Pena Palace should be your first stop early in the morning, to avoid the crowds
Sintra’s whimsical architecture and fairytale atmosphere attracts thousands of visitors every year. Its World Heritage status and recognition as one of Europe’s most romantic towns has made it a popular honeymoon destination and a must-do day trip for those visiting Lisbon or spending a beach holiday in Cascais. As a result, it can be quite crowded, often causing long waiting times at ticket counters, bus stops, and entrance gates.
Avoiding the Crowds
Try to arrive before 9am, and avoid the weekends, when the people of Lisbon join the tourists for a day around the palaces. Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle open at 9:30am in the high season (10am in autumn and winter), and the first bus to both sights (bus 434) departs from behind the train station at 9:15am. Those should be your first stops on a visit to Sintra.
There are frequent trains from Lisbon starting as early as 5:40am, so it’s recommended that you take one that departs within the 8 o’clock hour.
The biggest crowds are at Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira, while Monserrate Palace, Pena Park, the Vila Sassetti mansion, and Convento dos Capuchos tend to be much quieter.
Through the following links you may to buy tickets in advance and skip the lines at some of the attractions:
- Sintra National Palace Skip-the-Line Ticket
- Monserrate Palace Skip-the-Line Ticket
- Queluz palace Skip-the-Line Ticket
- Capuchos Convent Skip-the-Line Ticket
View of the center of Sintra from the National Palace
Getting to and Around Sintra
Traveling to and around Sintra is quite easy. There are frequent trains from Lisbon and buses from Cascais, and a bus connects the Sintra train station to the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace up on the mountain, as well as to Monserrate Palace. Almost everything else is centrally located and within walking distance (the National Palace, Quinta da Regaleira, Seteais Palace, and all of the town’s museums). For complete transportation details, see the guides to the Lisbon to Sintra train and the bus to Pena Palace.
Organizing Your Time
When planning your day in Sintra, note the following times:
- Lisbon to Sintra train journey: 40 minutes
- Bus 434 from the train station to the Moorish Castle: 13 minutes
- Bus 434 from the train station to Pena Palace: 17 minutes
- Bus 435 from the train station to Monserrate Palace: 20 minutes
- Walk from the train station in Sintra to the center of town and the National Palace: 10 minutes
- Walk from the National Palace to Quinta da Regaleira: 15 minutes
- Visit to the National Palace: 1 hour
- Visit to Pena Palace: 2 to 3 hours (depending on the time spent in line at the ticket counter and waiting for the bus)
- Visit to Monserrate Palace: 1h30m
- Visit to Quinta da Regaleira: 1h30m
Insider Tip: If you only have one day in Sintra, visit Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle in the morning, and Quinta da Regaleira and the National Palace in the afternoon. On a second day, head to Monserrate Palace first, then hop on a bus to Cabo da Roca. Depending on how long you take in those attractions, you may still have time to take the train and visit Queluz Palace.
Planning Your Budget
To plan your budget, note the following ticket prices:
- Train from Lisbon to Sintra: €2.25+€0.50 for the rechargeable magnetic card (or free with the Lisboa Card)
- Bus 434 to Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle: €3.90
- Bus 435 to Monserrate Palace and Quinta da Regaleira: €5.00
- Pena Palace and Park: €14.00 (10% discount with the Lisboa Card)
- Pena Park: €7.50 (10% discount with the Lisboa Card)
- Moorish Castle: €8.00 (15% discount with the Lisboa Card)
- National Palace: €10.00 (10% discount with the Lisboa Card)
- Quinta da Regaleira: €10.00 (20% discount with the Lisboa Card)
- Monserrate Palace: €8.00 (15% discount with the Lisboa Card)
- Queluz Palace: €10.00 (15% discount with the Lisboa Card)
- Convento dos Capuchos: €7.00 (15% discount with the Lisboa Card)
Order your Lisboa Card here: Lisboa Card
The National Palace is one of the main stops on any tour of Sintra
It can be quite convenient to join an organized tour in Sintra, as some of the top attractions are spread across hills and mountains. Tours are time savers, as you don’t have to wait in line for the crowded buses or for tickets to the palaces. Here are your options for guided tours in Sintra: Sintra Tours