Visiting Sintra - best way to get to Sintra
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Visiting Sintra? Here are 20 Essential Tips

Visiting Sintra soon and wondering where to start?

You’ve landed on the right article, I have visited Sintra many times, and I would like to tell you everything you need to know about visiting Sintra.

Sintra is one of the most fascinating places to visit. Located less than an hour from Lisbon, it is the perfect place to go on a day trip.

From figuring out what tour to take or planning to explore it on your own, there’s a lot to consider.

Ready to discover everything you need to know for your Sintra trip? Let’s get to it!

Visiting Sintra - best way to get to Sintra

1. How to get to Sintra easily?

Sintra is only 30 minutes away from Lisbon or less than an hour away by train. You can easily travel to Sintra from Lisbon by train or car.

Visiting Sintra from Lisbon by train – take the train from Rossio or Oriente station to Sintra. Always use the official CP site when booking trains in Portugal. If you take the train and hold the Lisbon Card, make sure you avail of the 10% discount off the ticket as you are entitled to it.

Visiting Sintra from Lisbon by car – driving to Sintra takes only 30 minutes. Sintra is very busy with local and tourist traffic. Therefore you might struggle to find parking. If you plan to explore Portugal beyond Lisbon and Sintra, renting a car in Portugal is a great idea. When in Sintra, take extra notice of the signage, as many roads are nowadays only accessible to local traffic.

2. Where is the best parking in Sintra? – visiting Sintra

Sintra train station parking is the best place to park your car. From here, you can easily access all the main attractions in Sintra. You can easily walk to the old town from the car park or catch an Uber or Taxi. See the below Sintra parking map for reference.

Visiting Sintra -  best laces to park in Sintra

3. How do you pay for parking in Sintra?

There are ticket machines at every parking lot where you pre-pay for parking. The parking meters accept Euro coins only. Make sure to put enough € to cover the intended time spent in Sintra.

4. What should I visit first in Sintra?

Pena Palace is the most popular attraction to visit in Sintra. I strongly suggest seeing it first thing in the morning to avoid most crowds. If you are exploring Sintra on your own, then make sure to purchase the entrance ticket to Pena Palace in advance. This way, you will avoid queuing twice – first at the ticket office and then again at the entrance gate. You can easily save yourself an hour if you prepurchase the ticket.

5. Is it worth going inside Sintra?

Absolutely, Sintra’s narrow, steep cobblestone streets and medieval buildings are worth seeing. Sintra’s old town is incredibly charming, and you can easily spend the day here admiring the unique architecture and beautiful scenery.

6. Is Sintra a walkable city?

You can easily walk around the Sintra old town. There are many narrow, steep streets outside the main town square. If you plan to visit Pena Palace, I strongly suggest taking an Uber or a Tuk Tuk; otherwise, it is an hour’s walk up a steep hill.

7. How do you travel around Sintra?

The easiest way to travel between the main tourist sites is by Taxi, Uber or Tuk Tuk. The Hop-on Hop-off bus service is also available connecting all the main attractions to the train station and town centre. The Sintra 434 bus gets incredibly busy during summer, so plan your trip ahead.

8. Is Sintra worth a day trip? – visiting Sintra

Sintra is packed with mesmerising sites, and you can explore the best places on a day trip to Sintra. One day is enough to see the Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleria, Monserrate Palace, Moorish Castle and Sintra Palace and the old town.

9. What should I skip in Sintra?

If you don’t have the time, I recommend skipping the Pena Palace interior, Moorish Castle and Sintra Palace. The queues to Pena Palace are massive, and it can take hours to see the inside of the palace. Instead, head straight for the gardens, from where you can still admire the palace. You can still venture a bit past the crowds to the souvenir store, where you can still admire the beautiful architecture of the Pena Palace.

The views from the Moorish Castle are very impressive but keep in mind that there are a lot of steep steps to get to the viewpoints. It can easily take an hour or two just to walk around the place. The Sintra National Palace, located in the main town square, has an admirable architecture which can be seen from the outside.

10. What are the best tours to visit Sintra from Lisbon?

The best day tour to Sintra from Lisbon is Lisbon: Pena Palace, Sintra, Cabo da Roca, & Cascais DaytripI have personally gone on this tour and can’t recommend it enough. Everything was very well organised, and I learned much more about Sintra and its fascinating background. Check out this list of the best Sintra day trips to easily explore this fantastic place in one day.

11. Can you see Sintra in half a day?

You can easily do Sintra in half a day! A half-day trip to Sintra from Lisbon is enough to see Sintra and Pena Palace. In a half day, you can explore Sintra’s old town, learn about the Pena palace’s history, and admire its stunning design.

If you want a great half-day tour to Sintra, I highly recommend checking availability and booking this fantastic Half-Day Private Tour to Sintra Village.

12. Should I buy tickets in advance for Sintra?

Sintra tickets should be purchased in advance due to the high demand. You can purchase the Pena Palace and Park entrance ticket in advance to skip the ticket line queue. This can save you an hour+ of waiting around at the entrance.

