Sintra is a must visit for all those who decide to know the capital or surroundings. Less than an hour from Lisbon, the city is known for being one of the most romantic ever and, of course, is notable for its picturesque landscapes. The landscapes of the city are so precious that, in 1995, UNESCO classified the Cultural Landscape of Sintra as a World Heritage Site.
What to visit in Sintra?
The Pena Palace
The Pena Palace is an authentic diamond in the Sintra mountain range. From colours to architecture, the setting looks like something out of a movie. Each corner of the monument perfectly represents the Romanticism that characterises Portugal and the eternal legacy of Ferdinand II, the Artist King — known for his irreproachable culture and the fact that he spoke German, Hungarian, French, English, Spanish, Italian and, of course, Portuguese.
If you want to visit the Pena Palace, the best thing is to choose the months with less tourists and, of course, with lower temperatures (September - June).
The palace was created in 1856, in order to welcome Francis Cook during the summer holidays. Also full of touches of Romanticism, the space consists of a gallery, a music room, a dining room and also features a library.
Monserrate Palace is surrounded by a 50-hectare garden entitled Monserrate Park. The park is filled with plants of the most diverse origins. Since 2020, the Monserrate Park and Palace are part of the “European Route of Historic Gardens”, which integrates the “Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe”.
The estate was built in 1541, in the Lourel area. The space was abandoned for a few years and, later, became the property of the municipality. On May 1, 2015, the farm opened its doors to the public and became the scene of cultural, sporting and recreational events.
The Ribafria Estate consists of a Manor House and a 13-hectare garden. Crossed by the Colares River, the space has centuries-old redwoods and countless other plants.
This is another of the mandatory stop places in Sintra and that can be visited almost entirely without any cost. Located on the top of a rock, the view you can get from the Moorish Castle is breathtaking, and the Moorish Castle was an important structure in the defence of the territory and the maritime accesses to Lisbon.
Since 1976, the space has been the subject of archaeological excavations, which allow you to know a little more about the history of the site. The Moorish Castle is 200 metres from Pena Palace.
Sintra National Palace
The Sintra National Palace brings together mediaeval, Gothic, Manueline, Renaissance and romantic architecture. The palace was inhabited by the Portuguese Royal Family until the end of the Monarchy in 1910. For history lovers, the visit to the Sintra National Palace is a way to go back in time, since almost all the kings and queens of Portugal stayed there.
Those who visit to notice the two conical chimneys, which also characterise the also known as Palácio da Vila.
Quinta da Regaleira
Quinta da Regaleira, also known as Quinta da Torre, is divided into seven points of visit: the Initiatic Well, the Palace, the Chapel, the Walks of the Gods, the Guardians Portal, the Initiation Well and the Underground Walkways.
Since 2002, the space has been classified as a Public Interest property due to the gardens, caves and the enigmatic environment in which it is immersed.
Blue Lagoon, located in the middle of the Sintra mountain range, is a meeting point with nature. The place is the scene of several mountain biking events and is also chosen by families for picnics.
Azenhas do Mar
Azenhas do Mar is a village located on the cliffs of the coast that seems like it was taken from a fairy tale. In addition to being an excellent place to visit and explore, it also entices the most curious to try fresh fish and seafood.
In addition to presenting an amazing natural pool, Azenhas do Mar is a unique place where you can watch one of the most beautiful sunsets on the Portuguese coast.
For three consecutive years Adraga beach was distinguished by Quercus as “ Gold Quality beach” and the reasons are obvious. The sandy beach is easy to reach and the waters are pure. In addition, the beach manages to combine the mountain environment with the vast sands.
If you go to Sintra, you must visit the westernmost point of Continental Europe, Roca Cape.
About 150 metres from the sea, you can get a comprehensive view over the Sintra mountain range and the coast. In addition, you can enjoy the Cape’s Lighthouse, the third oldest in Portugal still in operation, with 165 metres of altitude and 22 metres of height.
Where to eat in Sintra?
Sabores do Mercado
Known for being “a hidden gem in the heart of Sintra”, the restaurant mixes Portuguese food with the flavours of Sintra and develops modern dishes. Sabores do Mercado is available for lunch and dinner, offering a varied list of wines and jams.
