What to Visit in Sintra? | OUTPOST | Azenhas do Mar
Oct 24, 2022

What to Visit in Sintra?

Sintra is a small city 25 km from Lisbon, so remarkable that it is entirely included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The city has a good tourist infrastructure, so arranging an independent tour to Sintra is quite easy. What to see in Sintra, Portugal, in a few days?

Medieval castles, palaces, and monasteries have been preserved in the city since ancient times. There are plenty of historical places to visit in Sintra. Here, you can also have a great time on the picturesque coastline. Rush to conquer the waves on a surfboard, and fish in silence to your heart's content!

What to see in Sintra in one day? The historic center of Sintra 

Sintra is located in the mountains. It is always a few degrees cooler here than in Lisbon. Portuguese monarchs and nobility preferred to spend the summer months here to escape the heat. The city has a lot of beautiful estates, parks, and palace complexes. The streets are paved with cobblestones. There are many drinking fountains lined with azulejo tiles and a lot of greenery. It is a great place for walking and taking photos but not for lunch and shopping. Prices in the historical part of the city can be quite high, so it is better to choose cafes and shops outside the center.

The historic center of Sintra

Pena Palace (Palácio da Pena)

What to visit in Sintra to take the best photos? Pena Palace is an architectural landmark and the highest point in the city. Since it is the most popular tourist attraction in Sintra, tourists come here for beautiful photos, and it is for good reason. In 2015, the European Best Destination portal recognized Pena as the most beautiful European palace. However, in our opinion, the territory and parks of the palace are much more interesting than the castle itself and the interiors.

The advantages of Pena Castle are the opportunity to take panoramic pictures, a beautiful view, and a large park with alleys and rare plant species, such as sequoias or relict varieties of ferns. 

The park has a whole cascade of ponds with black and white swans. At the highest point of the park, a commemorative Cruz Alta cross is installed. This is the highest point of Sintra — 528 meters. From here, you can take gorgeous panoramic photos. You can see the whole city, the ocean, and the surroundings of Lisbon. 

There are two ticket options: Park or Palace + Park. The second option allows you to enter the inside of the palace rather than just see it from the outside. There, you can admire the palace interior, the royal chambers, and the kitchen. If you are interested in the architectural features of the palace, you should definitely visit this place too!

Pena Palace

Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros)

The main attraction of the Castle of the Moors is a panoramic view of the city and the ocean. It is worth going here only in good weather when there is no fog and rain. It's always windy here, so dress warmly. In fact, these are the ruins of the fortress walls, the remnants of the former greatness. This is not a good place for small children because it is quite dangerous here. Part of the wall has been destroyed by time, so there are no enclosing sides. 

In the 9th century, the Moors had their own ideas about security. Look under your feet more carefully — the wall is destroyed in some places. And under the fortress walls, there is a whole "cemetery" of flying umbrellas and tourist caps.

Castle of the Moors

Quinta da Regaleira

What to visit in Sintra first? Quinta da Regaleira, of course! When designing the park, the creator of the estate decided to surprise everyone and create a mystical and mysterious place, and he succeeded. The estate building resembles a castle of a fairy-tale princess. In the garden, there are sculptures of mythical animals, paths, underground grottoes, and secret passages. All the letters of the English alphabet are encrypted in the ornament and decor, which turns a walk through the garden into a quest.

But the most interesting thing is the nine-tiered underground tower well. The levels of the tower symbolize the circles of hell according to Dante. You can exit the tower by underground passages leading to the waterfall, but you will have to jump over bumps in an artificial pond.

Quinta da Regaleira

Palace of Montserrat (Palacio de Monserrate)

It is a palace and park complex where plants from the former Portuguese colonies are collected. The garden is divided into themed areas, from desert landscapes with giant cacti to tropical thickets and waterfalls. The best place for romantic photo shoots and leisurely walks. 

Not all tourists know about Montserrat Park, so it is always comfortable and not crowded here. Portuguese couples often hold weddings and weddings here, which you can watch from the side.