Always buy a ticket in advance for Sintra. This way, you will avoid queuing twice at the main attractions. If you purchase the Pena Palace and Park ticket in advance, you will skip the ticket queue and go straight to the entrance gate. I also strongly suggest buying a Quinta da Regaleria entry ticket before your visit. This way, you will again skip the ticket queue.

The Monserrate Palace and park skip-the-line ticket and the Moorish Castle entrance E-ticket with an audio tour are also a must if you want to avoid the ticket lines.

I learned the hard way the last time I visited Sintra and ended up queuing for over an hour for our tickets.

13. What to wear in Sintra?

Flat, comfortable shoes with a grip are the best to wear in Sintra. The cobblestone streets are very slippery when wet. Most people wear layers of clothing in Sintra. A jacket or a jumper is a must as Sintra is located at a higher altitude, and it is usually much cooler here compared to the nearby towns of Cascais or Lisbon.

14. Where to stay in Sintra overnight?

The Sintra town centre is the best area to stay in overnight. There are several hotels and B&Bs available here that are suitable for every budget. Here are our three favourite places to stay in Sintra.

If you are looking for something specific, I always use to book our accommodation. I strongly suggest securing your accommodation in Sintra well in advance.

15. Best places for lunch in Sintra – Visiting Sintra

Here are the best restaurants in Sintra

  • Tascantiga – is an excellent place for tapas and wine. The restaurant gets absolutely packed at lunchtime.
  • Loja do Vinho – a lovely spot to grab a glass of wine and try traditional cheeses and meats.
  • Apeadeiro – traditional quality Portuguese cuisine, delicious every time.

16. How much time do I need in Sintra?

You need at least one day in Sintra to see the Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleria, Sintra Palace and the main town of Sintra. I recommend staying overnight in Sintra to see the rest, including the Moorish Castle and the Monserrate Palace. This way, you get to explore the town in-depth and learn more about its fascinating history.

17. Can I visit Sintra in one day?

You can easily see the best of Sintra in one day. The best way to visiting Sintra in one day is on a day tour from Lisbon to Sintra. It can be hard to squeeze all the fantastic sites into one day. With a tour, everything is already planned ahead for you, so you don’t have to stress about missing out on seeing everything Sintra has to offer.

If you prefer to see Sintra on your own, make sure to plan ahead and prioritise the places you wish to visit. See the most important sites to you first and leave the lower priority places for the end of the day.

18. Should I go to Sintra in the morning or afternoon? – visiting Sintra

The morning and late afternoon are the best times to explore castles in Sintra. If you are planning to visit Sintra on a day trip, then you should get to Sintra by 9 am. This way, you can skip the biggest crowds at Pena Palace and head to Moorish Castle. After you are done, have a stroll around Sintra town and stop at one of the many fantastic restaurants for lunch. From 4 pm onwards, head to Monserrate Palace and end your day exploring Quinta da Regaleria. I have visited Sintra on many different occasions and personally found that early mornings and late afternoons have the least crowds.

19. Can you walk to all castles in Sintra?

Sintra National Park can be explored on foot but keep in mind that Sintra castles are quite far from each other, and it will be very hard to explore each one on foot in one day. It takes over one hour to get to the Pena Palace entrance from Sintra’s old town. To get to Pena Palace from Sintra train station on foot, follow the Caminho de Santa Maria footpath. It is a steep climb, so keep that in mind. The Moorish Castle, although located within 20min walking from Pena Palace, takes about 1-2 hrs to walk around.

From here, you can head back down to Sintra’s old town and see the Quinta da Regaleria and the Sintra Palace. The Monserrate Palace sits on the other side of the hills, and you can reach it within 1hr+ on foot. Keep in mind that you will spend 1 to 2 hours at each place, so plan your day accordingly when walking to all castles in Sintra.

20. Are things open in Sintra on a Sunday? – Visiting Sintra

Sunday is the busiest day when visiting Sintra in the summer season. Everything is open, but expect it to be much busier on Saturday and Sunday than any other day of the week. Many people come to Sintra on a day trip from Lisbon during the weekend. It is best to come to Sintra early morning on Sunday or late afternoon to avoid the biggest crowds. If you have the option, visit Sintra during the week rather than the weekend. Mondays and Tuesdays tend to be much quieter here than the rest of the week.

Visiting Sintra

Final thoughts on visiting Sintra

I can guarantee that you won’t regret visiting Sintra Hills. The Sintra National Park is super popular for a reason, and I highly recommend spending here at least 2 days to explore the best Sintra has to offer. If you are short on time, then opt for a day tour of Sintra, as it can quickly become a nightmare trying to navigate through the winding roads and the crowds. I went on a few of these fantastic day tours to Sintra and can personally recommend them. If you decide to explore Sintra on your own, then keep in mind all the above points to make your visit a bit more enjoyable.

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