10 Best Attractions of Sintra

Portugal's ancient mystical home of Romanticism, Moon Temples, Enchanted Forests and Opulent Palaces.

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| 01

(Palácio de Monserrate)

Just a short distance from Sintra's historic centre along the wooded Rua Barbosa do Bocage lies a hidden gem of eclectic architecture and meticulously landscaped gardens. Nestled between the renowned Quinta Regaleira and the Palácio de Seteais hotel, this exquisite estate boasts some of Portugal's most breathtaking scenery. Set within an expansive botanical park, the house is surrounded by lush greenery, exotic trees, and subtropical shrubs, creating a truly enchanting atmosphere. Experience the unparalleled beauty of this hidden treasure tucked away in Sintra's verdant landscape.ß
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| 02

Moorish Castle
(Castelo dos Mouros)

Perched atop a peak in the Serra De Sintra, partially enveloped by forest and resembling a crown, stands the Moorish Castle (Castelo dos Mouros). Named after the Moors who erected a formidable fortress here in the 10th century, the castle's current walls date to a later period. In the 19th century, Sintra became a focal point of Romanticism, prompting extensive restoration of the castle walls, which had been severely damaged by the 1755 earthquake. Ferdinand II, a German prince of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who married Queen Maria II, undertook the construction of the Pena Palace and integrated the castle into his plans for the surrounding park. Subsequent restoration work during the Salazar regime aligned with fascist ideals of celebrating Portugal's historical achievements. Today, the castle offers an enchanting excursion, inviting visitors to explore its ruins, admire panoramic views, and venture into the surrounding forest. Experience the rich history and breathtaking vistas of the Moorish Castle, a testament to Sintra's storied past.
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Moorish Castle

| 03

Pena Palace
(Palácio da Pena)

Pena Palace, an iconic symbol of Portugal featured on countless postcards and travel brochures, is a breathtaking marvel up close. Situated just below the summit of the Sintra mountain, it commands panoramic views of the surrounding landscape for miles. Every aspect of the palace is crafted to awe and inspire, reflecting a blend of medieval and Moorish influences characteristic of the Romanticism movement of the late 19th century. Conceived by Ferdinand II of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, King consort to Queen Maria II, Pena Palace stands as a testament to opulence and creativity. Its architecture is a vibrant fusion of vividly painted terraces, domes, towers, decorative battlements, and mythological statues, creating a captivating spectacle. Designed to be visible from any vantage point within its expansive park, the palace grounds feature meticulously landscaped gardens adorned with exotic trees, mysterious follies, and enchanting lakes. Recognised for its cultural significance, Pena Palace was designated as one of the seven wonders of Portugal on July 7th, 2007. Experience the grandeur and beauty of Pena Palace, a true masterpiece of architectural splendor. [ More About ► ]

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Sintra Old Town


Sintra can be easily distinguished between its new and old parts. The new area revolves around Portela de Sintra train station, while the old village lies in the São Martinho district, situated uphill and to the west of the Sintra train station. Upon arrival by coach from Lisbon or bus from the train station, you'll first encounter the bustling Largo Rainha Dona Amélia in the heart of the old town. Surrounded by restaurants, gift shops, and wine boutiques, this lively square is dominated by the imposing Palácio Nacional de Sintra, known for its distinctive champagne bottle-shaped chimneys. Adjacent to the square stands a replica of the 19th century pillory or Pelourinho. Experience the charm and history of Sintra's old town, where every corner tells a story of the past. [ More About ► ]

What to see…

Fountains Sintra Myths & Legends Interactive Centre

| 04

(Palácio Nacional de Sintra)

Situated within the historic centre of Sintra, the National Palace stands as the focal point of the town, distinguished by its unique chimneys visible from afar. With origins predating the formation of Portugal itself, the palace traces back to the Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, mentioned in texts dating back a millennium to the 11th century. Following Portugal's conquest of the area by its first king, Dom Afonso Henriques, in 1147 AD, the palace became the property of the Portuguese Crown. Initial modifications to the palace commenced in 1281 during the reign of King Dinis, marking the beginning of its expansion. Subsequent enhancements occurred under the reigns of João I and Manuel I, leaving their indelible mark on this remarkable structure. However, since the 16th century, the palace has undergone minimal alterations, maintaining its distinctive arabesque character characterised by decorative wall tiles, interior courtyards, fountains, and ornate windows that bathe the interiors in natural light. Serving as a benchmark for subsequent Portuguese architectural styles, the National Palace of Sintra epitomises the diverse cultural influences that have shaped Portugal throughout its rich history.
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National Palace of Sintra

| 05


Sometimes referred to as the Palácio da Regaleira or Palácio Monteiro dos Milhões, named after its former owner, the millionaire and visionary António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, this palatial villa was constructed between 1904 and 1910, during the twilight of Portugal's monarchy. Situated on the grounds formerly owned by the Barons of Regaleira, a prominent family of wealthy merchants from Porto, the estate was commissioned by António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, who enlisted the expertise of the Italian theatrical designer and architect Luigi Manini (1848-1936) for the design. Manini, renowned for his adeptness in Neo-Manueline architecture, had previously showcased his skills with the Palace Hotel do Buçaco.

