Sintra, Portugal Travel Guide | A magical destination

Located on the Portuguese Riviera, the variety of fascinating historical buildings, together with the wonderful natural landscapes, picturesque beaches, parks and gardens make the city of Sintra, a remarkable destination. It is one of the richest municipalities in Portugal, the city being consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in Portugal. In this article, you will discover details about the history and beauty of the city of Sintra, as well as suggestions to plan your perfect vacation there.

Useful information

Accommodation - Where we stay in Sintra

In the city of Sintra, we can find a varied range of accommodation options. For a more pleasant experience, we can make some recommendations:

  • Charm Inn Sintra - The guests of this hotel can enjoy classically decorated rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, and a garden with a terrace where breakfast can be served. The price for one night's accommodation with breakfast included starts from 80 euros per person.
  • Chalet Saudade – This hotel is located in the city center, and offers modernly decorated rooms and romantic gardens with fountains and ponds, definitely an excellent accommodation option. Rates for one night's accommodation with breakfast included start from 137 euros per person.
  • Mathilde Sintra House - It can be an affordable accommodation option, offering guests a common kitchen, a terrace and the rooms offer a comfortable, home-like feeling, a wonderful accommodation for travelers who travel alone. The price for one night's accommodation starts from 50 euros per person.

Tourist spotsWhat do you visit in Sintra?

Pena National Palace

The Pena National Palace stands out as the renowned jewel of the Sintra Hills. The history of the castle began in the Middle Ages when, according to the stories, the construction was born after an apparition of the Virgin Mary. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. The surrounding park is in close harmony with the magical character of the palace, triggering emotions of mystery and discovery. The colorful tones of the palace, and the eternal legacy of Ferdinand II, the King-Artist, open the doors to the imagination of all who cross its threshold. The Pena National Plate is open every day for the enjoyment of visitors, prices start from approximately 13 euros per person, you can find more details here.

Sintra National Palace

Sintra Palace (Palácio Nacional de Sintra), also called Town Palace (Palácio da Vila), is the best preserved medieval royal residence in Portugal, having been inhabited more or less continuously from the beginning of the 15th century until the end of the century 19th, a significant tourist attraction that is part of the cultural landscape of Sintra. Both inside and outside, the palace has a mixture of medieval, Gothic, Manueline and Renaissance architecture. The price of the entrance ticket starts from approximately 10 euros, you can find more details here.

Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle)

Built by the Moors, on a mountain, in the 9th century, this castle guarded the coast of Lisbon, included secret passages and a large cistern, which were vital in case of siege. The castle offers visitors a magnificent panoramic view of the city of Sintra, all the way to the Atlantic coast. This is now a very popular tourist attraction and is usually visited together with the Pena Palace. The distance between the monuments can be covered by bus, but also on foot. The price of a ticket starts from 8 euros and can be purchased from here.

Quinta da Regaleira

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, built at the beginning of the 20th century, designed by the Italian architect Luigi Manini, this romantic architectural complex is composed of a palace, a chapel, grotto gardens, fountains, benches, artesian wells and a wide range of refined constructions. It is an absolutely incredible place, which is definitely among the top tourist attractions in Sintra. Here is also the famous initiation well (Initiation Well) which never served as a water source. Instead, one of the multitude of stories says it was used for ceremonial purposes which included initiation rituals in Tarot, Freemasonry and others. You can find more details about the program and tickets here.

Palácio de Seteais

The Seteais Palace (Palácio de Seteais) is a neoclassical palace located on the Portuguese Riviera, operating as a luxury hotel, known as the Tivoli Palácio de Seteais Hotel. The palace was built between 1783 and 1787, and was the home of the aristocrats until it was transformed into a hotel in 1953, receiving famous guests, such as the American president Richard Nixon and the writer Agatha Christie. If you want to live a luxurious experience, you can even stay here.

Sintra-Cascais Natural Park

Cel mai vestic punct al continentului european, a fost considerat in antichitate ca fiind locul unde “pamantul se termina si incepe marea”. Cabo da Roca este una dintre cele mai spectaculoase locatii din Parcul Natural Sintra-Cascais. Stancile sale verticale se ridica la aproximativ 100 m deasupra nivelului marii, oferind peisaje spectaculoase. Peisajul este dominat de Serra de Sintra, care este acoperit de vegetatie bogata si da nastere unui microclimat care face din acest parc un loc atat de special. Aromele proaspete si variate care pot fi gasite aici, fac dintr-o plimbare prin munti, o experienta de neuitat.

Capuchos Convent

Charming and rather strange at the same time, this cave-like hermitage was carved into the rock in 1560. It is the place where monks lived until 1834 and where visitors now have something similar, an "Alice in Wonderland", passing through shockingly small rooms. Located 7 km west of the center of Sintra, the Capuchos monastery cannot be reached by public transport, you will need a car.

Sintra Old Town

The old town is called Vila Velha and is located in the district of São Martinho. It is full of picturesque buildings, pastel colors and terracotta roofs, which are very photogenic. The old town is quite often full of tourists, especially at lunchtime, but nevertheless, there are many streets that are worth exploring.

Palacio Nacional de Queluz

The Queluz National Palace is one of the most outstanding examples of the harmonious link between landscape and architecture, in Portugal. It was designed as a summer palace, between 1747 and 1789, at the initiative of the second son of King João V, Pedro de Bragança. The palace served as the official royal residence in the second half of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. It combines baroque, rococo and neoclassical architectural models, while its historic gardens are inspired by French styles.

Monserrate Palace and Gardens

Located in the middle of a splendid botanical garden, full of species from all over the world, you discover a palace designed in a unique and impressive romantic style, which gives the impression that the Orient has moved to the hills of Sintra. The location, which is further from the historic center of the city, makes Monserrate a much quieter place than the other famous palaces in Sintra. Greenhouses, bridges, statues, waterfalls and artesian fountains make the place a fascinating destination that should not be missed. You can find more details about tickets and the visiting schedule here.

Gastronomy & Restaurants

Portuguese cuisine is very varied, following in some respects the Iberian tradition, but, in addition, compared to this, it still took many characteristics of the colonized territories. On the coastline, along the Sintra region, we can find an abundance of white fish, seafood and crustacean dishes. As far as sweets are concerned, we must inevitably highlight queijadas de Sintra, an ancient sweet that dates back, at least, to the Middle Ages, but there are also many other desserts that are worth trying. Colares wine is an indispensable addition to any meal, especially the famous Ramisco variety, which is one of the top wines on the Portuguese wine list. We can also offer you some restaurant recommendations below.

  • Incomum by Luis Santos – This restaurant invites you to try traditional Portuguese recipes. The superbly prepared food, the best quality ingredients, the wonderful aromas and a staff very attentive to details, make this restaurant a very suitable choice.
  • Nau Palatina - From the cheerful canopy, with yellow stripes, to the warm and attentive service, Nau Palatina is one of those restaurants that you will remember long after the vacation is over. The food itself is excellent, a varied menu, from the best quality local ingredients.
  • Real Tacho - Seafood is the specialty of this restaurant, cooked in a wide variety of combinations. The decor is romantic, complemented by the candlesticks on the tables, white tablecloths and sturdy wooden chairs, the restaurant is ideal for an unforgettable dinner as a couple.

Sintra, Portugal, is the place to be if you want to see one of the most stunning cities in the world. This magnificent city hosts many massive palaces and castles, spectacular parks and gardens, places that guests can fully enjoy. And, considering that the main transit city to Sintra is Lisbon, why not make a short stop in the capital of Portugal? Discover here everything you need to know about Lisbon.

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