Julie Portugal 10 Comments

Tucked away in the mountains outside of Lisbon sits the lovely town of Sintra. This town is the gateway for exploring several of Portugal’s most famous palaces, castles, and museums. With one day in Sintra, visit Pena Palace, stroll through the gardens at Quinta da Regaleira, walk the walls at the Castle of the Moors, see the beautifully tiled rooms at the National Palace of Sintra, and visit the enchanting Monserrate Palace.

Sintra is a popular day trip from Lisbon. By train or car, it’s easy to get to and with one day in Sintra, you can visit all the sites we listed above or just a few of them.

In this guide, we cover what you need to know to plan a memorable visit to Sintra. Learn how to get to Sintra, how to get around, what is worth visiting, and how to put it together into a fun but efficient one day itinerary.

Lets’ get started.

A Quick Geography Lesson

Sintra is an area of Portugal that sits to the west of Lisbon. Sintra is most famous for its palaces and castles that sit in the mountains, including Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira, and the National Palace of Sintra, but it is also home to a stunning stretch of coastline.

The town of Sintra is the gateway to some of the area’s most famous sites, including Pena Palace, the National Palace of Sintra, the Moorish Castle, Quinta da Regaleira, and the Palace of Monserrate. From Lisbon, you can get to the town of Sintra by train, car, or Uber.

The Sintra Cultural Landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the town, parks, gardens, castles, and monasteries in this area.

A part of this region runs along the Atlantic Coast, extending the list of places to visit around the town of Sintra to the coastline, as well.

How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Best Things to Do on a Sintra Day Trip from Lisbon

With one day in Sintra, here are the best things to do (for the full list, and lots more information about each attraction including pricing and hours, read our article Best Things to Do in Sintra):

Pena Palace. The #1 attraction in Sintra. Pena Palace is famous for its mountain top setting, its whimsical blend of architectural styles, and vibrant colors.

Quinta da Regaleira. Quinta da Regaleira is famous for its gardens and Initiation Well, but you can also tour the palace and climb its tower.

Moorish Castle. This castle is located on a lofty perch not far from Pena Palace. With its snaking castle walls and numerous viewpoints, this is not to be missed, especially if you enjoy panoramic views and visiting historic sites.

Palace and Gardens of Monserrate. This underrated palace is gorgeous inside and out. The gardens are also very nice to visit. Monserrate is less crowded than the palaces listed above and our favorite in Sintra.

National Palace of Sintra. This is the oldest palace in Portugal. It is located in Sintra town and on a visit here, you will stroll through a maze of beautiful rooms, some covered with blue tiles, others decorated with ornately painted ceilings.

With one well planned day, you can visit all of the sites list above, but it will be a busy one indeed. We visited all five of these sites in one day, and later in this guide, we let you know exactly how to do it.

The coastal sites of Sintra are also worthwhile. However, to get to these, you will either have to skip a few sites listed above, or take two day trips to Sintra (staying overnight in Sintra will give you more time and decrease your time spent on the train).

Here are several stunning coastal sites to visit in the Sintra Cultural Landscape:

  • Cabo da Roca
  • Praia da Ursa
  • Praia das Azenhas do Mar
  • Praia das Maçãs

Praia das Azenhas do Mar | One Day in Sintra day trip from Lisbon

Praia das Azenhas do Mar

How to Get to Sintra from Lisbon

Sintra is located 25 km west of Lisbon. You can get here by train, Uber, and car.

By Train

Taking the train is the most budget and eco-friendly way to travel from Lisbon to Sintra. By train, it takes 40 minutes to travel from Lisbon (station: Lisboa-Rossio) to Sintra (station: Sintra) with a price of €4.80 for a return ticket. Check train timetables here.

For the best experience, plan to be on one of the earlier trains of the day. Lines can be long to get on the train in Lisbon (especially in July and August) and it helps to start at one of the sites in Sintra right at opening time.

From the station, take Bus 434, Uber (or another ride share app) or a taxi to town or the first site on your to-do list or walk 10 minutes to the town of Sintra.

If you want to visit the coastal sites, you will have to hire an Uber, tuk-tuk, or private driver to drive you around.

By Uber

By Uber, it takes 30 to 60 minutes to travel from Lisbon to Sintra, depending on traffic and your starting point in Lisbon. The advantage of using Uber is that you can hire the Uber to take you directly to your first site (such as Pena Palace or Monserrate) rather than the town of Sintra.

