Sintra is one of the most picturesque and photographic destinations located at the foothills of Sintra Mountains. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Portugal with thousands of tourists visiting it every year. It is a short distance from the capital so you can easily do a day trip to Sintra from Lisbon.

Pena Palace

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My initial interest to visit Sintra was fueled by its colorful photos on social media. It has become one of the most Instagramable places in Portugal and a must visit if you are in Lisbon.

Sintra is popular for its ancient castles and extravagant palaces surrounded by forested walkways and hidden paths. 

How to get to Sintra from Lisbon

Sintra is 25km from Lisbon and easily accessible by both train and by road. It is connected by a regular train service or if you prefer driving you can reach Sintra in under an hour. You could even join an organised tour that usually takes you through the main cultural sights of Sintra including the Castelo dos Mouros and the Palácio Nacional da Pena.

It can get very busy during the peak summer season and parking could be an issue so be mindful if you want to drive yourself. You could take a train from Lisbon which would take you roughly 40 minutes. Once you reach Sintra station you could either walk or take a bus to the top of the Pena Palace.

Day trip to Sintra bus
Bus to Pena Palace

I would suggest taking a tour or driving yourself as there is a lot of steep walking to be done between the main attractions. You could waste a lot of time waiting for public transport in the peak periods. 

Getting tickets for Pena Palace

You could either buy individual tickets for each attraction you want to visit or a combined one which give gets you entrance into most popular ones such as:

  • Palácio Nacional de Sintra
  • Castelo dos Mouros
  • Palácio da Pena and grounds – This is the most visited with its colorful palaces.

I would suggest booking tickets online as you could spend a couple of hours just queuing up to buy tickets when it’s busy.

Pena Palace information
Pena Palace guide.

Getting around Sintra.

If you decide to take the train then the final stop is Sintra. From the station it is roughly a 15-20 minute walk to the town centre but one which is very scenic. To get to Pena Palace from Sintra station you can either walk all the way or take the 434 bus. You can stop in the city centre or at Castelo dos Mouros which is between the Sintra town and Pena Palace. The walk from the station to Pena Palace is 45 minutes and involves a fair bit of uphill walking. The Tourist Bus will leave you right in front of the main entrance of the Palace. You can also get a bus for your Day trip from Lisbon to Sintra.

Interior of Pena Palace
Interior Pena Place

Things to See and Do on your Day trip from Lisbon to Sintra.

Sintra in its entirety is a UNESCO world heritage site with the main attractions being the Castelo dos Mouros and Palácio da Pena and its grounds.

Sintra is becoming a very popular destination in Portugal and attracts huge crowds especially during the summer months. It is a good idea to start your day early as this will help you avoid long queues and get some great photos without the crowd.

Pena Palace
View from Pena Palace

Moors Castle

As you ascend towards Pena Palace from the station you will reach Castelo dos Mouros or Moors Castle first which is midway. This is a ruined castle and even though there is not a great deal to see here you get some great views of both the historic town below and Pena Palace which is higher on the mountain.

The castle was built at a strategic point overlooking the River Tagus to provide protection to Sintra.

Castelo dos Mouros
Castelo dos Mouros

Palácio da Pena and Parque da Pena

The multi-coloured Palácio da Pena is the iconic palace that stands tall on top of the hill surrounded by the forested walkways and gardens of Parque da Pena. The Park incorporates thousands of varieties of plant life including some exotic and non-native species.

Pena Palace Sintra
Multi-coloured Palácio da Pena

This colourful castellated building with influences from the Neo Gothic, Oriental and Moorish era is absolutely fascinating. You could spend hours here admiring the architecture and collections within the staterooms. The eclectic medley of towers, terraces and minarets are the most unique in South Europe.

Even if you have purchased your tickets online you could still experience long queues to enter the castle. I would suggest an early start to avoid the crowds and being rushed through the staterooms and the castle. The other good time to visit it would be just before it closes when the crowds have left.

Praque da Pena
Views from Pena Palace

Sintra is quite rightly one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It is filled with history, natural beauty and outstanding architecture. Hope this helps you plan A Day trip to Sintra from Lisbon.

If you want to make the most of your trip to Portugal why not discover Porto in 3 Days and also visit Livraria Lello – The Most Beautiful Bookstore in the World.

Entrance to the palace Pena
Pena Palace entrance.
thetraveller Sintra
the traveller in Sintra
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42 COMMENTS

  1. Sintra seems to be a vibrant and beautiful city. The Pena Palace looks an excellent day trip. The tips of taking a tour or driving yourself will be helpful for future trip planning. Excited to visit!

  2. I loved Sintra, so beautiful and colorful! It truly makes for a fantastic day trip when in Lisbon. Also, good tip on visiting before closing time, I did the same and it was so peaceful!

    • A great place to visit indeed from
      Lisbon. Good to visit later in the day to avoid the crowds.

