Upon deciding to head to Portugal, Sintra was immediately put on the itinerary for a day trip. I’ve seen the Pena Palace on Pinterest more times than I can count and it was well worth the visit. Better yet? Sintra has SO much more to offer.
The Pena Palace is the most famous of several sites in Sintra. Just before we left for Portugal I actually had a former coworker reach out with the recommendation of hiring a tour guide for the day trip to this neighboring region West of Lisbon. She recommended WonderVan and we were so pleased with the experience. Our guide grew up in Sintra and shared loads of history and background on the region during our day trip as well as helpful tips like the best spot to get tickets for The Pena Palace to avoid some of the lines. (WonderVan can pick you up at your hotel in Lisbon and our day went from 9 until 5:30pm for 80 euros each.)
The colorful Pena Palace was truly an incredible spot to take in. It felt straight out of a Disney movie. What’s amazing about the Pena Palace is how the vivid colors of the romantic architecture are in stark contrast to the dozens of acres of lush forest the castle sits on. The property features hidden pathways, viewpoints, lakes, temples and much more. You’ll need your map for this journey as I’ve never been to a place that seems so “choose your own adventure.”
Also worth seeing in Sintra is Regaleira which is a former private residence but may as well have been out of a movie set. This ornate property is gothic in style but the gardens are the real opportunity for sightseeing. The gardens feature caves, hidden tunnels, towers, ponds and truly feel like you’ve entered another planet. While we visited it was actually raining which only seemed to add to the spooky atmosphere this place offers. It was truly incredible to wander this spot. Don’t miss it if you go to Sintra.
Also worth seeing? Cabo da Roca. It is the Western most point of mainland Europe and has beautiful views of the Atlantic. If you want to be adventurous, hop the fence for a stunning view of Mama Bear Beach off to the right from where you’ll see most tourists looking for views.
When ready to refuel, head into the town of Sintra and get made to order sandwiches at Pure Sabor and then pick up local pastries at Piriquita along with the famous Ginjinha cherry liquor that is served out of chocolate cups at little street side vendors.