By Car

If you have a rental car, you can drive to Sintra. However, parking at the sites is extremely difficult, as the cobblestoned, winding roads become congested with cars, buses, tuk-tuks, and people, and parking is almost nonexistent.

I do not recommend driving in Sintra. However, you can park your car in Sintra and then use the buses, Ubers, or tuk tuks to get around. There are public parking lots next to the train station.

The advantage of having a car is the ability to visit the coastal sites at the end of the day, since these are more challenging and expensive to get to if you use Uber.

Pena Palace Sintra Portugal | One Day in Sintra day trip from Lisbon

Pena Palace

Best Way to Get Around Sintra

The best way to get around Sintra town and the surrounding palaces is to use the buses, tuk-tuks, and Uber.

By Bus

Using the bus is the most economical way to get around Sintra, but it is also the least efficient.

Bus 434

Bus 434 is a hop on hop off bus that costs €8.40 for a day ticket. The bus makes a loop, with these stops:

  • Sintra Estacao (the Sintra train station)
  • Sao Pedro de Sintra
  • Moorish Castle
  • Pena Palace
  • Historic center of Sintra
  • Sintra Estacao

This bus runs from 9:15 am (9:30 am in the low season) until 7:50 pm (6:20 pm in the low season). It takes about 30 minutes to make one loop, although this will take longer midday once the road becomes a traffic jam around Pena Palace. Buses run roughly every 15 minutes.

If you purchase a Pena Palace entry ticket at 9:30 am, be aware that the first bus of the day will not get you there in time. So, if you plan to use the bus, you will not be able to book the 9:30 am time slot at Pena Palace (the best time slot to avoid the crowds).

Also, midday there can be very long lines to board the bus, so plan on adding extra time into your itinerary if you plan to use the bus to get around.

Bus 435

Bus 435 connects the town of Sintra to Quinta da Regaleira and Monserrate Palace. Tickets cost €6 for a day pass. The bus runs from 9:30 am to 7:50 pm in the summer, running every 20 minutes.

If you plan to use the bus, the 24 Hour Hop On Hop Off 24 Hour bus ticket includes both bus 434 and 435 for €13.50.

By Tuk-Tuk

This is how we got around.

Tuk-tuks can be hired for the day or for individual journeys. In our experience, there was always at least one tuk-tuk waiting at the entrance into a site, which we would hire to take us to the next place on our list.

Fares range from €5 to €15 per person, depending on how far you will travel. These fees can add up over the course of the day. However, we never spent additional time waiting for a bus, so we were able to visit a lot of sites very quickly and efficiently. For us, our time was more valuable than the cost of the tuk-tuks since we only had one day to visit the palaces and castles in Sintra.

Monserrate is the most expensive site to get to, so consider using bus 435 to get to and from Monserrate and the tuk-tuks to get to Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle.

Uber or Another Ride Share App

It’s also possible to get around using Uber. We did not use Uber so I can’t speak from experience how efficient or expensive this is. We have also heard good things about Bolt, not only in Sintra but also in Lisbon.

Quinta da Regaleira Tower Sintra

Quinta da Regaleira

How to Get Around the Coastal Sites in Sintra

The coastal sites do not have the same handy network of tuk-tuks and taxis like the area around Sintra town. We had a rental car, but you can also hire a private driver for the day or join a tour. You can also use the public bus but we have no experience with this and I am not sure how efficient it is.

Praia das Macas Portugal | One Day in Sintra day trip from Lisbon

Praia das Maçãs

Sintra Day Trip from Lisbon: 3 Different Ways

Below, I’m going to lay out three different one day Sintra day trip options.

The first itinerary is the most ambitious, where you visit Pena Palace, the Moorish Castle, the National Palace of Sintra, the Palace of Monserrate, and Quinta da Regaleira.

The second itinerary visits three of the top sights in Sintra. This is done at a more leisurely pace, but you will be missing out on two palaces.

And finally, the third itinerary starts with the palaces and castles in Sintra and ends with the coastal sites.

One Day in Sintra: 5 Palaces and Castles

Places Visited: The town of Sintra, the National Palace of Sintra, Quinta da Regaleira, the Palace of Monserrate, Pena Palace, and the Moorish Castle

It may sound impossible to get to all of these sites in one day, but I know it works, because we did it and I will share with you our exact itinerary.

