EuropePortugalThings to See & Do in Sintra: Palaces, Beaches, Forests And Food
best things to do in Sintra Portugal - Cabo da Roca

Things to See & Do in Sintra: Palaces, Beaches, Forests And Food

All things to do in Sintra,Portugal

  • The Pena Palace in Sintra – architectural styles from around the world and stunning views from its expansive park grounds.
  • The Castle of the Moors – ancient and modern architecture from its scenic vantage point high above Sintra.
  • Regaleira Estate – occult symbolism hidden throughout the elaborate gardens and constructions.
  • Monserrate Palace – an intriguing fusion of Gothic and Islamic styles in a more secluded setting away from crowds.
  • The Convento dos Capuchos – the unique experience of staying in a monastery almost entirely built from cork in the Sintra forest.
  • Cabo da Roca – the dramatic westernmost point of the European continent.
  • Praia da Ursa – untamed beauty as a hidden sandy cove tucked near hiking trails.
  • Santuário da Peninha – breathtaking landscapes visible from the mountainside monastery.
  • São Pedro de Penaferrim’s market – local homemade products and culinary heritage.

Uncover the magic of Pena Palace in Sintra

If you’re looking for things to see in Sintra Portugal, you definitely can’t miss out on the Pena Palace. This royal residence is a striking example of romanticism in European architecture. It boasts a mixture of Arabic style, Portuguese Manueline and neo-Gothic. As you explore the palace park, which spans a whopping 85 hectares, you’ll be greeted by stunning lakes, mini-waterfalls, exotic plants and belvederes.

Don’t forget to take a stroll up to the famous stone cross of Cruz Alta. It’s the highest point of the Serra de Sintra mountains. For an extra-special experience, begin your walk in the western part of Pena Park at Countess Edla’s chalet. It was built by King Fernando II in the Alpine style specifically for the Countess. It’s the perfect way to kick off your Pena Palace adventure and immerse yourself in the history and beauty of this remarkable destination. You can get your tickets in advance online

Experience the best of historic Sintra: the Castle of the Moors

This fortress was built by the Moors in the 10th century during their conquest of Portugal, giving it a rich historical significance. While the castle is now mostly ruins, some parts have been restored by King Fernando II. It’s a captivating combination of both ancient and modern architecture. The spaciousness of the castle allows you to explore with ease, even if there are a lot of tourists around. From the walls of the castle, you can see Sintra’s city center, the Serra forest, and the Pena Palace located on the neighboring mountain.
If you’re looking for things to see in Sintra, Portugal, the Castle of the Moors is a must-visit destination.

Pro tip: To get to this iconic landmark, you have a couple of options. The easiest is to take bus 434 from the train station. This way you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the views on your way there. However, if you’re feeling adventurous (and fit), then you can opt to climb up to the fortress and Pena Palace on foot. Don’t worry, though, as there are plenty of places to rest and have a picnic along the way. You can also see the recently restored Villa and Sassetti Garden for free, which is definitely a nice bonus.

Regaleira Estate

Uncover the mysteries of alchemy and occultism at Quinta da Regaleira

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind attraction during your visit to Sintra, then you absolutely cannot miss the Regaleira Estate.
This landmark was named after Baroness Regaleira, who purchased the estate way back in 1840. But the real story didn’t begin until philanthropist and eccentric António Monteiro came along. With the help of Italian architect Luigi Manini, Monteiro turned the estate into a mystical wonderland. The estate is complete with lakes, grottoes, caves, and labyrinths. The coolest things is that the whole place is full of nods to alchemy, occultism, Freemasonry, and the Knights Templar, as well as works by Virgil, Dante, and Camões. The meanings behind all these symbols and motifs are up for interpretation. For sure,Quinta da Regaleira is a real-life mystery that will bewilder and intrigue even the most skeptical of heirs.