Customers can try the tapas, chef's cod, pork cheeks, vegetarian lasagna or the confit octopus. The Serra cheese pudding, the tiramissú and the chocolate brownie are some of the options that can accent the desserts.
The tapas and snack restaurant is considered “the first modern snack restaurant that came to revolutionise the municipality of Sintra”. Maria Bojarda features meat, fish, vegetarian and dessert boards.
The francesinha, the chef’s steak and the cod in the oven are the main dishes of the menu. The restaurant suggests varied wines, craft beers and prepares cocktails on the spot so that families can enjoy everything that is mandatory in a meal. Sometimes the space hosts live music and Fado shows.
Taverna dos Trovadores
The Taverna dos Trovadores, set in a quiet location, is known for its delicious food, but also for the live music that livens the atmosphere. This option is ideal for various contexts, including group dinners, since you can book private rooms.
Taverna dos Trovadores hosts live Portuguese music every Friday and Saturday, starting at 23h00. In terms of menu, the food is traditional Portuguese, composed of flavours from the various regions of Portugal.
The Apeadeiro restaurant is known for its monkfish, fried shrimp and seafood soup. The stars in the desserts are the cheeses.
Azenhas do Mar
Azenhas do Mar restaurant is the ideal place for lunch/dinners with your eyes set on the sea and in the village of Azenhas do Mar, built on the cliff.
Tascantiga is a family restaurant intended for tapas and snacks, all loaded with Portuguese flavours, but presented in an original way. The restaurant opened its doors in the summer of 2016 and is already successful among locals and tourists. Some of the best known dishes, in addition to tapas, are broth and pork cheeks. Among the desserts, the highlight is the petit gâteau, apple crumble and English cake.
Going to Sintra and not going to Piriquita, is like going to Rome and not seeing the Pope. The family business with more than 160 years opens the door to the best Travesseiro in Sintra and traditional cheeses. The Travesseiro consists of puff pastry on the outside, stuffing with egg and almond cream inside and most importantly: a secret ingredient. Currently, Piriquita is one of the main sights of the village that already boasts two stores.
Where to stay in Sintra?
Chalet Saudade is located in the centre of Sintra, 100 metres from Sintra Train and Bus Stations, a 20-minute walk from the Moorish Castle and 5 kilometres from Pena National Palace. The guest house is located in the heart of the city, but is slightly far from the other sights.
The guest house has been renovated for five years and, currently, the decoration of the space brings guests closer to the 19th century. To add a subtle touch to your stay, all rooms include tea and coffee making facilities, and some have a kitchenette.
A Barca Charm House
Barca Charm House is a holiday home situated in Colares, 2.8 kilometres from the nearest beach. In the villa you can enjoy a magnificent swimming pool and babysitting services. The house offers five bedrooms.
Just 5 kilometres away, you have at your fingertips many of the main sights of Sintra, such as the Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira, Roca Cape and Sintra Natural History Museum.
Quinta do Pé Descalço
Quinta do Pé Descalço is ideal for those who want to rest in total communion with nature, given its surroundings with green areas and its outdoor pool. For breakfast, you can count on fresh bread, local cheese, Algarve orange juice and homemade jam.
From Quinta do Pé Descalço you are close to Lisbon (direct train line), Cascais (20 minutes by car) and also to guarded or wild beaches.
PG - Beach House
If you want accommodation by the beach, then PG - Beach House is your best option, since it is six minutes from the nearest beach and 400 metres from Praia Pequena do Rodízio. In addition, you can take advantage of the private pool, garden, barbecue facilities and a children's playground.
If your vacation is in a group, don't worry. The house has five bedrooms. Praia das Maçãs is less than 1 km from PG - Beach House.
Quinta do Cabo Guesthouse
At Quinta do Cabo, you can enjoy beautiful sunbathing while enjoying the outdoor pool and, in the distance, the sea. From the guest house, you will be a 20-minute drive from Colares. Guests can play tennis and billiards. A bicycle rental service is also available at the farm.
Azen Cool House
Infinity pool and in total communion with nature, so is the Azen Cool House. In this accommodation you can enjoy a real rest or enjoy and take advantage of the padel court, table tennis, snooker, darts and a gym. You are 700 metres from the nearest beach.