Sintra is the famous suburb of the Lisbon Palace. You will discover a beautiful natural landscape, the centre of a small Portuguese town, some royal palaces and charming parks, all surrounded by magnificent tropical vegetation. In general, a visit to Sintra is almost essential for any trip to Lisbon. In this article, I will try to answer the various questions you may have.
How to get to Sintra
First of all, it is interesting to note that you can stay in Lisbon and move to Sintra even for two or three nights. It is here that everyone decides for themselves what is most convenient for travelling or moving with their personal belongings or children. If you are more comfortable settling in at Lisbon, choose accommodation around Piazza Rosiu, Sintra railway station and Ru Augusta’s main tourist promenade will be within walking distance. It is also easy to get to Sintra from Oriente or Entrecampos stations, but these places are not located in the centre of Lisbon.
If you are staying in Cascais, you can take bus number 403 to Sintra via Cape Roca. Lovers of Sintra’s chic historic hotels can choose from the Tivoli Palacio de Seteais, a five-star hotel with all the imaginable and unimaginable amenities and a magnificent view of the Château de Mavres and the Palais de Pena. If the hotel had not been built in this building, it could have been a museum!
Palacio de Sintra Bed & Breakfast is also a very good choice, not far from the Kinta da Rigaleira estate, and much more affordable than a five-star palace.
From Rossiu station the train goes to Sintra in only 40 minutes. It is therefore possible to take the train every day, there is nothing complicated and it is not expensive. But if you have to take public transport to the nearest station, it’s a different experience, more time and more money.
Bus to Sintra from Lisbon
Bus number to get to the different places in Sintra:
- National Palace of Sintra: Bus No. 434 and No. 435
- Pena Palace (Palace + Park) : Bus No. 434
- Pena Palace (Park): Bus No. 434
- Château des Marues: Bus No. 434
- Countess Elda’s Mansion: Bus No. 434
- Quinta da Rigaleira : Bus No. 435
- Montserrat Palace: Bus No. 435
- Monastery of the Capuchins: Bus No. 435
The English audio guide can be offered in some areas but I don’t know them all. The best way to have a guide in French and to make things easier is to use a guide for a guided tour of Sintra in English.
Visit the National Palace in Sintra
The most accessible and known of all the excursions to Sintra: the National Palace of Sintra. It is easy to walk from the station. The walk does not will take no more than 10-15 minutes. Both buses 434 and 435 pass in front of him. The National Palace is located in the centre of Sintra, around which are located houses, restaurants, cafés and museums. There is no park nearby.
It is the only palace in Sintra that has kept its shape since the Middle Ages. It began to be built in the 12th century. During the first three centuries, the The palace was rebuilt, rebuilt, decorated in a new way and then left as it was in the middle of the 16th century. In the National Palace of Sintra, you will see rooms decorated in the Mudéjar style, tiled with azulejos, furniture, i. e. the Portuguese colouring is strongly present. The visit will last about an hour and a half.
It is possible to register for the tour with a guide directly on site but only in English at 14h30, every day. In addition to the tickets, you will need to pay 5 € for the visit.
Visit the Pena Palace in Sintra
The Palace of Pena is one of the main pearls of Sintra and a must see site. Most tourists visit this particular palace. It was built in the first half of the 19th century by the Portuguese king of German origin, Ferdinand II (Fernando II), in the style of historical romanticism.
The appearance of the palace is enchanting and attracts the attention of all those who have only seen it on a postcard or on the Internet. Pena’s palace is surrounded by a huge park, also worthy of attention. The view from the summit, the mountains fascinate.
You can also register for the tour with a guide on site but only in English at 2:30 pm, every day. In addition to the tickets, you will have to pay 5 € for the visit. The estate of the Countess of Elda is located in the park of Pena. It is only a modest house at the alpine chalet. For the Portuguese, this mansion is important, as well as the memory of the love story of their king and a simple opera singer. If you still want to visit this house, you can must plan your visit at the same time as Pena Castle.
Visit the Castle of the Moors in Sintra
The castle of the Moors is located very close to the palace of Pena, their land is only 200 meters apart but this is not obvious because of the vegetation lush. The castle of the Moors is a very strongly restored medieval fortress. The view is superb, you will remember it. There are no interiors in the Moorish castle, but there are archaeological areas. The castle of the Moors is very similar to the castle of Saint-Georges in Lisbon. I wrote a detailed article on the castle of the Moors.
In principle, on the first day, this visit will be enough for you. All these palaces and the castle are located along a bus line number 434, which is very convenient.
Visite the Quinta da Rigaleira in Sintra
Quinta da Rigaleira was built by the Brazilian Portuguese millionaire, Carvalho Monteiro, at the beginning of the 20th century. The particularity of this vast and very interesting mansion is its mystery and symbolism. Until the 1960s, the estate was privately owned and has since moved into the public domain. À In Quinta da Rigaleira, there is a mysterious initiation well or an inverted tower that sinks deep into the ground. The 9 floors of the tower symbolize the 9 circles of hell from Dante’s Divine Comedy. And that’s not all, there are many different pavilions in the park, there are even caves and underpasses. Everything has been built for a particular reason and has a deep religious meaning.
A walk in the park and the palace will take between 2 and 3 hours. From the station, the estate is only 2 km away and the relief is gentle. It is quite possible to do it on foot. But if you also want to visit the Montserrat Palace, you must absolutely book a ticket for the bus number 435 round trip.
Visit the Montserrat Palace in Sintra
The palace of Montserrat is located on the other side of the Sintra mountain and is not visible from the Quinta da Rigaleira estate. It is practically It is impossible to reach it on foot, 4 km from the centre of Sintra by road. The Montserrat Palace is famous for its British masters and for the fact that Byron sang it himself in his poem entitled « Child’s Harold’s Pilgrimage ». At the time of his visit to Sintra in 1809, the Palace of Pena and the estate of Quinta da Rigaleira did not yet coexist. The interiors of the Montserrat Palace are characteristic of the medieval, Indian and Moorish styles. The palace is surrounded by a magnificent park, more like a collection of plants harvested from all over the world than a botanical garden. The estate was built in several steps. Our current vision is that of the British industrialist Sir Francis Cook from 1856 to 1863.
Visit the Queluz Palace in Sintra
The Queluz Palace is an example of Portuguese Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassicism. Built in 1747 as a royal dacha, the palace later became the permanent residence of the royal family. The Queluz Palace surrounds a superb park. The palace differs from all the palace complexes and parks already mentioned by the fact that it was built in the same style as Versailles in Paris, Petrodvorets in Petersburg, Catherine Palace in Pushkin. Its visit will be interesting for those who want to familiarize themselves with the particularities of Portuguese Baroque. Those who have already managed to see several Baroque palaces elsewhere are unlikely to be interested.
The Queluz Palace is located 14 km from the centre of Lisbon and 15 km from Sintra. There are two ways to get there: if you go to Sintra by train, you must get off at Monte Abrão or Queluz-Belas station before reaching Sintra. Count about 1 km between the stations and this palace of Sintra.
Or you can go to the Queluz Palace by bus directly from Lisbon. Bus number 101 leaves from the Tercena metro station, bus number 106 leaves from the Falagueira-Carcavelos metro station. In one of the palace’s buildings, there is a luxury hotel (the Pousada Palacio de Queluz) with a reasonable cost for the services.