Escape the crowds at Monserrate Palace Sintra

This stunning palace is a perfect example of the architectural eclecticism that characterizes the region. The exterior combines Gothic and Islamic motifs, giving the palace a romantic and intriguing feel. Plus, if you’re looking for a quieter option compared to the Pena and Regaleira palaces, you’re in luck!

Discover the architectural fusion of Gothic and Islamic styles at Monserrate Palace

With fewer tourists, Monserrate offers the perfect chance for a secluded walk in one of the park’s many areas. Like the Mexican or Japanese gardens. And getting there is easy – just hop on the 435 Scotturb bus, which will take you on a beautiful route that includes four palaces: the National Palace of Sintra, Regaleira, Seteais, and of course, Monserrate.
If you’re planning a trip to Sintra, Portugal, make sure to add the Palácio de Monserrate to your list of things to see.

Step back in time at Sintra’s Convento dos Capuchos

Tucked away in the forest, this 16th-century Capuchin monastery is truly a sight to see. And what sets it apart from other monasteries you may have visited is the fact that it’s made almost entirely out of cork – hence the nickname, “cork monastery.” Although it may not be the most comfortable place to live (it was built with poverty and asceticism in mind), you can still appreciate the incredible architecture and intricate details inside. However, keep in mind that part of the monastery is currently under reconstruction and the cafe and souvenir shop are closed.

If you’re looking for something truly unique and off-the-grid to see in Sintra, Portugal, then you absolutely must visit the Convento dos Capuchos.

How to get to Sintra’s Convento dos Capuchos:

The best way to get to Sintra’s Convento dos Capucho is by car or taxi. So go ahead and book that Uber – a trip from the center of Sintra will only cost you about 12 euros!

Palácio Nacional de Sintra (also known as the Palácio da Vila)

This historic palace served as the royal family’s summer residence until they moved to the more modern Pena Palace. The National Palace is well-preserved and boasts some unique features, including two huge cone-shaped exhaust pipes that are hard to miss. Even from the outside, you can see interesting architectural details and beautiful Azulejos tiles. Plus, the terrace offers a great view of the city and mountains. While you might not need to go inside if you’re strapped for time, it’s certainly worth checking out. And, if you’re exploring the area, you’ll find other must-see sites nearby like Regaleira, the Pena Palace, and Montserrat.

If you’re looking for things to see in Sintra, Portugal, the Palácio Nacional de Sintra (also known as the Palácio da Vila) is definitely worth a visit.

Cabo da Roca – the Westernmost Point of Europe

If you’re looking to experience something truly unforgettable, make your way to the westernmost point of Europe in Sintra, Portugal. Just 20 kilometers from the city, Cabo da Roca is an incredible destination for nature lovers and adventurous travelers alike. While many visitors come to watch the sunset, make sure to take a moment to read the powerful words etched onto the stele at the site.

Journey to the end of Europe in Sintra, Portugal

The weather can be unpredictable here, so come prepared for whatever nature may throw your way. Despite the chilly winds and occasional fog, Cabo da Roca is one of the must-see things to do in Sintra Portugal, and is sure to leave an impression that lasts long after you’ve left.

Discover Sintra’s hidden gem: Praia da Ursa

If you’re exploring the Sintra region of Portugal, then you have to take the time to check out Praia da Ursa – a secret paradise that most tourists overlook. Tucked away near Cabo da Roca, this hidden gem boasts a stunningly unspoiled landscape. The beach’s rock formations, especially the bear-like Rocha da Ursa, are truly unique and fascinating to see.

What’s even better is that this paradise is incredibly secluded, making it a perfect escape from the busy and crowded beaches in the area. And if you’re a photographer, this beach offers endless opportunities to take beautiful and one-of-a-kind photos. So, if you’re looking for things to see in Sintra Portugal that are off-the-beaten-path, add Praia da Ursa to your list and prepare to be amazed by its natural beauty.

