Looking for something fun to do while visiting Lisbon but only have a day to spare? My top recommendation is to take a Sintra day trip!
Sintra is a small town located just outside of Lisbon that is full of history and culture. There are plenty of things to do during a Sintra day trip, such as visiting the Castle of the Moors, touring the Pena Palace, or hiking through the Forest Park.
And, since it’s so close to Lisbon, it’s easy to get to! Although we loved Sintra so much we ended up staying for a few days, it’s well worth a visit if you only have a day free while visiting Lisbon.
Don’t have time to go through the entire post?
Here are my top picks on where to stay, where to eat, and what to do when visiting Sintra:
? Where to stay: Penha Longa Resort
? Where to eat: Nau Palatina
?♀️ What to do: Visit Pena Palace & Park
Here’s everything you need to know if you want to plan a Sintra day trip from Lisbon!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of them I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, which allows me to keep this blog up and running!
Table of Contents
What is Sintra?
Sintra is a small town located in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains, just outside of Lisbon.
The town is full of historical landmarks and cultural attractions, making it a popular day trip destination for tourists visiting Lisbon. Some of the most popular things to do in Sintra include visiting the Castle of the Moors, touring the Pena Palace, and hiking through the Forest Park.
There are also several museums and art galleries in Sintra, as well as a variety of restaurants and cafes.
Sintra’s Royal History
Sintra has a long and rich history dating back to the Moorish occupation of Portugal. The town was first settled by the Moors in the 8th century, and it remained under Moorish rule until the 12th century.
After the Reconquista, Sintra was taken over by the Christians and became an important stronghold in the Portuguese kingdom. The town continued to play a significant role in Portuguese history throughout the centuries.
In 1838, King Pedro IV declared Sintra a “town of artists”, and it became a popular destination for writers, painters, and other artists from all over Europe.
Today, Sintra is considered one of the most important cultural landscapes in Portugal.
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The Fairytale Town
Sintra is often called the “fairytale town” due to its magical atmosphere and beautiful setting. The town is surrounded by lush forests, hills, and mountains, and it has a number of palaces and castles that look like they’re straight out of a storybook.
If you’re looking for a destination that’s full of history, culture, and natural beauty, then a Sintra day trip is perfect for you!
Sintra is located in Portugals coastal mountain range, and because of its elevation and vegetation, it has its own unique climate.
The mountains block the cold ocean air from reaching the town, which creates a temperate climate that is warmer than the surrounding areas. The town is also surrounded by lush forests, which further contribute to the warm and moist environment.
Even though the weather is temperate, you’ll often find low clouds and mist covering the mountain. This simply adds to the mystical and magical energy of Sintra. The combination of factors creates a unique ecosystem that is home to many rare plant and animal species.
Getting to Sintra from Lisbon
There are a few different ways to get to Sintra from Lisbon.
The easiest way is by car, which takes about 45 minutes. Keep in mind though, that the roads in Sintra are narrow so you need a small car and you must be comfortable with winding roads that take you high up into the mountains and through the forest.
? Book a rental car in Lisbon to make your day trip to Sintra quick and easy!
Therefore, the most convenient way to get there is by taking the suburban train from Rossio Station in Lisbon. The journey takes about 45 minutes and trains run every 30 minutes or so.
? If you’ll be traveling by train while in Europe consider getting a Rail Europe Pass!
Once you arrive in Sintra, you can explore the town on foot.
Things to Do in Sintra
There are plenty of things to do during your Sintra day trip!
Here are some of our favorites:
Visit the Castle of the Moors: The Castle of the Moors is a ruined Moorish castle that is located atop a hill in Sintra. It offers stunning views of the surrounding area and is definitely worth a visit.
Tour the Pena Palace: Pena Palace is a colorful palace that was built in the 19th century. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Sintra and it’s easy to see why! A tour of the palace is a must-do while you’re in town. Although the palace itself is the main attraction, we absolutely loved the gardens around the palace and spent hours exploring the natural wonderland too.
Hike through the Forest Park: The Forest Park is a large park that surrounds the town of Sintra. It’s a great place to go for a hike or simply enjoy the scenic views.
Visit the Sintra National Palace: The Sintra National Palace is a former royal palace that was built in the 15th century. A tour of the palace is a great way to learn about the history of Sintra.
Wander around Quinta de Regaleira: Quinta de Regaleira is a large estate that features gardens, fountains, and tunnels. You may recognize it from the spiral initiation well that’s prevalent on Instagram.
There are also several museums and art galleries in Sintra, as well as a variety of restaurants and cafes. No matter what you’re interested in, you’re sure to find something to do on your Sintra day trip!
FAQs about Going on a Sintra Day Trip
Do I need a car to get around Sintra?
No, you don’t need a car to get around Sintra. The town is small and easily navigable on foot. If you’re planning on doing some exploring outside of the town center, then you might want to consider renting a car.
What are the best things to do during a Sintra day trip?
The best things to do in Sintra depend on your interests. Some of our favorite activities include visiting the castle, touring the palace, hiking through the forest park, and exploring Quinta de Regaleira.
How long should I spend in Sintra?
We recommend spending at least a full day in Sintra. This will give you enough time to see the town center and some of the major attractions. If you’re short on time, then you can still see a lot in just a few hours.
What is the best time of year to visit Sintra?
The best time of year to visit Sintra depends on what you’re interested in seeing and doing. For example, if you want to see the castles, then we recommend visiting during the spring or summer when the weather is warmest. However, if you’re more interested in exploring the town center, then any time of year is great!
Is it worth going to Sintra?
Absolutely! Sintra is a beautiful and historic town that is full of interesting things to see and do. We definitely recommend taking the time to explore it if you’re visiting Lisbon!
Should I visit Sintra or Cascais if I only have a day free?
It really depends on what you’re interested in seeing. If your goal is to explore the stunning countryside, then Sintra is the better option as it offers more opportunities for hiking and sightseeing. However, if you’re looking for a beach day, then Cascais would be the better choice.
Plan Your Sintra Day Trip Now
If you’re looking for a fun day trip from Lisbon, then be sure to add Sintra to your list! With its historical landmarks and cultural attractions, it’s a place that you won’t want to miss.
So, what are you waiting for?
Plan your Sintra day trip now and get ready to explore this stunning Portuguese town!
Sintra looks like a great place for a short holiday. Thanks for sharing!
So many great things to see and do. If you are a castle lover, this would the perfect destination to spend a day or two.
The low clouds and mist in that first picture are so dramatic. Picture postcard perfect.
I am going to be visiting Lisbon this winter, so this is a helpful post to decide if we want to go to Sintra. I think the answer is yes after reading the post.
Sintra is the perfect day trip from Lisbon; the city is architecturally stunning. I really think that both Cascais and Sintra should be on people’s itineraries. They both offer so much.
I wish I would have eliminated a day in Lisbon to explore Sintra. Everyone raves about it.