This is a very busy day and at times you will feel like a race. For some people, this may feel like too much to do in one day. But if you only have one day in Sintra and want to visit everything we listed above, it is possible.

First, I list our exact itinerary from our visit in mid-September. I list the times that we did everything (Tim took meticulous notes throughout the day, with our times and crowd levels).

Since we visited Pena Palace midday, I’m going to list a second itinerary that starts at Pena Palace, if you want to tour this beautiful palace without massive crowds.

To get around, you will have to use the tuk-tuks, rather than using precious time to wait for the bus.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Purchase all of your tickets online in advance and have cash to pay for tuk-tuks and taxis

8:30 to 8:45 am: Arrive in Sintra

Plan your arrival for some time around 8:30 to 8:45 am. I recommend starting off the day at Casa Piriquita, a restaurant that is famous for its travesseiros, which are puff pastrys filled with egg and almond cream. People start lining up at 8:45 am so it helps to get a head start and be one of the first in line.

9:30 am: National Palace of Sintra

The National Palace of Sintra opens at 9:30 am. It is located across the main square from Casa Piriquita. First thing in the morning, crowds are light, so you should be able to get right inside the museum and quickly tour the rooms.

This is a beautiful, historic palace, and 20 to 30 minutes is all you need to walk through the rooms, read about the history of the palace, and take some photos.

Sintra National Palace | One Day in Sintra day trip from Lisbon

National Palace of Sintra | One Day in Sintra


Room of the Coat of Arms Sintra Palace | One Day in Sintra day trip from Lisbon

Room of the Coat of Arms in the National Palace

10:00 am: Quinta da Regaleira

At 10 am, walk or take a tuk-tuk to Quinta da Regaleira. It is a 15-minute walk from the National Palace to Quinta da Regaleira.

We arrived at 10:10 am and there was a line to enter, even for those with tickets. Quinta da Regaleira opens at 10 am and since this is a very popular place to visit in Sintra, people line up early to enter. We waited in line for 10 minutes to enter the estate.

Tim and I spent an hour touring the gardens and palace. We first went to the Initiation Well, where again we waited in line to enter (about 15 minutes), then walked the tunnels, photographed Torre de Regaleira, strolled through the gardens, and toured the inside of the palace.

Upon exiting Quinta da Regaleira, we hired a tuk-tuk to take us to the Palace of Monserrate (€10 per person).

Initiation Well Sintra Portugal

Initiation Well | One Day in Sintra


Quinta da Regaleira | One Day in Sintra day trip from Lisbon

Torre da Regaleira, Quinta da Regaleira

11:30 am: Park and Palace of Monserrate

At 11:30 am we arrived at the Park and Palace of Monserrate. We strolled through the gardens, photographed the chapel, and then toured the palace.

The Palace of Monserrate is stunning both inside and out and was one of the highlights of the day for us.

Before leaving Monserrate, we bought lunch at the café on the property.

Palace of Monserrate Portugal | One Day in Sintra day trip from Lisbon

Palace of Monserrate | One Day in Sintra


Inside Palace of Monserrate

Inside the Palace of Monserrate

12:30 pm: Taxi to Pena Palace

Outside of Monserrate, we hired a taxi to take us to Pena Palace. Due to the distance between these two sites, this was our longest and most expensive ride of the day. It took 35 minutes to get to Pena Palace and we spent €15 per person.

Now that it was midday, traffic around Pena Palace was terrible. Near the palace, we inched forward in long line of cars, tuk-tuks, and buses, which is a common occurrence midday. Our entire visit to Pena Palace felt like one line after another, which really took away from the experience.

We originally planned to visit Pena Palace in the morning, to avoid the crowds. However, fog covered the mountaintops on the morning of our visit, which we were told happens very frequently. Sometimes it burns off quickly and other days it stays around all day. There is no way to predict what will happen.

So, to have clear skies on our visit, we saved Pena Palace for the afternoon, knowing we would have big crowds. I don’t regret the decision because I’m thrilled with our photos. But by visiting Pena Palace in the morning, you risk foggy, cloudy, gray skies.

Pena Palace | One Day in Sintra day trip from Lisbon

Pena Palace


Pena Palace Photo

Pena Palace

1:05 pm: Enter Pena Palace

When we arrived, we had a two-minute wait to enter the park of Pena Palace (the main entrance into the park) since we had pre-purchased our tickets online. The line to purchase tickets was much longer than this.

