Magical and Mysterious Sintra: Witness 1,000 Years of History in 1 Day
Nestled high in the mountains, Sintra isn’t just wonderful Portuguese destination, it’s one of the most enchanting cities in the world. With historical palaces, numerous fortifications, and mysterious pathways, Sintra near the capital city of Lisbon is a long time royal destination.
From the Moors, medieval royalty, to the European jet-set, people have flocked to this charming resort town for more than a millennium. Every group has left their stylistic sign, from different fortress to over-the-top summer palaces, transforming this village into a veritable architectural wonder. Plan your trip to explore the 1,000 years of Portuguese history before the sunsets.
Top Attractions of Sintra
9th-10th Century: Moorish Castle
Nested in the lush forest of the Serra De Sintra, the Moors Castle is a popular tourist attraction of Sintra. The castle was established by the North African Moors to safeguard Sintra. Visitors can stroll between the double walls, along the battlements, and into the castle keep and enjoy the best views of Sintra. Check out the Old Stables where archaeological excavation reveals the signs of Roman times.
In the 19th century, King Ferdinand II restored the castle by transforming into a romantic ruin. However, the castle still retains its ancient ruin surrounded by dense forest.
During summer season – 9:30–20:00
During winter season – 10:00–18:00
Adult – €8.00
Child – €6.50
Senior citizen – €6.50
14th-16th Century: National Palace of Sintra
Situated in the heart of Sintra village, National Palace of Sintra is a best-preserved medieval architecture. Its main facets include Gothic, Mudéjar, and Manueline styles. The minimalistic gothic architecture of exterior hides lovely decorative staterooms. The most notable part of the palace’s exterior is its two huge chimneys, which protrude from the kitchens – an iconic landmark of Sintra. The palace has seen ages of history with the fortunes of Portugal’s ruling nobility.
Visiting Time: Opens every day from 09:30 until 19:00
Child – €7.00
Adult – €9.00
Family – €31.00
16th Century: Convent of the Capuchos
Tucked into the hills of Sintra and hiding in lush greenery and mystery, Convent of the Capuchos is a monastery built by Franciscan monks. Its serenity leaves lasting impressions for everyone for its location and architecture. The rooms of the convent are very small to accommodate one fully grown man in one room. Well, getting around its interiors was a bit challenging too. Overall the architecture is utilitarian, and it is a huge contrast to the regular religious styles in European capitals.
Visiting Time: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Child – €4.00
Adult – €5.00
Senior citizen – €4.00
18th Century: Queluz Palace
The fascinating Queluz Palace is located partway between Sintra and Lisbon. The palace has a perfect blend of Baroque, Neoclassical and the Rococo architectural designs. Built in 1747 by King Pedro III, the Palace of Queluz was initially used as a summer residence, and later it became the royal family’s preferred palace for their leisure. The Queluz Palace was extensively restored after a serious fire in 1934. And now the palace is open to public as a popular tourist attraction.
Its historical gardens are more remarkable as they act as a harmonious link between beautiful landscapes and impressive architecture in Portugal.
Visiting Time: 9 AM to 7 PM
Ticket for adults (18 to 64 years) – 10 Euros
Ticket for youths (6 to 17 years) – 8.50 Euros
For senior citizen (over 65 years) – 8.50 Euros
Family ticket (2 adults + 2 youths) – 33 Euros
Ticket for adults (18 to 64 years) – 5 Euros
For youths (6 to 17 years) – 3.50 Euros
Ticket for senior citizen (over 65 years) – 3.50 Euros
Family ticket (2 adults + 2 youths) – 15 Euros
19th Century: Pena Palace
The Palacio Nacional da Pena or Pena Palace is one of the best attraction of Portugal that exemplifies the 19th century Romanticism. The Pena Palace is a hedonistic mix of brilliantly painted terraces, attractive battlements and mythological wonders, all together create a great contrast to the lush green forests. Explore every detail of the fully-furnished palace and massive gardens, planted with over 500 carefully selected species of trees.
Visiting Time: 9:30 AM to 8 PM
Adults – €14
19th-20th Century: Quinta da Regaleira
Quinta da Regaleira is a grand decorative residence situated in Sintra. It is a five-storeyed house with an ornate gothic façade. The real attraction of the residence is its enchanting gardens. The conceptual gardens of the house were styled representing concealed symbolism. The Initiation Well with spiral staircase is the special attraction of the Quinta da Regaleira.
Visiting Time: 9:30 AM to 7 PM
Adult – €6
Child – €3
Family – €18
20th-21st Century: MU.SA (Museu das Artes de Sintra)
Museu das Artes de Sintra was a grand casino in 1920s. Now, it is the main art museum in Sintra featuring a collection of contemporary and modern art, 80% of which is a tribute to the locals and the place. The prime permanent collection of museum includes great arts of Dorita de Castel-Branco, Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro and António Carneiro. The museum also runs temporary exhibitions showing war photography to abstract art.
Monday – Closed
Tuesday to Friday – 10AM–8PM
Saturday & Sunday – 2–8PM
Mini Travel Guide for Stay & Dine in Sintra
Where to Stay?
After knowing its historical and architectural wealth, this postcard like beautiful city deserves few more days of your stay to explore the city in depth. When you visit Sintra, you will be amazed by its beauty, magical landscapes of mist-soaked lush forests and turreted palaces. The pleasant weather is an additional attraction that would make the visitors to prefer Sintra over Lisbon. Here’s the list of popular hotels in Sintra for you.
- Sintra Boutique Hotel
- The Romantic Suites and Garden Guesthouse
- Villa Mira Longa
- Hotel Nova Sintra
- Águamel Sintra Boutique Guest House
Where to Eat?
Besides its historical and architectural wonders, Sintra has a thriving gastronomical culture. Here are the recommended places to eat when you’re out to explore this wondrous little city.
Indulge your sweet tooth at these restaurants:
- Restaurante Pendoa
- Curral dos Caprinos
- Azenhas do Mar
Sintra, Portugal Visit Visa
Portugal is visa free for following citizens:
- Costa Rica
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates and many more.
A number of countries have visa free access to explore Portugal. While remaining countries may have visa on arrival. Check with your local embassy to explore the timeless treasures of the country.