Sintra is the famous suburb of Lisbon which includes many parks and palaces. You will discover a beautiful natural landscape, the center of a small Portuguese city, royal palaces and charming parks, all surrounded by beautiful vegetation. The visit to Sintra is a must for all those who come to visit Lisbon. In this article you will find all the information you need to visit Sintra: how to get there by bus, what are the main visits to Sintra and some information about each of them regarding prices or timetables.
Guided tour of Sintra
Some of you will want to visit Sintra alone and this is not a problem if your visit is well prepared, so that you are sure not to miss anything. There are many things to see in Sintra and it would be a shame for your first one to miss half of them and their meaning.
That’s why for those who wish to organise a guided tour of Sintra, i.e. to be accompanied by an english speaking guide who knows what he is talking about, then you will find below a selection of the best rated and commented guided tours of the area. If you wish to discover others to make your choice, just click on the button just below. The comments are visible, the visits are all organized by english-speaking guides and can be cancelled up to 24 hours before the start of the visit, so that you don’t take any risks and don’t make any mistakes.
Some organizers will meet you somewhere in Lisbon, others will pick you up directly at the hotel, depending on the price of the tour. You have visits by bus, mini-van, on foot, organized for a day or half-day, it’s up to you to choose according to your wishes. Please note that you have some visits only of Sintra but in general, the organizers take you to discover the surroundings also as Cascais.
How to get to Sintra
First of all, please note that it is not necessarily necessary to find a hotel in Lisbon depending on your visit to Sintra. Some of the guided tours of Sintra pick you up in front of your hotel and if you do this tour on your own, then you can easily take transport from Lisbon to the train station and then to Sintra. Oriente or Entrecampos train stations will take you there but they are not in the centre of Lisbon. Unlike the Rossio station where the train will take you to Sintra in only 40 minutes. It’s not complicated and it’s not expensive, so you can take it several times and make as many return trips to Lisbon and Sintra as you like.
If your hotel is in Cascais, then you can take bus number 403 to Sintra via Cape Roca.
For your information, there is the Lisboa Card: a card that will give you access to many discounts on transport, tickets to monuments and even free entrance to some of Lisbon’s sights. Discover the main discounts and all you need to know about the card by visiting the Lisboa Card page, or click on the card below to order it directly online.
Click on the Lisboa Card to order it online
Lovers of chic historical hotels will be able to stay directly in Sintra, I recommend one of these two hotels:
- The Tivoli Palacio of Seteais: a five-star hotel with all imaginable and unimaginable amenities and a magnificent view of the Castle of Moors and the Palace of Pena. If this building had not been a hotel, it could have been a museum!
- The Palacio of Sintra Bed & Breakfast is also a very good choice, not far from the Quinta da Regaleira estate and much more affordable than a five-star palace.
Bus to Sintra from Lisbon
Different buses to go to the different visits of Sintra :
- Palais national de Sintra : Bus n° 434 et n° 435
- Palais Pena (Palais + Parc) : Bus n° 434
- Palais de Pena (Parc) : Bus n° 434
- Château des Marues : Bus n° 434
- Le manoir de la comtesse Elda : Bus n° 434
- Quinta da Rigaleira : Bus n° 435
- Palais de Montserrat : Bus n° 435
- Monastère des Capucins : Bus n° 435
Excursions to Sintra
Visit to the National Palace of Sintra
The most accessible and best known of all the excursions in Sintra: the National Palace of Sintra. You can easily get there from the train station. The walk will not take more than 10-15 minutes. Buses 434 and 435 pass in front of the palace. The National Palace is located in the centre of Sintra and around it there are houses, restaurants, cafes and museums. There is no park nearby.
It is the only palace in Sintra that has kept its shape since the Middle Ages. It began to be built in the 12th century. During the first three centuries, the palace was rebuilt, rebuilt, decorated in a new way, and then left as it was in the middle of the 16th century. In the National Palace of Sintra, you will see rooms decorated in the Mudejar style, tiled with azulejos, furniture, that is to say, the Portuguese coloration is strongly present. The visit will last about an hour and a half.
It is possible to register for the visit with a guide directly on the spot but only in English at 2.30pm every day. In addition to the tickets, you will have to pay 5 € for the guided tour. You can also discover on this website a guided tour of Lisbon according to your wishes.
