Bucket List: Best Activities and Amazing Places to Visit in Sintra, Portugal
Sintra is a beautiful Portuguese town in the Greater Lisbon region along the Portuguese Riviera. It is considered one of the most charming cities globally, owing to its alluring palaces, enigmatic pathways, and historic fortifications. Its green mountainscape offers a breathtaking change in scenery from Lisbon’s suburbs.
The Palace of Sintra is one of the most famous landmarks in this town, and it used to be an official residence of the Portuguese royalty. There are many activities that you can do in Sintra, and if you are planning to visit this city soon, Here are our Top 15 Best Things to Do in Sintra, Portugal:
1. Explore Pena Palace
Perched high up on the mountains, Pena Palace is one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal, constructed on an old monastery remnant.
What attracts tourists to this ostentatious Disney-like palace is its impressive architecture and myriad colors, including red, golden, and brown. Its design incorporates different historical styles, such as the Moorish and Renaissance.
King Ferdinand II planted many trees worldwide outside the palace, including ginkgo, sequoias, ferns, and Lawson cypresses.
2. Check out Quinta da Regaleira
Another recognizable palace in Sintra, Quinta d Regaleira, was built by wealthy Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, who became rich from the precious tone and coffee businesses. He used a big chunk of his wealth on this palace, reflecting his interest in Knights Templar, Masons, and Divination.
It features Manueline-style masonry with underground systems of caverns and tunnels.
You will find benches with statues, ornate gazebos, and deep shafts lined with winding stairways leading underground to temples for tarot rituals in the garden.
3. Climb up the Castle of the Moors
Located high up in one of the tallest mountains in Sintra, the Castle of the Moors was built during the reins of the Moors and renovated after Reconquista.
The castle can be reached easily by 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 was abandoned and left at the mercy of natural disasters. However, it was restored starting in the 1800s.
4. Take pictures at Parque da Pena
One of the best things to do at Pena Palace is strolling around its gardens and taking pictures. The tree-fringed walkways sit on more than 200 hectares of space and showcase a wide range of plant species along with the well-pruned hedges and ghostly paths.
5. Tour the old Center of Sintra
Sintra’s old center’s walking tour is one of the most beautiful things to do in this Portuguese town. However, you may want to do it early in the morning when the town is still almost empty because the streets are usually crowded with other visitors late in the day.
The old center is punctuated by winding cobblestone streets, charming churches, narrow stairways, and stunning townhouses and mansions.
6. Relax at the Praia da Ursa Beach
You will find a sign pointing down to a dirt path along the road towards Cabo da Roca. This track will take you to Praia da Ursa, one of the most striking beaches in Europe.
The beach is framed by tall, rugged sea cliffs and boulders, which help calm the waves, making it one of the few Atlantic beaches where non-swimmers can paddle safely.
Though getting to this beach is a pain in the neck, it is a small price to pay for what awaits you ahead.
7. Ride in Sintra Tram
After touring different places in Sintra, you are bound to get tired and need to relax. However, when you are out on vacation, you usually don’t have enough time to relax; luckily, there is a tram in Sintra that can take you around the town and through some of the attractions.
Opened in 1904, the tram covers more than 11 kilometers and charges three euros.
8. Learn about Portuguese aviation at Museu do Ar
To help you enjoy a change of pace, hop into the Museu do Ar to learn about the country’s Air Force located at Sintra Air Base.
You will come across an extensive fleet of helicopters, planes, navigation equipment, propellers, instrument panels, and numerous paraphernalia.
9. Explore the 16th-century monastery of Convento dos Capuchos
Convento do Capuchos is just a short, scenic drive from Sintra and home to the Franciscan monks. They turned their backs on the luxuries of Sintra and only ate vegetables that were cultivated in the backyard.
Visitors are given an audio guide tour of the cells that the monks lived in.
10. Admire the baroque architecture of Palacio Nacional e Jardins de Queluz
Located east of Sintra in Queluz city 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 beautiful interiors decorated with gold-plated stuccowork and stunning murals on the ceiling.
11. Visit Cabo Da Roca
Sintra sprawls to the westernmost edge of continental Europe, and Cabo da Roca is where Serra de Sintra descends vividly into the Atlantic Ocean.
The peninsula stands at 140 meters high on a granite cliff, and you will find a lighthouse up there and a stone monument with a cross mark.
12. Book a romantic night at the Seteias Palace
Though Sintra is known for many palaces and castles, Seteias Palace is one of the most visited towns, and it is easy to see why. Booking a deluxe night at this palace will offer you a chance to live like royalty, albeit just for a few hours.
13. Soak up at the Praia da Adraga
Praia da Adraga is one of the best beaches in Sintra and Portugal. Located adjacent to Praia da Ursa, Praia da Adraga also features sams jagged cliffs and an imposing wall of rocks as its backdrop.
14. Huke up Cruz Alta
One of the walks at Pena Park includes rambling through the enchanted forest and up the highest peak in Serra de Sintra, some 528 meters high. From there, you can enjoy panoramic views of the landscapes below and beyond, including Tagus Estuary and Lisbon.
15. Enjoy Sintra’s delicacies
The Sintra boasts some of the best treats exclusive to the town, including the famous Queijada, a small rounded cake made with sugar, milk, eggs, and cheese.
Our Top Hotel Picks for Sintra, Portugal
Sintra Travel and Tour Packages
To help you plan out your visit to Sintra, we listed places to visit and other unforgettable Sintra, Portugal. We also listed some of the best travel deals, tour packages, and excellent flight deals and accommodation.
Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of cheap Sintra hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.