Travelling and Property blog

A trip to Portugal in 7 days – Sintra – Day 4 – What to see and do

On this post I will highlight the places we visited and the best things to see and best things to do in Sintra Day 4.

We woke up on our first day in Sintra under rainfall. After our delicious breakfast at the Sintra Boutique Hotel, we went straight to Palácio Nacional de Sintra which was very close to our hotel. The medieval palace from the 14th century is in the centre, a white building with two large conic towers, impossible to be missed.

Sintra National Palace

This was the favourite Palace of the Portuguese Royals, and it is a mixture of Gothic, Manueline, Moorish and Mudéjar styles. The Palace was used as a residence by the Royals until the 19th century. There are many beautiful rooms to explore in the interior of the palace, rooms such as “The Swan room”, “The Magpie room”, “The Arab room” and the “Kitchen”. Each of these rooms have beautiful decorations and have a story to tell. This is one of our favourite palaces in Sintra as well, and we visit every time we come to town. If you only have time for one Palace in Sintra, I recommend choosing this one. You can have 10% discount on the tickets (10 Euros) with the Lisboa Card and you can book a skip the line ticket with an audio tour HERE.

Sintra National Palace

After visiting the palace, we walked down the road to the bus stop to catch bus 434 to take us to Palácio da Peña (Peña Palace). The bus ticket costs 11.50 Euros, which can be bought directly with the driver, and is valid for 24 hours. If you prefer, you can book it in advance via this LINK. It takes about 15 minutes to get to the top of the mountain where Palácio da Peña is. It is worth mentioning that no cars are allowed to go up the hills anymore. You can either use the bus, a tuc-tuc, use the hiking trails or the road, but be prepared, it is a long and difficult hike and I only advise to take this option if you have plenty of time to do it.

Peña National Palace

We had tickets for the palace, which we had booked earlier on, for a 12-noon visit HERE. We were a bit early, but there were queues already forming for different times and we joined our 12-noon queue. Although there were many people, all was very organised, and we entered the palace at our booked time.

Visiting Palácio da Peña is like stepping into a fairy tale. The palace is surrounded by a park, which is so beautiful, and the architecture so detailed, you think you are dreaming. On the day of our visit, it was even more magical because it was covered in mists after the rain.

Peña Palace

The Palace was built in the 18th century by Ferdinand II, in a Manueline and Moorish style that recall “a thousand and one nights” and is painted in bright yellow and terracotta colours. It has parapet paths, lookout towers, an access tunnel and a drawbridge completing the romantic image.

The interior of the palace was designed as the summer residence of the Royal family, and it incorporates architectural details and objects from the 19th century. The various rooms to visit are: “The Chapel”, “The Royal Dining Room”, “The Noble Room”, and “The Kitchen”. Each one of the rooms with their own interesting attractions.

The park surrounding it was also planned with twisting paths leading to landmarks and planted with various tree species from different parts of the world. Within the park Ferdinand built with his second wife the Countess of Edla, the “Chalet of the Countess of Edla”. The chalet is an attraction on itself and very worth visiting.

Peña Park

Ideally, on a nicer day, we would have spent the whole time in the palace and the park; but because of all the rain, we didn’t fancy walking in the mud through the park to get to the chalet, so we left it for the next day. We decided to walk down the hill in the direction of Castelo dos Mouros instead. It is not very far from the Palace, and it is a nice walk on the paved road surrounded by forest. You can book an e-ticket with a guided tour of the castle HERE.

Castelo dos Mouros (Moors Castle) is an 8th century castle built on top of a rock with views of Sintra and the ocean. It was invaded by the Christians in 1147 but subsequently was left in ruins for ages. It was only when King Ferdinand II bought the grounds of Palácio da Peña (that included the castle) in the 18th century that it was restored and transformed into an attraction of Palácio da Peña.

Moorish Castle

There are battlements, towers, and walls to explore and lots of climbing to do on this visit. The rewards are spectacular views, that on a clear day can reach Ericeira, Mafra and Peniche.

Moorish Castle
Views from Moorish Castle
Sintra National Palace and Sintra Town seen from Moorish Castle

Once we finished our visit to the castle, we walked to the bus stop in front to wait for the 434 bus to take us back to Sintra. We got off at the train station where we took bus 435 to Palácio de Monserrate (Monserrate Palace). Just as we arrived there it started raining very heavily, but the rain didn’t stop us, we had our umbrellas with us and just walked in. I filmed a video in the garden on our way to the palace in the rain and it is on the Travelling Surveyor Instagram below. Check it out to see how beautiful the garden is.

Monserrate Palace is the most beautiful palace of them all. It is called a palace, but it is a villa. It was built by Sir Francis Cook, an Englishman that wanted a luxurious villa with an English garden surrounding it. The grounds are enormous and on a nice day you could easily spend the whole day visiting the palace and gardens. As the Heaven’s Gods were not in our favour and we didn’t have much time, we only visited the palace this time skipping the garden. Although this palace is not very visited because it is a bit further away, it is a fabulous place and should be included on any visit to Sintra. As it is off the beaten track you don’t need to book in advance, you can get the tickets on arrival.

Monserrate Palace

As it was the end of the afternoon, after the visit, we took bus 435 back to Sintra and headed to our hotel for some rest and a shower before going out again for dinner.

We booked “A Raposa” (The Fox) restaurant for dinner tonight. There are very good reviews of the place. The restaurant is near the train station and a good 15 minutes’ walk from our hotel in the centre. This restaurant is on the first floor of an old house and is accessed by a staircase on a side street. From the outside it does not call much attention and if you notice it is a restaurant, you might think twice before getting in. However, the moment you step inside you realise you are in a special place and your evening will be memorable.

The dining room is furnished with antiques and very well decorated. The cutlery and glassware are very beautiful, and the service is very attentive. You can see the kitchen from the dining room and the food we chose was excellent. This was one of the finest restaurants and food we had on this trip. It was not very expensive either, so highly recommended. After dinner we walked back to the hotel ending our second night in Sintra on a high.

View of Sintra when returning to the hotel

We were staying in Sintra for 3 days, but if you don’t have much time, you can book a full day tour from Lisbon such as this one HERE.

Below you will find a list of what to visit, where to stay and where to eat in Sintra, Day 4. I classified each place as follows:

BOLD – Visited, tried and recommended

NOT BOLD – Not visited or tried, but planning to visit or try and heard very good reviews

*** – Excellent

** – Good

* – OK

£££ – Expensive

££ – Fair and affordable

£ – Cheap


1 – Palácio Nacional de Sintra – ***

2 – Palácio da Peña – ***

3 – Castelo dos Mouros – ***

4 – Palácio de Monteserrate – ***


1 – Sintra Boutique Hotel – 4* – *** – ££

2 – Quinta de São Sebastião – 4* *** – £££

3 – Chalet Saudade – 4* – ££

4 – Casa da Pendoa – 3* – ££


1 – Tasca Saloia – *** – £

2 – A Raposa – *** – ££

3 – Nau Palatina – £

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like to read:

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