  3. Sintra sounds like a wonderful day trip from Lisbon! We love seeking out day trips when we travel, so I always enjoy these types of blog posts to gain ideas. Pena Palace would be a must-see for us, and the view looks incredible! It looks like a beautiful, colorful destination!

    • It’s always great to discover new places in a day trip. Hope you can make it to Sintra soon.

  4. The yellow colored Pena palace of Sintra is really the most Instagrammable palace of Portugal. The bright colored palace with lush green surroundings make it very beautiful and photogenic too. Good to know that during peak seasons it is very busy and to avoid crowd either we have to start early or reach at closing time. To avoid rush, I would love to buy online tickets.

  5. Like you, I’ve seen the colourful Sintra on social media and wish to visit. It’s great to get the info on how to make your way there and details on entering Pena Palace. The views over the River Tagus from the Moors Castle are tremendous. The mix of architecture of the Palácio da Pena is beautiful. It’s a perfect day trip from Lisbon!

  6. Sintra looks amazing from your photos! I haven’t been in Portugal yet. Apart from Lisbon, I would like to visit this place too. I want to explore their food and also their culture. I hope I can book a ticket to Europe soon and visit Portugal!

  7. Lisbon and Sintra have been ony travel list for long. Would love to visit. Sintra looks so vibrant and colourful. The Pena palace looks absolutely Instagram worthy. Love the architecture of this part of Europe.

  8. I’ve always been intrigued by the beautiful colors of Sintra! I would love to visit someday. I totally agree with you, I could spend HOURS wandering around that palace. Not to mention the views over the River Tagus..I could stare at that for hours as well. 🙂

    • It is somewhere you can spend hours just admiring the beauty. Hope you can visit it soon

  9. The Penna Castle has always made me curious. The colors are a tell-tale sign of secrets within. And I can now gauge from your post that there are plenty. Loved your captures of the views around the castle. I sure would want to see the rest of Sinatra too – possibly a walking tour as there seems to be plenty to cover.

    • A great place to visit for the history and architecture. Walking tours are the best way to enjoy some of these places.

  10. I have a special affinity for UNESCO World Heritage Sites. And being a history buff, Sintra looks like my kind of place. I can spend hours exploring and admiring these castles. From the exquisite architecture and colourful appearance of Pena Place to the ruins of Moors Castle – everything looks extremely fascinating. The view of the city and the Pena Palace from Moors castle is simply stunning. I hope to visit this historical place someday and savour its majestic beauty in person.

  11. The very first pic of your article – The yellow colored exterior walls of Pena Palace sold me this place. It looks extremely wonderful. I have seen such colors in Goa and then I know that Goa’s architecture is inspired by Portuguese. Loved all the photographs of the magnificent buidlings. I am sure Sintra is worth a visit.

    • It’s s beautiful place to visit and quite right the Portugese influences in Goa are relevant.

  12. Perfect post on perfect timing! I’m planning to visit Lisbon and Sintra later this year.
    Thanks for the tip about taking a tour and not to wait for public transport. I was intending to do that. Let me look for tours now.
    Thanks also for the tip about queues even if you have online tickets. Will keep that in mind.

  13. Can’t believe such a beautiful place is only 25km from Lisbon. Will need to hire a driver like you said for our next trip.That view from the top will be worth it alone. Love your pictures.

  14. I love your ‘made in India and living in the UK” intro! And I can see why Sintra is Instaworthy from your post. The palace looks so beautiful and the amazing views. Portugal has been on my list forever! Hopefully next year I will be able to do this too.

    • Thanks. Yes was born in I did but been living in the U.K. hope you can visit Portugal soon. It’s a beautiful country overall with Sintra being one of the hidden gems.

  15. Sintra is the cutest town. I loved it!! Pena Palace was a highlight, but there were SO many people there. I wish I could have been there when it was less crowded. I loved the colors!!

    • It can get very crowded so best avoided in peak season and if you are visiting peak season a late or very early start.

  16. I’m deciding on a last-minute summer getaway and Sintra + Lisbon are defs on my destination list. Thanks for the tip about not wasting time walking by the way! I usually prefer to rent my own car as opposed to joining a tour so will keep that in mind for sure. That and also getting up early too to avoid crowds. It’s crazy how popular Portugal has gotten on social media!

  17. The Pena Palace looks so beautiful with its rich yellow colours looking picture perfect. Good to know it can be done on a days trip from Lisbon easily. Very handy tips thanks for sharing.

  18. Sintra is definitely up there on my list to visit , I love the vibrant colours . I am thankful that you included how to get from the station to Pena Palace – I would definitely be taking the bus. Then I can be out of breath over the beauty and not the walk.

  19. We spent 4 weeks in Portugal. And it is hard to believe that we never got to visit Sintra. I like the idea of taking a train. As long as I could find a way up the steep hills. I would not want to miss those views. The local bus sounds perfect. A combined ticket bought online sounds great for us. Your post reminds me why I need to go back to Lisbon. And visit Sintra.

    • Must say it is quite beautiful and if you are in Lisbon worth the visit. Hope you can one day.

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