Day Visit to Sintra from Lisbon, Portugal

One of the best decisions we took in Lisbon was to make a day trip to Sintra. Sintra has UNESCO World Heritage site status since 1995. Located in the foothills of Sintra Mountains, the beautiful resort town is 30kms to the west of Lisbon. Start early to avoid being caught in traffic. Sintra is aesthetically done with pastel colored villas and palaces. Three among them are definitely worth visiting.

Tourist bus Sintra

About Sintra

Little bit of History

A load of historic remains have been found in Sintra. They date right from Paleolithic ages through Neolithic ages. Go further down the time lines artifacts of Bronze Age and Iron Age too have been found. All of them proved that there were human settlements around this place. Roman remains from late BC to early AD have been found here. Several evidences of settlements have been exhibited. Some of the most prominent ones like Sintra Collar, a middle Bronze Age gold neck-ring found near the city at the end of the nineteenth century has found their way to British Museum.

National Palace Sintra

The approach to the palaces of Sintra is different. The palaces are located in hill tops therefore it is better to park the vehicle and take local transport to get uphill. The roads are narrow and many of them one way. We gave up getting to the top on our own and soon realized the local transport is very comfortable. Buses run every 10 to 15 minutes. And it is a very scenic drive. The entire route is dotted with historic monuments. One day is less if anyone intends to get into all of them.

The National Palace is in the center of the town. The other 2 main sights are uphill. From center of town the Moorish castle is visible first. It may seem near but the uphill trek can tire you out. The Pena Palace which is most attractive is beyond that. The wisest decision would be to take local transport, unless you really have lot of time to spend. The scenic beauty you will get to see will definitely more than compensate your efforts.

Sintra Moorish CastleSintra Moorish castle 2

The bus we took halted at Moorish castle ruins, tourists interested in seeing all the monuments got off here. The combo tickets to all sites are available here. We targeted the Pena Palace.

Pena Palace

Pena Palace or The Palacio Nacional da Pena (The Feather Palace) is famous for its whimsical design and breath taking views of the mountain sides. It is a fairy tale kind of palace and a must visit if you travel with family. It is Europe’s one of the most fantabulous palaces. It was built in 1840s much before Neuschwanstein castle and the other mock-medieval castles of Ludwig of Bavaria in Germany.

Sintra Pena PalaceSinta Pena Palace 2

The must photograph sights are:

  • Drawbridge
  • A conglomeration of turrets
  • Ramparts and domes
  • A gargoyle above a Neo-Manueline arch
  • Extravagant interior decorated in late Victorian and Edwardian furnishings
  • Paintings and priceless porcelain preserved

All just as the royal family left them in 1910 when the Portuguese royal court fled to Brazil to escape the revolution. (more detailed post to follow.)

Tickets and Timings

Open every day of the year, except December 25th and January 1st
Park and Palace
10h00 – 18h00, last ticket 17h00

Park and Palace

Ticket for adults (18 – 64 yrs) – 11.50 euros
Ticket for youths (6 – 17 yrs) – 9 euros
Ticket for seniors (over 65 yrs) – 9 euros


Ticket for adults (18 – 64 yrs) – 6.50 euros
Ticket for youths (6 – 17 yrs) – 5 euros
Ticket for seniors (over 65 yrs) – 5 euros

Sintra Pena palace 3

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45 Responses

  1. Gunilla says:

    Wow, looks like a great place to visit!

  2. eileen says:

    Hello, lovely images from your tour and trip! The Palace is beautiful.

    Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

  3. Cloudia says:

    You always share world class posts!

    Warm ALOHA,


  4. Rajesh says:

    The palaces are exceptionally beautiful with amazing carvings.

  5. Amazing place Indrani.. There is so many places to explore 🙂

  6. Arun says:

    Yes the palace looks like a fairy tale castle. Those 4 arches looks different not sure what it reminds me of.

  7. ladyfi says:

    Wow – so beautiful. And definitely on my to-visit list.

  8. magiceye says:

    Very informative post garnished with beautiful pictures!

  9. Great place and great clicks. 🙂

  10. vatsala mallya says:

    Amazing palaces , with so much scenic beauty all around. Architechture of the palaces is fabulous. Thanks for sharing such world class sites Indrani….

