There is so much to see and do at Sintra. Here we just focus on some of our favourite spots. Click here for a list of monuments, museums and opening times.
It was granted World Heritage by Unesco in 1995 and it’s part of the Natural Park Sintra-Cascais which includes the coastal areas between Guincho and the other side of the Serra.
The Serra is a sea of green forest all the way to the ocean, sprinkled with palaces, manor houses and lively, colourful villages.
The Vila Velha (old town) and Estefânia neighbourhood are two of the areas with most of the attractions.
After visiting the Palácio Nacional da Vila stop at Piriquita on the hillside opposite the palace for a traditional almond pastry (Travesseiro) or a Queijada, a cheese-based local speciality.
Then take a horse and carriage ride all the way up the mountain to Palácio da Pena, an eclectic monument from the XIX century commissioned and partly designed by Ferdinand, husband of Queen Maria II. Here you can also wander through the extensive gardens that surround the palace.
On the opposite hill you can visit the Castelo dos Mouros, the Moorish castle with its breathtaking views of the Serra, the town of Sintra and the coast. It is a reasonably strenuous climb from the gate of the castle to the highest battlements but it’s worth the effort once you get to the top!
Back in town you could visit the Museum of Modern Art (by the tram stop) with it’s visiting exhibitions or the Quinta da Regaleira, open daily for pre-booked guided visits which last about an hour. You will visit the fairy-tale mansion with its own grotto and Masonic initiation chamber.
Another option is to experience a very different building by visiting the stern Convento dos Capuchos, a monastery with its tiny cells for the monks, chapels, kitchen and cavern.
There are two mainline railway stations in Sintra which service Lisbon and also lines to the North and South, good for day trips.
Taking the train from Sintra is definitely the easiest way to get into Lisbon. Trains run very regularly throughout the day. Remember Sintra is only 12km from the cottages, a short drive or even a pleasant tram ride! The train journey in to Lisbon takes around 40 minutes and is very cost effective.
Ask at the station for trains to Rossio, which is a station bang in the middle of downtown Lisbon, close to the shops and major attractions.
Twice a month, on the second and last Sunday there is a market taking place at S. Pedro de Sintra (west end of town). It sells everything from arts and crafts to local goods and fresh fruit and veg. In S. Pedro you will also find antique shops and the same stunning views that characterise the Serra.