Tim and I had shuttle tickets, but the line was very long, so we walked up to the palace. We got in line to enter the palace. It was a 30-minute wait in line to enter the palace. Once inside, it took 45 minutes to tour the interior of the palace. After Monserrate and the National Palace of Sintra, we did not think the interior of Pena Palace was all that interesting. And it took over an hour to visit these rooms.

If I did it again, I’d skip the interior of Pena Palace and tour the palace walls, courtyards, and gardens (the main thing you are missing is the view from the Queen’s Terrace). I think our time would have been better spent walking out to the High Cross than touring the interior of Pena Palace.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: There are two tickets for Pena Palace, the Park + Palace Ticket (includes everything, including the park, the terraces of Pena Palace, and the interior of Pena Palace) and the Park Ticket (includes the park and most of the terraces of Pena Palace, but not the Queen’s Terrace, which is only accessible via the interior of the palace).
If you choose the Park + Palace Ticket, you will book a time slot. This time slot is for your entrance into the interior of the palace, not the entire property. If you follow this itinerary as we did it, book a 1:30 pm or 2:00 pm time slot. Even later works, as well, if you want to add in some contingency time. With a 2:00 pm time slot, you are able to enter through the main gate at 1:00 pm, you just have to get to the entrance into the palace by 2:00 pm.
If you only want to walk through the gardens and see Pena Palace from the outside, then book the Park Ticket. This is a much cheaper option.

2:50 pm: Walk to the Moorish Castle

At 2:50 pm, we walked from Pena Palace to the Moorish Castle. At this time, the traffic jam on the road was gone, the ticket line for Pena Palace only had a few people, and there was no wait in line to enter the main entrance of Pena Palace. So, if you move slower than we did, crowds seem to lessen later in the day, so you may have lighter crowds than we had.

It takes 5 to 10 minutes to walk along the road from Pena Palace to the entrance into the Moorish Castle. Once you enter, it is a hilly 400 meter walk to the castle. We spent 30 minutes walking the walls and taking photos.

Castle of the Moors | One Day in Sintra day trip from Lisbon

Moorish Castle | One Day in Sintra

3:30 pm: Taxi to Sintra

At 3:30 pm, we hired a taxi just outside the Moorish Castle to take us to Sintra town. We sat down to a very late lunch (or very early dinner?) at Tascantiga, dining on traditional Portuguese food. Fortunately, we got there just before they closed at 4:15 pm.

After lunch, Tim and I spent an hour shopping in Sintra before returning to Lisbon.

Optional Itinerary Putting Pena Palace First

If you want to visit all five sites but start at Pena Palace to avoid the crowds, this is how I would do it. Just keep your fingers crossed that the morning fog (if there is any) burns off before it’s time to leave Pena Palace.

9:00 am: Enter Pena Park
9:30 am: Tour the interior of Pena Palace (book 9:30 am tickets for Pena Palace) and walk around the exterior of the palace
10:30 am: Walk to the Moorish Castle and tour the castle
11:30 am: Bus, taxi, or tuk-tuk to Sintra town
11:45 am: Lunch in Sintra
12:45 am: National Palace of Sintra
1:30 pm: Park and Palace of Monserrate
3:00 pm: Quinta de Regaleira
5:00 pm: Shopping in Sintra

Note: In this itinerary I put Quinta da Regaleira after Monserrate, which is different from the first itinerary. Since Quinta da Regaleira is the second most visited place in Sintra, if you save it for the very end of the day, you have a better chance of visiting it with lower crowds. After the National Palace of Sintra, take a tuk tuk, taxi, or Uber/Bolt to Monserrate. Once finished at Monserrate, hire another tuk tuk/taxi/Uber/Bolt to get to Quinta da Regaleira. Hopefully you can enjoy this site with lower crowds. Then it’s a quick walk into Sintra town.

Portugal Travel Guide

One Day in Sintra: Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira & Monserrate

If the above itinerary moves too quickly or you just don’t want to visit five palaces in one day, then take your pick between three palaces/castles.

I think Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira, with its famous Initiation Well, are must-see’s.

The Moorish Castle is easy to add on to Pena Palace, since they sit side-by-side. However, you will walk a lot of steps at the Moorish Castle, so it’s not for everyone.

The National Palace of Sintra is the easiest palace to visit, since it sits in Sintra town and doesn’t take much time.

