Things to do in Sintra

There are many things to do in Sintra, whether you plan a day trip or spend a week in this fairy-tale town.

Sintra has bright, colorful buildings and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the surrounding areas of the town, you find beautiful palaces, gardens, castles, museums, restaurants, and beaches. Sintra is near Cascais and Lisbon and is easy to visit on a day trip.

So, you can easily spend three days in Lisbon and Sintra, combining the two cities to experience the magic.

1. Pena Palace

  • Address
    Estrada da Pena
  • Price
  • Opening Time
    9:30 AM

Pena Palace is found on the peaks of Sintra and is best visited early in the morning. It is one of the most visited attractions for a good reason.

In 1503, during the reign of King Manuel l, Pena Palace was first a Royal Monastery of Our Lady of Penha. During the 1755 earthquake, the monastery became severely damaged and abandoned.

The monastery was restored and is today the central core of the Royal Palace of Pena, built by King Ferdinand ll in the mid-1800s.

Pena Palace’s bright colors and eclectic architectural style make it one of the most romantic palaces in Europe. I recommend you arrive early to explore the castle’s surroundings.

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If you can buy tickets to visit Pena Palace online, the ticket lines can fill up quickly. Once inside, you can explore the fantastic interior and view it from the top.

Hot Tip🔥: From 2023, the entrance tickets for Pena Palace are timed. The staff of Pena Palace is strict about timing, so we suggest you start your trip here.

Doing this lets you arrive on time, as the palace entrance is about a 30-minute uphill walk. Add this to the time of your arrival at Pena Palace. Also, walk around the gardens.

2. Villa Sassetti Trail

  • Address
  • Price
  • Opening Time
    9:00 AM

From Pena Palace, walk the Villa Sasseti Trail, the main hiking trail leading to your next destination, the Moorish Castle and Old Town Sintra.

The hiking trail starts near the old town if you walk towards the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace.

The trail winds through the beautiful gardens along a cobblestone path past Villa Sassetti, which is not yet open to the public.

You will also find a smaller park near the trail entrance, where kids can play before or after visiting Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle.

There are also several spots along the trail where it splits, but they all return to the same trail, so you will not get lost.

The trail arrives at the Moorish Castle and takes a short walk to Pena Palace. So, you can visit the palace first, then head to the castle.

If you are an avid hiker, it takes around 25 minutes but can take up to an hour for most other people.

3. Moorish Castle (Castelo dos Mouros)

  • Address
    Estrada da Pena
  • Price
  • Opening Time
    9:30 AM

The Moorish Castle entrance on Estrada da Pena is the same road as Pena Palace.

The Castle of the Moors has snaking castle walls; the main attraction is the stunning views. It is not to be missed. Compared to Pena Palace, the Moorish Castle is one of the oldest sites, built between the 8th and 9th centuries.

It is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and Sintra Cultural Landscape. All you need to do here is take in the stunning views while walking the walls and lookout towers.

Still, when walking the walls, you will climb many steps, some of which are large. This is also a great spot to enjoy a picnic or to explore the cafe.

Hot Tip🔥: Check out these other spots in Lisbon to enjoy a picnic.

4. Sintra National Palace

  • Address
    Sintra Historic Center
  • Price
  • Opening Time
    9:30 AM
National Palace of Sintra

Visit the National Palace of Sintra, one of the best-preserved medieval royal palaces. This beautiful 15th-century palace is worth visiting.

The Sintra National Palace was the home of Portuguese rulers during the 19th century. In 1910, it became a national monument.

Stroll through a maze of rooms and see this national palace’s largest set of Mudéjar tiles and multicultural artifacts from the 16th and 18th centuries.

Also, when walking through the national palace and standing on the terraces, you will have panoramic views of the garden.

While not as elaborate as Pena Palace, the Sintra National Palace has stunning rooms, such as the Arab Room, Swan Room, and Palace Chapel.

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5. Quinta da Regaleira

  • Address
    R. Barbosa du Bocage 5
  • Price
  • Opening Time
    10:00 AM

Another of the many things to do in Sintra is visit the Quinta da Regaleira palace.

A cafe in a shady garden serves food and drinks. It is a 20th-century palace of the Monteiro Millionaire. You find the neo-Manueline-style mansion among luscious gardens.

There is also a labyrinth network of underground tunnels. Compared to Pena Palace, it has five floors, a chapel, and a famous Initiation Well. Secret and mystical orders of the Knights Templar also enchant it.

