Sintra is a delicious Portuguese town that has an abundant number of wonderful tourist attractions, from ancient castles to sumptuous palaces. The city is famous for its romantic architectural style. Therefore, many places in Sintra are magnificent examples of this elaborate and decorative type of construction. You will find them scattered over the wooded hills of the Serra da Sintra natural park.
Sintra is often visited as a day trip from Lisbon. But it takes more than a day if you want to discover this fascinating region completely. Below you will find details about the best and most popular places in Sintra the Serra da Sintra region.
Places in Sintra that would take you back in time
Sintra National Palace
The National Palace of Sintra is an example of Gothic style. It presides over the heart of Sintra and used to be a royal residence. From the fifteenth century until the fall of the monarchy in 1910 the Portuguese royal family lived here. This is the palace where King Alfonso VI was imprisoned during his last years.
The minimalist Gothic exterior is dominated by the two gigantic chimneys that rise from the kitchens. The interior includes decoratively painted rooms that reflect the vast history of the palace. The most famous of these rooms is the room of the magpie. As its name reveals, it has paintings of magpies representing the gossip and machinations of the court.
Da Pena Palace
The exquisite Palacio da Pena is one of the best tourist attractions in Portugal. So, you should consider making it the first of the places in Sintra that you will visit. King Ferdinand II, patron of the arts, music and literature was the one who ordered its construction. The king wanted the palace to imitate the appearance of an opera.
The decorative entrance to the Pena Palace Palacio da Pena is a delicious amalgam of different styles and design influences. From North African to medieval Gothic. The interior is equally interesting since restoration works gave it the same appearance it had in 1910. When Queen Amelia spent her last night in Portugal, before exiling to Brazil due to the revolution.
The Pena Palace is a wonderful tourist attraction, but its popularity usually means crowds. During your visit, we suggest you plan to arrive well in the early morning or late afternoon, to avoid mid-morning and mid-afternoon tourist coaches.
Quinta da Regaleira
Quinta da Regaleira is an extravagant Gothic mansion from the 19th century. Some of the Sintra’s most elaborate gardens surround it. These gardens are a pleasant discovery, as they are full of decorative fortifications, mystical religious symbols and a series of secret passages and hidden caves. Nevertheless, the main characteristic of the gardens is the initiation well, a well that was drained, expanded and very possibly used to carry out some cult ceremonies. The visit to Quinta de la Regaleira will take about two hours. And you will spend most of them in the gardens, so get ready to walk.
Convento dos Capuchos
The Convento dos Capuchos is a humble Franciscan monastery that balances the excess and opulence of Sintra. Therefore you will find there one of the most captivating atmospheres in the region. People who built this convent aimed to cause a minimal impact on its natural surroundings. That´s why the buildings of the monastery fuse with the old forest and gigantic granite boulders. The only decoration material you will find is absolutely natural: cork. A natural isolation for the roofs of the small cells in which the monks slept.