On our first trip to Lisbon, I had no idea what there would be in the city to do. It was our first time there and we didn’t really know what to expect. We had booked an apartment to stay in and the lady who checked us in gave me a brochure for a nearby town of Sintra. The moment I saw the bright colours of Pena I was hooked and the decision was made. We were going to visit Sintra and spend a day in Sintra.
What we didn’t know was the number of things there are to do in Sintra. For such a small place there are so many places to visit and sights to see. I honestly think that a day in Sintra is just not enough but many people would find it hard to fill more than a few days in Sintra unless they planned to just take it very easy in the area.
We had two visits to Sintra although they are years apart and I would easily go back to visit Sintra again to see more. I think if you have around three days in Sintra you would be able to see all that the town has to offer and the amazing castles where the Portuguese Royalty called home. But if you are like us and you were pressed for time I would pick the highlights and make sure I got to them first if you only had a day in Sintra.
In this post, we will give you as much information on the best way to visit Sintra and some Sintra itinerary ideas as well. I honestly think if you are able to find some time and some great accommodation in Sintra it would be well worth staying a few days then either moving back on to Lisbon or onto another part of the country. I hope next time we will stay three nights in Sintra and then move back into Lisbon to see out our time there. This will give our kids the time they need to relax as well. There is just too much to see in a day in Sintra.
What is there to see in Sintra?
As I said before there is so much to see in Sintra. It is the area where the Portuguese Royalty had their summer residences and so there are palaces and castles as well as some grand homes where the nobility that followed along would live as well. Some of these places you can easily get to by purchasing a ticket on the Sintra 434 bus route.
Our Sintra must see list:
*Pena Palace (434 bus route)
*Quinta de Regaleira (434 bus route)
*Castle of the Moors (434 bus route)
*National Palace of Sintra (434 bus route)
*Sintra Old Town (434 bus route)
Is getting to Sintra easy?
Getting to Sintra is very easy if you are staying in Lisbon. You can catch the train to Sintra easily from Rossio Station in Lisbon. The train to Sintra can be busy so it is best to get there well before your departure time to purchase your Sintra tickets and if you are in a group to make sure you are able to get seats on the train to Sintra together. You will arrive at the Sintra train station and from there you can make your way via the 434 bus route into the centre of Sintra, you can walk or catch a taxi if you are staying in Sintra. We recommend that if you are only going to spend a day in Sintra get a Sintra tourist map from the 434 bus route driver as soon as you get out of the Sintra train station. From there hit the ground running!
So now that you are ready to visit Sintra lets start on some Sintra itinerary ideas!
One day in Sintra Itinerary:
If you have caught the train to Sintra you will arrive at the Sintra train station. Soon as you get off the train grab a Sintra tourist map and purchase a ticket on the Sintra bus 434 route. If you take the 434 bus route through Sintra it will take you to all the Sinta must-see sights and it will make your time travelling between them easier so you can see more.
We recommend you see:
- Pena Palace
- Castle of the Moors
- Quinta de Regaleria
There is a lot of walking to be done here. On our one day in Sintra, we had very warm weather and the girls struggled but if it was just Mark and I we would have been able to see these three easily. It really does depend on how hard you want to go.
Our Top Tips for a day in Sintra:
- If you can pack a lunch. There are so many places you can stop and enjoy a view while you eat. This will help you see more as you can eat on the run.
- You can also purchase lunch or snacks at some of the castles if you don’t want to carry extra weight all day.
- Pack extra water as at the Castle of the Moors and Quinta de Regaleira it was a little harder to get. There was a fully functioning cafe/shop at Pena.
- Watch the timetable for the Sintra bus 434 and get a Sintra tourist map. These will help you manage your time betwee the sights and won;t have you waiting for the 434 bus route for long.
Get the train to Sintra as early as you can. The benefit of that is you are beating some of the crowds both on the train and in the town itself. You may be one of the first to get into the sites and then you are already on your way when everyone else is just arriving.
2 days in Sintra Itinerary
- Sintra Old Town
- National Palace of Sintra
- Pena Palace
On your first day, you can take it easy after getting the train to Sintra. Check into your accommodation and then let yourself get settled. Getting to know where you are and what is around you would be a great idea and that is how you could see the Sintra centre of town. If you have time you could also see the National Palace of Sintra get that ticked off before heading up to Pena Palace.
- Castle of the Moors
- Quinta de Regaleria
These are the two sites in Sintra that took us the longest. The Castle of the Moors was hard on the kids and us, to be honest. There are so many steps and we needed to rest quite often. We did get there quite early and we were lucky that there were not many other people around. In saying that it was not a place I wanted to miss. Quinta de Regalreira was a nice walk. There were lots of things to explore for the girls and there were cats to pat! We were able to rest in the little cafe that was there too which was nice. If you did both of these it would be a day in Sintra that will work your legs!
Our Top Tips for 2 days in SIntra:
- You will be able to explore the gardens in the castles better if you have more time. The way they are designed is amazing and I have no idea how they keep them all looking so beautiful.
- There are so many hidden gems in the Sintra gardens. It would be a shame to miss some of them.
- There will be more places and time for you to sit and relax. you probably won’t need a packed lunch unless you want to see it all!
- Even if you do decide to use the Sintra 434 bus you can walk to some of the sites. There are plenty of walks around but remember there are some serious hills!
- There are small shuttle busses that get you from the entrance gate at Pena right up to the start of the castle. If you have little ones take that but then it is an easy walk through the gardens back to the entrance gate.
