Sintra is a region of Portugal located about an hour from Lisbon, making it a perfect and easy day trip! My husband and I spent four days total in Portugal and one of those days in Sintra. Sintra is famous for its romantic architecture, colorful historic town, numerous palaces and estates, and beautiful natural greenery. There are several ways for you to get to Sintra from Lisbon. You can take a train or bus from Lisbon, or you can do a guided tour. My husband and I did a guided tour with Alex from @traveling_to_portugal, and we could not have made a better decision. Alex took us to Quinta da Regaleria, Pena Palace, Cabo da Roca, and a beautiful seaside town named Azenhas do Mar. Below I will walk you through all of the stunning places we encountered on our fabulous day trip!
Sintra Historic Center
Sintra is known for its 19th Century Romantic architecture, colorful buildings, and beautiful nature. Sintra has become a very popular destination for day trippers from Lisbon, and a nice town to get away from the craziness of the city. What I loved most about Sintra was the adorable little alleys and colorful buildings. The whole town had so much character around every corner. I had the pleasure of tasting Port wine in Sintra, which is a sweet fortified wine unique to Portugal. You must try a glass of Port when in Portugal, especially in Sintra! If you are in love with Portuguese tiles like I am, than you will love all of the cute little tile stores in Sintra. They have tiles dating back to the 15th century to more current designs. Take time to just wander around the town and the small alleys, there are so many picturesque little spots to capture.
Quinta da Regaleria
Quinta da Regaleria is an estate located near the Sintra historic center. This estate is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and literally looks like a fairy tale! The grounds of this estate include many wells, fountains, gardens, caves, and a chapel. The entire place looks like a fairy tale surrounded by lush greenery, it is the exact opposite of Lisbon making it a nice break from the city. At Quinta da Regaleria you will also find the initiation well. You may have seen this well floating around on Instagram because you can take the stairs all the way down to the bottom. Green moss surrounds the arches and stairwell of the well, making it extremely photogenic! Fun fact about the well: the name was derived from free masons because they used the well for initiation into the group. New members had to find their way out of the well through three different caves that are connected. We even got to explore some of the caves on the property, which was really neat! Having a guide definitely comes in handy because otherwise we would not have been able to find all of these interesting spots. There were so many gorgeous spots to photograph at this estate that make it a must see when you go to Sintra!
Pena Palace is a Romantic style castle perched on top of the mountains above Sintra. I call this castle an explosion of color, because that is exactly what it is! From yellow, red, blue, orange, and a wide assortment of tiles, this castle is any color lovers dream come true. It is also any Instagramers dream to photograph since it is shared so much. We got to Pena Palace after lunch, which was a mistake because the place was PACKED! There were people every where making it hard to get “crowd less” photos. But you know how I roll, and I managed to get a few near crowd less photos! It was a major win for me 🙂 Anyway, the castle offers great views of the land and little towns in the distance. It is a pretty steep climb up to the palace so I suggest wearing flats, sandals, or sneakers. The climb is totally worth it because I have never seen a palace like it before, also making it one of the seven wonders of Portugal.
For more details check out Two Traveling Texans Blog post on Pena Palace!
Cabo da Roca
Cabo da Roca forms the Western most extent of Portugal and Continental Europe. On a sunny, non foggy, and warm day Cabo da Roca offers amazing cliff side views. Unfortunately (and of course my luck) our afternoon spent at Cabo da Roca entailed cold temperatures, insane fog, and rain mist. All of those weather conditions coupled together meant that we could not see a dang thing! It was quite depressing but I reminded myself that I was there and that is all that mattered. Sadly, I was unable to get any photos because of the visibility being close to none. Our tour guide said that sometimes the weather in that area can be drastically different than Lisbon and even Sintra but that usually by the afternoon it clears up. I am hoping that when you go to this amazing spot, that you will be pristine weather conditions 🙂
Azenhas do Mar
Azenhas do Mar is a breathtaking small seaside town perched on a cliff above the Atlantic Ocean shore. This town was our last stop of the day and it was one of my favorite views. The weather conditions were slightly better in Azenhas do Mar than in Cabo da Roca making it possible to get photos! It was still slightly foggy and chilly, but the view definitely made up for that. On a sunny and warm day, you can walk down to the beach and swim in the natural pool that is filled with water from the waves crashing on shore. There were children swimming and playing in the waves while we were there regardless of the fogginess. I guess an important lesson to learn is to not let weather ruin your trip because essentially you are only there once (maybe more if you go back).
This was one of the easiest and most fun day trips we have taken in a long time. The distance is relatively short from Lisbon making it an enjoyable excursion. The sights that we saw were all so beautiful and gave us another taste of Portugal that we did not know existed! If you love day trips as much as I do than this should be on your itinerary when you visit the wonderful country of Portugal! (If you want a guided tour than Alex with @traveling_to_Portugal is amazing and highly recommended).
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