Sintra

Sintra is a town in the Lisbon Region of Portugal. Its spectacular setting, 28km from Lisbon, houses a Royal Palace, used by generations of Portuguese royalty prior to the 1910 revolution. The surrounding hills are surmounted by the remains of the Moorish Castle and by the nineteenth-century Pena Palace. Historic Sintra is an heritage patrimony site declared by UNESCO.

Moorish Castle

Near Estoril, the majestic Sintra Mountains cast a veil of mystery over the town nestling on its northern slopes. The hills and the surrounding area have been classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage site both for their cultural significance and for their outstanding natural beauty.

Get in

By train

Sintra rail station may be reached by frequent CP services from several Lisbon stations, including Santa Apolónia, Oriente, Campolide and Rossio (most trains depart from Rossio). It should cost around €3.40 return. Tell the machine that you want a ticket for two trips; you will need one for the outward and one for the return journey. Remember to validate your ticket by touching it to the checkpoint before boarding the return train. Keep the used ticket, as you can re-charge it for other trips in and around Lisbon. For more information, contact:

The town proper is a 10 minute walk from the train station. However, tourist-centric buses to the center can be caught from the small bus stop directly on the right as one exits said station. These are the same buses that take circular routes to all the tourist sites, and offer tickets good for all day, so odds are one would be buying one of their tickets anyway. i.e. - no real reason to walk from the station to the town proper, unless just for exercise.

By tram

The historic 14km tram route from Praia das Maçãs, mainland Europe's most westerly holiday resort, terminates about 1km from Sintra town centre, at Ribeira de Sintra, which is located about 1km down the hill past the Hotel Tivoli, near the Royal Palace. The service is operated by restored trams dating from the early 20th century; operates F-Su 9:30AM-7:30PM; trams run hourly taking 45 minutes for the journey.

When visited 8th June 2008, the section of tram route Ribeira da Sintra to Praia das Maçãs was 'closed until further notice for technical reasons.' Conversely, the previously unused short section from the town centre down the hill to Riberia da Sintra is the only working section, having been newly restored. Trams run on the afternoons of Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

No information was avaialable as to any planned re-opening. The track is intact but rusting away and the signalling system still working.

Visited on 7th January 2012, the tram was completely closed, a sign explaining that due to 'inclement weather' the tram had been inoperational since 27th October 2011.

For more information, contact:

By bicycle

Cycling in Sintra can be an interesting day out for those who are fit and have some experience.

If staying in Sintra and around a local company is a good option for you.

In case you are visiting Sintra then your best bet is to book a tour or rent a bike e.g. in Lisbon, take the commuters train from Rossio station to explore Sintra and/or the Nature Reserve finishing in Cascais, a beautiful day trip on a bicycle, in the end take a train back to Cais do Sodre station in Lisbon where you may drop back your bicycle. Adult return ticket is around 3 or €4 and bicycles travel for free every day of the week.

Companies operating from Lisbon include Bike Iberia (Phone: +351 96 242 3455, ) located in Lisbon Downtown right off the train station of Cais Sodre.

Cycling-Rentals (Phone: +351 212 424 604, ) is a Sintra based company that offers all types of rental bicycles as well as guided and self-guided road or mountain bike Day Trips in the Sintra area. They will also deliver a hire bike to your hotel anywhere in the Lisbon / Sintra area. There shop is located just outside the historical center of Sintra.

Get around

By bus

Probably the best for most, is to take one or more of the public bus routes. The routes are circular, with a stop in front of each of the major tourist sights. One ticket is good for all day on that particular bus route. Think a very cheap hop-on/hop-off bus route, and you have the idea. All the buses stop directly at the train station as well (just to the right upon exiting), so they can be caught immediately upon arrival via train.

Why not just get extra exercise and walk it all? Aside from time, the road is windy, narrow, and very very steep. It would be very difficult, not to mention fairly dangerous (Steep, 1.5 lane road with hairpin turns and buses on it!). On the other hand, the bus system is inexpensive and very geared toward tourists.

Sintra town centre

There are several of these circular routes, but probably for most the 434 and 435 routes are of greatest interest.

434: Route: Sintra Train Station -> Sintra City Center -> Moorish Castle -> Pena Castle -> return. Price: 5 Euro

435: Route: Sintra Train Station -> Sintra City Center -> Regaleira Palace -> Seteais Palace -> Monserrate Palace -> return. Price: 2,50 Euro

The general frequency of the buses is around 20 minutes.

There are also, actual "hop on/hop off" buses (the big red buses one sees in so many cities), but with a significantly higher price, and unclear advantage over their cheaper public equivalents.

By car

Parking is abysmal, the roads narrow & windy, and on a holiday weekend Sintra can be absolutely packed with cars and people. If you must drive to Sintra, park in one of the several parking lots below the town center and walk up into town.

Misc.

There is a walking trail through the woods to the Moorish castle that starts above the Sintra city center at the wooden turnstile on the Rampa do Castelo; better bring a map (free from tourist information at the train station) or ask for directions as the entrance to this trail is well hidden. Once you have made the journey to the castle, it's only few more minutes walk up the hill on the main road to the Palácio. The walk to Monserrate from the Sintra town center is still approximately one hour but is less strenuous. Also note that the "Linha Monserrate" that picks up passengers in front of the Palácio Nacional de Sintra is only a "sight-seeing" bus, it does not deliver you to Monserrate.

To get to Cabo da Roca (Cape Roca), the westernmost point of mainland Europe, take the Scotturb 403 bus (Direction = Cascais). The journey takes about 40 minutes.

See

Sintra

Admission prices and opening times of the sites can be found on the Parques de Sintra website

Palace of Pena

Buy

Souvenirs and Porto wine are all on sale in the Sintra historic district. There are a number of shops that sell standard tourist items (post cards, t-shirts, etc.) and a number of shops that sell ceramics, pieces of art and hand crafts. If you are looking for gifts for friends and family, Sintra has a broad selection of items to choose from.

To get something truly unique and local, consider cork products that range from wallets to umbrellas. These original products wear like leather and are environmentally sound, as well as attractive.

Eat

Drink

Sleep

Take a look inside and discovered the most pleasant Guest-house in Portugal.

The hostel offers private and shared accommodation, a fully-equipped kitchen, and a cozy living room which opens into a beautiful garden.

The hostel affords spectacular vistas of Sintra, crowned by two peaks, the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace. 15-50.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, January 15, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.