What makes this tour special
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
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.