Things to do in
Sintra

Colorful palaces and boundless panoramic views await you in this fairytale town at a stone's-throw from Lisbon.

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Our most recommended things to do in Sintra

Lisbon Card: 24, 48, or 72-Hour Pass

1. Lisbon Card: 24, 48, or 72-Hour Pass

Unlock the city of Lisbon with the flexible Lisbon Card. Enjoy unlimited travel on city transport, and free admission to 37 museums, historic buildings, and more. Benefit from discounts at a vast range of attractions, vouchers for different shops, and a handy guide that explains how to use the card. After exchanging your GetYourGuide voucher for the magnetic card, the Lisbon Card immediately provides 24-hour, 48-hour, or 72-hour access to the public transport system. Eligible on the Carris metro, buses, trams, and cable railways, it also works on CP trains between Cais do Sodré and Cascais, and trains between Oriente, Rossio, and Sintra.   Skip the lines to enter Jerónimos Monastery, and climb the Belem Tower. Enjoy free access to the National Tile Museum, the National Coach Museum, and others. Admire stunning palaces, including the Mafra National Palace and the Ajuda National Palace. Ride the famous Santa Justa Lift, and much more—all with one card. The Libson Card provides free entry to the following attractions: • Jerónimos Monastery / Monasterio de los Jerónimos• Pilar7 Bridge Experience / Experiencia Pilar 7 • LISBOA Story Centre• National Tile Museum / Museo Nacional del Azulejo   • National Coach Museum / Museo Nacional de Carruajes  • National Ancient Art Museum / Museo Nacional de Arte Antigua• Sintra Mitos e Lendas• Santa Justa Elevator / Ascensor de Santa Justa• Mafra National Palace / Palacio Nacional de Mafra• CARRIS• METRO• CP-Comboios de Portugal• FERTAGUS• National Pantheon / Panteón Nacional• Ajuda National Palace / Palacio Nacional de Ajuda• MAAT - Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology MAAT - Museo de Arte, Arquitectura y Tecnología• Chiado Museum - National Museum of Contemporary Art / Museo del Chiado Museo Nacional de Arte Contemporânea• National Ethnology Museum / Museo Nacional de Etnología      • National Costume Museum / Museo Nacional del Traje     • National Museum of Theatre and Dance / Museo Nacional del Teatro y de Danza  • National Archaeology Museum / Museo Nacional de Arqueología• National Music Museum Music / Museo Nacional de la Música• Dr. Anastácio Gonçalves Museum-Residence / Casa-Museo Dr. Anastácio Gonçalves• Republican National Guard Museum / Museo de la Guardia Nacional Republicana• Ceramics Museum - Sacavém / Museo de la Cerámica - Sacavém• Air Museum / Museo del Aire• Batalha Monastery / Monasterio de Batalha • Alcobaça Monastery / Monasterio de Alcobaça• Tomar Convent of Christ / Convento de Cristo - Tomar• Museum of Neo Realism - Vila Franca de Xira / Museo del Neo Realismo - Vila Franca de Xira• Museum of the work Michel Giacometti / Museo del Trabajo Michel Giacometti• Casa da Cerca - Museum of Contemporary Art - Almada / Casa da Cerca - Museu de Arte Contemporanea - Almada• Chapel of the Holy Spirit of the Mareantes - Sesimbra / Capilla del Espíritu Santo de los Mareantes - Sesimbra• Museum of Setúbal - Municipal Gallery / Museo de Setúbal - Galería Municipal• Rua Augusta Arch / Arco da Rua Augusta• Greenhouse / Invernadero Frío• Maritime Museum of Sesimbra / Museo Marítimo de Sesimbra• CIRES – Roaz Interpretive Center of the Sado Estuary / CIRES - Centro Interpretativo del Roaz del Estuario del Sado

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Sintra: Pena Palace and Park Entrance Ticket

2. Sintra: Pena Palace and Park Entrance Ticket

The palace is situated in the eastern part of the Park of Pena, which one has to pass through to reach the steep ramp built by the Baron of Eschwege that provides access to the castle-like building. The palace itself is composed of two wings: the former Manueline monastery of the Order of St. Jerome and the wing built in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II. These wings are ringed by a third architectural structure that is a fantastical version of an imaginary castle, whose walls one can walk around and which comprises battlements, watchtowers, an entrance tunnel and even a drawbridge. In 1838, King Ferdinand II acquired the former Hieronymite monastery of Our Lady of Pena, which was built by King Manuel I in 1511 on the top of the hill above Sintra and had been left unoccupied since 1834 when the religious orders were suppressed in Portugal. The monastery consisted of the cloister and its outbuildings, the chapel, the sacristy and the bell tower, which today form the northern section of the Palace of Pena, or the Old Palace as it is known. King Ferdinand began by making repairs to the former monastery, which, according to the historical sources of that time, was in very bad condition. He refurbished the whole of the upper floor, replacing the fourteen cells used by the monks with larger-sized rooms and covering them with the vaulted ceilings that can still be seen today. In roughly 1843, the king decided to enlarge the palace by building a new wing (the New Palace) with even larger rooms (the Great Hall is a good example of this), ending in a circular tower next to the new kitchens. The building work was directed by the Baron of Eschwege. The 1994 repair works restored the original colors of the Palace’s exterior: pink for the former monastery and ochre for the New Palace. In transforming a former monastery into a castle-like residence, King Ferdinand showed that he was heavily influenced by German romanticism, and that he probably found his inspiration in the Stolzenfels and Rheinstein castles on the banks of the Rhine, as well as Babelsberg Palace in Potsdam. These building works at the Palace of Pena ended in the mid-1860s, although further work was also undertaken at later dates for the decoration of the interiors. King Ferdinand also ordered the Park of Pena to be planted in the Palace’s surrounding areas in the style of the romantic gardens of that time, with winding paths, pavilions and stone benches placed at different points along its routes, as well as trees and other plants originating from the four corners of the earth. In this way, the king took advantage of the mild and damp climate of the Sintra hills to create an entirely new and exotic park with over five hundred different species of trees. The Palace of Pena was designated a National Monument in 1910 and forms part of the Cultural Landscape of Sintra, which has been classified by UNESCO as World Heritage since 1995.

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Lisbon: Pena Palace, Sintra, Cabo da Roca, & Cascais Daytrip

3. Lisbon: Pena Palace, Sintra, Cabo da Roca, & Cascais Daytrip

Escape Lisbon and go on a full-day, guided journey to some of Portugal’s most popular locations stopping at the iconic Pena Palace in Sintra, the awe-inspiring cliffs of Cabo da Roca, and the ritzy seaside town of Cascais. Your journey from Lisbon starts at the famous city of Sintra, whose Romanticist architecture, historic estates and villas, and numerous royal palaces and castles have made it a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy the freedom of choice on whether you want an included entry ticket and tour of the colorful Pena Palace, or whether you prefer to gain some extra free time instead. Arriving early at Sintra means greater chances of avoiding long lines if you choose to go with your guide on a comprehensive tour through its lavish interiors and lush gardens. Marvel at the palace’s fairy-tale-like appearance, beautiful facade and extravagant interior. Next, head over to the center of Sintra and get 1.5-hour of free time to wander on your own. Get recommendations of the city’s must-see locations as well as the best restaurant options for delicious traditional Portuguese dining from your guide. Continue to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe, and take in the impressive views of the ocean crashing against the high rocky cliffs. If weather permitting, stop at Guincho beach, whose strong winds and high swells have made it a popular surfing destination. Lastly, arrive in Cascais, an elegant seaside resort town on the Portuguese Riviera. Stroll through the lovely city center and make sure to check out Cascais’ luxury marina, its charming fishing port, and a restored fort that houses many local craftsmen. After your free exploration time in Cascais, relax back on board your air-conditioned minivan, and admire more breathtaking views of the Portuguese coast as you make your way back to Lisbon.

