Sintra

This municipality is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its vast 19th century Romanic monuments.

TravelCurious Tip

Don’t drive — parking spots are scarce. Take a train from the beautiful Rossio Station in the centre of Lisbon instead

Sintra is a town and municipality found in the Lisbon Region of Portugal. With its cooler climate among the pine covered hills of the Serra de Sintra, it once attracted Lisbon’s elite, who built the extraordinary palaces and gardens that remain there today. Before them, it was where Celts worshipped their moon god, and where the Moors built a formidable castle, so Sintra’s fairy-tale setting has clearly always bewitched us. Its heady mixture of history and fantasy has made it a World Heritage Site.


Spoilt for Choice

There are really more palaces in Sintra than can be seen in a day. Among the highlights is the Monserrate Palace, which combines Moorish and Gothic styles, with an Italian twist, and has remarkable gardens that are a dreamscape of waterfalls and tropical flora. Another is the Quinta de Regaleira, built at the close of the 19th century, which sprouts turrets and towers like glorious mushrooms. Its garden is full of mythological symbols, with statues of gods set among mysterious wells and grottoes.


The Star of the Show

Among an embarrassment of riches, the standout attraction is surely the Pena Palace. Built in the 19th century by a king who wanted his royal retreat to resemble something from an opera, it is painted in vivid colours, with the sort of pomp and mythical design that brings to mind Mad King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Lisbon
Sintra National Palace
A striking and eclectic mix of architectural styles, this is most likely the best preserved medieval palace in all of Portugal.
Quinta da Regaleira
This romantic UNESCO World Heritage Site displays the wealth and extravagance of the Portuguese elite.
Well of Initiation
This ceremonial well features a spiral staircase into a tunnel system that connects it to other monuments and caves around the park.
Portal of the Guardians
One of the main features is the Portal of the Guardians which stands at one end of a courtyard. This long curved structure is flanked by two towers with a central pavilion, hiding the entrance to a tunnel that leads to the Initiation Well.
Sintra City Hall
An unusually flamboyant town hall, and one of the most prominent landmarks in the town of Sintra.
Castle of the Moors
Built between the 8th and 9th centuries, this military outpost in Sintra played a key role in the Reconquista against Arab rule.

Related Tours

Sintra, Pena Palace & Coastal Towns: Private Day Trip from Lisbon
Experience a magical world of ancient castle forts surrounded by evergreen forests, spectacular fairytale castles, and breathtakingly beautiful views toward the sea on this private day trip from Lisbon to Sintra, Cabo da Roca and the golden sands of Cascais on the Atlantic coast. 
Described as the Garden of Eden by Lord Byron, Sintra is a unique and beautiful town in the foothills of Portugal’s Sintra Mountains, home to the Pena Palace and just 20 miles from Lisbon. Cape Roca or Cabo da Roca is the cape that forms the westernmost point of continental Europe, with not to be missed dramatic coastal views, and Cascais is a charming coastal town known for its pretty sandy beaches and busy port. 

On your private day trip, you will:

  • Explore the famous and eccentric Pena Palace, a colourful Romanticist castle located atop a hill above the town of Sintra and former home to the Portuguese royal family; 
  • Visit the opulent Pena Palace interior and step out onto its beautiful terraces that boast breathtaking views over the surrounding park and Lisbon (on a clear day);
  • Enjoy free time for lunch in the quaint and cobbled streets of Sintra, a pretty and historic town famous for its Moorish fort, the Pena Palace, and its lovely atmosphere, with wonderful bistros and boutiques and views over the hillside - Lord Byron famously stayed here and fell in love with it; 
  • Relax on a drive through Sintra Natural Park which has its own microclimate, making it often cooler than the neighbouring Lisbon (sometimes up to 5ºC cooler);
  • Stand 140 meters above sea level and admire the dramatic cliffside views at Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of mainland Portugal and of continental Europe;
  • Enjoy free time to explore the charming seaside town of Cascais, once a small fishing village that became the premier holiday destination of the Lisbon locals and nobles, offering charming views, small beaches, the medieval Nossa Senhora da Luz Fort and the Citadel Palace, a former royal retreat;
  • Hop back in your private transport for an easy transfer back to Lisbon.

Your all-inclusive private day trip led by an experienced local guide starts early with pick-up from your hotel in Lisbon to ensure that you avoid the queues and crowds at Pena Palace, the colourful fairytale castle perched high on the hill above the charming town of Sintra

Built in the 19th century, this was the summer country home of the Portuguese royal family and is set amidst a dramatic landscape of a hilly evergreen forest, with spectacular views over the surrounding landscape. It was built by King Ferdinand II who had a very flamboyant and larger-than-life taste, evidenced by the bright red and yellow domes, and opulent interior! It is an adaptation of 16th-century monastic ruins and an imitation of a medieval fortress. 

After your morning tour, enjoy free time for lunch in Sintra, a pretty cobbled town with wonderful restaurants and views. Lord Byron called it the Garden of Eden on a visit.  After lunch, enjoy a scenic drive through Sintra Natural Park to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Continental Europe, with amazing cliffside views of the ocean. Then drive to Cascais for a guided tour of this historic and charming coastal town, home to the medieval Nossa Senhora da Luz Fort and the 15th-century Citadel Palace, a former royal retreat.