Palace of Montserrat

National Palace of Sintra (Palacio Nacional de Sintra)

A distinctive feature of the building is two large chimneys. The palace served as a royal residence; balls and official receptions were held here. Therefore, the kitchen was a very important place, and two giant chimneys served to keep food warm. 

The interiors, furniture, and paintings on the walls have been restored in the rooms. Compared to Peterhof, the Portuguese kings lived quite modestly. The palace is best visited in the late afternoon: most tourists come to Sintra for a day trip, and the queues become smaller in the afternoon.

Capa roca

Apple Beach (Praia das Macas)

What to see in Sintra for surfing? Because of stable waves and water temperature not higher than +17°C, the beach is inconvenient for swimming. But you can try your hand at surfing — there is a surf school with lessons for beginners on the beach. Lifeguards monitor the state of safety and suggest safe places to swim and surf. 

Praia das Macas (Praia das Macas) beach has great sunset views, so come here in the evening after walking around Sintra. Along the coastline, there are cafes and restaurants for every taste and budget. One of the restaurants received a Michelin star in 2019. 

You can get to the beach by an old tram without windows and doors. It works only during the warm season (from May to the end of September). The trip is more like a children's attraction, but this makes it even more interesting. Take a light jacket or sweater with you — it gets chilly due to the lack of windows.

Praia das Macas

Monastery of the Capuchins 

The monastery is located on the territory of the Sintra-Cascais National Park. It was founded in the 16th century and existed until the 19th century (until the order to dissolve the monastic orders). Today, the monastery has fallen into decay and is gradually being destroyed — the walls are overgrown with ivy and moss, and only facades remain of the buildings. The monastery complex is located in a rather secluded and remote place, which can only be reached by car or on foot.

Monastery of the Capuchins

Chalet of the Countess of Edla 

The mansion was built at the request of the second wife of King Fernand II — Eliza Hensler, Countess of Edla. The Portuguese remember her as an artist, actress, singer, architect, and botanist. Her cozy chalet is nestled among the lush vegetation of Pena Palace Park. In 1999, there was a big fire, as a result of which the back was destroyed. In 2011, after a partial restoration, the place opened for visitors again.

Chalet of the Countess of Edla

What to see in Sintra in one day: Cape Roca 

The extreme point of the Eurasian continent is located 18 km from Sintra on the territory of the Natural National Park of Sintra-Cascais. The place is a rock towering 140 meters above the ocean; it has always been fanned with legends and a romantic halo. A lighthouse is installed on the cape, and there is a small souvenir shop where, for a few euros, the traveler will be given a certificate of visiting the westernmost point of Europe.

Capa roca

Where to stay in Sintra? 

OUTPOST Serviced Cottages and Vacation Apartments combine the comforts of a luxury hotel with the space and privacy of your country home. OUTPOST's two offices, Casa das Arribas and Ocean Casitas, are located high above the Atlantic Ocean in and around the picturesque fishing village of Azenhas do Mar, 40 minutes from Sintra, close to beautiful beaches and quality surf spots. 

Casa das Arribas stands proudly on the rocks near the village of Azenhas do Mar overlooking the coast from Cabo de Roca to Ericeira. Its seven apartments with different layouts and styles have been designed in the course of a recent complete renovation that brought the old house up to modern standards while maintaining the existing essence. 

The four Ocean Casitas stay at the very top of the whitewashed fishing village of Azeñas do Mar, with a large private terrace right on the edge of the cliffs. The small houses have been completely rebuilt, combining the comfort of the original Portuguese fishermen's houses with modern design, such as open space layouts, microcement floors, and ceilings up to 5 meters high. 

Sintra Portugal: what to see in one day? Sintra is a city of exquisite palaces and picturesque nature. A large number of places to visit in Sintra make this city popular among travelers from all over the world. OUTPOST is the perfect place to relax on the ocean, from which you can reach not only Sintra but also other beautiful places that everyone should definitely visit.