Day trip to the ancient city of Sintra from Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is a beautiful European capital full of winding narrow streets and alleys to discover, magnificent cathedrals to admire, and panoramic views overlooking the city that will take your breath away. 

There are also wonderful daytrips that one can take to get out of the city and experience a different taste of Lisbon.  Read on about a day trip to Sintra, an ancient Portuguese city.

Looking to book a trip to Portugal? Check out the Trip Builder where you can connect with travel agents who will give you custom prices on your trip.

Visiting Sintra, an ancient UNESCO heritage site outside Lisbon

Photo provided by James LauThe ancient city of Sintra is a UNESCO Heritage Site and was once a getaway destination for the royal family.  It’s also a very easily accessible attraction that makes up a great day visit if you’re travelling in and around Lisbon, Portugal.

Head out in the morning and grab a pastry from a local bakery in Lisbon and for only a few euros, catch a train ride to Sintra, 45 minutes north-west of Lisbon by train.  As you arrive in Sintra, exit the train station and head to the tourist office next door where they will provide you with free maps, transportation information, and pamphlets containing details on where to go and what to see. 

Next, hop onto the bus as it takes you up a windy mountain trail and drops you outside the grand National Palace of Pena, a historic palace located atop the highest point of Sintra Mountain.  This is the oldest palace built under the inspiration of European Romanticism, and is an edifice to behold on its own – in fact, it can be seen all the way from Lisbon.  It’s also one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. 

Photo provided by James LauAfter exploring the Palace (make sure to walk around the walls at the top to enjoy the gorgeous view), take a short 15-minute trek over to one of the oldest castles in Portugal: Castle of the Moors (or Castela dos Mouros).  Pack a small picnic to enjoy as you take a break from climbing the hills and steps on your ascent to the top of the castle walls.  The reward for your climb is a stunning view overlooking western Portugal and the other sites of Sintra. 

The Sintra National Palace and Regaleira Palace also warrant visits for exquisite examples of beautiful architecture and enchanting gardens.  If you have more time in Sintra, there are many other activities to do such as visiting one of the many churches or museums in town, strolling through an exotic garden or taking a bus to Caba da Roca, the westernmost point in Europe.

Want to book a trip Portugal?’s Trip Builder will put you in touch with local travel agents with custom prices on your trip.

For more photos of James’ travels, go to:

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