Sintra in 2 days
Dear readers, I’ve recently went to Sintra for two days and I want to share with you my experience. If you’re traveling to Lisbon and got a few extra days in Portugal, you absolutely need to visit the splendid town of Sintra! You will not regret it!
Sintra is definitely one of the most visited places of Portugal! All the palaces and luxurious places of Sintra are a portrait of the nobles and the Portuguese elite that once lived there. The colors of the buildings, the cobble-stoned and tiny alleys, the pastry shops are unique details that give Sintra all its charm. I loved my time there from the beginning until the end of our stay.
We stayed in a lovely apartment in the centre of Sintra which was just perfect with a marvellous view over the centre and from which we could see the Sintra Mountains looking down on us. We only stayed one night, so we didn’t get to see all the landmarks of Sintra but we got to see the most famous ones!
In this article, I will be telling you a little about the beautiful places I got to see, how to travel the town easily and where to eat. So, read on and find out how to visit Sintra in 2 days! Enjoy!
On your first day
If you’re traveling from Lisbon by car, the trip only lasts for thirty minutes! So, you really have no excuses not to visit Sintra! But you can also leave your car in Lisbon and take the train, it’s probably easier and cheaper.
In Sintra, I would advise to park the car in a parking and forget about it for the rest of your stay, because it’s kind of tricky to drive in Sintra. You would be spending more fuel, time and money. To get around in Sintra, I mostly used the Uber company. The trips only cost between three to five euros and you get to enjoy the town stress-free. The drivers come to pick you up at your location and take you to wherever you want to go. If you the Uber App linked to your bank account, it’s super easy and practical! Another mean of transport is to take a tuk-tuk, I didn’t take any because I thought it was a bit expensive. For instance, they ask for fifteen euros to get you from Castelo dos Mouros to the centre of Sintra. I’m sure it must be super fun but I preferred investing my money on Ubers which are fast and comfortable!
If you’re going to Sintra from Lisbon by train, you can take it in Rossio station. The journey only lasts ten more minutes! In forty minutes, you will be in Sintra! The round-trip ticket costs 4.70 euros and leaves every thirty minutes. In my opinion, it’s probably the wisest way to get to Sintra. You won’t have to worry about driving, parking, or parking fees whatsoever!
During the morning
To be honest, we didn’t visit much on the morning of our first day in Sintra because we were traveling from Aveiro district. We took about two hours to get to Sintra, when he arrived we immediately went to our airbnb apartment so we could drop our luggage and head to our visit of Sintra. Then, we walked the tiny alleys of the city centre, drank a shot of Ginja each and ended up having lunch at Tasca do Xico!
I’m vegan, so I ordered a vegan burger because they didn’t have any lasagna left… I have to be honest, it was not the best vegan burger, it was a bit savorless. But my family ate the grilled seabass and said it was delicious!
During the afternoon
If you come from Lisbon early in the morning, you will definitely have more time to visit many of Sintra landmarks. Unfortunately, since we came from Aveiro, we kind of lost the morning of our first day to visit the town. Nonetheless, after the lunch, we still managed to visit two of the main attractions of Sintra, which were the Pena Palace and the Moors Castle. Because they both are all near one another.
The splendid Pena Palace
The Pena Palace was an old convent, but it was damaged by the Lisbon 1755 great earthquake. The structure was very affected by the natural disaster and was in ruins. One day, the king D. Fernando II was visiting the Serra Mountains and fell in love with the place and decided to acquire it, but also the Moors Castle and the surrounding villas.
The King ordered the restoration of the old convent, for it to become his summer house. After his death, the palace was part of the crown’s heritage. Then, with the implantation of the republic in Portugal, the Pena Palace was turned into a museum and is now one of the most beautiful attractions of Sintra and one of the most visited places of Portugal.
It opens as 9.30 am and closes at 8 pm everyday, but they won’t let you in after 7 pm. The entrance costs 13.30 euros for adults.
The Pena Palace is a magnificent place that you need to visit. You will be blown away by the beauty of the place. I won’t spoil any details, because I want you to explore the palace on your own. You will love it!
The impressive Moors Castle
After visiting the Pena Palace, we went to the Moors Castle which is also one of the main attractions of Sintra and it is very well preserved! They are only 600 meters away from one another. So you can get there on foot, no need to take any kind of transportation.
The purpose of the Castelo dos Mouros was to protect Lisbon and its outskirts and it is believed that it was built during the ninth century, during the Muslim rule.
The castle was conquered from the Moors by the first king of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques. However, the Castelo dos Mouros was left abandoned for a few centuries until the king D. Fernando II regained it during the nineteenth century.
The view from the walls is very impressive. Although you will walk a lot to reach the top, I totally recommend you to do it, because the view is breathtaking. However, I do not recommend it to people who are afraid of heights. They might feel a little dizzy.
The Moors Castle opens at 9.30 am and closes at 8 pm everyday as well. The ticket entrance for adults costs 7.60 euros.
After visiting these two Sintra landmarks, we went back to our apartment to rest a little before going to dinner. We had dinner at Adega das Caves. They didn’t have any vegan options on the menu, so I asked them to boil a few potatoes, a salad and black beans. It was simple but so delicious! The seasonings were perfect and the food was so tasty!
I took a loot at the menu and they offer a great variety of dishes, from pizza and pasta to traditional Portuguese dishes.
After eating our dinner, we went back to the apartment to have a healthy night of sleep. If you were planning a night-out in Sintra, you won’t be lucky, because Sintra sleeps at night as well. We went during the high-season and, during the day, people are all over, the streets and squares are super lively and noisy, but at night… The streets are empty and everyone goes to sleep! If you love a quiet and peaceful city at night, Sintra is perfect for you!
On your second and last in Sintra
On our second day in Sintra, we woke up at about 8 am and headed to a pastry shop for breakfast. We wanted to go to Piriquita, but it was already full of people so we wanted to the second one that belongs to the same owner, the Piriquita II. They are both on the same street, on Rua das Padarias. So, don’t worry, you will easily find it.
I ate a toasted bread with strawberry jam, and had a coffee. If you eat animal products, I suggest you two options. You can either have a pastel de nata with a coffee or ask for a “tosta mista and a “galão“. A tosta mista is simply a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and a galão is a hot beverage made of espresso and foamed milk. I think you will enjoy it, because the tosta mista was enormous and, according to my relatives, very yummy!
While in Sintra, I also suggest you to try two different pastries: the queijada and the travesseiro. These are traditional of Sintra, so if you want to try the typical pastries of the town, these are the ones you need to eat!
During the morning
After having breakfast, we walked until the Quinta da Regaleira. It’s pretty close to the city centre, you will only last about ten minutes to get there and, on foot, one always sees so much more! You will love to see the gardens, the villas on your way to the Quinta da Regaleira!
The mysterious Quinta da Regaleira
The Quinta da Regaleira first belonged to a wealthy family of merchants from Porto. It is also known as Palácio do Monteiro dos Milhões thanks to one of its first owner, António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro who bought it 1892. The palace is located on the slope of Sintra Mountains and very close to the historical city centre of Sintra.
With the help of the architect Luigi Manini, Carvalho Monteiro built, in his four-hectares park, a palace, many marvellous gardens, lakes, caverns and enigmatic and strange building that refer to alchemy, freemasonry, Templars, etc. If you pay attention to the details of the palace, the chapel, the pits, you will see many features that evoke Romantic, Gothic, Renaissance and Manueline architecture.
While in Quinta da Regaleira, don’t miss the Poço Iniciático which is the most famous attraction of the Quinta. Keep the map that will be given to you at the beginning of your visit, it will provide great help. At first, we weren’t looking at the map so we kind of got a little lost…
The Quinta da Regaleira is open from 9.30 am until 8 pm, from April, 1st until September, 30th. Then, from October, 31st until March, 31st, it opens at 9.30 am but closes at 6 pm. And adults pay 8 euros to get in.
During the afternoon
For lunch, we unfortunately had to grab a quick lunch and head back to Aveiro. So we didn’t get to spend the afternoon of our second day in Sintra. But if you’re only going back to Lisbon at night, you still have the whole afternoon to visit the other wonders of Sintra, such as the National Palace of Sintra, the Monserrate Palace, the Queluz Gardens and the National Palace, and the amazing beach called Praia da Ursa!
My article about Sintra in 2 days has come to an end! I hope you’ve enjoyed it and that it was helpful to you. I’m a bit disappointed to have only been able to visit these three places, but these were the main attractions of Sintra! If you follow the tips on my article, you will be able to enjoy Sintra without rushing, you will have plenty of time to enjoy the city centre, go into the little stores on the alleys and to actually relax without stressing about getting to see everything! We are humans, some walk at a slower pace than others and it’s fine! Sintra is the perfect trip for you, if you have a few extra days while in Lisbon and want to see other aspects of Portugal. If you need further information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! See you soon whether in Lisbon or in Sintra!