Lastly, enjoy a relaxing drive back to Lisbon. 
Explore The Best of Sintra: Private Day Trip From Lisbon by Train

Just 20 miles from the centre of Lisbon, you will discover Sintra, one of the most popular day trips from Lisbon, known for its spectacular setting and grand Mansions of the Portuguese Elite.

On your private day trip to Sintra, you will:

  • Travel leisurely with your tour guide by train from Lisbon's Rossio Train station to Sintra in just 40 minutes;
  • Visit the colourful 19th-century Pena Palace, once the summer residence of the Portuguese King and situated atop a hill overlooking Sintra Natural Park, Sintra town and, on a clear day Lisbon;
  • Explore the interior of the Pena Palace, richly decorated with 'azulejo' tiles representing what it was like to live like royalty between the 1800s and 1900s;
  • Enjoy the amazing views from the Palace's vast terraces, as well as its colourful exterior that gives it the nickname of "fairytale castle";
  • Enjoy a 30-minute walk through the lavish gardens to see the valley of the lakes, where one can enjoy the peaceful and suggestive atmosphere created by the five small lakes surrounded by exotic vegetation;
  • Relax on a panoramic drive through Sintra Natural Park on an electric TukTuk, the fastest and most fun way to travel in Sintra!; 
  • Take a stroll through the charming old town of Sintra, home to many summer palaces of the Portuguese aristocracy and the perfect spot for a delicious Portuguese lunch;
  • Learn about the history of the town on a guided walking tour, where you’ll see the spectacular Sintra National Palace from the outside;
  • Discover Quinta da Regaleira Palace which boasts a magnificent Renaissance-style manor and lush gardens, where you can explore underground caves, a waterfall, a labyrinth and the famed Well of Initiation;
  • End your tour by returning with your tour guide back to Lisbon by train.


Set high up in the Sintra Natural Park, this palace boasts vast terraces with spectacular views as well as beautifully landscaped gardens.

After, travelling back to Sintra town with an electric TukTuk, enjoy free time for lunch after which your guide will take you on a walking tour through Sintra town and the Quinta da Regaleira, another incredible palace with even more spectacular gardens.

The resplendent gardens are even classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO within the "Cultural Landscape of Sintra! Commissioned and owned by a well-known Freemason, Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, the four-hectare property is famous for its enigmatic buildings and underground tunnels.

Monteiro filled the property with symbols linked to masonry, alchemy, Tarot mysticism and more. Your guide will expertly guide you through the extensive and puzzling system of tunnels, grottoes, and caves, as well as a waterfall and a labyrinth carved into the bedrock! You will of course not miss the Well of Initiation, a spiral staircase composed of 9 levels of 15 steps, often thought to symbolise the nine levels of Hell from Dante's Inferno.

Walk with your guide to Sintra train station for your return train to Lisbon.

Discover Pena Palace: Private Day Trip to Sintra from Lisbon
The Pena National Palace is a Romanticist castle in Sintra, Portugal. It stands on the top of a hill above the town of São Pedro de Penaferrim and is the most popular tourist attraction in the town, as well as one of the most visited monuments in the country. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995 and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.

On your private half-day tour of the Pena Palace, you will:

  • Enjoy a fully guided tour of the Pena Palace, nicknamed the "fairy tale castle", built with the purpose to serve as a summer residence of King Ferdinand II and his family;
  • Discover the different architectural styles that coexist in the palace, such as Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, and New-Romanesque along with other Oriental styles such as Neo-Moorish and Indo-Gothic;
  • Admire the views from the large palace terraces, and explore the Palace interior,  decorated to reflect how the palace looked when it was home to Portuguese royalty 1800s and 1900s; 
  • Explore the palace's magnificent gardens, commissioned by King Ferdinand II between 1838 and 1878 which are today the property of the Portuguese State and a protected monument;
  • Travel to and from the palace through Sintra Natural Park with an electric TukTuk, the fastest and most fun way to get around this beautiful area;
  • End the tour by returning to Lisbon by train with your guide, or to the town of Sintra where you can have lunch and continue exploring at your own leisure. In this latter case, your guide will give you your return tickets to you can catch the train whenever you like later in the day.  

Your private tour of Sintra will start at Rossio Train station in central Lisbon. Today Portugal's most famous attraction, the Pena Palace was built in the 19th century as a summer home for Portuguese royalty. It was built by King Ferdinand II who had a very flamboyant and larger-than-life taste. 

It is an adaptation of 16th-century monastery ruins and an imitation of a medieval fortress. The Palace boasts spectacular views over the natural park and Lisbon (on a clear day) as well as beautifully landscaped gardens. Enjoy a 30-minute walk through the gardens to see our favourite section: the valley of the lakes. 

Your tour will end with a tuk-tuk ride either back to Sintra train station, where you will catch the train back to Lisbon with your guide, or you can stay in Sintra town where you can have lunch and continue exploring at your own pace. 
If you chose to stay in Sintra, your guide will give you your return train tickets which will be valid all day.  
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