Visit to the Pena Palace in Sintra
The Pena Palace is one of the most beautiful pearls of Sintra and an unmissable site. If you have to visit only one, then this is it. Most tourists visit this palace perched in the hills of Sintra. It was built in the first half of the 19th century by the Portuguese king of German origin, Ferdinand II (Fernando II), in the style of historical romanticism.
The appearance of the palace is enchanting and attracts the attention of all those who have only seen it on a postcard or on the Internet. Pena Palace is surrounded by a huge park, also worthy of attention. The view from the top of the palace is breathtaking but be careful, the climb is rough. There are paying minibuses that will take you from the entrance of the park to the foot of the Pena Palace.
You can also book a tour with a guide on the spot but only in English at 2.30pm every day. In addition to the tickets, you will have to pay 5 € for the visit. The estate of the Countess of Elda is located in the park of Pena: it is a modest alpine chalet. For the Portuguese, this residence is important, as well as the memory of the love story of their king and a simple opera singer. If you still want to visit this house, you can plan to drop by on your way up to Pena Castle.
If you get to the bottom of Sintra, you can easily find a tuk tuk that will take you up to Pena Palace.
Visit of the Castle of the Moors in Sintra
The Moorish castle is located very close to the palace of Pena de Sintra, the distance between the two is only 200 meters, but the vegetation is lush and the journey will not be easy. The Castle of the Moors is a medieval fortress that has been extensively restored. The view is superb, you will remember it. There is no interior in the Moorish castle but there are archaeological areas. The Moorish castle is very close to the castle of St. George in Lisbon.
For a day trip to Sintra, I advise you to visit the National Palace, the Pena Palace and Park and the Moorish Castle. It’s already a lot and you will find it difficult to see more on one day. The palaces and the castle are located along a bus line number 434, which is very convenient if you visit Sintra by yourself.
Visit of the Quinta da Rigaleira to Sintra
Quinta da Regaleira was built by the Brazilian Portuguese millionaire, Carvalho Monteiro, at the beginning of the 20th century. The peculiarity of this vast and very interesting building is its mystery and symbolism. Until the 1960s, the estate was privately owned and has since passed into the public domain. At Quinta da Regaleira there is a mysterious initiation well or inverted tower that sinks deep into the ground. The 9 floors of the tower symbolize the 9 circles of hell of Dante’s Divine Comedy. And that’s not all, there are many different pavilions in the park, caves and underground passages. Everything was built for a particular reason and has a deep religious significance.
A walk through the park and the palace will take between 2 and 3 hours. From the train station the estate is only 2 km away and the terrain is quite flat. It is quite possible to do it on foot. But if you also want to visit the Palace of Montserrat, you must absolutely book a ticket for bus number 435 round trip.
Visit of the Montserrat Palace in Sintra
The Montserrat Palace is located on the other side of the Sintra Mountain and is not visible from the Quinta da Regaleira estate. It is practically impossible to reach it on foot, 4 km from the centre of Sintra by road.
The palace of Montserrat is famous for its British masters and for the fact that Byron himself sang it in his poem “Child’s Harold’s Pilgrimage”. When he visited Sintra in 1809, the palace of Pena and the Quinta da Regaleira estate did not yet coexist. The interior of the palace of Montserrat is characteristic of medieval, Indian and Moorish styles. The palace is surrounded by a magnificent park, more like a collection of plants collected from all over the world, than a botanical garden. The estate was built in several stages. Our current vision is that of the British industrialist Sir Francis Cook from 1856 to 1863.
Visit of the Queluz palace in Sintra
The Queluz Palace is an example of Portuguese Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassicism. Built in 1747, the palace later became the permanent residence of the royal family. The Palace of Queluz surrounds a beautiful park and differs from all the palace complexes and parks already mentioned by the fact that it was built in the same style as Versailles in Paris. Its visit will be interesting for those who want to get acquainted with the peculiarities of the Portuguese Baroque. Those who have already managed to see several Baroque palaces elsewhere may find it somewhat similar.
The Queluz Palace is located 14 km from the centre of Lisbon and 15 km from Sintra. There are two ways to get there: if you go to Sintra by train, you have to get off at Monte Abrão or Queluz-Belas station before going to Sintra. Count about 1 km between the stations and this palace of Sintra.
Or you can go to Queluz Palace by bus directly from Lisbon. Bus number 101 leaves from Tercena metro station, bus number 106 leaves from Falagueira-Carcavelos metro station. In one of the palace buildings there is a luxury hotel (the Pousada Palacio de Queluz) with a reasonable price for the standard and services offered.