Finally, Monserrate is the most remote, so it takes more travel time to get here, and the biggest fee if traveling by tuk-tuk or Uber, but you can save money by using bus 435. This was our favorite of the palaces in Sintra, since it was the least crowded and the most beautiful (in our opinion).

Here are two sample itineraries.

Quinta da Regaleira, Monserrate & Pena Palace

9:00 am: Breakfast in Sintra (optional quick visit to the National Palace of Sintra)
10:00 am: Quinta da Regaleira
12:00 pm: Bus to Monserrate, visit Park and Palace of Monserrate
1:30 pm: Return to Sintra town, lunch in Sintra
2:30 pm: Bus or tuk-tuk to Pena Palace, visit Pena Park and the exterior of Pena Palace
4:00 pm: Entry ticket into the interior of Pena Palace

Pena Palace, Moorish Castle, Quinta da Regaleira

9:00 am: Breakfast in Sintra (optional quick visit to the National Palace of Sintra)
10:00 am: Quinta da Regaleira
12:00 pm: Lunch in Sintra town
1:00 pm: Bus or tuk-tuk to Moorish Castle
3:00 pm: Walk to Pena Palace and enter Pena Park
4:30 pm: Entry ticket into the interior of Pena Palace

Palace of Monserrate Sintra | One Day in Sintra day trip from Lisbon

Inside the Palace of Monserrate

One Day in Sintra: Palaces & Beaches

If you want to split your day between the palaces and beaches, here’s how to do it.

In the morning, drive to Sintra, park your car in Sintra town, and visit Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira using the bus or tuk-tuks.

Have a late lunch in Sintra town or at Moinho Dom Quixote, a lovely outdoor restaurant that is located between Sintra town and Cabo da Roca.

In the afternoon, visit Cabo da Roca, hike to Praia da Ursa, and visit Praia das Maçãs, Praia das Azenhas do Mar, and Praia do Magoito.

Praia da Ursa Sintra Portugal

Praia da Ursa

Helpful Tips for Visiting Sintra

Purchasing Tickets

Purchase your tickets online in advance. This will save you time, as you won’t have to wait in the ticket line.

You can purchase your tickets for several sites (Pena Palace, Monserrate, the Moorish Castle, and the National Palace of Sintra) here, on the official website. Purchase your tickets online in advance for Quinta da Regaleira on their official website. Doing so saves you a wait in the ticket lines and saves you a little bit of money. 

You can also purchase your tickets online in advance through GetYourGuide. GetYourGuide’s website is easier to use than the official websites and all of your tickets will be accessible in their mobile app. Here are the links:

Hours of Operation

Here is a list of the operating hours for each palace/castle in Sintra, plus a link to the official website, so you can double check the hours for your visit before you go.

If you plan to stay late in the day, make a note of the last entry time, which is usually 30 minutes to 1 hour before closing.

  • Pena Palace: Park da Pena is open from 9 am to 7 pm; the palace is open from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm; last entry is 6 pm
  • Quinta da Regaleira: May to September 10 am to 7:30 pm, last entrance at 5:30 pm; October through April 10 am to 6:30 pm, last entrance at 5:30 pm
  • National Palace of Sintra: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm; last entry at 6 pm
  • Moorish Castle: 9:30 am to 6 pm, last entry at 5:30 pm
  • Park and Palace of Monserrate: The park is open from 9 am to 7 pm, last entry at 6 pm; the palace is open from 9:30 am to 6 pm, last entry at 5:30 pm

The coastal sights are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Wear Comfortable Walking Shoes

In many places, the sidewalks are cobblestoned, creating an uneven surface. You will walk a lot of hills and some of these pathways can be slippery, so wear a pair of shoes with good traction.

You Will Climb a Lot of Hills and Steps

These palaces and castles are located in the hills around Sintra, so expect to climb a lot of hills and staircases.

Bathrooms and Restaurants

Each palace has a bathroom and a small restaurant. Restaurants range from small cafes that serve snacks to larger restaurants with table service. As you move from palace to palace, finding food and a bathroom shouldn’t be a problem.

Make Sure You Bring Enough Cash

If you plan to get around by tuk-tuk, make sure you have plenty of cash on hand to pay your drivers.

Queens Terrace Pena Palace Photo

View from the Queen’s Terrace, Pena Palace

Best Tours of Sintra

If you want to day trip to Sintra but you don’t want to worry about how to get here using the train and then using the buses and tuk-tuks to get around, there are many organized tours from Lisbon. These either include a full day visiting the palaces in Sintra and others include the coastal sites and even Cascais. Here are a few options.

