Consider Sintra for your holiday in 2020, and discover a land touched by history, and blessed by natural beauty. Nestled in the foothills of Portugal’s Sintra Mountains, there’s a distinctly mystical feel to this ancient town. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, the town is ensconced among lush green forestry, in the shadow of rugged peaks and rolling hillsides that taper out to the azure waters of the Atlantic in the west.
Sintra’s unique charms and breathtaking beauty have attracted visitors across the centuries. Turreted palaces and castles serve as monuments to a noble past. A stroll through the cobbled streets or perfectly landscaped gardens offer architectural reminders of the town’s rich and varied history.
Lisbon may be less than 20 miles to the east, but Sintra is a world apart from the bustling pace of the capital. A dreamy backdrop for a romantic getaway, a haven for history buffs, and the perfect base for a family holiday adventure.
Sintra at a glance
Top attractions to visit
You simply must visit stunning Pena Palace & the Romantic palace of Quinta da Regaleira
Lush natural wonders
Make sure you take the journey to the westernmost point of continental Europe – Cabo da Roca
Must-visit historical sites
Tick off Castle of the Moors, Palace of Monserrate, Palace of Sintra & 16th century Convento dos Capuchos!
Take a walk through the cobbled streets of the Old Centre & pick up a tasty treat from a Portuguese bakery
Discover the best beaches
We’re in love with dramatic Praia da Ursa
Sample the local food
Try the sweet queijada, made with eggs, milk, sugar & cheese
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Things to do in Sintra
A famous retreat of the Portuguese nobility, Sintra is renowned for its array of palaces and elaborate, romantic-era buildings that blend into the scenic, mountainous backdrop. A holiday to this part of the world will give you a chance to indulge the senses and expand the mind. Enjoy woodland trails and vistas offering jaw-dropping views to the sea. Or explore the rich history of the region, its Moorish ruins, and Franciscan monasteries.
Discover the lavish, early 20th-century opulence of the Quinta da Regaleira. This five-storey palatial residence flaunts flamboyant design and gardens of haunting beauty. Lose yourself in the intricate pathways, the stunning foliage, and beautiful statues and ornaments.
Towering above the town, the majestic charm of Pena Palace may be the jewel in Sintra’s crown. Built upon the ruins of an ancient monastery, Pena appears to be straight out of a fairytale. Ornate domes and towering turrets of pastel hues jut proudly from the surrounding forestry. It’s a fantasy setting for one of Portugal’s most endearing historical landmarks.
Not only does a holiday to Sintra offer the perfect mountain retreat, full of enchanting attractions and stunning scenery, it also serves as an ideal base for those in need of some sun, sea, and sand.
A short drive, or tram ride, from the town centre, through stunning hills and valleys, brings you to Portugal’s Atlantic coast. A coastline of rare beauty and surprising choice – choose from vast stretches of golden sands, tiny fishing coves and rocky shorelines in the shadow of looming clifftops.
There are different beaches for different tastes. Relax and indulge yourself at traditional resorts such as Colares, with its bars and restaurants lining the elegant promenade. Or explore the hidden gems and tranquil waters of Adraga or Ursa, which is a favourite with naturists. Meanwhile, the more active may head towards the expansive sands and towering waves of Praia Grande, a favourite spot on the European surfing circuit.
What our local experts say
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Your Sintra questions answered
Yes! You can walk around picturesque Sintra and get lost in its beauty. Plus, you can make the most of the lovely walking paths between the palaces (like the one connecting Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle!).
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