Only 40 minutes by train from the Rossio station, Sintra is magical. It’s as if you’re transported in some fairy tale kingdom of colorful palaces, enchanting gardens, mysterious forests. How can something so surrealy beautiful be just a skip and a hop away from the city?
We took the 9am train to Sintra along with a few hundred others. Fortunately, we were at the station by 8am thinking there would be an 8:30 trip. By the time the train rolled in at platform 3, there was a sizable crowd. We quickly got ourselves seats as the train was filling up fast resulting in a few people left standing.At the Sintra station, we paid a tuktuk 5€ each to the trip to Peña Palace. This UNESCO Heritage Site is in the highest point of Sintra so we thought it best to make it our first stop.It took about 10 minutes before we were able to take the shuttle that brought us to the palace. Many people opted to do the hike up.The palace is massive and walking along its exteriors os fun as there are awesome views. Rather than waiting for the shuttle, we opted to just walk down as it would be much faster. At the exit, a guy with an id hanging from his neck offered to drive us for the same price as a tuktuk. We asked to be brought to Quinta Regaleira. More of gardens than palace, the highlight was the Inquisition Well and the tunnels.We had so much fun taking photographs at the bottom of the well.The tunnels were fun too.
One of the tunnels led to a small area by the side of a road somewhere. So I guess you can continue your walk from there. We decided to go back up the well as Tita Cel was waiting for us on top.
From the well, we re-traced our steps down to some picture perfect towers.
Behind the towers was a path that led to the palace just a few meters down. Exiting Regaileria, we followed the sidewalk all the way down to the center stopping by Xentro for a buffet (10.90€).
It was just a few meters down to the Palacio Nacional de Sintra.This was a fun palace to explore as there were lots of interesting turns and passages that brought us to different rooms. The palace has magnificent ceilings, but this is the most amazing.It was almost 5pm by the time we left the palace. Outside, there was this group of students performing some Portuguese songs.We took a tuktuk to the train station in time to take the 4:50 trip back to Lisbon.
Be early. So you can see more sights. We took the 9am train and arrived at exactly 9:40 and stayed until about 4:30pm. We only managed 3 sights. The palaces are all gorgeous and you cannot simply rush just to get to more sights.
Stay a night or come back. We would definitely return as there is still so much more to see. I would probably prefer to just do day trips as it’s just 40 minutes away.
Use your Lisboa Card. We had a 48 hour card which meant free train rides and discounts on all the sights.
Choose your transpo wisely. There’s the circuit bus which is really cheap though you would need to wait for it. There are taxis and tuktuks too.