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From Lisbon: Sintra, Cabo da Roca and Cascais Full-Day Tour

4. From Lisbon: Sintra, Cabo da Roca and Cascais Full-Day Tour

On this full-day tour you’ll discover Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire the villa that’s surrounded by an amazing natural park, a castle, beautiful palaces and chalets. Take a walk along the medieval streets of Sintra an drive through the national park and see the rare fauna, the unique trees, the Moorish castle, Monserrate Palace and the chalets. Visit Pena Palace, one of the most impressive expressions of 19th-century Romanticism in architecture in the world and one of Portugal’s seven wonders. Say goodbye to Sintra with an optional visit to mystical Quinta da Regaleira, a palace surrounded by luxuriant gardens, lakes, caves and enigmatic constructions that hide obscure alchemist meanings, evoked by Freesmasons, Knights Templar and Rosicrucians. Continue on to the westernmost point of continental Europe at Roca Cape. Travel along the coast and embrace the Atlantic, and stop in Cascais and Estoril, once retreats for the royal family and the European aristocracy.

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Sintra and Cascais Small Group Full-Day Tour from Lisbon

5. Sintra and Cascais Small Group Full-Day Tour from Lisbon

Depart Lisbon and journey by air-conditioned, 8-seat vehicle to Pena Palace atop a rock overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Hear the romantic story of the palace and feel like a member of the Portuguese royal family. Then, head to Cabo da Roca for panoramic views from continental Europe’s westernmost point. Pass the stunning beaches of Cascais, including the scenic Praia do Guincho. Experience the mystery of the Devil's Mouth cave, created by the crashing of the waves on the rocky bluff. Stop in the elegant resort town of Cascais, favored by the nobles of Europe for its idyllic setting. Stroll along the harbor before traveling back to Lisbon.

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From Lisbon: Sintra Highlights Full-Day Tour

6. From Lisbon: Sintra Highlights Full-Day Tour

Fall in love with magical Sintra, the lasting symbol of Portugal's Romantic period. Its stunning landscape is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage of Humanity site that is begging for exploration. Start the tour with a walk through the city center of Sintra and go to the decorative Quinta da Regaleira estate to explore the famous initiation well and the many lakes, fountains and the aquarium dotted across its grounds. The journey continues to the eclectic Monserrate Palace, a glorious estate that once served as a summer residence for the Portuguese court. Lunchtime will be spent wandering around the historical village, followed by a quick stop at local patisseries where you can try some of Sintra's well-known delicacies. Continuing on to the exotic Pena Park, come across the magnificent Pena Palace, a remarkable building complete with different decorative styles, symbols, and intriguing features.  

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From Lisbon: Sintra, Regaleira and Pena Palace Guided Tour

7. From Lisbon: Sintra, Regaleira and Pena Palace Guided Tour

Benefit from a guided tour inside the Quinta Regaleira and Pena Palace. Fall in love with Sintra, a village full of magic and mystery, the lasting symbol of Portugal's Romantic period and also classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Opt to treat yourself and loved ones to a private experience with your own guide and pickup from your own hotel. Alternatively, you can get picked up from a convenient location in the center of Lisbon. Accompanied by an enthusiastic and dedicated tour guide, you will visit Quinta da Regaleira and enjoy its lush gardens, lakes, grottoes, and enigmatic constructions, including the world-famous Initiation Well. Uncover the mysteries of each place and learn about the orders of the Freemasons and the Knights Templar. During the lunch break in Sintra's old town, you will have free time to explore the historical and charming streets. You will also have time to taste the traditional pastry, travesseiro. After buying your entry ticket with your guide, feel like you're stepping into a fairy tale when you enter the romantic Pena Palace and Park. Understand its unique architectural expression of Romanticism. Spot how it blends many styles, including Gothic, neo-Manueline, neo-Islamic, and neo-Renaissance. Stroll around the park with its astonishing variety of plants and trees. Marvel at the palace's amazing views of the castle and the Atlantic Ocean, a perfect way to end the day before returning to Lisbon.

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National Palace of Sintra and Gardens Fast Track Ticket

8. National Palace of Sintra and Gardens Fast Track Ticket

Explore 1,000 years of Portuguese history with a skip-the-line entry ticket to the National Palace of Sintra. Enter the historic monument, first built as a Moorish castle after the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in the 8th century. Follow in the footsteps of the first king of Portugal, who extended the fortress in 1147. Marvel at how later extensions made use of the natural landscape as you admire the Manueline and Mudejar designs of the interior courtyards and discover windows with surmounted arches and walls covered in glazed tiles of geometric patterns.

