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Sintra, Portugal: beautiful castles & palaces in nature 🏰🌳

Sintra = castles! Perfect for a daytrip from Lisbon (Lisboa, Portugal). I will tell you exactly how we did Sintra in one day – only walking and hiking through Sintra – no taxi or tuktuk for us. So, if you want to hike and walk, this is the blog for you! Motorised or not; in either case, make sure to include Sintra in your visit to Portugal. See the beautiful Palacio da Pena in Sintra. In my opinion; no need to book a hotel in Sintra. Just a daytrip to Sintra, Portugal, is fine. I will tell you what to do in Sintra!

To Sintra, Portugal, by train from Lisbon

I really recommend to go to Sintra – castle paradise! – for one day. To get from Lisbon (or Lisboa, Portugal) to Sintra take the train. In about 40 minutes the train takes you to Sintra. Just use Google Maps (online) to plan your quickest train route to Sintra. Most tourist take the train from the beautiful Rossio train station from Lisbon to Sintra. But we actually took the train from a smaller train station called Roma-Areeiro – closer to our hotel. The train to Sintra that comes through Roma-Areeiro starts at the other big train station called Oriental. Just look at Google Maps what Sintra-serving train station is easiest reachable from your hotel.

Traintickets to Sintra, Portugal, by train

To buy the ticket just use the very straightforward – ticket machine at the train station. On the ‘quick screen’ Sintra is indicated. It can get very busy especially in weekends at the Rossio train station, so be on time if you need to buy your ticket (there can be long queues).

What to see in Sintra: Castles🏰, great views and beautiful nature🌲

Overview of our day 📄✅

Morning 🕗

To give you an idea how much time you need in Sintra, I’ll give you an overview of our day (all by foot). At first, we got the train from Lisbon at 8.15am. Arrived in Sintra just before 9am, went to Palacio da Pena and arrived at around 9.45am (by foot). Didn’t enter, walked around it and walked to Castelo dos Mouros, arrived there at 10am (very close to Palacio da Pena). Castelo dos Mouros really was our highlight of the day! Left here at 11am.

Afternoon 🕛

Walked through the city centre, did some shopping, sightseeing, took an outside look at the Palacio Nacional de Sintra, had some coffee and pastry. At around 12.15 we headed for the Quinta da Regaleira – our second highlight of the day, entered there at 12.30. We took the train back to Lisbon at around 14.30. We were back at our hotel in Lisbon at about 15.30.

Preparation for walking through Sintra 🥪 🗺

Download the app “” and make sure to download the city of Sintra 📱. Especially for walking, is far more complete with paths then Google Maps.

When you like to walk and your physical condition is fine, no problem, you can do it. Its not a very hard trail. There are some mountains involved but the first walk (from the train station to Palacio da Pena) will be the toughest. But mostly beautiful and not that physically challenging, just some healthy raise of heartbeat.

Make sure to take food and drinks with you. Definitely enough water and when you are on a budget, it’s also always more advisable to take your own lunch and snacks. We did sit down at a place for some coffee and pastry in the centre of Sintra, but took our own water and lunch with us. It’s up to you and your travel style.

Start of our route: walking up to Palacio da Pena:
1. Sintra station to Palácio de Pena

I draw our route from the Sintra train station to Palacio da Pena in My Maps, feel free to use it!! I hope it will help you.

Description of the route

Our walking route starts at the Sintra Train station. Exit the Sintra train station at the south side and then head ‘left’ (= east) on R. João de Deus. Turn the second street right to the Av. Augusto Freire and immediately right onto the Escadinhas da Alba Longa. This is a great and more quiet walking route where there are no cars. At the end take a right to R. Conde Seisal and a left to Caminho Alba Longa, just keep walking, way will change into R. Rodrigo Delfim Pereira and R. Dr. Higino de Sousa.

Just keep swimming - halfway 😎🐠
Now you get in a busier place with a few restaurants and stores. Here turn right (Calçada Penalva), left to stay at this road and then take a right to enter the Calçada Pena. When you are at the ‘Calçada Pena’ you know that you are definitely on the right track. ‘Just keep swimming’ and enjoy the views along the way! When you see the parking for Palacio da Pena you know you are almost there. At 38.787968, -9.387600 you find the entrance!