You find inverted towers covered with moss along the spiraling wells at the well. Also, visit the Terrace of the Celestial Worlds for panoramic views of the Waterfall Lake.

6. Monserrate Palace and Park

  • Address
    2710-405 Sintra
  • Price
  • Opening Time
    9:00 AM

Another popular spot in Sintra is the 19th-century Monserrate Palace. The palace dates back to 1540 but was mostly destroyed in the earthquake.

Francis Cook, an art collector, bought it in 1846 and constructed it. It has a fairy tale design similar to Pena Palace, but the interior is more beautiful.

There is also a botanical garden at Monserrate Palace, where you can enjoy and visit the remains of a small chapel.

Hot Tip🔥: Monserrate Palace is a 15-minute drive from the town and too far to walk. You can reach it by tuk-tuk drivers, UBER, or Bus 435.

7. Convento do Capuchos

  • Address
  • Price
  • Opening Time
    9:00 AM

One of the least visited attractions around Sintra is the Convento dos Capuchos. It is a beautiful spot surrounded by a forest.

You can spend a quiet afternoon here but need a car to visit the site. The Franciscan monastery dates back to the 16th century and is located within the Serra de Sintra forest.

Explore the Chapter Hall, simple cells, and Apothecary where the monks would retreat.

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8. Spend Some Time at Beaches Near Sintra


If you are lucky enough to stay for two days, one of the best things to do in Sintra is to visit the nearby beaches. There are some beautiful beaches to explore, and the beach sizes vary.


  • Praia da Ursa is a favorite. Cliffs with large rock formations surround it, and it is close to Cabo da Roca. It is also a picturesque beach with astonishing views.
  • Praia das Maçãs is another beautiful beach with fantastic views. It is not as popular as Praia da Ursa but is more accessible from Sintra.
  • Another beautiful spot to enjoy the sun and water is Praia Grande.

Hot Tip🔥: Check out these 12 beaches near Sintra to explore. You can find sandy or secluded beaches where you can spend the day.

9. Cabo da Roca


Cabo da Roca is one of the most crowded coastal sites along the Sintra coastline. Here, you can enjoy stunning views as well. A colossal stone column marks the point with a cross and a lighthouse. You can also visit the gift shop and a restaurant here.

10. Eat Sintra Cheesecake

Enjoy a queijada de Sintra made with eggs, milk, and cheese without any butter. It is delicious 😋 with a soft and smooth texture. Another sweet treat to enjoy with your coffee ☕ is travesseiro de Sintra, a puff pastry filled with eggs and almond cream.

11. Sintra Museum of Modern Art

  • Address
    Av. Heliodoro Salgado SN
  • Price
  • Opening Time
    10:00 AM

You will find the Sintra Museum of Modern Art in Counts of Edla palace, once the retreat of the Portuguese Royal Family.

Here, you can find the art of international Portuguese artists dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries.

The collection includes sculptures, paintings, photographs, and more. You can find temporary exhibitions with workshops, concerts, and events here.

Hot Tip🔥: To explore other art museums, check out the Evora and Lisbon art galleries.

12. Sintra Coast Boat Tour

A boat tour is a great day trip when visiting Sintra. You will stop at several landmarks, such as Cabo da Roca and Praia da Ursa’s secluded beach. These tours last a few hours and are a great way to explore the beauty of the Sintra coastline.

Wrap-Up: Things to Do in Sintra

Sintra is a magical town with a rich history and many attractions. Whether you are visiting for a day or staying longer, the colorful buildings, stunning palaces, and lush gardens make Sintra a must-see destination.

From the iconic Pena Palace to the enchanting Quinta da Regaleira and the panoramic views from the Moorish Castle, Sintra offers a diverse range of experiences.

With its proximity to Cascais and Lisbon, Sintra is easily accessible and worth every moment spent exploring its wonders.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sintra is 30km from Lisbon and is excellent for a day trip by train, bus, or rental car. You can even travel from Lisbon Airport to Sintra.

If you plan on only taking photos outside the palace, prepare for an hour, but add another 30 minutes to an hour to visit the interior.

You can use the tuk-tuks or taxis available around the town. Or you can use a rental car. There are also public buses available.

If you do not have enough time, you can skip the National Palace of Sintra in the town, as you will get a great view of the exterior. You can skip Monserrate Palace, as it is far out of town, or visit it instead of the line-ridden Pena Palace.

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