Spread across four hectares, the estate encompasses not only the palace but also lush gardens, creating an atmosphere steeped in mysticism, romance, wonder, and magic. Within this enchanting landscape, adorned with lakes, statues, caves, and enigmatic structures, lie hidden symbols of alchemy inspired by Freemasonry, Templar traditions, and medieval German Rosicrucianism. Recognised as a National Monument since 2002, the house and its surrounding estate are meticulously preserved by the CulturSintra foundation.
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Quinta da Regaleira

| 06

(Palácio Nacional de Queluz)

Nestled between Sintra and Lisbon, the remarkable 18th-century Queluz Palace stands as a testament to baroque, rococo, and neoclassical architectural styles. Evolving with the societal shifts of its time, the palace complex was initially envisioned as a summer retreat for the Braganza dynasty's minor princes. However, it was Dom Pedro III, the prince regent and husband of Queen D. Maria I, who spearheaded its development into a lavish estate.

Within its walls, opulence knows no bounds, as rooms are adorned with lavish decorations, gilded accents, intricately painted ceilings, and exquisite works of art. The palace gardens are equally breathtaking, reminiscent of the grandeur of Versailles, featuring serene lakes, ornate fountains, and enchanting mythological statues.
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National Palace of Sintra


| 07

(Convento dos Capuchos)

A visit to the Capuchos Convent, often dubbed the Cork Convent, offers a captivating journey back in time, immersing visitors in the austere yet harmonious lifestyle embraced by its former Franciscan inhabitants. The convent was founded in 1560 by Dom Álvaro, a trusted advisor to King Sebastião.

Reflecting the ideals of the Order of St. Francis of Assisi, the convent was designed to foster spiritual tranquillity through a renunciation of worldly pleasures. Its humble construction, harmoniously integrated with the natural landscape, prioritised simplicity and sustainability, with cork utilised extensively for both protection and ornamentation.

The resident monks meticulously maintained the surrounding landscape, preserving Sintra's indigenous flora while elsewhere in the forest, exotic plant species were introduced for ornamental purposes. Today, the Capuchos Convent stands as a testament to a bygone era, offering visitors a profound glimpse into the ascetic yet profoundly meaningful way of life embraced by its former occupants.
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Capuchos Convent

| 08


Cabo da Roca holds the distinction of being the westernmost point in mainland Europe, accessible via the convenient #403 bus from either Sintra or Cascais. Towering cliffs soar to an impressive height of 140 metres (460 feet) above the turbulent waves below, offering breathtaking vistas along the cliff-top path. Sunset views from this vantage point are simply awe-inspiring.

Atop the remnants of a 16th-century fort stands the iconic Cabo da Roca Lighthouse, accompanied by an elevated cross bearing the profound inscription "land ends and the sea begins," attributed to the renowned poet Luís de Camões. Visitors can obtain a special certificate from the tourism office here, commemorating their visit to the westernmost point of mainland Europe.
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Cabo da Rocha

| 09

(Palácio de Seteais)

While Seteais Palace now functions as a luxury hotel, visitors are welcome to explore its magnificent grounds, which often host cultural events. This neo-classical palace, constructed in 1787 for the Dutch Consul, occupies a prestigious location on the outskirts of the Serra de Sintra, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and town. Its current appearance reflects extensive enlargement work undertaken in the early 19th century, following its acquisition by Dom Diogo José Vito de Meneses Noronha Coutinho, the esteemed fifth Marquis of Marialva and Royal Chamberlain. The Marquis oversaw the construction of the east wing and commissioned a grand triumphal arch between the two buildings to commemorate the visit of Prince Regent João VI and Princess Carlota Joaquina in 1802.
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Setais Palace

| 10


Originally owned by the accomplished hotelier Victor Carlos Sassetti (1851-1915), this estate saw the construction of his summer residence between 1890 and 1894, designed by his friend, the renowned architect Luigi Manini, also known for his work on Quinta da Regaleira. Following Sassetti's passing, the property underwent various alterations and restorations over the decades and has since gained UNESCO heritage status. Recent improvements have made the estate accessible as part of the walking route linking Sintra's old town, the Moorish Castle, and Pena Palace. Enhancements include the addition of amenities such as a cafeteria and restrooms, along with the restoration of the house's exterior and rejuvenation of the gardens.
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Villa Sassetti