plan ahead and book tickets in advance. The popularity of the town’s attractions means that there are often long lines and wait times at entry points.

For example, if you plan to visit Pena Palace, buying a ticket online will enable you to enter straight away during your allocated time slot.

Planning ahead also helps with itinerary management. It allows you to efficiently allocate your time among various attractions without any surprises or sudden changes in schedules due to unforeseen circumstances.

Best Time To Visit Sintra

To make the most of your Sintra day trip, it’s crucial to choose the best time to visit. The summer months from June to September are the peak tourist season when Sintra can get crowded.

The queues at popular attractions like Pena Palace and Moorish Castle can be very long, making it difficult to explore them comfortably. An alternative is visiting in shoulder seasons such as spring (April-May) or autumn (October-November).

However, if you wish to avoid rain altogether, winter may not be a suitable option for you. Despite its colder temperatures, winter has its charm with many festive events and decorations throughout Sintra town.

Wear Comfortable Shoes And Clothes

To enjoy your day trip to Sintra, it’s important to wear comfortable shoes and clothes. The town of Sintra offers plenty of opportunities for exploration on foot, from the narrow winding streets of the Old Town to the vast gardens surrounding palaces and castles.

The weather in Sintra can be unpredictable even during summer months, so dressing in layers is recommended. You may start your day with a chilly morning fog but later experience warmer temperatures when exploring open-air attractions like Pena Palace or Cabo da Roca.

Bring Snacks And Water

It is essential to bring snacks and water for your day trip to Sintra. While there are plenty of cafes and restaurants in Sintra, they can be crowded during peak season, and you may not have time to stop.

As for snacks, pack some light bites like fruits or granola bars that are easy to carry around. Not only does this save you money on buying expensive meals, but it also allows you to snack while enjoying beautiful views along the way.


Sintra is undoubtedly one of the best day trips from Lisbon. There’s so much to see in Sintra – its town’s stunning architecture, natural beauty, and cultural significance make it a must-visit destination for anyone travelling to Portugal.

I hope this Sintra day trip guide is able to help you to plan the best day trip to Sintra ever!

You may find other things to do on GetYourGuide or visit Booking.com to find the best hotels deals to stay in Sintra.

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