Are you planning a travel itinerary through Portugal? Consider factoring in time to visit Sintra, one of Portugal’s most beautiful destinations. There is so much to see, and although it’s considered a popular day trip from Lisbon, you could spend a full weekend dedicated to this one region and still miss half of the attractions. To help you figure out which landmarks you shouldn’t miss, here is our list of must-see attractions in Sintra.
Cabo da Roca is the furthest point in mainland Europe and an excellent spot to take photos. Make sure to catch the lighthouse in the background!
If you can, rent a car and cruise through the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, one of Portugal’s 13 natural parks which hugs Sintra and other nearby towns and villages. Explore parts of this wooded area on foot if you like hiking or stick to cruising down the many winding roads, stopping at many man-made attractions as you pass them.
The highest point in the Sintra Mountains is marked by the Cruz Alta, or High Cross. Not only does this monument mark an excellent location to take amazing panoramic photos, but it is an example of Portuguese Manueline style, an architectural expression that came about in the 16th century.
In Sintra, set aside 1-2 hours to visit the National Palace of Sintra, recognized as the best example of preserved medieval palaces in the country. Built in the 15th century, it was the royal residence of Portugal’s nobility for four centuries. Tour this unique museum to see the beautifully preserved furniture and ancient decorative styles. Regular entrance tickets cost €9.00 ($11.13) per person.
If you have a car and want to visit a historic landmark that’s usually missed, map out the Convento dos Capuchos, a Franciscan monastery that was built in the middle of the Sintra forest. Dating back to the 16th century, this nature-centric monastery showcases shadows of a simpler life lead by the monks who once lived there.
Do you have a special spot for art museums? This quaint and charming museum in Sintra is based on the artwork of a well-known father-son duo in Portugal. Visitors will see the works of both Artur Anjos Teixeira and his son Pedro Anjos Teixeira while walking through the museum that was once Pedro Anjos Teixeira’s home.
Ever imagine walking through the secret garden from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s famous novel? Now you can (imagine it, that is) while visiting Sintra’s stunning Chalet Garden that once belonged to the Countess d’Edla, the second wife of Portugal’s King Ferdinand II. Completely made of wood, the alpine-inspired chalet is surrounded by a romantic garden and walking paths. Pair this visit with one to the Pena Palace since the chalet is located on the palace’s grounds.
Most visitors never know to visit the Santuário da Peninha, a church and palace near the coast of the Sintra Natural Park. From its perch on a rocky hilltop, the stairs and grounds around the sanctuary offer amazing views of the coast, reaching miles on clear days. The palace, built by the architect of the Quinta da Regaleira, and the church are closed to the public but locals swear that the seaside views make visiting worthwhile.