Situated just 25km, a short train ride away from the centre of Lisbon, Sintra is a perfect day trip from the city. Popular with both tourists and locals, this little town boasts various sightseeing opportunities at beautiful ancient monuments. Follow the winding streets to the town and all the way through the narrow roads up the hill, through the beautiful natural woodland to up to the highest point in Sintra to discover some of the most historically rich monuments set in the most natural and beautiful surroundings.
Arguably the most popular tourist attraction in Sintra, the Pena Palace sits 528 metres above sea level on the very top of the hill in this little town. It’s yellow, red and blue exterior is iconic and has often been featured in tourism videos and promotions for Portugal. This palace was built on top of an existing monastery in the 1800s and was originally home to King Ferdinand and Queen Maria II. This beautiful manueline inspired castle has been restored to it’s former glory inside and out, and you can walk through the palace itself the way it would have been whilst the Queen Elise and afterwards Queen Amélia had lived there.
Also on the must see list is the Quinta da Regaleira, a gothic mansion found in the depths of the gardens of Sintra. There are a multitude of secret passages, caves, and intriguing religious symbols to be found throughout the gardens. The drained well in the grounds of Quinta da Regaleira is one of the focal points of this monument. It was drained, expanded, and it is rumoured that this well was used in religious ceremonies.
Castelo dos Mouros is another popular monument for visitors to Sintra. This castle was built on a hill visible from the Pena Palace in the 9th century, and after the Christian conquest in the 12th century this viewpoint became less vital, and in this, fell into disrepair. The famous earthquake and a fire in the castle further destroyed the monument, however it was restored during the 19th century as part of the grounds of the Pena Palace. It now remains for people to visit, and stands as a fantastic viewpoint over the entirety of Sintra.
Sintra is definitely worth a trip if you are visiting Lisbon. It has tonnes of beautiful and interesting monuments that are definitely worth the time and effort to visit, including the ones not on this list! Even the town itself right by the train station is quaint and perfect to wander and experience a little bit of Portuguese culture. Just a short 40 minutes away, Sintra is a great break from the bustling centre of Lisbon, a fantastic way to do something a little bit different without going too far from the city. I would recommend it to all visitors to Lisbon!