Sintra, Portugal: An Enchanted Fairytale

Not far away from the Lisbon is a beautiful enchanted town known as Sintra. Sitting on the Atlantic coast of Portugal is a place where you will find magnificent palaces straight out of a fairytale. When I was a kid and imagined the Far Away Kingdom in Cinderella.  Sintra would be the exact representation of that image.

Colourful houses, tall spectacular palaces perched atop of hills, winding roads through the greenest forests. Sintra has a long history of Portuguese royalty and today with famous faces with the likes of Johnny Depp.

On a clear day, the views are apparently amazing from the Pena Palace but unfortunately the day I went the weather was misty and raining heavily. But it gave the place a mysterious feel.

How to get there:

From Lisbon, you can take the train from Rossio train station in Central Baixa and the journey takes around 40 minutes. A single ticket cost about 2.15€ and return ticket costs 4.30€. It is the perfect day trip away from the city.

The main Palaces:

The National Palace is a Gothic styles castle. When you get to the centre of the town you will see two huge white chimneys towering over the houses. This is the National Palace. An amazing white building with terracotta roofs and stunning detail around the windows. This used to be home to nobility in the 15th and 16th century.

The Moors Castle is otherwise known as Castelo dos Mouros dates back to the 8th century. Sitting on its throne high above Sintra. It has now become the centre point of Pena Palace after restoration in the 19th century. Pena Palace has to be the most spectacular of the all. An array of colours, mosaic tiles and rich history. Exploring this Palace is an adventure in itself as well as an education. The panoramic views from the castle are superb and the interior has carefully been left untouched since 1910 when Royalty left due to the revolution.

You can take a bus up to the top as the walk if I remember correctly is about 7km uphill. Or if you want the unique experience but a little more expensive then you could take an Asian style tuk-tuk up there. Which obviously I got so excited about and had to do it.

Sintra is the most popular day trip from Lisbon and with good reason. It is one of the most awe-inspiring places I have seen, everywhere you turn your head there is something new to take your breath away with its magic.

Have you been to Sintra?

What do you think of this place?

Do you also think its straight out of a fairytale?

30 Comment

  1. I went to Sintra in October as a day trip from Lisbon and it was magical. It is what sparked a new love for castles. I want to see more castles around the world!

    1. Louise Allonby says: Reply

      Have you been to see all the castles scattered around Scotland? They are amazing

  2. I didn’t get to spend much time in Lisbon, so I haven’t done any day trips, but I soooo want to go back! Sintra looks like a really great place to explore, definitely on my list!

    1. Louise Allonby says: Reply

      Yes it is and a great place to take a break from the city life

  3. I studied Portuguese in school as a child. I love the language and ever since then I have always wanted to go to Portugal. Use it, talk to people, learn the culture etc. Someday soon I hope. The castle really looks like it came straight out of a Disney movie.

    1. Louise Allonby says: Reply

      There’s nothing better than engaging with a new culture. Portugal is a fascinating place.

  4. We were on a Portugal road trip last year and once we left Lisbon we decided to visit Sintra on the way to Obidos – it was a Sunday and the whole place was so packed that we did 2 circles with the car and found no parking space (and up the hill it´s a one way road, so you have to make the whole circle all over again). It was so frustrating and in the end we just gave up. I would seriously never go there on a Sunday. Or be there like at 8am ;). Otherwise it looked magical from what we saw from the car! Nice post 😉

    1. Louise Allonby says: Reply

      I’m sorry you had that experience there, it was a truly wonderful place. I guess I got lucky, it was Friday I went and the weather was terrible so that masses of tourists decided to stay away that day.

  5. I visited Sintra years ago. I LOVED the grounds and the little wooden house that was hidden there! It was so dreamy although a bit more crowded than I expected. 🙂

    1. Louise Allonby says: Reply

      Very dreamy, It was a little crowded when I visited last year but it was a horrible day so I can’t imagine what it would be like on a normal day

  6. This is so picturesque. Can’t wait to visit. Looks more like a movie set than a real village.

    1. Louise Allonby says: Reply

      A few films have been filmed here and you can see why

  7. Oh I haven’t been to Lisbon yet, will definitely make a day trip to Sintra. I have seen photos of it earlier but didn’t realise it was so easy to get there, and also so cheap.

    1. Louise Allonby says: Reply

      Yes it is is so easy to get to and from the city, really surprising. A must see

  8. Great blog! I missed Sintra the last time I was in Portugal and have been so sore about it. I’m aiming to incorporate it into my Camino next year from Lisbon to Santiago!

    1. Louise Allonby says: Reply

      Thank you. It’s definitely worth hitting it up en route just for a few hours. I bet your Camino route will be awesome. Good luck with that.

  9. I never been to Portugal yet 🙂 Sintra seems a popular day trip from Lisbon and looks like a fascinating town with a variety of historic monuments, lavish palaces and challenging hiking trails. There is so many interesting places to see that I guess a day trip is never enough ?

    1. Louise Allonby says: Reply

      It really is, I mean it depends on what you want to do? If you want to do hiking trails then it is probably worth staying overnight but I think the accommodation could be more expensive there than in the city. It is very touristy and lavish

  10. Like you my visit to Sintra was in the clouds. Luckily that meant most of the tourists hadn’t made it there yet. The history of the place is do interesting, absolutely the most fairy tale looking castle I have ever seen with all the bright colors. I loved the town of Sintra too.

    1. Louise Allonby says: Reply

      Yes, for me it was a very quiet day. Sintra town was great, the little-cobbled streets are worth exploring.

  11. Sintra looks so magical! I have yet to visit Portugal but would love to go one day and this is on my list of places to visit there. I think it looks super cool in the fog!

    1. Louise Allonby says: Reply

      It looks very mysterious, doesn’t it? Definitely worth the visit, and Portugal is amazing too. One of my favourite countries in Europe for sure.

  12. JUST WOW!! It looks like a candy town! Beautiful colours:D

    1. Louise Allonby says: Reply

      I have never seen the castles in Candy Town, I will have to check it out. Maybe the inspiration?

  13. Wow I’ve never heard of Sintra, looks incredible!

    1. Louise Allonby says: Reply

      It really is, I had never heard of it until I went to Portugal too

  14. Sintra is indeed a fairytale place. There are more castles and palaces you can visit, around Sintra – Regaleira, Monserrate, Mafra, and Queluz. They are all soooo different that it’s overwhelming.

    1. Louise Allonby says: Reply

      I didn’t have time to visit the ones around Sintra but I will next time I visit for sure.

  15. Sintra looks absolutely amazing! It reminds me of the castle from candy land, the game! I am planning a day trip here when I go to Portugal. I can’t wait to experience it for myself.

    1. Louise Allonby says: Reply

      I need to check out this castle on Candy Land. A few people have said that. Although I really don’t want to be getting addicted to another game. It is definitely worth the day trip. And really cheap and easy to get too from Lisbon

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