Considering a Sintra day trip? I have got the guide for you!
From winding cobblestone roads to immaculate castles atop hillside, stepping into Sintra is a like getting lost on a fairytale page.
Taking a Sintra day trip is one of my favorite things I did while in Lisbon, Portugal. Driving the mere 20 minutes from Lisbon to Sintra makes for an iconic city get-away.
Sintra in one day is a city escape not soon to be forgotten.
Table of Contents
The Sintra Details
Location: Take a flight into the Lisbon International Airport. Train, Bolt, or Uber are the most practical options from getting from Lisbon to Sintra. Bolt was the option that worked best for me, since I was traveling with my bags and staying overnight. Sometimes, Bolt can be just as cheap as a train if you are splitting with a friend, or if the train station is far enough from you that you need to take a car or bus to get there anyways. My feet personally don’t love climbing cobblestone hills with luggage- you get it!
When to visit: Sintra, Portugal boasts mild temperatures year round. Visit any time of year, but be prepared for rain just in case.
How many days: Sintra in one or two full days is the perfect amount of time for a visit. Staying longer provides opportunity to visit further out like Cabo da Roca. While you can take a Sintra half day tour, I don’t recommend this.
Parking: There is limited parking on the narrow, winding roads of Sintra therefore I do not recommend renting a car. Consider taking a bus, train, or ride share.
How to get around Sintra
By foot, tuk tuk, Uber/Bolt, or bus. I highly recommend bus as the most cost-efficient/timely option. I tried hiking and it was STEEP. I love to separate my hikes from city exploring- more time in the castles, and I won’t be exhausted when I get there. It’s all preference on this one!
Purchase an $11 bus day pass that can be used as much as you want for 24 hours. In addition to all sites around Sintra, bus routes run to the Sintra Train Station, CasCais, and Cabo Da Roca.
Alternatively, you can pay $4 for just the ride up to Pena Palace, and $7 roundtrip to the palace and back.
If you pay for a rideshare app, you’re looking at very long wait times for $10 just one way. I have heard similar costs about Tuk Tuk.
Top Things to Do in Sintra
This vibrant castle is the first image online when you search “Sintra”. It’s what drew me in too… along with the rest of the crowds. I waited in line for about 45 minutes to enter, even having bought my timed entry tickets in advance. It’s still an absolute must- just plan accordingly and arrive early or later in the day if possible.
It’s a 30 minute bus ride to the top with extremely high crowds in the morning, stopping at Castelo De Mouros on the way. On the way back down, it was only 10 minutes. PRO TIP- don’t be like me and miss your stop at the bottom, or you’ll continue to sit on the bus for repeated round-trip journeys to the Palace…
You will have the option of purchasing a more expensive ticket to explore the inside of the palace as well. Everyone I spoke to did not find this to be worth it, so I ruled with majority to save money and spend more time outside exploring the architecture and views.
Castelo de Mouros
The bus to or from Pena Palace stops here, so it is very convenient if you have a ticket. It was a “skip” for me due to my timing, but I was able to catch spectacular views from Pena Palace. Buy entry tickets in advance as well.
Quinta da Regaleira
This will be a 5-15 minute walk from the city center, but you can choose to hop on a bus as well. However, even the drivers informed me I would get there fastest by walking instead of waiting for the bus. Like all other attractions, it is recommended to purchase your ticket online first. By 1:00pm, there were no more online ticket sales for the day, so I waited in the very quick 2:45pm line at the door. I imagine this could have been much longer a few hours earlier.
These gardens are HUGE! Get lost as the castles become your playground, and you’re transferred into a different reality. Experience your “Repunzel” moment as you descend into the Initiation Well. There was a 7 minute line to enter (no extra fee). You can spend hours here and still not see every nook and cranny. About 2 hours was sufficient for me.
Sintra National Palace
Located in the main square of town, it’s an easy stop.
Consider if you have more time…
Cabo Da Roca
Approximately an hour bus ride from Sintra, you can complete the hike or just stop off at the viewpoint. There is also a highly recommended beach, Praia de Adraga, on the route. Your Sintra 24 hour bus ticket will take you here. I only recommend Cabo Da Roca if you have longer than a day in Sintra due to its distance away from the other areas. You can also take a trip here from CasCais.
I didn’t have time for the Sintra hiking trails, but let’s face it, when you’re surrounded by mountains and hills, it’s going to be spectacular. I find this is likely overlooked due to Sintra’s palaces being its primary focus.
Sintra Day Trip Itinerary
Before you even begin, purchase your entrance ticketes to your attractions of choice in advance in order to avoid waiting in long lines.
Make your trek from Lisbon to Sintra as early as possible in order to maximize your time.
Catch a lovely sunset from dinner, and catch your bus, train, or Uber/Bolt back to Lisbon.
From famous castles to Sintra hiking trails, I hope you truly enjoy your Sintra day trip. If you have visited and have additional tips, feel free to comment below