Sintra is a charming town/municipality with a UNESCO World Heritage Site classification located less than 30 km from Lisbon, Portugal. The short distance makes it ideal for a day trip from the capital. It is a no-brainer destination for tourists visiting Lisbon for the first time. We visited Lisbon and Sintra pre-covid and in this post, we outline our Sintra day trip experience for other travellers’ benefit.
We found Lisbon to be a fascinating city but relatively ‘rustic’ and a bit unclean in comparison to cities in Spain. Train/metro stations were quite dilapidated and in dire need of refurbishment. We stayed in Hotel Roma in Lisbon (about USD 100 with breakfast for a base room). The hotel was showing its age but it’s a good and clean option as the train and Roma metro stations were located just a few minutes walk away. There were also plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby as well.
Train Travel from Lisbon to Sintra
We took a direct train to Sintra from the Roma-Areeiro station which was located just a few hundred metres from Hotel Roma. The train ride would take about 40 mins. Information regarding online ticket purchase and ticket booths at the station can be found here.
The Sintra Tourist Bus
The Sintra train station was quite small and there were touts selling touristy packages. We took the cheap option and chose the Sintra Tourist Bus (Bus No 434) which was waiting on the side street next to the station (we paid cash on-site) . Currently, the fare is priced at 11.50 Euros for a 24-hour unlimited ride. The landmarks in Sintra are relatively concentrated so tourists can opt to walk to these attractions (30m – 1 hour to reach a landmark).
Sintra Attractions and Landmarks
Here is a list of the main Sintra attractions and landmarks. Our suggestion for tourists who only have a few hours to spare in Sintra to just visit Castle of the Moors, Pena Palace and Sintra National Palace because these are the most prominent landmarks. Our favourite attraction is the Castle of the Moors, a medieval castle built by the Moors in the 8th and 9th centuries (looks like the Great Wall of China). The Castle provides a great vantage point for Sintra. The Pena Palace is also a great place to visit due to its unique architecture and colourful structures. Most of the following attractions have entrance fees within the USD 10-12 range.
- Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros)
- Pena Palace (Palácio da Pena)
- Sintra National Palace (Palacio Nacional de Sintra)
- Initiation Well (Poço Iniciático Quinta da Regaleira)
- Park and Palace of Monserrate (Monserrate)
- Regaleira Palace and Gardens (Quinta da Regaleira)
- Sintra Natural History Museum (Museu de História Natural de Sintra)
- Sintra town centre
As it was a day trip we did not stay overnight in Sintra. For tourists interested in staying for the night, here are some accommodation options located within Sintra:
- Tivoli Sintra Hotel – located very close to Sintra National Palace.
- Casa da Pendoa – basically an apartment close to the Palace.
- Casa do Vinho Sintra Guest House – A guesthouse.
- Moon Hill Hostel – a cheaper option for budget travellers.