Sintra to Lisbon via Cabo da Roca

What to see and photograph in Sintra including Pena Palace, Castle of the Moors, Sintra Town, Sintra Palace, Quinta da Regaleira, Monserrate Palace, Cabo da Roca, before taking the train to Lisbon.

What to see and photograph in Sintra and Cabo da Roca

Sintra is a small town a train ride away from Lisbon.  You will see some amazing castles and palaces in Sintra;

  • Pena Palace
  • Castle of the Moors
  • Sintra Town
  • Sintra Palace
  • Quinta da Regaleira
  • Monserrate Palace
  • Cabo da Roca

Sintra is so close to Lisbon that you can see Pena Palace from Lisbon.  I stayed in 1908 Lisboa hotel in Lisbon and visited Sintra on a day trip.

Pena Palace

Pena Palace viewed from the High Cross, Sintra

Pena Palace is a UNESCO world heritage site.  It was constructed in 1854 as a summer residence for the Portuguese royal family.  The palace has 3 major colors, yellow, red and blue (azulejos).  The best place to photograph the yellow facade of Pena Palace is from High Cross (Cruz Alta).  High Cross is located in the gardens of Pena Palace.  From High Cross you also get a good view of Lisbon and Belem Tower.    The best place to photograph the red facade of Pena Palace is from the Castle of the Moors.  You’ll need a camera with good zoom to photograph the palace from these locations.  The best place to photograph the blue tiled facade is from the castle grounds.

When you enter the Pena Palace gardens you have 2 choices of ticket.  The first is only for the gardens but you can also walk around the palace.  The second more expensive ticket includes access to the interior of the palace as well.

Castle of the Moors

Castle of the Moors, Sintra

The Castle of the Moors is a UNESCO world heritage site.  Now medieval castle ruins, it was built by the Moors in the 8th century.  It’s a short walk from the Pena Palace gardens.  From the Castle of the Moors you can take a rare shot of the red facade of the palace.  You will need good zoom.

From the Castle of the Moors there is a marked path which takes you to downtown Sintra.  You could walk up to the Castle but with the heat in Portugal you’ll become very sweaty.  I’d recommend taking the local bus or tuk tuk to the top and walking down.  You can haggle with the tuk tuk drivers.  The best time to haggle with them is when they are not at their base.

Sintra Town

The streets of Sintra, Portugal

The cultural landscape of Sintra is a UNESCO world heritage site.  This includes the whole town of Sintra.  Sintra is a small town which can be very crowded.  It’s best not to visit on weekends when it feels like everyone from Lisbon is there.  In the town you’ll find restaurants, bars, hotels, cobbled streets and the main train station.  The train station connects Sintra to Lisbon.  Local buses leave from outside the train station.  The local buses go to sites includings Pena Palace, Monserrate Palace and Cabo Da Roca.  An easier way to see the sites would be the Sintra Hop on Hop off bus service.

Sintra Palace

The Palace of Sintra

Sintra Palace is located in the center of Sintra.  The history of the palace dates back to the 8th century.  It has an architectural mix of Moorish, Gothic and Renaissance.  In later years it was the residence of Portuguese royalty.  Today the palace is a museum.

The best place to photograph Sintra Palace is from the Castle of the Moors.  You’ll need a camera with good zoom to take this shot.  A good alternative location to take a shot would be from directly opposite on the Volta Duche.

Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra

Quinta da Regaleira is a short walk from Sintra town.  It is part of the UNESCO world heritage cultural landscape of Sintra.  The palace was originally owned by Viscountess of Regaleira which is how it got its name.  It wasn’t until 1892 when it was bought by Carvalho Monteiro that it started to look how it does today.  At the start of the 20th century with the help of an Italian architect, extensive building was done on the grounds.  The architectural styles you will see are Renaissance, Roman and Gothic.

The most interesting area of the grounds are the initiation wells.  There a 2 wells which look like underground towers as you look down.  The wells are connected by underground tunnels.  Those who are visiting to make unique Instagram shots will love the initiation wells.

Monserrate Palace

Monserrate Palace is part of the UNESCO world heritage cultural landscape of Sintra.  It’s possible to walk to the Palace from Sintra town.  The problem with walking is that you walk on a country road which is not really safe.  I would recommend taking a bus or taxi to Monserrate Palace.  The palace is the quietest of the sites of Sintra which makes it perfect for taking Instagram shots.  It is grand, pink and of Gothic architectural style.

Cabo Da Roca

Cabo da Roca, Sintra

Cabo da Roca is the westernmost point of continental Europe.  There is a marker and cross on the cape.  You’ll find a couple of restaurants and souvenir stores.  The most notable building on the cape is the lighthouse.  The lighthouse is known in Portuguese as the Farol do Cabo da Roca.

Being the westernmost point of Europe makes Cabo da Roca the perfect starting point for a European trip.  It is my starting point for a trip east to Tehran, only by land.

How to get from Lisbon to Sintra and vice versa

The train leaves Lisbon Rossio station and arrives at Sintra train station.  To get back to Lisbon you take any Lisbon train which leave every 30 minutes.  A return ticket between Lisbon and Sintra will cost you less than €5.  From outside Sintra train station there are regular buses to Cabo Da Roca.

Lisbon to Porto by train

2017-10-31T20:52:10+00:00 October 17th, 2017|Portugal, Western Europe|21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Anita @haihuistory.com October 18, 2017 at 8:14 am - Reply

    Awesome post! It’s very useful for us(going to Lisbon in January)!

