Day Trip to the Amazing, Colourful Castles of Sintra

Sintra has been one of the places we totally underrated before going there. We thought that the city and its castles were totally over-hipped but it turns out they are actually damn beautiful and fully worth a day trip from Lisbon.

We also made a YouTube video about our trip to Sintra:

Getting to Sintra

We set our alarm super early because we wanted to arrive at Pena Palace before everyone else did. But luckily the park doesn’t open before 9 am, so although we had to get up early for the one hour train ride from Lisbon, it was still an okay time. Getting to Sintra is quite easy, you just need to take a bus to either the train station Roma-Areeiro or to Sete-Rios and then get on the train to Sintra. Arriving in Sintra, we decided to grab an Uber to Pena Palace which takes about 20 minutes and cost us around 10€.

First view of Pena Palace

Entering the Parque Nacional da Pena, we made our way through the forest up to the palace to get our first glimpse of the colourful place. Entering Pena Palace feels surreal, seeing all this beauty and attention to detail provoked an astounding feeling. We spent the first hour just walking around the castle, taking cool pictures, and trying to sustain the heavy blowing wind.

But really, the attention to detail at this place is unbelievable, the bright colours mixed with ornaments of shells and ornated towers left us speechless even after exploring the place for over an hour. We totally see we it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the seven wonders of Portugal.

After the palace started to get crowded, we decided we had taken enough pictures. We were unsure about whether to grab an Uber down to the city or walk. Since we didn’t want to spend another 10€ though, we agreed on walking down to the city and on our way exploring the park of Pena. And it was the best decision ever!

Parque Nacional Da Pena

As soon as we walked into the forest, we were alone again. It seemed like almost nobody makes their way into the park even though it is an insanely beautiful place. We could have spent hours walking around the forest and lake, exploring new places by the minute.

Making our way down to Sintra

We aren’t sure if it is meant to be like that but when we arrived in the lower part of the park, we noticed that the entrance/exit was closed. Though the gate could be opened from the inside and since we didn’t want to walk back up to Pena Palace, we just carefully sneaked out of the gate. Making our way down to Sintra wasn’t a super pleasant walk but after about an hour we made it to the city.

Quinta da Regaleira

The other place we really wanted to visit in Sintra was Quinta da Regaleira – aka a playground for grownups. The place was constructed with many different elements in mind that should be combined in one garden. You can find everything there – from an ancient theatre, over narrow trails to get lost in, to caves with small lakes.

But our absolute highlight was the inverted tower. Walking down feels like climbing down the stairs of a well. Once you reach the ground, you don’t have to walk up again but you can use the massive tunnel system to get back out. You won’t believe how cool this place is until you actually visited it – and we can highly recommend that. Even though we had to wait about 30 minutes to get into the Initiation Well, it was worth the wait!

After an amazing day with way too many steps and hundreds of new impressions, we made our way back to Lisbon and continued exploring the city, finding the birthplace of the most famous pastry in Portugal, and seeing some of the best sunsets ever.

Have you been to Sintra before? If yes, what was your favourite place? Comment down below 🙂

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