The next city we visited in Portugal was Sintra and it was amazing! Sintra is a very popular tourist attraction, and even locals go out to the city on the weekends for a perfect day trip. We didn’t want to take our car there and deal with the traffic and parking so we parked it in Lisbon, near the train station and took the train to Sintra. Since we were already used to the transit (we had taken it to downtown Lisbon the day before), this was the perfect option for us. Also, if you havn’t already, make sure to check out the Lisbon travel guide blog post first! Now on to the Sintra Travel Guide!
We left early in the morning because we wanted to make sure we were the first on the 434 bus in Sintra. And we sure were. The first bus leaves the station at 9:15! So, if you want to take transit to Sintra, make sure to get off on the last train stop which is Sintra. Then, right near the train station exit is the famous 434 bus that everyone takes to travel around Sintra. The cost of the bus is 5.50 euro per person and it is a hop on hop off bus. This bus starts at the train station, passes through the town center and then goes to the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace before returning back to the train station.
One thing to note is, it is very difficult to walk to all these places as the streets are very steep and the distance between them is also quite long. So, what we did was take the 434 bus to the Moorish Castle, explored around the castle, then hopped back on the bus to get off at Pena Palace and finally take the bus back to the city centre, from where after we finished exploring, we walked back to the train station (10 min downhill walk away).
So our first stop on the Sintra travel guide was the Moorish Castle and it was beautiful! In fact, everything in the city of Sintra was magical. It has so much history, beauty and greenery, along with thousands of tourists 😛
We bought our tickets for the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace here and if you buy both tickets together, there is a 15% discount. Also, for Pena Palace, there are two types of tickets you can purchase. One is just for the Pena Palace grounds and the other is for the grounds and the museum. We bought the one just for the grounds since I like to read up on the history on my own and the price is much cheaper (7.50 euro vs 14 euro)!
The Moorish Castle, or the Moors Castle is also called The Castelo dos Mouros and it is a ruined castle located on the hilly, forest-y area of Sintra. It was built by the North African Moors to guard the city of Sintra but was ruined after the Christians conquered Portugal.
I just loved how I could see the entire city from the castle. As I walked around the Castle, although I’m not sure exactly why it’s called a castle since nothing resembling a castle is located her, I felt like I was in a movie. It felt surreal! I thought of Lord of the Rights and Game of Thrones and couldn’t help imagining a battle going on around! The steps here at the Moors Castle are also quite steep and with the sun blazing down on you, it’s hard to walk around for a while. Again, our Swell bottle was just amazing! And don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
From the Moorish Castle, you can also see the infamous Pena Palace at a distance!
After, we finished exploring the Moorish Castle, we took the 494 bus (which comes quite frequently). Then we went to the next stop on the Sintra Travel guide: The Pena Palace. This a 5 min bus ride and then walked up the steep hills to get to the entrance. You can take a bus as well, but it costs an additional 5 euro each and not worth it to me, since the walk is just 5-10 minutes.
The Pena Palace was very interesting! It was a mix of bright colors and different architectural designs.
And it had an area with my favorite plant, the Monstera! I really want to get one of these plants next!
The Pena Palace is a castle at the top of the Sintra mountains, a bit higher up than the Moorish Castle. It is also one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal! The Pena Palace first started off as a chapel and after an earthquake in the 1700’s, the King of Portugal built the Palace of Pena. Finally, in the 1900’s, the Portugese government purchased the Palace and converted it to a museum.
Pena Palace is PACKED with tourists and every single one of them have cameras! This place is so photogenic since it was has so many different decor designs going on. We were no exception, we took a LOT of pictures!!
After Pena Palace, we took the 434 bus down to he city center to grab some lunch. We found this amazing Indian food place and Gursheel was happy to see other Punjabi people in Sintra. The restaurant, Bengal Tandoori, was a bit hidden away, so our GPS saved the day once again and we were happy to eat Indian food and drink some refreshing drinks in the shade!
After lunch, we walked to the National Palace of Sintra, before heading back to the train station to get back to the car and start our long drive to the Algarve! That’s all for the Sintra Travel Guide!
This was a beautiful shot of the Sintra City center from the National Palace. I would love to live somewhere like this place, if only there were more Punjabi people around!
I really hope you all enjoyed this Sintra travel guide! Our most expensive day for our entire Europe trip was the day we went to Sintra. Since Sintra is quite huge tourist attraction, the prices for everything here are quite high compared to other places. This is a cost breakdown for our day in Sintra:
Price Break Down (1 day in Sintra):
Food: 18.10 euro
Gas: 26.44 euro (to fill up our rental car)
Transit: 18.60 euro
Entertainment: 29.44 euro (tickets to Pena Palace and Moors Castle)
Total: 92.58 euro
Up Next: The Algarve in Portugal