If you are satisfied with exploring Lisbon using the Traveling Guide in Lisbon , you can enter a day trip to Sintra in your Portugal itinerary. Sintra is a destination not too far from Lisbon and there are many interesting places to visit. In fact, after we did a day trip to Sintra, we were a bit sorry why we didn’t stay there for a few days because there were so many activities that could be done while in Sintra.

We will share based on our experience on a one day trip to Sintra from Lisbon, who knows you can develop your own itinerary if you want to go to Sintra for more than 1 day.Sintra City Center

How to get to Sintra from Lisbon

We chose to take the train to Sintra as we love train travel. If you google how to get to Sintra from Lisbon, surely most references will say that you have to go to Rossio Station to take the train to Sintra because the station is in the old city of Lisbon and is indeed the area most visited by tourists. But since yesterday we didn’t stay in old town Lisbon, we took another train line by waiting for the train to Sintra from Entrecampos Station. The train journey from Entrecampos to Sintra only takes about 30 minutes, while from Rossio it takes about 40 minutes.

The price of train tickets from both Rossio and Entrecampos is the same, which is 2.3 euros one way or 4.6 euros PP per person. Tickets can be purchased from the ticket machine at the train station and saved to the Viva Viagem card (transport card as we described in our Lisbon guide ). Tickets & seats cannot be pre-booked because there are indeed many seats available on the line. However, I heard that because Rossio is a tourist area, there are often long queues when buying tickets from the machine.Train Station In SintraIt is not recommended to rent a car and drive yourself to Sintra even though the distance is not too far because the roads in Sintra are very winding and narrow so there are often long queues of vehicles or traffic jams. In addition, in Sintra it is very difficult to find a parking space.

How to get around Sintra

Actually in Sintra there is a “tourist bus” that can take tourists from the Sintra train station to several tourist spots there. The system is similar to a hop-on-hop-off where if you have a ticket for the day you can hop on and off freely and they have several routes with different bus numbers. The most popular is bus no 434 which takes tourists to Pena Palace and Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle).The problem…..usually the queue of bus passengers is very long and the bus is almost always full. So if you don’t get into the bus, you have to wait for the next bus. Plus the streets of Sintra are super congested so that the road is slow. Based on this research, we finally chose to just walk and not buy bus tickets. Another factor that supports not buying bus tickets is because we only want to visit 2 spots, so it’s quite affordable on foot.Beautiful Buildings In Quinta Da RegaleiraActually there are many interesting spots that can be visited in Sintra including: Palacio Nacional de Sintra (this is located in the city center), Castelo dos Mouros, Palacio da Pena, Quinta da Regaleira, Monserrate, etc. But because the time is only 1 day, we chose only 2 places to visit.Istana Di Quinta Da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

This place may not be as popular as Pena Palace, but we prefer Quinta da Regaleira because it has more areas to explore without having to jostle with other people. Quinta da Regaleira is actually a kind of mansion or the house of the rich which is currently being handed over to the local government and opened to the public. The form is not just one house building but a large complex that has many interesting buildings such as caves, artificial waterfalls, beautiful gardens, towers, chapels, palaces, and the most popular one that may have been circulating a lot if you googled about this place: Initiation Well aka well.Initiation Well Di Quinta Da RegaleiraWhy is a well so famous? The design is unique because there is a circular staircase from the top to the bottom of the well which then continues with a dark tunnel to several other areas in the complex. The purpose of making the well is still a mystery, many suspect for a special ritual.View from the ground up Initiation WellIn addition to the well, other areas are also very interesting to explore, just feels like playing in a royal palace in the past. Set aside at least 2 hours for a leisurely exploration of Quinta da Regaleira.Quinta Da RegaleiraTo get to Quinta da Regaleira, you don’t need to take a bus, just a 15-minute walk from the city center.

Pena Palace

It is undeniable that Pena Palace is the most visited place in Sintra. We chose to visit Quinta da Regaleira first and then come here. Why? Because Pena Palace even though there was a queue from the morning before it opened, it must have been crowded. So we chose Quinta da Regaleira where the line wasn’t too long even though the place wasn’t open yet. When the gates of Quinta da Regaleira opened, we were arguably the first 20 visitors of the day. But if we queued at Pena Palace, there must have been hundreds of people queuing before the gates opened.Queue in front of Pena PalaceFrom Quinta da Regaleira we walked back to the city center because the route was different. We were going to have lunch first but almost all places were full, so we immediately walked to Pena Palace and looked for food on the street.

From the city center to Pena Palace, if you want to walk there are 2 choices: through the forest or by road. Actually, it’s not really a forest, at first it was like a garden with a winding path going up, after a while there were more trees and rocks like you were hiking. We think this route is okay for climbing because it is more interesting, there are many points that can be viewpoints to see the view of the city of Sintra below.The View While Hiking To Pena PalaceTo get off we chose to take the highway because the terrain is easier, just follow the asphalt road. It’s a bit tedious and feels longer because the winding roads are wider than the forest trails. But it’s easier than going down through the forest where the path is narrow and rocky. If it’s fast, walking takes 45 minutes – 1 hour each way, if it’s going down faster.Spot On The Way To Pena PalaceAs soon as they arrived in front of Pena Palace, the queues of people and vehicles were both dense. Long queue to buy tickets. But finally we found a way that we could buy tickets online even though we were already at the gate. As soon as we bought the tickets, we went straight in, leaving a long queue at the ticket machines that lined the front gate. To buy tickets online, please check this website .Queue to Buy Tickets at the Ticket MachineThere are 2 kinds of tickets to Pena Palace: Palace + Park (14 euros per person) or Park only (7.5 euros per person). We chose Park because we had time to research about the conditions of the visit to Pena Palace. With a Palace + Park ticket, we can enter the palace and see the interior of the building. But we were not interested because we had seen several palace rooms in Europe and we thought they were quite similar. In addition, based on research, the conditions for visiting the palace are very crowded and there is almost no free space for movement, except when it is still early.Pena PalaceLuckily we only bought Park tickets because as soon as we entered the Park area, we saw a long queue of Palace+park ticket holders waiting their turn to enter. The queues were very long, snaking away, possibly hours wasted just waiting to enter the palace building. Apparently even though you already have a Palace+Park ticket, you can’t just enter because they limit the number of people who can enter at the same time.Typical Yellow Color Pen PalaceIf you read the blogs of Instagrammers who managed to take fantastic photos inside the Pena Palace, they say they had planned their visit beforehand, as soon as they entered they went straight to a certain room or spot where there was still no one around and took a picture! That also means they have to queue from before opening hours to ensure that they are the first visitors and get an empty spot for photos. It’s a struggle right?!There are many interesting buildings in Pena PalacePena Palace is indeed a beautiful building. The details of the statues and sculptures on the gates or walls are very cool. The red and yellow color is also characteristic of the Pena Palace icon. However, because Pena Palace is always busy, we think the situation is a bit chaotic, especially since most people go there to take photos. Get ready to fight or queue for an empty spot for a photo.Cool Sculpture Details In Pena PalaceIf you ask is it worth it? If you have been to Sintra, in our opinion, just go to Pena Palace

Tips for visiting Sintra:

  • buy tickets online so you don’t have to queue anymore
  • take the train from Lisbon (don’t rent a car)
  • get ready for a lot of walking
  • stop by Piriquita – a bakery that sells traditional Sintra cakes

Traditional Cakes In Sintra