Baby Boomer Travel, Europe, Featured, Portugal Travel, What To Do

A Day In Sintra

Even from the windows of the train, we knew we were in for something magical, but we couldn’t have imagined just how amazing a day in Sintra was going to be.

Spending a day in Sintra is easy if you are staying in Lisbon and a must see while you are visiting Portugal. You could opt to stay in Sintra, but for most, it’s a bit on the pricey side, but there are some beautiful places to stay for certain. That’s really not a problem because Sintra is just 1 hour by train from Lisbon and outlying areas.

If you are staying in downtown Lisbon there are a couple of train stations. Be sure to go to the Rossio train station. It’s closest to the center of town. This is where the train heads inland. The other train station runs up and down the coast towards Belem. We wasted a good hour going to the wrong train station first. You buy your ticket at the train station and you need to have your passport with you.

Since we arrived a little late in Sintra we headed straight into town looking for a place to have lunch. You can catch a taxi or minicab if you like. It’s a beautiful walk but quite a bit of uphill. If you decide to walk there are street artists along the way, it’s a beautiful.

While having lunch we talked to a local, our waiter. Super nice guy and he was happy to share his recommendations about what we should see. Since we only had the afternoon, he recommended that we see Quinta da Regaleira first without reservation and then if we had time then we should see the Pena Palace. Always good to talk to locals, he was absolutely right.

Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira was amazingly beautiful and mysterious. After changing hands several times in history the property was purchased by Antonio Monteiro, a very wealthy man with unusual ideologies. Luigi Manini a renowned Italian operatic set designer worked alongside Monteiro to bring his ideas to reality.

The property embodies Roman, Gothic, Rennisance and Maueline style.

Sintra Gardens
Portal of the Guardians
Intitation Well
Initiation Well

The Initiation Well is a fascinating piece of mystery. The well was never used for water, rather for as the name implies, initiation ceremonies. Monteiro was a Masonic and precisely what type of ceremonies happened there is not known. I know my imagination went wild as I looked at the steps decending deep into the darkness of the earth.

The staircase winds down along the wall to the bottom and is a fairly easy trek. In good condition we found it to be quite safe if you are decent health and have decent knees. No concern that you need to climb the stairs in order to exit…..there are secret tunnels at the bbottom leading out to beautiful gardens and a grotto with stepping stones if you chose that route.

The palace is straight out of a fairytale. Surrounded by exquisite gardens, fountains, towers, pathways, and its own private church. Give yourself at least two hours, more if you can, there is so much to see. Invest in the self-guided tour, so much information and it will help you see things in the fantastical gardens you might otherwise miss. Grab yourself a map too, the property is nearly 10 acres in size, having direction will save you time.

Hunting Room

Pena Palace

The Pena Palace is a flamboyant crown atop the hills overlooking Sintra with Moorish, Gothic and Manueline design. The red is what was the old monastery and the new palace is painted yellow. The Palace is a protected UNESCO site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. Today it is still used on occasion for state events by Portugal’s President.

Pena Palace
Palace Dining Room
Palace Kitchen

4 thoughts on “A Day In Sintra

  1. Rebecca, beautiful images of Sintra! I have never been but you have certainly peaked my interest. It looks like a beautiful, interesting place.

    1. There is so much beauty in Portugal and Sintra is right up there with our favorites.

  2. Lovely imagery. Quinta da Regaleira looks amazing and mysterious. Thanks for sharing this experience.

  3. Great reminder of our own visit to Sintra. We were driving down from Porto and so we stayed in a fantastic small hotel in Sintra itself although finding it in the car was almost causing a heart attack with the narrow one way roads. But it was beautiful and very friendly. We didn’t see the Quinta, but did go early to the Pena Palace to avoid the lines and then walked to the moorish castle overlooking the city and then all the way back down to the city where we finally had a rest and lunch around 3pm… Worn out! For some reason, I don’t have any Sintra images online – I will have to go back to my portfolio and find out why! Here are my Portugal ones, just for info:

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