This 8 hour small group tour includes Pena Palace, Monserrate, and Quinta da Regaleira.

This highly rated tour from Lisbon includes Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira, and historical Sintra.

If you want to tour Pena Palace, stand on the westernmost point of continental Europe at Cabo da Roca, and explore Cascais, this tour gets rave reviews.



Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best things to do in Sintra?

Pena Palace is Sintra’s most famous site, followed by Quinta da Regaleira and its famous Initiation Well. Also not to be missed are beautiful Monserrate Palace, walking the walls at the Moorish Castle, and seeing the blue tiles at the National Palace of Sintra. You can also stand on the westernmost point of continental Europe at Cabo da Roca and hike to Praia da Ursa, one of Portugal’s most beautiful beaches.

Is Sintra worth it?

The palaces and castles that sit around the historic town of Sintra are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pena Palace is one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. With historic castles, ornately decorated palaces, beautiful beaches, and the westernmost point of continental Europe (Cabo da Roca) Sintra is well worth the visit.

How do you get to Sintra?

The best way to get to Sintra is by train, which connects Lisbon to Sintra in 40 minutes. You can also get to Sintra on a tour, by Uber or taxi, or by rental car.

How do you get around Sintra?

The best way to get around Sintra is to use the public buses or hire a tuk-tuk, Uber, or taxi. The mountainous roads in Sintra are narrow, winding, and very congested and parking is almost nonexistent, so we don’t recommend driving to the palaces in Sintra. However, having a rental car is the best way to visit the coastal sights in Sintra.

If you have any questions about how to spend one day in Sintra or how to plan a Sintra day trip from Lisbon, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Portugal

SINTRA: In our article Best Things to Do in Sintra, we cover the top sights to see in Sintra, plus everything you need to know to plan your visit, with time saving tips, transportation options, and a sample itinerary.

CASCAIS: In our Guide to Cascais, we cover the best things to do and how to plan a day trip from Lisbon.

LISBON: In our Lisbon Bucket List, we list 40 highlights and hidden gems to visit in Lisbon. Plan your time with our one day in Lisbon itinerary and 2 day Lisbon itinerary. Here are 14 amazing day trips to take from Lisbon. Find the perfect place to stay in our Lisbon Hotel Guide.

PORTUGAL ITINERARIES: If you are just beginning to plan your Portugal itinerary, take a look at our 10 Day Portugal Itinerary for five different ways to spend 10 days in Portugal. We also have a detailed 10 day itinerary that includes Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve.

DOURO VALLEY: Get started with our Douro Valley Travel Guide, which covers the essential things to know when planning a trip to this wine region. We also have a guide to the Best Way to Day Trip to the Douro Valley from Porto and 8 Wineries to Visit in the Douro Valley.

BEST OF PORTUGAL: In our article Best Things to Do in Portugal, we list 25 amazing things to see and do in Portugal.

We have TONS more information about Portugal in our Portugal Travel Guide, including Lisbon, Sintra, Porto, the Algarve, and the Douro Valley.


One Day in Sintra Portugal Itinerary

Sintra Portugal Things To Do


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Comments 10

  1. Avatar for Heather

    Hi, I can’t tell you enough how much I love your site and how much it has help guide our vacations and hikes. Thank you for doing all the work to make our lives easier! As a blogger, I know how much time and effort you put into the detail of your work. Quick question for you on the order you list to visit the castles and palaces in Sintra. My daughter and I will be visiting in July, and plan to visit all 5 palaces and castles. In your blog, you wrote that the National Place of Sintra is only a 15 minute walk to Quinta de Regaleira, but on your suggested order of visits, you suggest visiting the park and palace of Monserrate in between those two. Is there a reason why that’s the best order? Since we plan to walk, we were thinking of visiting National Palace of Sintra, then walking the 15 minutes to Quinta de Regaleira then visiting the park and palace of Monserrate (as our last stop) . Do you think that makes sense? And can we walk to the park and palace of Monserrate from Quiinta de Regaleira? Thanks you so much for clarifying!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Heather. I’m glad you like our site! Follow the 5 Palaces itinerary on this post. It has it listed the way we did, and the same way you recommend: National Palace, then Quinta da Regaleira, then Monserrate, etc. You must have seen the next itinerary, which lists Pena Palace first (for those who want to go there first) and later in that day Monserrate comes before QdR. You can’t really walk from QdR to Monserrate as it would be a very long walk. I hope this clarifies things and let me know if you have any other questions. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Heather

        Hi, thank you! Yes, I was looking at the option with Pena first. I am just wondering why you have Monserrate after National Palace of Sintra in the 2nd option, instead of having QdR after National Palace of Sintra (since it is only a 10 minute walk ( if I am understanding correctly.) Does that make sense?

