Bucket List: Top 15 Best Things to Do in Sintra, Portugal

Sintra Bucket List: Best Activities and Amazing Places to Visit in Sintra, Portugal

Sintra is a beautiful Portuguese town found in the Greater Lisbon region along the Portuguese Riviera. It is considered one of the most charming cities globally, owing to its alluring palaces, enigmatic pathways, and historic fortifications. Its green mountainscape offers a breathtaking change in scenery from the Lisbon’s suburbs.

The Palace of Sintra is one of the most famous landmarks in this town, and it used to be an official residence of the Portuguese royalty. There are many activities that you can do in Sintra, and if you are planning to visit this city soon, Here are our Top 15 Best Things to Do in Sintra, Portugal:

1. Explore Pena Palace

Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal photo via Depositphotos

Perched high up on the mountains, Pena Palace is one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal, constructed on an old monastery remnant.

What attracts tourists to this ostentatious Disney-like palace is its impressive architecture and myriad colors, including red, golden, and brown. Its design incorporates different historical styles, such as the Moorish and Renaissance.

Outside the palace, King Ferdinand II planted many trees worldwide, including ginkgo, sequoias, ferns, and Lawson cypresses.

2. Check out Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra photo via Depositphotos
Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra photo via Depositphotos
The Initiation Wells (also called initiatic wells or inverted towers) via Depositphotos
The Initiation Wells (also called initiatic wells or inverted towers) via Depositphotos

Another recognizable palace in Sintra, Quinta d Regaleira, was built by wealthy Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, who become rich from the precious tone and coffee businesses. He used a big chunk of his wealth on this palace, reflecting his interest in Knights Templar, Masons, and Divination.

It features Manueline-style masonry with underground systems of caverns and tunnels.

You will find benches with statues, ornate gazebos, and deep shafts lined with winding stairways leading underground to temples for tarot rituals in the garden.

3. Climb up the Castle of the Moors

Sintra, Portugal, Scenic Castle of the Moors via Depositphotos
Sintra, Portugal, Scenic Castle of the Moors via Depositphotos

Located high up in one of the tallest mountains in Sintra, the Castle of the Moors was built during the reins of the Moors and renovated after Reconquista.

The castle can be reached easily by a local bus. Or if you want some exercise, you can hike up the castle along the walls.

Castle of the Moors was built in the 19th century but was abandoned and left at the mercy of natural disasters. However, it was restored starting the 1800s.

4. Take pictures at Parque da Pena

Parque da Pena in Sintra via Depositphotos
Parque da Pena in Sintra via Depositphotos

One of the best things to do at Pena Palace is strolling around its gardens and taking pictures. The tree-fringed walkways sit on more than 200 hectares of space and showcase a wide range of plant species along with the well-pruned hedges and ghostly paths.

5. Tour the old Center of Sintra

Rua das Padaria in the center of Sintra photo via Depositphotos
Rua das Padaria in the center of Sintra photo via Depositphotos

Sintra’s old center’s walking tour is one of the most beautiful things to do in this Portuguese town. However, you may want to do it early in the morning when the town is still almost empty because the streets are usually crowded with other visitors late in the day.

The old center is punctuated by winding cobblestone streets, charming churches, narrow stairways, and stunning townhouses and mansions.

6. Relax at the Praia da Ursa Beach

Praia da Ursa Beach in Sintra photo via Dep[ositphotos
Praia da Ursa beach in Sintra photo via Dep[ositphotos

You will find a sign pointing down to a dirt path along the road towards Cabo da Roca. This track will take you to Praia da Ursa, one of the most striking beaches in Europe.

The beach is framed by tall, rugged sea cliffs and boulders, which help calm the waves, making it one of the few Atlantic beaches where non-swimmers can paddle safely.

Though getting to this beach is a pain in the neck, it is a small price to pay for what awaits you ahead.

7. Ride in Sintra Tram

Sintra street scene with old red trams via Depositphotos
Sintra street scene with old red trams via Depositphotos

After touring different places in Sintra, you are bound to get tired and need to relax. However, when you are out on vacation, you usually don’t have enough time to relax; luckily for you, there a tram in Sintra that can take you around the town and through some of the attractions.

