North of Lisbon and close to the Atlantic is the fairytale town of Sintra, (formerly "Cintra"). It's beautiful setting amongst the forests of the Serra de Sintra and moderate climate have been a draw for royals, poets, romantics and visitors alike for centuries. Lord Byron once described Sintra as a "glorious Eden". Sintra has more palaces, fine houses, castles and other places of interest to shake a proverbial stick at. There is an aura of playfulness here with a touch of the absurd, eccentricity and kitsch, enough to make architectural puritans shudder‚ yet easy to fall in love with. In 1996 Sintra's uniqueness was recognised by UNESCO and was added to its list of heritage sites.
Millennia of occupation in the town, and the surrounding area, has left an abundance of monuments and attractions to visit. Most of which are within easy reach using local public transport. From the train station, dedicated buses whisk visitors to Sintra's top attractions. Bus number 434 is a circular route linking Sintra train station, the old town centre, the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace. Whereas the bus number 435 will take you to the Quinta da Regaleira, Palácio de Seteais and Palácio de Monserrate. There are a plethora of guided and private tours to choose from for a more informative and unique experience. Well signed hiking routes criss-cross the region over beautiful landscapes allowing visitors to walk in the footsteps of the ancients.
There's also a broad choice of places to eat to choose from. Our detailed restaurant reviews and cuisine guide will advise you on the best places to suit your requirements. Hopefully, our insightful website will inspire you to stay longer than a day and experience Sintra to the full. Sintra also makes an excellent base for exploring the surrounding region. The beautiful coastline is an enjoyable tram ride away. Local buses can take you to Cascais, Estoril, Ericeira, Lisbon and Mafra. Alcobaça, Batalha, Fátima, Óbidos and Tomar are all within easy reach by hire-car, whilst avoiding Lisbon's chaotic traffic. MADABOUTSINTRA.COM is at hand with Hotel reviews and the best deals for car rental.
Sintra's vintage tramway resumed its seasonal weekend service from the centre of Sintra, close to the Museu de Arte Moderna, to Praia das Maças on the coast. This rickety old tram squeaks and judders a 11.5km (7 miles) picturesque route up and over the Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais, passing through Colares and Banzão along the way. Bones are shaken for about 45-50 minutes before reaching the final destination. For a more rapid and comfortable option, yet less fun, take the Scotturb bus.
Old Tram Sintra - Praia das Maças Timetable
Adult: €3.00 Single, OAP & Child: €2.00 Single, Infant <6: FREE
Avenue Heliodoro Salgado, Sintra, Portugal. | 38º 48' 12.0" N | 08º 37' 17.62" W
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Variations of Queijadas, sweet cheesecake type pastries, are found all over Portugal and the Portuguese speaking world. It is in Sintra they have their origin and well worth trying if visiting the town. Made from a ricotta-like cheese called Requeijão, egg yolks and a pinch of Cinnamon. They're incredibly rich in texture and sweet, with a fluffy sweet crust on top. The exact recipe is a closely guarded secret. There are records of Queijadas being baked at the Convento da Penha Longa since 1227AD, they were used as part payment of rent.
The Queijadas da Sapa bakery has proudly been making these little delights since 1756 and continue to be hand made in the traditional yet time-consuming way. Queijadas can be bought directly from the bakery, (located close to the Sintra train station) or from various other outlets across town. A six-pack makes a great culinary souvenir.
Sintra's historical centre is 18 miles (29km) west of Lisbon Portela Airport Website
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The speedy A5 and A16 motorways will whisk you west from central Lisbon. A more picturesque routes from Cascais via the Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais on the A16 and N247.
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ScottURB run services around Sintra and Cascais: