Anyone that has been to Sintra in Portugal will tell you that it is a must-do day trip when visiting Lisbon. The town is absolutely jam packed with beautiful sights, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, filled with UNESCO Heritage Sites. Kind of like a Russian nesting doll. Here are my top tips that you need to know before you go!
- Sintra’s really easy to get to. Just a quick and easy 30 minute train ride and you’re there. The train departs from the Rossio train station in central Lisbon, and will only cost you around 5€ round trip.
- Stop at Café Saudade. Café Saudade is a gorgeous little café just around the corner from the train station, on your way into town. We had the best pasteis de nata of our entire trip, there. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for me 🙂
- Pack a lunch or take some snacks. Food options were a bit limited near the main sites. Grab a few nibbles to go from Café Saudade. You’re going to do a lot of walking, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Or happy than hangry!
- Plan which sites to visit. You won’t have time to see it all. Do a little research ahead of time and figure out which sites you want to see the most. You can make it a two day trip if you have time and want to fit more in. We visited the National Palace, explored the streets on the way up to the Castle of the Moors and then went to the Palace of Pena. Three sites felt like the right amount to see in one day.
- Visit Sintra in the off season. If you’re like us and don’t mind “foul” weather, consider visiting Sintra in the off season. There are far fewer crowds as well as lower costs on things like flights and accommodations. Win win. There were hardly any other people at the top of the Moors castle with us and it made for some great photo ops. Plus it is more magical when the castle walls aren’t streaming with tourists.
- Walk the town. Lots of posts and guides recommend taking buses and trams to get you around Sintra, but if you are in reasonably good shape, I would consider walking your way up the winding roads to the Castle of the Moors and Pena palace. There are so many incredible views along the way, and getting a closer look at the details in the architecture make it worth the hike. Besides, then you can make room for more pasteis de nata!
- Wear comfortable shoes. Regardless of whether you decide to walk or bus it up the hill, you’re still going to be on those feet for a long time, so make sure to dress comfortably.
- You don’t need a car to get to Sintra. Don’t feel like you need a car to either get out to Sintra, or get around. Again, the train was a breeze, and walking the entire town afforded us views we never would have seen from a car or bus.
That’s it, now get out there and enjoy! Be sure to check out my top 3 reasons to visit Lisbon too!
XO – Brandy