What to do in Sintra Portugal | Pena National Palace
This was our second time to Sintra, the first time we went to Portugal we stayed in Porto in the north and we loved it! During that time, we traveled to Lisbon & Sintra (via Cascais) for the day (aprox. 300 km). Unfortunately we couldn´t visit Pena Palace because there was no parking but this time round we maximised our time and loved Sintra even more than the first time we saw it…
If you haven´t been to Sintra yet then you are in for a magical surprise. This place is straight-out of a fairy tale. Sintra is situated in the foothills of Portugal’s Sintra Mountains (just outside Lisbon, the capital of Portugal). This royal sanctuary with its lush forested terrain is filled with pastel coloured villas and palaces. Fit for a princess. The Moorish and Manueline style Sintra National Palace is distinguished by its dramatic twin chimneys and incredible tilework. For most, it is the magnificent hilltop (19th century) Pena National Palace that draws them here.
HOW TO GET TO SINTRA FROM LISBON
We had our car with us because we did a road trip from Madrid and stayed in the south of Portugal in an apartment in the Algarve region. It took us about 2.5 hours from there to Sintra via Lisbon. The drive from Lisbon to Sintra took us around 30 minutes (30 km /18 mi). Other ways to get from Lisbon is from Rossio station to Sintra which takes about 45 minutes. You can take bus #434 from the train station or walk to the historic centre which takes about 20 minutes.
Things to see in Sintra
PENA NATIONAL PALACE
The vibrant colours and art work are what make PENA PALACE in Sintra worth visiting… Don’t let the steep hills dissuade you to visit this beautiful palace because you can take the tourist bus nr. 434 up the hill. Entry tickets are €13.30 per adult & €11.88 per child (6 – 17 years) which includes entry to the park and the palace. The cost to enter the park only, is approximately half but we wanted to see how the palace looks inside. For more information about opening times etc visit the official site for Pena National Palace.
The Pena Park is a vast forested area completely surrounding the Pena Palace, spreading over 200 hectares of uneven terrain. The park was created at the same time as the palace by King Ferdinand II. King Ferdinand ordered trees from distant lands like North American Sequoia, Lawson’s Cypress, Magnolia and Western Redcedar, Chinese Ginkgo, Japanese Cryptomeria to be planted there. The park has a labyrinthic system of paths and narrow roads, connecting the palace to the many points of interest throughout the park, as well as to its two gated exits.
THE MOORE´S CASTLE
The historic centre of Sintra
Not only is this town very beautiful but what gives it even more ambience, is the sound of the horses trotting on the tar roads. The horse-drawn carriages in Sintra are a bookplate of the World Heritage Site of the historical centre of Sintra. These carriage rides provide you with wonderful views of the mountain and the romantic surroundings.
Sintratur has 10 carriages which are pulled by two horses and have a capacity for a maximum of four people per carriage. For more information, you can contact them here.
Manueline-style Sintra National Palace
The manueline style Sintra National Palace is distinguished by its dramatic twin chimneys and incredible tilework. We didn´t visit the Palace on the inside but sat on one of the town walls on the outside and admired its beauty.
The most popular beaches in Sintra (which I have not yet visited myself) are Praia da Adraga and Praia da Ursa. Our idea is to book a hotel in Sintra when we go there next time. This will ensure we make the best of what Sintra has to offer.
At Casa Piriquita you can find delicious freshly bakes pastries. The name Piriquita comes from the nickname that King Carlos I gave Constância Gomes because she was very short. It was King Carlos I who encouraged them to bake the famous Queijadas because he loved enjoying the sweets during his Summers there.
My Travel Tips
- Start early in the day because there is really so much to see in Sintra. If you leave it for too late you won´t be able to see half of what you´d like to see and like us you would need to go back for a second or even third time (which in itself is not really a bad thing…)
- Do not walk from the historic centre to the Pena Palace or Moors Castle because the hill is super steep and you will lose valuable time, rather take the tourist bus!
- Try to avoid driving to Sintra (says she!) because the roads are not designed for tourist traffic and there is hardly any parking (we can vouch for that!).
Until my next post guys! I hope you guys liked this one and let me know in the comments if you have been to Sintra before and what you loved about it.
For more information about the area, where to eat and more sightseeing ideas, click here to go to Tripadvisor.