Sintra Bucket List: Best Things to Do and Amazing Places in Sintra, Portugal
S.intra is a beautiful Portuguese city in the greater Lisbon area on the Portuguese Riviera. It is considered one of the most charming cities in the world because of its alluring palaces, enigmatic walkways, and historic fortifications. The green mountains offer a breathtaking change from the suburbs of Lisbon.
The Palace of Sintra is one of the most famous landmarks of this city and was formerly an official residence of the Portuguese royal family. There are many activities that you can do in Sintra. If you are planning on visiting this city soon, here are our 15 best things to do in Sintra, Portugal:
1. Explore the Pena Palace
Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal Photo via Depositphotos
The Pena Palace, located high up in the mountains, is one of Portugal’s seven wonders of the world and was built on an old monastery.
What draws tourists to this ornate Disney-like palace is its stunning architecture and myriad colors, including red, gold, and brown. The design includes various historical styles such as the Moorish and the Renaissance.
Outside the palace, King Ferdinand II planted many trees worldwide, including ginkgo, sequoia, ferns and Lawson cypresses.
2. Check out Quinta da Regaleira
Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra Photo via DepositphotosThe Initiation Fountain (also known as the Initiative Fountain or Inverted Towers) via Depositphotos
Another recognizable palace in Sintra, Quinta d Regaleira, was built by the wealthy Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, who gets rich from the precious clay and coffee shops. He spent a large part of his wealth on this palace, which reflected his interest in Knights Templar, Freemasons, and divination.
It features Manueline style masonry with underground systems of caverns and tunnels.
You’ll find benches with statues, ornate pavilions, and deep shafts lined with spiral staircases that lead underground to temples for tarot rituals in the garden.
3. Climb the Moors Castle
Sintra, Portugal, Scenic Castle of the Moors via Depositphotos
Located high up in one of the highest mountains in Sintra, the Castle of the Moors was built during the Reins of the Moors and renovated after the Reconquista.
The castle can be easily reached with a local bus. Or if you want some exercise you can hike up the castle along the walls.
The Castle of the Moors was built in the 19th century but abandoned and exposed to natural disasters. However, it was restored from the 19th century.
4. Take photos in Parque da Pena
Pena Park in Sintra via Depositphotos
One of the best things to do at Pena Palace is stroll through the gardens and snap photos. The tree-lined walkways stretch for more than 200 acres and display a variety of plant species as well as the well-trimmed hedges and ghostly walkways.
5. Visit the old center of Sintra
Rua das Padaria in the center of Sintra Photo via Depositphotos
The Sintra old town walking tour is one of the most beautiful things to do in this Portuguese city. However, you may want to do this early in the morning when the city is still almost empty, as the streets are usually crowded with other visitors late in the day.
The old center is punctuated by winding cobblestone streets, charming churches, narrow staircases, and stunning townhouses and mansions.
6. Relax at Praia da Ursa Beach
Praia da Ursa beach in Sintra Photo via Dep[ositphotosYouwillfindasignthatshowsonadirtroadalongtheroadinthedirectionofCabodaRocaThisroutewillleadyoutoPraiadaUrsaoneofEurope’smostfamousbeaches[ositphotosYouwillfindasignpointingdowntoda[ositphotosSiefindeneinSchilddasaufeinenFeldwegentlangderStraßeinRichtungCabodaRocazeigtDieseStreckeführtSiezumPraiadaUrsaeinemdermarkantestenSträndeEuropas[ositphotosYouwillfindasignpointingdowntoadirtpathalongtheroadtowardsCabodaRocaThistrackwilltakeyoutoPraiadaUrsaoneofthemoststrikingbeachesinEurope
The beach is framed by tall, rugged cliffs and boulders that help calm the waves. This makes it one of the few Atlantic beaches where non-swimmers can paddle safely.
While reaching this beach is a pain in the neck, it is a small price to pay for what lies ahead.
7. Take the Sintra Tram
Sintra Street Scene with Old Red Trams via Depositphotos
After visiting different places in Sintra, you are bound to get tired and need to relax. However, when you are on vacation you usually don’t have enough time to relax. Luckily there is a tram in Sintra that will take you around town and through some of the sights.
The tram, which opened in 1904, covers more than 11 kilometers and costs just three euros.
8. Learn more about Portuguese aviation at the Museu do Ar
Air Museum By Ricardo Reis from Lisbon, Portugal – DSC00847, CC BY-SA 2.0
Visit the Museu do Ar to learn more about the country’s air force at Sintra Air Base.
You will come across many large fleets of helicopters, airplanes, navigation equipment, propellers, instrument panels and numerous paraphernalia.
9. Explore the 16th century Convento dos Capuchos monastery
Capuchin Monastery, Sintra Photo via Depositphotos
Convento do Capuchos is just a short, scenic drive from Sintra and is home to the Franciscan monks. They turned their backs on the luxury of Sintra and only ate vegetables that were grown in the backyard.
Visitors are given an audio guide tour of the cells where the monks lived.
10. Admire the baroque architecture of the Palacio Nacional and Jardins de Queluz
The Palace of Queluz Von Alvesgaspar – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, CC
To the east of Sintra in the city of Queluz is the Palace of Queluz, the summer home of Dom Pedro of Braganza. The palace featured exciting Rococo architecture and was built in the mid-18th century.
It has some lovely interiors that are decorated with gilded plasterwork and dazzling murals on the ceiling.
11. Visit Cabo Da Roca
Lighthouse in Cabo da Roca Photo via Depositphotos
Sintra extends to the westernmost edge of continental Europe, and in Cabo da Roca the Serra de Sintra descends briskly into the Atlantic.
The peninsula is 140 meters high on a granite cliff, and up there you will find a lighthouse and a stone monument with a cross mark.
12. Book a romantic night at Seteias Palace
Seteais Palace Tivoli Palacio de Seteais Hotel Von Gryffindor – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, CC
Check prices and availability
Although Sintra is known for many palaces and castles, the Seteias Palace is one of the most visited in the city, and it’s easy to see why. When you book a luxury night at this palace, you have the opportunity to live like royalty, if only for a few hours.
13. Take part in Praia da Adraga
Sunrise at Praia da Adraga via Depositphotos
Praia da Adraga is one of the best beaches in Sintra and Portugal. Located next to Praia da Ursa, Praia da Adraga also features Sam’s jagged cliffs and an imposing rock wall as a backdrop.
14. Huke up Cruz Alta
View from the Serra de Sintra by Vitor Oliveira via Flickr CC
One of the hikes in Pena Park includes a hike through the enchanted forest and the highest peak of the Serra de Sintra, which is around 528 meters high. From there, enjoy panoramic views of the landscapes below and beyond, including the Tagus Estuary and Lisbon.
15. Enjoy the delicacies of Sintra
Queijada by Jennifer Woodard Maderazo via Flickr CC
The Sintra offers some of the best goodies only in town, including the famous queijada, a small round cake made from sugar, milk, eggs and cheese.
Sintra travel and tour packages
To help you plan your visit to Sintra, we have listed attractions and other amazing places in Sintra, Portugal. We’ve also listed some of the best travel deals and tour packages, along with excellent flight deals and accommodations.
Looking for the best hotels, resorts and cheap flights in nearby towns? Check out our list of affordable Sintra hotels and resorts through Agoda, Booking, or check out Airbnb hotels available in the city as well.
Want more updates on new vacation packages and attractions in Sintra, Portugal? Follow #TeamOutofTown on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bloglovin, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.