  2. Vicki Louise October 18, 2017 at 8:46 am - Reply

    The castles here are incredible! The colours and the structures are so detailed and intricate. I could photograph them all day! And it’s nice that Sintra is only a short ride from Lisbon, it would make for a great day trip.

  3. Abhinav Singh October 18, 2017 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Pena Palace is so colorful and in top form despite its age. Glad that you mentioned the best vantage points for the picture. I often waste time trying to find it at places. Castle of the moors is my kind of place. I love visiting ruins.

  4. Maggie October 18, 2017 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    My daughter keeps asking to see castles and we are considering Portugal! Love the vibrant colors, not the drab you normally see with castles. Your photos are beautiful!

  5. Martha October 19, 2017 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    I love all the vibrant colors of Portugal! Next time I’m going to venture to a castle, I especially love the colorful one you visited, Pena Palace. It’s unlike any other castle I’ve seen!

  6. Soumya Nambiar October 19, 2017 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    This post just brought back so many memories from my trip to Sinta and Cabo Da roca last year. Didn’t know about High Cross though. Would have loved to photograph the Pena palace from there. Love all the photographs in this post.

  7. Shibani October 19, 2017 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Wow Portugal really has it all, a city full of palaces. The 18th century Pena Palace so colourful is really an architecture marvel, it looks like a one from dreamy cartoon pictures 🙂 Castle of the Moors and Sintra Palaces are here since 8th century wow that’s really to attract my attention!! Like your tip about not going to Sintra on weekends, would keep that in mind in my trip to Portugal!! Pinning it right away for future reference 🙂

  8. Lydia Smith October 19, 2017 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    So much to see in Portugal. I like the colorful palace of Pena. Its just too beautiful. I’m more stunned by Sintra Town. If there anywhere I’d love to do right now is to jet off to Sintra Town. The Castle of the Moors is a slo a good place to feed my architectural hunger. Portugal is one country I’d love to visit.

  9. Lolo October 20, 2017 at 7:49 am - Reply

    Oh I am dying to go! You gave some great tips and I am loving that fish lens photo! That’s my next lens! #feetdotravel

  10. Ami October 20, 2017 at 11:51 am - Reply

    So many palaces and that itself is a huge reason for me to go. I love the Pena Palace with its striking color. And your tips on the various vantage points and lens to capture it is really useful. Especially if you are short of time and are looking at that perfect shot. Well done with those. Thanks for sharing such an interesting place.

  11. Yukti October 20, 2017 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Sintra is really a wonderland with so many colorful castles and palaces. That bright yellow Pena Palace is so magical and I can take as many pictures as I could. Sintra Palace is also equally beautiful. Also streets of Sintra town are so interesting for walking around.

  12. Ruth October 20, 2017 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    You hit all the places I want to visit in Sintra. People tend to focus on the Pena Palace and a bit on the town. But, I know there is much more to see. I even want to stay one night in the town in order to see everything I want. Great photos! Hey, not sure if you noticed there is a huge space between a line saying “Related Posts” and the comments sections. It looks like like you post does not have a comments sections. Letting you know so you do not miss some commenting opportunities. #feetdotravel

  13. Michael -The Boys Abroad October 21, 2017 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    You saw so much more of Sintra than we did when we visited at the start of this year. Thanks to a bus crash it took us 5 times as long as it should have to get to the Pena Palace so everything was closing when we were done there. I think you’ve inspired us to go back! 🙂

  14. Shona @ paraphernalia.co October 22, 2017 at 12:07 am - Reply

    So you’re on your way to Tehran #onlybyland, fantastic! Sintra looks wonderful, the colours on Pena Palace are astounding. In fact, all the castles and structures are beautiful. This day trip from Lisbon sounds ideal. 🙂

  15. Sanna October 22, 2017 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    Sintra looks stunning! We were over in Lisbon in August and want to go back.. maybe a long weekend. This is a great travel resource and such an easy day trip to do 🙂 Sintra Palace looks stunning.

  16. Travel Lexx October 23, 2017 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    Just came back from there a few weeks back and it was such an awesome visit – Quinta da Regaleira is stunning and such an amazing place to explore and get lost in. Really enjoyed exploring the castle too – Sintra is great and everyone should go (despite the crowds)

  17. Cat October 23, 2017 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    It looks so vibrant! Looks like an amazing place to explore!!

  18. Kate and Kris October 24, 2017 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    What cool colours! I have been following your trip overland to Kiev, and was confused about the quick move to Portugal, but I’ve just noticed that I’ve missed some blogs. You do get about!

  19. Carmen Baguio October 25, 2017 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    I wasn’t familiar with Sintra. It seems quiet and very picturesque. The photography tips will definitely help when I make it to that beautiful area!

  20. Tracy October 26, 2017 at 9:30 am - Reply

    So many beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site!!! I have yet to visit Portugal but one day I will definitely get there and I can’t wait to see Sintra and the beautiful Pena Palace!

  21. Lisa November 11, 2017 at 10:34 am - Reply

    Thank you for bringing back great memories of a wonderful place for me. SIntra is so colourful, and pretty romantic too with the sculptures lining the road. I totally agree about getting a ride to the top. I stupidly tried walking and gave up halfway! Quinta de Regaleira is stunning and I spent too long there!

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