7 Fun Things to Do in Sintra, Portugal

Written By: Gina JetSetForget

There are so many things to do in Sintra, Portugal. This picturesque city is located just 45 minutes north of Lisbon.

The history of the area dates back to the 1400’s when a single monastery was placed on a hilltop in Sintra during medieval times.

When the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 destroyed most of the city, the area sat untouched and empty for many years.

It wasn’t until the mid-1800s when one of the King’s sons was so fascinated by the forested area, that his father decided to acquire all the surrounding land, and bring it back to life.

7 Things to Do in Sintra, Portugal

things to do in Sintra Portugal Quinta

The king turned it into a summer retreat for all the Kings and Queens in the 19th century, and now many of the grounds are open to tourists from around the world.

You will find castles, forested gardens, breathtaking views, beaches and even cliffs that touch the westernmost point of Europe.

HOw to Get to Sintra

what to do in Sintra Portugal
  • If you arrive to Sintra by train be sure to buy your ticket the night before at your local train station to avoid long lines.
  • If you drive to Sintra parking can be challenging, see Idea #1 below on how to get around this.

Sintra was by far our favorite part of our Portugal trip.

We took the train from Lisbon and spent the entire day there, and these are 7 fun things to do to make the most of your adventure!

1. Rent a Small Vehicle or Bike

sintra day tours car rentals
Cute and affordable car rentals

Sintra offers a public bus that you can take to reach each of the sites. However, there can be long lines at the bus station waiting to be picked up and dropped off.

We found it is best to rent an electric car or bike to get around. The vehicles are smaller than a regular car so parking is very easy within the city limits.

You will see companies located outside of the train station that will rent different modes of transportation. They are very helpful and knowledgeable about the area and make it super simple for you.

2. Visit a Castle Fit For a Princess

sintra portugal pena palace

The Pena Palace is a colorful castle located at the top of one of the hills in Sintra, and on a sunny day, you can even see the castle from Lisbon.

You can pay €7.50 to walk the grounds and see the exterior of the castle only OR you can pay €14 for both the grounds and take a self-guided tour of the interior of the castle.

Sintra offers a bus to take you from the entrance through the gardens and will drop you off in front of the Pena Palace.

Or you can choose to do what we did, which was walk through the gardens (uphill) to get to the castle. If you choose to walk, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and give yourself an hour to reach the top.

3. Taste Test Sardines

sintra portugal travel sardines

The Portuguese love their sardines. You can find them in most stores, and even at the bike and car rental shops in Sintra. In Lisbon, it feels like they are on every corner!

They may not be for everyone, but it’s a good salty snack to take with you as you traverse the grounds and travel to each attraction.

There are sometimes a lot of flavor options so take your time reading each label.

4. Get Lost in a Garden

Sintra moss walkway

By far the most picturesque spot in Sintra is Quinta da Regaleira. It is the perfect spot to put down the map and see where the winding paths take you.

Within the grounds, you will find mazes of greenery that will lead you through caves, forests and to hidden wells.

Sintra tourism pond

If you drive, there is parking down the street from the main entrance and the fee to enter the park is €6 per person and they offer family and child discounts.

5. Try to Not Fall Down a Well

what to see in Sintra well

Also located within the grounds of Quinta da Regaleira, you will find two wells that you can tour. You have the option of starting from the top and winding your way down the staircase to the bottom of the well.

Or start from the bottom and climb to the top. At the bottom of both, there are caves to wander through also.

6. Put Your Toes in The Sand

what to do in Sintra beach

There are a few places to see the ocean along the coastline of Sintra. It would take days to see all the amazing beaches but the ones we loved the most were the ones easily accessible to park a car and take a dip in the water.

Best Place for Photos in Sintra – Praia das Azenhas do Ma

what to see in Sintra coast line views

The best place we found to take pictures is Praia das Azenhas do Mar.

With its homes overlooking the coastline and a cascading waterfall, you can’t beat the view.

Or you can bring a blanket and lay in the sand with the locals at Praia das Macas. Both beach options have restaurants and parking if needed.

7. Live On The Edge

Sintra Portugal views of coast

The westernmost point of Europe can be found at Cabo da Roca.

You will encounter a lot of tourists here, but there are multiple places for photo opportunities.

Take a Photo in Front of the Westernmost spot in Europe

Sintra plaque

You may need to wait in line to take a picture in front of the plaque, but it will be worth it to show people you made it!

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Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • World Nomads - Digital Nomads or Frequent Travelers.
  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About Gina JetSetForget

Gina is a personal trainer, runner, tour guide and travel enthusiast. Her blog was started to give the best travel tips around the world with a focus on fitness. Follow her at: JetSetForget / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest / Twitter

Leave a Comment

29 thoughts on “7 Fun Things to Do in Sintra, Portugal”

  1. It is a brilliant post, inspires many travellers to uncover the great beauty of nature and colourful royal residences of Sintra, thanks for sharing your wonderful experience and helpful tips.

  2. This is a really neat article, I love how you did a virtual tour and gave the history on the town. I always love learning new things and I certainly learned a lot.

  3. Hey Dave and Deb!

    Such a breathtaking place! Good thing it did not turn into a ghost town or it would have been such a waste. Castles are by far my most favorite subject to photograph.

  4. Portugal looks amazing place to visit and it help me a lot to create my bucket list. You captured great pictures in your travel trip.

  5. Great tips. Sintra is insane. I totally underestimated the size of it and how much walking was involved – it takes some planning if you want to see more than just Pena. You can also stay in the area if you want to spread it out over a few days.

  6. I have visited Portugal many times.Those places are too much beautiful.Please Try to share more HQ pictures in you post. 🙂

  7. stunning your all pictures an article really nice thanks for sharing. Portugal looks amazing place to visit and it help me alot to create my bucket list.

  8. You have captured some beautiful photos! And I love the detailed guide you’ve drawn up. Portugal has always been on my list but after reading your post.

  9. Great guide you shared about beautiful Sintra. its things are so amazing to get fun and stunning photos you shared of that beautiful place. Gardens are best for me.

  10. wow! it look fantastic place and pictures. Portugal has always been my favorite. Your blog really good and it help me a lot. Thank you.

  11. Over Christmas my parents and I were talking about where they could go on holiday in Europe and we never considered Portugal but after reading this I’m going to talk to them about it tonight when they get home from work. Thanks for the inspiration guys. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  12. You guys are really lucky and the places looks amazing would love to visit Portugal and explore it and Praia das Azenhas do Mar looks amazing.
    Thanks for sharing.

  13. Sounds like an fantastic place! The photographs look high-quality. Portugal seems so much a laugh. Loved it. Thank you a lot for sharing it.

  14. I love to visit your blog. I really find amazing posts here, you have written very nicely this post. Thanks for sharing this post.

  15. Wow, that garden looks beautiful. I wish you’d taken even more pictures! I guess I’ll just have to go and see it for myself some day 🙂

  16. Wow! the pictures look amazing. Portugal has always been my favorite, you’ve listed down some really amazing activities to do in this beautiful place.

  17. Those houses and the colorful castle makes me want to jump on a plane right now! Portugal looks so much fun. Loved it. Thank you so much for sharing it.