        The easier question is just to ask if this sound like the best option (and is my timing correct) …… 9:30 Pena Palace, then short walk to Morrish Castle, then tuk tuk to National Palace of Sintra, then 10 minute walk to QdR, then tuk tuk to Monserrante then tuk tuk back to Sintra town.
        Sorry I am confused. I just want to make sure we don’t back track since we are trying to fit all 5 in and we go in July.
        Thank you so much!!

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          Hello Heather. There are a lot of different ways you can order the palaces. You are correct in that I did it 2 different ways. The first itinerary is how we did it, a good option for putting Pena Palace in the afternoon. On the second itinerary, with Pena Palace in the morning, I figured it would be easy to get a tuk tuk from Sintra town to Monserrate, then work your way back to Sintra town, ending with Quinta da Regaleira when it may not be as crowded late in the day. But your order works great too. You can do it either way and it would still be a great experience. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Brian Galinat
    Brian Galinat

    Your site is tops for all our travels (which has included all 63 US National Parks). Thank you!
    Where did you park your rental car?
    We are planning to visit Sintra on a Thursday morning in mid-April. We then have a 3pm winery visit 20 minutes west of Sintra. After that we are tagging Cabo da Roca before returning to our hotel in Cascais.
    I have read the train station for parking but you said, “park your car in Sintra town.”
    We have no problem getting there super early. If we do so, say 7:30 am, how could we best spend the time before the sites open? I suspect we will take our chances with the fog, do the 9:30am entrance at Pena Palace, walk to Moorish Castle, tuk tuk to Quinta da Regaleira and see how we are doing time wise. Sound reasonable?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Brian. I’m glad you like our site and congrats on visiting all 63 national parks!
      On the day that we visited the Sintra palaces, we took an Uber from Lisbon. We went directly to Pena Palace and it was all fogged in, so had the Uber take us to Sintra town, where we waited for Piriquita to open, had pastries, then visited the National Palace, then Quinta da Regaleira, and moved on from there. I don’t think it is necessary to get there at 7:30 am, since places don’t start opening until 9. We arrived around 8:30 am and it was all very quiet (this was mid-September). I agree, the best place I know of to park in Sintra is by the train station. You can visit the palaces in the order you list them (which gives you the advantage of starting right at 9 am), or start at Quinta da Regaleira (but it doesn’t open until 10) and then tuk tuk, Uber, or Bolt to Pena Palace, walk to the Moorish Castle, and tuk tuk/Uber/Bolt to Sintra town. In that order, there is a better chance you won’t have fog at Pena Palace, but unfortunately, there is no way to know in advance what the fog will do. It’s so hard to come up with a good plan, but if you don’t mind taking your chances with the fog, Pena Palace is the best place to start because it opens earlier than QDR. Seeing Cabo da Roca is awesome so it is great that you are including that too. I hope this helps and have a great time in Portugal! Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Stef

    We will be traveling to Lisbon in October this year and would love to take a day trip to Sintra. We will have an 18-month-old, so I was curious if you think visiting Monserrate, Pena Palace, and Quinta da Regaleira is too ambitious for one day.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Stef. I don’t think that is too ambitious. The only tricky thing I can think of is nap time. At that age, Tyler and Kara needed an hour of sleep midday so they weren’t cranky and terrible to be around later in the day. Not all toddlers are like this, however, and a sleepless day here and there aren’t the end of the world. But other than that, I can’t see any reason why it would be too much to visit those 3 sites. Have a great time in Portugal! Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Laura
    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      There is no way to know, unfortunately. We talked to several locals the day we were here, and they said you won’t know until you get here. If there is fog in the morning, there’s no guarantee it will burn off by the afternoon (although it usually does). And sometimes, there can be a clear morning and foggy afternoon. Your best bet is to plan your visit on the clearest weather day in the area. That’s what we did, there was fog until about 10:30 am, and then clear skies the rest of the day. Cheers, Julie

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