Sintra is a city situated approximately 20 kilometers (12.4 mi) from Lisbon. The cities are connected by direct train, and it takes about 45 minutes to get to Sintra from Lisbon. The first description of Sintra came from the 11th century when the city was full of Islamic monuments. Most of these buildings were destroyed during the Reconquista (the expulsion of the Moors). Sintra, due to its perfect location, became to be a summer retreat for the royal family. Thanks to the Castle of the Moors and many others breathtaking monuments, Sintra has been described as a fairytale city and is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. The city of Sintra is rightly described as a fairytale because it is such a magical place. The whole city lies on the hill with the Castle of the Moors and Palacio de Pena at the top. While climbing, you will pass picturesque houses and the charming historic center. Follow this guide to learn about the best things to see in Sintra:
1. Palacio de Pena
The Palacio de Pena, a castle built in the 19th century, majestically stands at the top of Sintra. Palacio de Pena is the national monument, and one of the Portuguese performers of romanticism. Construction was led by the renowned designer Baron Wilhelm Ludwig von Eschwege. Currently, the is palace is used for state occasions by the President of the Portuguese Republic. The main style of the Palace is romanticism, but some other styles can be seen on the building. You can find Neo-gothic, Manueline, Islamic, or Renaissance style elements throughout the castle. If you visit the palace, you can recognize the mix of architectural styles and it’s so unique and truly beautiful. From Palacio de Pena, you can see endless stunning view over Sintra and the surrounding area.
Palacio de Pena
Address: Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, Estrada da Pena, 2710-609 Sintra, Portugal
Opening Hours: 10 am to 6 pm
Website: Palacio de Pena
2. National Palace of Sintra
The National Palace of Sintra, also called Town Palace, is located in the historic heart of Sintra. It’s the best preserved medieval Royal residence, and it’s designed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The National Palace is intertwined with a long-time history and has been inhabited by noble people from the early 15th century to the 19th century. The building, including front facades and central courtyard, is built in Manueline and Moorish style. The primary elements of the building are two chimneys. Inside, the palace are beautifully decorated staterooms, which you can also visit. The Palaco is currently a historic house museum and is open to the public.
National Palace of Sintra
Address: Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, Largo Rainha Dona Amélia, 2710-616 Sintra, Portugal
Opening Hours: 9.30 am – 6 pm
Website: National Palace of Sintra
3. Castle of the Moors
The Castle of the Moors is the ruins of a medieval castle surrounded by Sintra’s forests. It is situated close to the Palacio de Pena. The castle was built in the 8th and 9th centuries by the African Moors and was a prominent place during the Reconquista. The Moors Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also National Monument. In the 19th century, King Ferdinand II ordered the castle to be renovated but the charm of this romantic ruin didn’t disappear. The Moors Castle is one of the most famous monuments in Sintra and is worth a visit. It provides a great view over Sintra and the Palacio de Pena.
Address: Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, 2710 Sintra, Portugal
Website: Moorish castle
4. Palacio Monserrate
Monserrate Palace is situated 3 kilometers (1.86 mi) from the center of Sintra. The palace blends Arabic, Gothic, and Indian architectural styles that create an undoubtedly unique building. Inside the palace is a theater, which is nowadays still used for cultural events. Also, you should see the old kitchen and beautifully decorated corridor with a fountain at the beginning. Thematic gardens surround this beautiful palace. The various gardens with exotic flowers and shrubs will take you on a visual road trip around the world. The area features a café, so there is the possibility to have a break during or after your trip.
Address: Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, R. Visc. de Monserrate, 2710-405 Sintra, Portugal
Opening Hours: 10 am to 6 pm
Website: Palacio Monserrate
5. Quinta da Regaleira
Quinta da Regaleira is sometimes also called The Palace of Monteiro the Millionaire for its former owner António Monteiro. The area features a romantic palace, chapel, and a lot of picturesque structures. The palace is encircled by a park, which features lakes, grottoes, wells, and fountains. Quinta da Regaleira is one of the most visited monuments in Sintra and is also UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Quinta de Regaleira
Address: Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, R. Barbosa do Bocage 5, 2710-567 Sintra, Portugal
Opening Hours: 9:30 am to 5 pm
Website: Quinta da Regaleira
6. Vila Sasseti
Vila Sasseti is a part of the Sintra Cultural Landscape, which is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The primary element of the building is the central circular tower with three floors and a granite lined exterior with Romanesque characteristics. The original owner was Victor Carlos Sasseti. He commissioned his friend, architect Luigi Manini, to design the main building and surroundings. Vila Sasseti was built between 1890 and 1894 as a recreational home and summer residence. Luigi Manini expressed the perfect harmony between architecture and the magnificent surrounding landscape.