Opened in 1904, the tram covers more than 11 kilometers and charges just three euros.

8. Learn about Portuguese aviation at Museu do Ar

Museu do Ar by Ricardo Reis via Depositphotos
Museu do Ar By Ricardo Reis from Lisboa, Portugal – DSC00847, CC BY-SA 2.0

To help you enjoy a change of pace, hop into the Museu do Ar to learn about the country’s Air Force located at Sintra Air Base.

You will come across many a big fleet of helicopters, planes, navigation equipment, propellers, instrument panels, and numerous paraphernalia.

9. Explore the 16th-century monastery of Convento dos Capuchos

 Convent of the Capuchos, Sintra photo via Depositphotos
Convent of the Capuchos, Sintra photo via Depositphotos

Convento do Capuchos is just a short, scenic drive from Sintra and home to the Franciscan monks. They turned their backs on the luxuries of Sintra and only ate vegetables that were cultivated in the backyard.

Visitors are given an audio guide tour of the cells that the monks lived in.

10. Admire the baroque architecture of Palacio Nacional e Jardins de Queluz

The Palace of Queluz by Alvesgaspar via Wikipedia CC
The Palace of Queluz By Alvesgaspar – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, CC

Located east of Sintra in Queluz city is the Palace of Queluz, the summer home of Dom Pedro of Braganza. The palace featured an exciting Rococo architecture and was built in the mid-18th century.

It has some beautiful interiors, decorated with gold-plated stuccowork and dazzling murals on the ceiling.

11. Visit Cabo Da Roca

Lighthouse in Cabo da Roca photo via Depositphotos
Lighthouse in Cabo da Roca photo via Depositphotos

Sintra sprawls to the westernmost edge of continental Europe, and Cabo da Roca is where Serra de Sintra descends vividly into the Atlantic Ocean.

The peninsula stands at 140 meters high on a granite cliff, and you will find a lighthouse up there along with a stone monument with a cross mark.

12. Book a romantic night at the Seteias Palace

Seteais Palace Tivoli Palacio de Seteais Hotel by Gryffindor via Wikipedia CC
Seteais Palace Tivoli Palacio de Seteais Hotel By Gryffindor – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, CC

Check Rates and Availability

Though Sintra is known for many palaces and castles, Seteias Palace is one of the most visited in town, and it is easy to see why. Booking a deluxe night at this palace will offer you a chance to live like royalty, albeit just for a few hours.

13. Soak up at the Praia da Adraga

Sunrise at Praia da Adraga via Depositphotos
Sunrise at Praia da Adraga via Depositphotos

Praia da Adraga is one of the best beaches in Sintra and Portugal. Located adjacent to Praia da Ursa, Praia da Adraga also features sams jagged cliffs and an imposing wall of rocks as its backdrop.

14. Huke up Cruz Alta

View from Serra de Sintra by Vitor Oliveira via Flickr CC
View from Serra de Sintra by Vitor Oliveira via Flickr CC

One of the walks at Pena Park includes rambling through the enchanted forest and up the highest peak in Serra de Sintra, some 528 meters high. From there, you can enjoy panoramic views of the landscapes below and beyond, including Tagus Estuary and Lisbon.

15. Enjoy Sintra’s delicacies

Queijada by Jennifer Woodard Maderazo via Flickr CC
Queijada by Jennifer Woodard Maderazo via Flickr CC

The Sintra boasts some of the best treats exclusive to the town, including the famous Queijada, a small rounded cake made with sugar, milk, eggs, and cheese.

Sintra Travel and Tour Packages

To help you plan out your visit to Sintra, we listed places to visit and other amazing Sintra, Portugal. We also listed some of the best travel deals and tour packages and excellent flight deals and accommodation.

Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of affordable Sintra hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

Want more updates about new package tours and tourist spots in Sintra, Portugal? Follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Bloglovin, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

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