3 Days in Sintra Itinerary
Now, this would give you the best amount of time to do all of the top sites in Sintra. You can enjoy the gardens while stopping for a rest, lunch or just to take in the views. This would also be good for families visiting Sintra as a day in Sintra and all it has to offer can be tiring!
- Pena Palace and a walk through the grounds.
- Castle of the Moors and a walk to the peak to see Pena Palace.
These will get you the best value on the Sintra bus 434 route. You can get off at Pena, enjoy your time there and then catch the 434 bus route to the Castle of the Moors. You can have a snack at the cafeteria and then walk the grounds before a rest on the bus. Once you are at the Castle of the Moors you can work those muscles again.
Sintra Hotels for all budgets
|Nice Way Sintra Hostel||Free WiFi, Free Breakfast, Kitchen for cooking, Bar,Door locks, bunks, BBQ's, Living room with cable TV||Click for latest Prices|
|Dona Maria Parreirinha Guest House||Free Wifi , Free Parking, Free Cable Tv||Click for latest prices|
|Sintra1012 Boutique Guesthouse||Free Wifi, Games Room, Shared Kitchen, Laundry Service, Gift Shop, Family Rooms||Click here for latest prices|
|Quinta do Cabo Guesthouse||Free WiFi, Games Room, Fitness Centre, Horseback Riding, Bar, Room Service||Click here for latest prices|
|Casa Holstein Quinta de Sao Sebastiao Sintra||Hiking, Wind Surfing, Fishing, Bar, Baby Sitting, Family Rooms||Click here for latest prices|
- Seteais Palace
I have put these two on the middle day of the three days in Sintra as we have not visited Monserrate or Seteais as yet so I don’t know how long they would take to visit. We decided on our trips that it was easiest to catch the Sintra 4343 bus and stay on that route as it gave us the best chance of seeing as a day in Sintra would allow. This is why I say that if you can spend more than a day in Sintra it is a good idea.
- Quinta de Regaleria
- Sintra Town Centre
- National Palace Sintra
After you have been to all the Sintra must-see sights you are able to walk down the hill back to the Sintra train station and make your way onto wherever you need to go. On the way down the hill, there were so many little stalls that were selling craft and handmade items that I found myself stopping all the time to see what they had. All the items for sale were at a good price and the girls got a little piece of jewellery each. There were some really unique pieces and I did wish that I had a shipping container to get all the things I wanted!
I really hope that you will be able to spend a day in Sintra at some point in your travels. It is a gorgeous town and there is just so much to do there. I have been hinting to Mark not so subtly that I want to go and stay there for some time around the area.
Travel to Lisbon:
- Lisbon is the capital and biggest city in Portugal.
- Humberto Delgado Airport is located 7km from Lisbon City Centre
- It is the 24th largest airport in Europe in terms of passenger volume, having served 22.4 million passengers in 2016
- Lisbon Airport is served by 121 destinations with 47 airlines
- Lisboa is serviced by many international airlines and budget carriers. The airport is a hub for TAP Portugal. Lisbon is a focus city for easyJet, Ryanair, Vueling and Azores Airlines. You can check the prices of international flights to Portugal with cheapOair. Domestic flights can be booked with Expedia
- The airport and city are connected by the metro. Aeroporto Saldanha line takes approximately 20 minutes to reach downtown Lisbon
- The Aerobuses is accommodating for travelling with large luggage. The departures are available at Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 between 7:30 and 23:00 daily, and connect the airport with a number of major destinations in the downtown area. Information and bookings available here.
- Santa Apolonia and Lisbon Oriente are the two major trains station for domestic and international arrivals by train
- Check your trains prices here.
- Most international buses arrive at Lisbon’s Estação do Oriente bus station. Check your bus prices here.
- You can book an airport transfer with Suntransfers who we have personally used on many occasions.
- You can book a rental car with AutoEurope and have it waiting for you at Lisbon Airport.
Getting around Lisbon:
- Lisbon features an extensive public transport network, comprising both underground and surface means of getting around. The metros, buses and trams of Lisbon is one of the most cost-efficient and flexible manners of discovering the city
- Flat fare on the trams (streetcars) is now 2,85 Euros with the object being to make more users buy pre-pay passes. A single ticket on the metro is €1.90 without a rechargeable card, €1,40 with. There are a variety of passes available which reduce those costs considerably.
- Children under the age of 4 travel free of charge on the Metro, as long as they are accompanied by an adult.
- The popular Lisbon Hop on hop of bus is a great option for tourists wanting to see the main sights of Berlin. This tourist bus has 2 different routes that travel the sights of the city on a loop basis. For more information Look here!
- The Lisbon Card offers tree public transport and entries to major Lisbon sights.
Where to stay in Lisbon:
- Lisbon has accommodation options for every budget from Hostels, to apartments and hotels rooms.
- Hostels in Lisbon can start from as little as 15 euro’s a night for a shared dorm room.
- You can search Airbnb for their Berlin accommodation offerings. If you have never used Airbnb before get yourself $50 credit by signing and booking a stay right HERE.
- Hotels in Lisbon generally start at around $70 a night for a double room and increase incrementally as the luxury rating rises towards 5 stars. Google states that 3-star averaging $92, 5-star averaging $226 for a night stay.
- You can compare and book your stay on Trip Advisor
We have two more posts about the amazing Sintra on our website Wyld Family Travel that will inspire you to get there or to visit Portugal. If you do get there or you have visited we would love to hear about your time there.
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