Address: Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, Estrada da Pena 12, Sintra, Portugal
Opening Hours: 9 am to 5 pm
Website: Vila Sasseti
7. Palacio de Setais
The pink Palacio de Setais was built in 18th century for Daniel Gildemeester, the Dutch consul. Nowadays it belongs to the Tivoli Hotels & Resorts company. The neoclassical palace stands out due to its entrance with triangular pediments and a staircase of two arms. In 1802 the two parts of the palace were connected by a significant arch that the Marquis of Marialva commissioned for a visit by King D. João VI. The main facades have two elements; the left wing is painted with a floral pattern, while the right side is adorned with maritime details. In front of the palace is a large grassy area with tree alleys. All of this makes the Palace of Setais very unique for its beauty.
Palacio de Setais
Address: Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, Rua Barbosa Du Bocage 8, 2710-517 Sintra, Portugal
Contact:(+351) 219 233 200
Website: Palacio de Setais
8. Parque da Liberdade
Parque da Liberdade (Freedom Park) was opened in 1937 and two years later was equipped with a tennis court. In the park, you can also find a virtual theater. The virtual theater is a vision system that allows you to see a model of interchange between Portugal and Japan. The park is such a romantic and peaceful place, perfect for walking and exploring more than 60 species of Portuguese plants.
Parque da Liberdade
Address: Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, Volta Duche, 2710-631 Sintra, Portugal
Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Website: Parque da Liberdade
9. Chalet e Jardim da Condessa D'Edla
In the 19th century, D. Fernando II and his wife created a private chalet and garden in the Park of Pena. It was a romantic space for the couple to relax. The chalet was built in the design of alpine chalets. The garden that surrounds the construction combines native vegetation and botanical species. It’s a magical place with pure natural beauty created by the gardens and lakes. It is perfect for a romantic walk.
Chalet e Jardim da Condessa D'Edla
Address: Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, Estrada da Pena, Sintra, Portugal
Opening Hours: 10 am to 6 pm
10. Casa Piriquita
Ainda têm até às 18h de amanhã para apanhar os últimos travesseiros… De 2016 claro porque para o ano há mais!Posted by Casa Piriquita on Friday, 30 December 2016
We’ve saved the best for last! Right in the historic heart of Sintra, you can find the Casa Piriquita. This is a famous and traditional Portuguese pastelaria. If you visit Portugal, your isn’t complete without tasting the pastel de nata or less popular travesseiros. However, even though the popular pastel de nata are seen everywhere in Portugal, travesseiros are no less delicious. This pastelaria was founded in 1862 and for over 150 years, it has made people happy with the best travesseiros in the world. Travesseiros are made from pastry with egg cream and almond and a secret ingredient, which only Casa Piriquita knows. These cute cakes will be still warm when they arrive at your table and believe me, they taste like heaven. Casa Piriquita is a must when you are in the Sintra!
Address: Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, R. Padarias 1, 2710-533 Sintra
Opening Hours: 8.30 am to 9 pm. Closed on Wednesdays.
Contact: (+351) 219 230 626
Website: Casa Piriquita
How to get to Sintra from Lisbon?
Sintra is easy to reach from Lisbon either by public transport or car. The train to Sintra departs from two main train stations in Lisbon: Oriente and Rossio. Both trains are direct and there is no need to change trains. A return tickets costs less than 5 USD (less than 5 EUR) and the trip takes only 45 minutes.
Find yourself in a Portuguese fairytale
There is no doubt that Sintra is an amazing place. It is intertwined with history, adorned by breathtaking nature, and inhabited by the most beautiful Portuguese people. Just follow this guide and find yourself in a Portuguese fairytale.
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