Located just a stone’s throw away from Lisbon is the quaint little town of Sintra. In my opinion, this is one of the best places to go outside of Lisbon if you are interested in Romantic Architecture of the 19th Century, or simply because you are after a day trip from Lisbon to escape the modern city. Here are some Sintra Portugal sights you can check out.
Once you head into the town of Sintra you get an overwhelming sense of tranquillity, which is of course boosted by the Sintra Mountains as a backdrop. This is perhaps one of the most popular tourist destinations around Lisbon, and there is plenty to see and do here. You can look through Villas 4 You and stay in one of these hilly locations with a gorgeous view.
Pena National Palace
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Sintra is the ‘Pena National Palace‘. You may have spotted this whilst staying in Lisbon. This gorgeous castle has existed in some form or another for many centuries, although the current incarnation is built in a Romanticist style like the town it towers over. It is a castle straight our of a fairy tale. It’s quite well preserved with many original and restored furnitures. With all the towers and passages, it will give you a nostalgic flashback of your favorite princesses.
Located up in the mountains, this is an absolutely fantastic day trip from Lisbon even if you aren’t interested in history at all due to the absolutely stunning views you are going to end up with over the region.
If you are heading to Pena National Palace then you absolutely need to visit Pena Park as well. This is a 200 hectares forested park which surrounds the castle. There is a lot charm to be discovered here, with a number of trees which you won’t find anywhere else in Portugal to gaze upon. Again, make sure you have your camera handy as there is a lot of things to see and do here!
Castle of the Moors
One of the other popular places to go outside of Lisbon is ‘The Castle of the Moors’. This slightly older castle was built in the 8th century and was captured by the Christians as the fought the Moors. Despite being nothing more than ‘slightly better than normal’ ruins, they still have a fantastic beauty about them, and of course, those views over the area are also stunning when you head here. You really will not find elegance and beauty anything like this anywhere else around Lisbon.
If you are lucky then you will be able to cover both of these buildings over the course of the day. One of the best ways to see both of these buildings, even if you are on a budget is to purchase a combined ticket, this ticket valid for thirty days will give you access to both of them. It can purchased from either of the ticket offices at the castles. It will cost you around 17 euros for an adult or 34 euros for a family.
Getting to the castles is simple. All you need to do is head into the beautiful town centre of Sintra and hop on a looping bus. There should be many a day trip from Lisbon which will take you here. You want to be on the lookout for the 434 bus route which is a circular route which runs between the two castles. It runs every forty minutes and tickets cost 7 euros per person. You can walk to the castles but it isn’t suggested, it is a very steep climb and even the fittest amongst you may struggle. After all, castles were never built for easy access!
Cabo da Roca
Another of the popular places to go outside of Lisbon is Cabo da Roca, located in Sintra municipality. This cape is the most westerly part of Portugal, and Europe and the views that you can look forward to are some of the best around Lisbon.
The area is absolutely gorgeous with sandy beaches and 100 foot high cliffs setting the scene. It is no surprise that this is the best day trip from Lisbon or those that love playing around with their cameras. Heading here is remarkably easy too. Of course, there a number of trips which operate from the city which can bring you here, but if you wish, you will also be able to head out here using your own devices. In my opinion, the best way is to hop on a train that will take you from Lisbon to Sintra, it shouldn’t take too long.
Once you are here, head to the town centre and you should be able to hop on a bus. Bear in mind that the buses in the town become frequently crowded however, so don’t expect to get on the first one you see! If you wish to take the day trip from Lisbon by yourself then you can drive to Cabo da Roca. It is around 40km, and there are plenty of places to park once you have arrived, and it really is an area which lends itself to getting out of your car and having a bit of an explore of the area.
If you are a surfer, or want to get into surfing, then one of the best places you can visit outside of Lisbon is Praia Grande, a gorgeous beach which boasts yellow sands, beautiful water and some pretty extreme surfing. You won’t be experiencing the best waves in Europe here, but the ones that do appear should satisfy even the most adventurous surfers, whether they are a beginner or slightly more experienced. There are plenty of other water sports to do here as well if surfing doesn’t quite float your boat. In fact, there is so much to do here, this has been crowned the capital of water sports in the country. Although of course, if you just want to laze about on the beach and catch the hot Portuguese sun then feel free to do so!
There are plenty of other things to do around Praia Grande too if you find that the beach is a little too much, including some great places to dine. If you want to take a day trip from Lisbon then getting here isn’t too difficult either. All you need to do is head to Sintra. There are plenty of buses that run to and from the beach here. There are also a few buses which run directly from Lisbon.
This is just a brief highlight of what there is to see and do in Sintra. Honestly, it is one of the best places around Lisbon if you are looking to do something slightly different. It really is a ‘must visit’ in my books.
* This is a backblog – I was in Sintra, Portugal on October, 2011.