Knowing the sights of Sintra is like entering film sets at each stop. Although many consider it a city, Sintra is a super special village. Located about 25 km away from Lisbon, the region is full of charming corners and surreal places.
For you to have an idea of the importance of the village, it is considered UNESCO Heritage in the category of protected cultural landscape. If you are planning a trip to Portugal, be sure to take a day off the itinerary to get to know Sintra and enjoy a little of the enchantment that its attractions offer. To make a really cool schedule, just write down the tips that I will give now 😉
How to get
As I already told you in other posts, one of the best ways to get around Portugal is by car. Being a small country, you have the chance to make an unforgettable road trip. You just need to rent the car and then plan the route. If you leave Lisbon, the journey time will be less than half an hour. Very quickly, right?
If you do not have the option of renting a vehicle, you can reach Sintra by train. In this case, the trip will take less than an hour, but it will still take more time than by car. Arriving in Sintra, you will have to know the city using local buses. It is very quiet, but be sure to count the waiting time of the buses when setting up the script.
Where to eat
To start the morning well, or have a delicious afternoon coffee, Café Saudade and Casa Piriquita are two of the most recommended places there. Café Saudade is a super cute place that makes delicious apple pies – their confectionery is one of those that makes you want to taste a little of everything. To eat the traditional sintra pillow in a super traditional place, just stop by Casa Piriquita. They also serve other sweets, but the sintra pillows steal the show!
At lunchtime, one of the most popular restaurants there is Incomum by Luis Santos. It has few vegetarian / vegan options, but the menu for meat eaters is quite varied. For dinner, two options that you must take into account are Dom Pipas and Nau Palatina. Both are restaurants dedicated to typical Portuguese food and are often frequented by many locals 🙂
Quinta da Regaleira
Whenever we travel we have to make a list with “must do” tours, right? After all, we cannot forget any of the must-see places in each region. Quinta da Regaleira is certainly one of those places. Be sure to set aside at least a couple of hours to get to know this enchanted and surreal and beautiful place.
From the photos of Quinta da Regaleira, you can already imagine the grandeur and beauty there. The complex was built in the middle of a forest, and it has several caves, lakes and waterfalls, in addition to the huge palace. One of the landmarks of the place and perhaps one of the most photographed spaces at the Quinta is the initiatic well.
This well, which projects 27 meters into the earth, is full of symbols and enigmas. It is believed that it was used for rituals of initiation to Freemasonry! Curious tourists can go down 9 flights of stairs, each with 15 steps, to reach the end of the well. Here is another reference: some say that these moves represent the 9 circles of hell, as written by Dante in The Divine Comedy. It is a very different and interesting story, so we are super anxious to get to know the place.
Those who enjoy history and super old buildings will love to know the Castle of the Moors. The castle ruins and the view from the top are incredible. It’s that kind of breathtaking view. The place is extremely rich in history, since it was built around the 10th century and, since then, it has been taken over by different dynasties.
Another factor that altered its original construction was the great earthquake that hit Portugal in 1755. Still, it is an incredible place. During the tour you will be able to climb the towers and get to know various parts of the Castle. In addition, it is a great tour for those who want to know a little about the history of Portugal and understand the importance of the region.
Unlike other palaces and castles in Sintra, the Monserrate Palace has a different architecture. The main influences for this construction are Indian and Gothic, so he is more eccentric and peculiar. The decoration of the place also follows this same line, it is worth spending a few hours exploring the space!
The outside of the palace is also incredible. The gardens have plant species from different parts of the world, creating a beautiful landscape. Ah, another positive and interesting point of having plants from different continents is that there will always be some of them giving flower or getting more beautiful than usual. Visiting the place is like two walks in one, as both the park and the palace are must-see attractions.
Pena Palace and Pena Park
Located at the second highest point of the Serra de Sintra, the Pena Palace is another corner of the village that cannot be left out of the itinerary. It is inside the Parque da Pena, which gathers very interesting gardens and buildings. The construction of the palace basically has two wings, one of which was the former Manueline convent of the Order of São Jerónimo and the other made at the request of D. Fernando II.
The main architectural inspirations for the repair of the monastery and the construction of this second wing were constructions of German romanticism. For those who want to know a space with characteristics of romanticism, this is a good place. In addition to the Pena Palace, the Chalet da Condessa is also a point of interest for those who go to the park. It was built to function as a summer house for monarchs, so it has a very cozy and more reserved structure.
If you have even more time in Sintra, there are other tour options as wonderful as those already mentioned. To see the sunset, for example, Cabo da Roca and the path to the village Azenhas do Mar are two surreal points. As they are far from the center of Sintra, these two tours are best for those traveling by car!
Two other historic buildings that are often part of the tourist itinerary are the Convento dos Capuchos and the Palácio de Seteais. In my view, they are not that interesting when compared to the other attractions. Still, it’s worth the visit if you have time left 🙂
Did I leave some really amazing place outside the post? So comment here to let me know! Your tips always make our itinerary more interesting, so we love it when you share your experiences here on the website and also on instagram ❤