This UNESCO-listed town is located in the scenic hills of Serra de Sintra National Park. It is the most popular day trip from Lisbon for tourists, a reasonable one-hour train journey, and for good reason! There are a number of exquisite 19th century historic buildings set amid a backdrop of pine tree covered hills leading downwards to a dramatic Atlantic coastline. There are many national monuments, elaborate palaces and even castles in Sintra with the likes of Pena National Palace with its extravagant Roman architecture, the restored Moorish Castle and the Palacio National set right in the middle of the town.
Quinta da Regaleira palace is worth exploring with its beautiful grounds, awe-inspiring façade and underground network of tunnels and grottos. Pena Palace has been titled as one of the “Seven Wonders” of Portugal, and for good reason too. Built atop old monastery ruins in 1838 it is a culmination of historical styles from Moorish to Renaissance. Inside you will find the rooms decorated, as they would have been at the time with authentic furniture and fine porcelain. You can walk the beautiful grounds and gardens, which have magnificent viewpoints overlooking the city of Lisbon and surrounds. Pena Park has a walking trail through a forest right up to the highest point in Sintra, marked with a stone cross.
The town’s winding cobblestone streets lead to an abundance of shops, restaurants and cafes. Many of the restaurants are a little touristy and over-priced, however, the local bakeries offer reasonably priced and delicious sandwiches and cakes such as the queijadas, little cheesecakes, and travesseiros, which are pastries filled with custard. Due to the topography of the area activities such as mountain biking, hiking and rock climbing are prolific.
Lisbon International Airport is located approximately 35 km from Sintra and the National Railway Service is modern and reliable.