Palacio de Pena, the most famous castle of Sintra

I’m going to be honest with you. When you visit Sintra you need to make choices, at least we did on behalf of our budget and time. To enter the castles, you pay entrance fee. We choose not to visit Palacio da Pena. There was quite a long line and because it is the most famous castle it was quite busy already in the early morning. The walk up was really great and you can see the garden and the castle from outside. But we didn’t enter the property, just walked around it. In you want to visit, then this is the moment in this walking tour 😊 You will have time, we were ready by 2.30pm in the afternoon with skipping this one. So, you can add it to your day or swop it for another place where we did enter.

2. From Palacio da Pena to Castelo dos Mouros in Sintra

Luckily, this is an easy route. Palacio da Pena and Castelo dos Mouros / The Moors Castle are located very closely to each other. I indicated the entrances to both castles and drew the walking route, you can find it here.

Castelo dos Mouros – Moorish Castle – in Sintra

Want to breath medieval history? Visit Castelo dos Mouros in Sintra. We really loved it, you feel like a soldier in the middle ages. The castle is built in de 9th and 10th century and renovated in 1830. FYI: the entrance fee per person is €8 (2018). With your entrance ticket you get a map (available in different languages). The route within the Moorish Castle area is very self-explanatory. There is some little museum and really nice gardens and buildings on the premise. Nonetheless the highlight is getting to the top of the castle. Such a great view!!

Caution: wind! 🍃✋⚠😲

But it was só windy, don’t know if that’s the same every day. I was just imagining being a soldier there, in the – mostly – warm climate of Portugal and then having to be at the stormy top. Undoubtedly with a great view 😊 You can see the city of Sintra and the Palacio da Pena at the other hill.

3. From the Moorish Castle to Sintra city centre / The Palacio Nacional Sintra

After exiting the Moorish Castle, follow the signs to ‘centro histórico’ and you will be fine. We took the exit at the east of the property. There are routes that will be at your Moorish Castle map that lead to this exit, but these walking routes are not on Google Maps. The route is on though. Navigate to the The Palacio Nacional Sintra to make sure you will head for the city centre. Check my – most possible accurate by using Google Maps – map here. I also add a screenshot of

Sintra City Centre & The Palacio Nacional Sintra

Enjoy the centre of Sintra, take a look at the beautiful The Palacio Nacional Sintra and just enjoy the city centre. Have a drink, snack, lunch, do some shopping, just walk around. It’s a very nice place!

4. From Sintra city centre / The Palacio Nacional Sintra to Quinta da Regaleira

The route from the city centre to Quinta da Regaleira is an easy one, you can find it here. Walk south on the main street Praça da República and follow the signs ‘Quinta da Regaleira’. It’s about 10 minutes’ walk, very close to the centre of Sintra.

Quinta da Regaleira, stunning palace with garden and well in Sintra

Quinta da Regaleira has a beautiful castle, but that’s not all. The garden is astonishing too. It feels like a big maze with caves, lakes, fountains, statues, wells, a waterfall. By the way, the entrance is €6 per person. It’s worth it. Every step you will be amazed. The palace – called Palácio da Regaleira – is very romantic, same for the The Regaleira Chapel. The construction of the palace was finished in 1910, so it’s not even that old – compared to the Moorish Castle for example. The park is 4 hectares and different structures can be found throughout the park. Ample places to sit down, enjoy the view and eat you lunch 😊 It’s just gorgeous!

5. From Quinta da Regaleira to Sintra train station

It’s easy to get from Quinta da Regaleira to the train station of Sintra, check this link to be sure. You have to walk back via the R. Barbosa Du Bocage, cross the city centre via R. Consiglieri Pedroso and Praça da República. Then take the steps Escadinhas do Hospital and R. Guilherme Gomes Fernandes. At the roundabout make sure to take the R. Dr. Alfredo da Costa and you will arrive at the train station.

Conclusion & all the maps

I hope you will have a great daytrip! Any questions just ask me 😊 Always happy to help.

All the routes in one place:

1. From Sintra train station to Palácio de Pena

2. From Palacio da Pena to Castelo dos Mouros

3. From the Moorish Castle to Sintra city centre

4. From Sintra city centre / The Palacio Nacional Sintra to Quinta da Regaleira

5. From Quinta da Regaleira to Sintra train station

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