Posted - 10th August 2018
Following on from our blog A weekend in: Lisbon, which I’m sure you all read, this is our experience in Sintra. This blog name cheats a bit, because we actually only spent one, amazing, day in Sintra. But, you can definitely spend a weekend in this beautiful city and region. Sintra is to the North-West of Lisbon, and only takes about 40 minutes by train to get here, which is super easy, and can definitely be done in one day. But there are also plenty of hotels in Sintra that are convenient to stay in for the weekend.
First stop on our list was Palácio Nacional de Sintra. This is a grand white building that is the national palace in the main square of Sintra. The view that you get of lower Sintra is beautiful and the building itself is architecturally special.
We decided not enter the national palace as we had many more things to do ahead. We took a shot of Ginjinha (in cute chocolate cups), across from the palace and set off to see the Quinta da Regaleira.
Tip: You can get around Sintra in many ways, but we decided to walk everywhere, which gave us a great view of the place, but you must be up for the challenge! Otherwise, you can get around using buses, taxis or renting cars.
The Quinta da Regaleira can be accessed for only €6/3/18 (adult/child/family).
The most impressive part of this residence is the gardens, but you are also able to access some of the building, which is decorated beautifully. The gardens look stunning in the sun, and have lots of little lakes, caves, secret tunnels, statues and towers. There is a lot to see, but not to worry you get a map to get around. You can even bring a little picnic and have it in the garden.
Make sure you take plenty of time to look around every singe cave and corner, and even this iconic spiral staircase.
Once we’ve spent enough time in these beautiful gardens, we decided to make our way towards the most iconic place in Sintra, which is the Park and National Palace of Pena. Yep, that’s that beautifully coloured palace that was once owned by the Portuguese royal family. As mentioned above, we decided to be crazy, and decided to walk all the way up to the palace. What Google Maps didn’t tell us, is that there is actually a stunning path that is sort of a short cut, and brings you all the way up to the palace. This sneaky way can be found just off the street Estrada da Pena, and is sign posted as Parque Das Merendas. Do be prepared to climb quite a bit, it’s a long way up!! But you get the most stunning views from all the little viewpoints you encounter, and there are plenty of little benches to sit on for a break and toilets if you need them. You will pass by a little house called Vila Sassetti and you will end up all the way at the entrance to where you can buy tickets for Castelo dos Mouros.
If you have time, do go to the Castelo dos Mouros, it’s a big ruin of castle and get the nicest view of the Palace of Pena, and can snap some nice photos up. As we didn’t have much time, we decided to skip the castle and go to Palace of Pena directly. You can buy tickets to access the palace as well as the beautiful gardens, or just access the gardens. We would honestly advise to see the whole palace and the garden, as it is stunning. Again, there is a lot of walking up hill, so be prepared!!
Entrance fees for the palace and garden are 14/€12.50 (adult/child), and just the garden is €7.50/€6.50 (adult/child). You will be stunned by this colourful beauty and again, there are many little corners and places where you can take photos.
Tip: Make sure you leave enough time to walk around the garden, as it is huge, with lots of lakes, statues, buildings and corners to sit around.
You will get a map of the grounds when you purchase the tickets, and make sure you spot every place you want to see. One of our most favourite spot is the Alto do Santa Catarina in the garden. Make sure you go all the way there, as you will get the best view of the palace and can sit in a stone throne, like a king and queen, and look at the palace.
Once we have spent enough time walking around the gardens, and saw lots of beautiful flowers and trees, and lakes and pathways, we made our way out, passing by the duck lakes.
We had to walk all the way back to the station, and decided we would be adventurous, and followed a little path down into the woods all the way down to Sintra centre. We didn’t use Google maps, we didn’t use any signs, we just walked wherever the path led us, and it was great and a great shortcut! We then took the train back to Lisbon, after and exhausting day of hiking.
If you do have some more time, like maybe two days to spend at Sintra, we would recommend going to Quintinha de Monserrate, Tivoli Palácio de Seteais and Convento dos Capuchos.
We hope this helps you plan your trip and the tips help during your stay.
Xoxo Ani and Sam