Things to do in Sintra off the beaten path

When you think of Sintra, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the grand palaces that make the town so famous. But what if you’re looking for something a little different? There are plenty of off-the-beaten-path activities to keep you entertained.

One hidden gem that’s worth a visit is the Santuário da Peninha. Perched atop a rocky outcropping, this medieval monastery offers stunning views of the surrounding area. On a clear day, you can even see all the way to Lisbon! So if you’re looking to mix things up on your trip to Sintra, be sure to add Santuário da Peninha to your list of things to see in Portugal.

São Pedro de Penaferrim

If you’re looking to experience Sintra like a local, skip the typical tourist sites and head to the market of São Pedro de Penaferrim. Here, you can find an array of local produce including an impressive variety of Portuguese cabbage, rustic oven bread, homemade sausages, and sheep and goat cheeses. But it’s not just about shopping, you can also learn about traditional dishes like caldo verde soup and even buy all the ingredients to make it yourself. Trading at small open-air markets is a long-standing tradition that locals take quite seriously, so if you want to immerse yourself in the culture, this is a must-visit spot during your time in Sintra.

Sintra beaches

  • Azenhas do Mar: a postcard-worthy destination loved by locals. Enjoy lunch with ocean views or take a dip in the seawater pool.
  • Ursa Beach: located near Cape Roca, this beach offers stunning scenery and refreshing but chilly water.
  • Adraga: known for its sheltered location, making it a popular spot even in colder months.
  • Praia Grande: the perfect beach for those who don’t want to climb over rocks to get there.
  • Praia das Maças: easily accessible from Sintra tram and offers plenty of space for beach games.
  • Magoito: the iodine-rich sand here will give you a faster tan compared to other beaches.

Sintra Deserts

If you’re looking for a sweet treat in Sintra, look no further than the town’s most famous desserts: queijadas and traveseiros. These humble cakes and puff pastries are made from simple, delicious ingredients like fresh cheese, cinnamon, sugar, eggs, and grated almonds. And if you’re lucky, you might even find a pastry shop that still follows the tradition of giving burnt queijadas to children in need – it’s a heartwarming gesture that will make your day. So next time you’re wondering where to eat in Sintra, Portugal, be sure to stop by a local bakery and taste these iconic treats for yourself!


If you find yourself wandering through the charming streets of Old Town Sintra in search of a cozy spot to grab a bite to eat, check out Tascantiga. This tavern boasts a unique ambiance with humpbacked pavement and rustic tables that add to the restaurant’s charm. However, it’s the food that truly sets Tascantiga apart. With a menu full of delicious petiscos, snack-sized Portuguese dishes, you won’t want to miss out on the grilled cuttlefish or traditional octopus salad with wine vinegar.

Taverna dos Trovadores

If you’re in the mood for some live Portuguese music, be sure to check out Taverna dos Trovadores. This troubadour tavern offers a variety of grilled meats and free-flowing wine for you to enjoy while listening to some tunes. Next time you’re wondering where to eat in Sintra Portugal, make sure to give both Tascantiga and Taverna dos Trovadores a try.

How to get to Sintra from Lisbon

Are you planning a trip to Sintra, Portugal and wondering how to get there? The most convenient option is to take the local train from Lisbon straight to the terminus in Sintra. To catch the train, head to the Rossio Central Station and purchase your tickets from a machine or ticket office. The travel time is only 40 minutes, making it a quick and efficient way to get to Sintra.

If you prefer driving, follow the A5 road and cross the N117 road to IC19, but be prepared for parking challenges. It’s best to arrive in the city before 9 AM to secure a spot and avoid expensive parking tickets. Just remember to feed the parking meters every hour, especially if you’re parked in the center zone where it costs 80 cents per hour.

I believe that you can travel the world without quitting your job. I believe that you can experience all the magic, the foodies and the cultures of the world while having a normal life. And, perhaps, two dogs. This is exactly what I’ve been doing for 15 years. This is exactly what my blog is about. Love, Lilia

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