  11. Kishor Kr says:

    Nice pictures. The statue man in the Pena Palace picture looks really angry

  12. That last shot is especially magical.

  13. Awesome photos, Great place

  14. I knew I would regret not visiting this, but we simply didn’t have time. Pity.

  15. Sri Kri says:

    Great to know about the History.Excellent shots.How many days you spend there?

    Sriram & Krithiga

  16. The pena palace intrigued me.. Beautiful pictures. 🙂

  17. VJ Sharma says:

    Ohh wow. That’s something I would definitely love to explore. Thanks for this awesome post with appropriate photographs. Carving looks amazing !

  18. Ami says:

    The Penna Palace sounds quite interesting…waiting for your detailed post 😀

  19. I told my husband about your family trip in Spain and he was hooked to your travelouges….he says this is the way to travel in europe, one country at a time!!

  20. Great account on Sintra with beautiful pics 🙂

  21. Awesome Post Indrani.. Photographs of the Palace are truly stunning.. Thanks for sharing!

  22. The palace looks great

  23. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder says:

    Informative article adorned with beautiful pictures, as always… 🙂

  24. It looks so wonderful that I wonder why I’ve never heard of Sintra before!

  25. Sintra has always been on my “must” visit list. I think I would prefer to stay a night in town to see everything I want to see.

  26. Linja says:

    Looks like wonderful architecture!

  27. Yogi saraswat says:

    If somebody having a plan to visit there , your blog post will help him very much . Everything is available in your post related to the place . Photographs are really amazing specially the Pena palace picture is too good.

  28. Wil says:

    How very interesting and very beautiful. I don’t know much about Portugal, but this post of yours is a real eye opener.
    Wil, ABCWTeam.

  29. Vinitha says:

    Beautiful pics and great post! I am surely bookmarking this one…have to make a trip to Lisbon…it looks very promising!! 🙂

  30. Loved the last click the most…am sure the palace nestled in the mountains must be a great site to visit 🙂

  31. These photos are stunning! It must have felt so amazing to soak in the atmosphere of this place.

  32. Thanks for an interesting post. If I ever make it to Lisbon, I definitely want to come visit here. that gargoyle was something else. Looking at the top photo of a Moorish castle had me thinking of Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland. Had no idea that was a Moorish design.
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

  33. What beautiful photos Indrani… absolutely gorgeous!

  34. Mesmerizing pictures dear.. loved the read 🙂

  35. Bhushavali says:

    I missed Portugal when I was in Europe. Too bad I missed it! National Palace & Pena Palace look stunning. Thanks for the tips on the mode of transport.

  36. I am going to Lisbon in August after the San Fermin festival in Pamplona. This gives me a great place to visit while I am there. I love architecture and photographing it and the building and shots you have show me are amazing. Thanks for the good info and new spot to visit.

  37. Amazing shots, and loads of information we had never seen before. We never considered Portugal for a visit, but your article certainly paints it in a beautiful picture.

  38. I’ve been to Lisbon but didn’t have a chance to see Sintra – I heard about the castle which is somewhat controversial – some call it tacky because of the colors. Looks a bit like the Swallow’s Nest castle in Yalta. But I like it – at least it’s different and original 🙂 Next time I’m in Lisbon, I’ll try to see it!

  39. Never have been in that corner of the world! If I go to Portugal, no choice to go to Lisbon, these pictures have inspired us!

  40. Jojo says:

    I always enjoy seeing historic places because of all the little details they put into things. The picture you have from the Pena Palace shows that.

    How long was the bus ride from the bottom of the hill to the top?

  41. I’ve read many blogs about Sintra and I must admit it’s a beautiful place to visit. I’m a castle fan so definitely Sintra is on my list. 🙂

  42. Tatum says:

    I have a friend named Sintra actually but never knew there way a place called this! Thanks for all the great points and information.

  43. love the architecture. I am so jealous you were able to visit a UNESCO world heritage site though. your pictures are nice too.

  44. Ana Ojha says:

    Loved the architecture of the Pena Palace! It’s quite fascinating indeed. Also, thanks for sharing the list of sights for capturing the best pictures!

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