Portugal City Travel Guide: Sintra
Sintra, for centuries the summer residence of Portugal's kings and aristocrats, makes for an rewarding day trip from Lisbon or Cascais or as a relaxing base for a longer stay. Sintra's beautiful surroundings of forested hills are the perfect setting for the town's many elegant palaces, castles and museums. There are threee distinct parts to the town: Estefânia (around the station), Sintra-Vila (the old town) and São Pedro de Sintra (for shopping and budget accommodation).
26-28 June. S. Pedro's annual festival with craftsmen's fair, cattle show, popular dance exhibitions, musical competitions, serenades, etc.
Hotels in Sintra
The Palácio Nacional or Paço Real (open
Mon-Tue & Thu-Sun 10am-5.30pm; entrance charge) is Sintra's
main tourist attraction and a former royal residence dating back to the
The hilltop Palácio Nacional de Pena (open Tues-Sun 10am-4.30pm; small entrance fee) dates from the nineteenth century and is a bizarre mixture of outlandish architectural styles including Moorish minarets and Gothic battlements. Entrance to the palace is through the Parque da Pena - full of small lakes, black swans and exotic plants.
The Castelo dos Mouros - Castle of the Moors - are the restored
ruins of an eighth century Moorish castle with stunning views of the
The Quinta da Regaleiria (Tue-Sun) estate is accessible by tours, which can be booked on (Tel:219 106 650). The grandiose estate was built at the turn of the twentieth century for António Carvalho Monteiro, who had made his fortune in Brazil. The Palácio dos Milhões and the superb gardens are the main attractions.
The Palácio de Seteais built in the late eighteenth century is now a luxurious hotel and plays host to classical concerts during Sintra's Festiva de Música.
Monserrate (open daily 9am-5pm or 7pm in summer) is a charming eighteenth century quinta or estate associated with two previous English residents: William Beckford and Sir Francis Cook. The wealthy Beckford fled here in 1793 to escape a homosexual scandal back in Britain and fifty years later the equally rich Cook built a grand Victorian house and laid out the exotic gardens.
The Convento dos Capuchos (or Cork Convent) is a tiny hermitage built in the sixteenth century for Franciscan friars. Its minute cells, chapel and refectory are cut from the rock and lined with cork - hence its name. Tours to the monastery are available daily but must be booked in advance, details at the turismo.
The Sintra area has some interesting museums well worth a visit. Expect to pay a small entrance fee:
The Museu do Brinquendo (Tue-Sun 10am-6pm) houses an international
collection of toys from around the world built up over the years by João
Sintra along with Estoril and Cascais plays host to the annual classical Festiva de Música from mid-June to mid-July.
Pena Palace Sintra, near Lisbon
23 Praça da República.
Sintra Train Station
Local buses to Cascais (#417), Estoril (#418) and Mafra.
Frequent trains from Lisbon's Rossio station.
Steps in Sintra
Capuchin monastery garden in Sintra
Recommended Accommodation in Sintra
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The average high June temperatures for Portugal is between 22 degrees Centigrade and 26 degrees Centigrade.