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From Lisbon: Sintra, Regaleira, Cape Roca, and Cascais Tour

9. From Lisbon: Sintra, Regaleira, Cape Roca, and Cascais Tour

Discover Sintra, so-called the “Garden of Eden” by Lord Byron. Tour its paradisiacal streets and gardens and admire the ornate palaces, villas, and estates throughout this colorful city. See Pena National Palace, famed for its romantic architecture and recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site. Located approximately 500 meters above sea level, soak up the stunning city views over Sintra. Continue to Sintra's Quinta da Regaleira and take a guided tour of the palace, lush gardens, lakes, grottoes, and enigmatic constructions. Learn about its connection with the Freemasons and the Knights Templar. Head to Cabo da Roca, the most western point of mainland Europe, passing Guincho Beach. Experience the Portuguese Rivera as you drive along the Estoril Coast and visit the village of Cascais. See why many exiled European royalty choose to live there.

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Sintra: Castle of the Moors Fast Track Ticket

10. Sintra: Castle of the Moors Fast Track Ticket

The Castle of the Moors was classified as a National Monument in 1910 and it also forms part of the Sintra Cultural Landscape classified by UNESCO as World Heritage Site in 1995. It soars 412 m above sea level and looms high above the surrounding forest.  The 10th-century Moorish castle’s dizzying ramparts stretch across the mountain ridges and past moss-clad boulders the size of small buses. The best walking route here from Sintra-Vila is not along the main road but the quicker, partly off-road route via Rua Marechal Saldanha. The steep trail is around 2 km, but quiet and rewarding.  Once you reach the castle, the views over Sintra’s palace-dotted hill, across to the glittering Atlantic are breathtaking. Along the walkways, you can admire the unique landscape that in the foreground features Sintra town and its town hall, the Palace of Pena and the hills. In the background, admire the extensive plain running northwards and the Atlantic Ocean.

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Frequently asked questions about Sintra

What top attractions are a must-see in Sintra?

Planning Your Visit

  • When to go?

    Sintra offers good weather year-round, but the best times to visit are spring and fall, when you can avoid the crowds and extreme temperatures of the summer season.

  • How long do I need?

    A few days in Sintra is enough to see the sites, then add as many days as you want to relax on the beach.

  • Lisbon to Sintra

    It's very easy to get to Sintra as part of a longer trip to Lisbon. The trains are quick, regular, and cheap. The area offers a historic, quiet alternative to Lisbon's bustling center, and the beaches are prettier and calmer. You can also rent a car to get there for relatively cheap--book online for the best deals.

Good to know

  • Language
    Portuguese
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
    +351
  • Best time to visit
    Sintra tends to stay cooler than Lisbon because of the elevation and the abundant shade provided from the lush landscape -- so even summer isn't unbearable. Weekdays are better than weekends to visit the sights and avoid the traffic congestion through the narrow and steep streets.

Other Sightseeing Options in Sintra

Want to discover all there is to do in Sintra? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Sintra

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 20,341 reviews

Our tour guide Alex was outstanding, very knowledgeable and super accommodating. He made sure he paid equal attention to every couple, speaking English to us and speaking French to another couple from France. When I asked to tweak a program a little bit so we can also visit Quinta da Regaleira after the Peña Palace, it didn’t take him long to accommodate the request. Thank you ever so much for your flexibility! The tour was well structured. We did not feel rushed, it was our day to enjoy! He recommended where to try famous Sintra sweets (and they were so delish by the way). The location for lunch was simply breathtaking: having my favourite octopus dish while sipping on a refreshing glass of wine & enjoying magnificent sea views, you feel like you’re on top of the world! Alex, thank you so much! We are bringing home a lot of memories thanks to your tour and flexibility! 100% recommend this company & this particular tour! This tour ticks all the boxes you want to see & enjoy in Sintra.

Alejandro was incredible! He was so much fun to spend the whole day with and was very accommodating. The fact that he can also juggle multiple languages was very impressive! I loved the tour :)

Lovely tour with a great person, Nuno. Didn't know when time has passed and I recomand this from my heart. A living fairytale, this part of the country. All the best, Nuno!

Sintra was amazing and the tour guide was very helpful and tailored our experience with input

Well organized tour. Awesome guides with outstanding attitude.