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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
Pena Palace
Standing boldly atop a hill above Sintra, this beautiful palace can be seen all the way from Lisbon on a clear day.
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.
Sintra National Palace
A striking and eclectic mix of architectural styles, this is most likely the best preserved medieval palace in all of Portugal.
Monserrate Palace
The traditional summer resort of the Portuguese Royal Family.
Quinta da Regaleira
This romantic UNESCO World Heritage Site displays the wealth and extravagance of the Portuguese elite.

Related Tours

Discover the Wonders of Sintra with skip the line tickets from Lisbon
Visit Sintra, one of Portugal’s most magical UNESCO World Heritage Sites, for hilltop castles and fairytale palaces set in the forested hills near Lisbon.
 
  • Tour the turreted, Romanticist Pena Palace, perched on a dramatic hilltop
  • Visit a Moorish castle which served as a military outpost in the 9th century Reconquista
  • Stroll around the lake-dotted secret gardens at the Quinta da Regaleira Palace
  • Explore Queluz National Palace, the last official residence of the Portuguese Royal Family
  • Take in spectacular sea views from Cabo da Roca (Cape Rock), the westernmost point of mainland Europe
Fairytale Sintra
 
The ancient city of Sintra may lie just half an hour from Lisbon, but its forest-covered mountains feel a world away from the frenetic capital. A cooler climate and lush landscapes have drawn Portugal’s rich and powerful here for over a thousand years and it even served as a summer retreat for the Royal Family. Hence, the hills are dotted with extravagant Moorish castles, fortresses and Romanticist palaces, which you’ll explore the very best of on this guided tour.
 
Royal Pleasure and Military Might
 
Take guided tours of some of Sintra’s most famous monuments. You’ll start at Pena Palace, a yellow and orange Romanticist wonder complete with domes and turrets, watchtowers and drawbridge. The Castle of the Moors, a 9th century military outpost, was a key site during the Reconquista and today, you can wander the remains of its walls for incredible views of the region and Pena Palace.
 
Tour the Regaleira Ranch, a grand house built by a wealthy resident in 1892, which is most famous for its quirky garden structures, from fountains to sculptures and the inverted tower. This spirals down 27 metres to spectacular underground tunnels. You’ll also get the chance to visit the Queluz National Palace, which presents one of Europe’s finest examples of Rococo architecture and was the last official residence of the Portuguese Royal Family before the French invasion of 1807, when they fled to Brazil.
 
To marvel at one of Sintra’s most spectacular viewpoints, you’ll visitCape Rock, the westernmost point of both Portugal and continental Europe. From this dramatic cape, you’ll get panoramic sea views from windswept cliffs. Before leaving the magical hills of Sintra, you’ll make final photo stops at both Monserrate Palace.

You could spend weeks exploring Sintra’s hilltop treasures but if you haven’t got time for that, this tour showcases the best of its castles, viewpoints and decorative palaces. 
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