The Castles and Palaces of Sintra, Portugal The Castles and Palaces of Sintra, Portugal

The Castles and Palaces of Sintra, Portugal

Sintra in Portugal is a UNESCO site with hilltop castles, fairy tale palaces, and exotic gardens. The castles of Sintra are a short 40-minute train ride away from Lisbon and therefore it’s one of the best things to do in Lisbon. Due to its microclimate, forests and gardens are able to cover the hills with lush green. Discover Pena Palace, Moorish Castle, and much more inside the huge natural park on a day trip to Sintra, Portugal.

Sintra’s Castles and Palaces

The small Sintra town is where you arrive by train and has accommodation, restaurants, and transport to the castles and palaces. First, read about the things you can see inside the park, followed by planning your visit.

Tip: Remember the places you want to visit and buy tickets in advance, as the ticket booths will get busy.

Pena Palace Sintra (Palacio da Pena)

Palacio de Pena is a red and yellow fairy-tale castle located at the highest point overlooking the entire region. It was once designed in 1854 by the king, who released all of his creative imagination into his castle and park to make it his summer house. (Yes, a summer house!)

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The Castles and Palaces of Sintra, Portugal

Pena Palace has become a beautiful mix of architectural styles; trees from all over the world had been imported, making it an exotic garden. You can also combine it with the other highlights of Sintra by joining a half or full-day tour.

Tours & Tickets 🥾View all
sintra portugal pena palace

Pena Palace Castle has become the icon of the Sintra region and, therefore, also the busiest. Entrance tickets for the park and palace cost 13,30 EUR (15 USD), which can be bought at the door but is best bought in advance. This normally includes your round-trip transportation from Lisbon.

If you don’t want to join a tour, you can take the bus line 434, and tickets cost about 15 USD.

Quinta da Regaleira

The gardens of Quinta da Regaleira were designed to hide a network of tunnels, passageways, and even towers. The inverted towers (Initiation Well) look like a well but are accessible by a spiral staircase that goes down to one of the tunnels. Quinta da Regaleira makes this UNESCO region so diverse in the kind of sites that you can visit. Entrance tickets to Quinta de Regaleira are 8 EUR (9 USD) and can be bought online or at the door.

Quinta da Regaleira

Moorish Castle

The Castle of the Moors was once a military fort. Nowadays, visiting this “Lord of the Rings” castle is possible. Take the stairs up for an impressive view and walk along the walls of this centuries-old castle. An entrance ticket to Moorish Castle costs 7,60 EUR (8 USD).

things to do lisbon Moorish castle

Sintra National Palace (Palacio Nacional de Sintra)

In the heart of Sintra town is the royal Sintra National Palace. The two huge chimneys have become the iconic view of the town. Get an entrance ticket of 9,50 EUR (11 USD) to visit the decorative rooms inside the palace.

Monserrate Palace (Palácio de Monserrate)

The Monserrate Palace is an incredible gothic, Arabic, and Indian-designed palace with an exotic garden that once won a European Garden Award. It is often skipped as it is slightly off the route, but many do not know that this probably is the most beautiful palace of Sintra.

sintra portugal Monserrate Palace

How to get to Sintra, Portugal?

A day trip to Sintra from Lisbon is a great way to visit the UNESCO site. From Rossio Station in Lisbon, take the train that departs every 20 minutes. Within 40 minutes, you arrive in Sintra Town. Please note that on Sundays, the train departs only once every hour.

A one-way ticket costs 2.25 EUR (2.5 USD) and can be bought at the ticket counter or machine. You can also use your Lisbon Card to get to Sintra, Portugal.

How to travel around Sintra, Portugal?

Once arrived in the town, there are two main bus routes that pass the palaces and castles of Sintra: line 434 and 435. Decide beforehand what sights you want to visit so you know which bus to take. 

  • Line 434 – Train Station – National Palace – Moorish Castle – Natural History Museum – Pena Palace
  • Line 435 – Train Station – National Palace – Quinta Da Regaleira – Seteais Palace – Monserrate Palace
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sintra bus route

Bus tickets are available at the bus or train station and run every 15 to 20 minutes starting at 9:15 AM. A return hop-on hop-off ticket costs 6.90 EUR (~ 7.50 USD).

sintra bus

How long do I need in Sintra, Portugal?

Sintra-Cascais Natural Park is an enormous park of 142 square kilometers that stretches all the way to the coastline. Ideally, two or three days would be good to see all aspects of the park. But for a Sintra day trip from Lisbon, it is recommended to take at least half a day.

Tip: Think about which sights you would like to see and buy the tickets in advance, as the ticket booths will get busy.

things to do lisbon Palace

Best time to visit Sintra, Portugal

Sintra has its own microclimate, and it’s always a little cooler than Lisbon. The best time to visit Sintra is from April to June and September to November. 


As it is one of the best places to visit in Portugal, it will be quite crowded. Because of this, it’s recommended to plan your visit as early as possible.

Blog comments (10)

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  • Travel Done Clever

    Thank you very much for a great article about Sintra! We are off exploring this gorgeous part of Portugal on Thursday and we cannot wait to to visit Sintra. Thanks, Martina & Andrej.x x

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