Looking for things to do in Sintra? Nestled amidst forest-covered hills in Portugal lies the picturesque town of Sintra, boasting historical estates, castles, and hidden gems waiting to be discovered. If you’re planning a visit to Portugal, don’t miss the opportunity to spend at least a day, or ideally two, in this captivating destination.

Planning Your Trip to Sintra

Before embarking on your Sintra adventure, it’s essential to plan your trip effectively to make the most of this enchanting destination. From choosing the perfect time to visit to arranging transportation and selecting accommodation, thoughtful preparation ensures a smooth and memorable experience in this Portuguese gem. There is plenty to do in and around Sintra town, ensuring you can see it just requires some planning: 

Best time to visit

Sintra is best experienced during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn, when the weather is pleasant, and the crowds are thinner compared to the peak summer months.

Transportation options

For a stress-free exploration of Sintra, consider taking a direct train from Lisbon, which offers convenient access to the town centre. Once in Sintra, the compact layout makes it ideal for exploring on foot, with local tuk-tuks and taxis available for longer journeys.

Accommodation recommendations

Opt for a charming stay in Sintra’s old town or the new town area, offering a variety of accommodations ranging from boutique inns to cosy guesthouses. Recommended options include Chalet Saudade, known for its excellent location and friendly hospitality.

Sintra’s Must-See Attractions

Discover the essential sights that make Sintra a must-visit destination, each offering a unique glimpse into Portugal’s rich heritage and captivating landscapes. Here are the top things to do in Sintra town: 

Pena Palace

Arrive early in the morning to beat the crowds and enjoy the palace and its stunning grounds with relative tranquillity. Capture breathtaking vistas of Sintra and beyond from the High Cross and the Valley of the Lakes within the palace grounds.

Palace of Pena Sintra Portugal

Quinta da Regaleira

Explore secret tunnels, grottoes, and the mystical initiation well, all shrouded in symbolism and intrigue. Uncover the mysteries of this fascinating estate, discover its history with secret orders such as the Knights Templar. 

Moorish Castle

Across from Pena Palace, this is the perfect place for a picnic on the vast grounds. Wander along the castle walls and discover quiet corners with sweeping views over Sintra and the surrounding countryside.

Off the Beaten Path Experiences

From secluded beaches to mystical gardens, these hidden attractions offer a unique perspective on Sintra’s captivating allure.

Local eateries for authentic Portuguese cuisine

Indulge in traditional Portuguese dining options in Sintra! For delicious vegan options consider, Flores do Cabo and check out the art gallery while you’re there. For a dining option with stunning views and vegetarian options you can try Moinho in Azóia, just a 6 minute drive from Cabo da Roca..

portugese cuisine and drink

Hidden gardens and parks

Stroll through tranquil gardens like Parque dos Castanheiros, offering serene settings away from the tourist bustle.

Explore the hidden beauty of Sintra’s stunning scenery with Guided walks. Immerse yourself in the beautiful coast of Sintra’s National Park. 

Artisan shops for unique souvenirs

One of the joys of visiting Sintra is discovering its artisanal treasures tucked away in charming boutiques. As you stroll through the cobbled streets of the old town, pause at local shops showcasing handcrafted ceramics, textiles, and other unique mementos. These artisans, often working in centuries-old traditions, produce pieces that reflect the region’s rich cultural heritage.

Outdoor Activities 

Considering what to do in Sintra to get a taste of the beautiful landscape? From exploring mystical forests to discovering historic monuments nestled amidst verdant hills, Sintra invites you to embrace the outdoors and uncover its hidden treasures at every turn.

people hiking in forest sintra

Hiking trails with stunning vistas

Ready to stretch your legs and explore? Embark on scenic hikes along trails like the Villa Sassetti Trail, offering panoramic views of Sintra’s lush landscapes.

Surfing

For adventure seekers, nearby beaches like Ursa Beach and Praia da Adraga make the perfect spot for surfing or even spending the day relaxing by the water. For classes held by qualified instructors on some of the best beaches in the area, you can book Surfing lessons to make the most out of your experience. 

Yoga Retreat

Immerse yourself in tranquillity and rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit with a transformative yoga retreat at Shamballah in Sintra, Portugal. Nestled within the stunning Sintra Natural Park, Shamballah offers a serene escape where you can unwind and reconnect with your inner self.

From invigorating Vinyasa Flow to soothing Hatha, Restorative, and Yin Yoga, each session is tailored to the group’s needs and focuses on aligning the body’s energy centres.

sintra beach meditation sunset

Dive deep into meditation with guided sessions and embark on a sound journey to harmonise the mind. Escape the everyday hustle and embrace a transformative journey at Shamballah. Book your Yoga retreat now and discover why it’s one of the best in Europe.

Insider Tips for Saving Money

Visiting Sintra on a budget? Here are some insider tips for what to do in Sintra town:

  • Free or Discounted Attractions: Plan your visit around free entry days or take advantage of discounted tickets to popular attractions like the National Palace of Sintra. Many museums and sites offer reduced rates for students, seniors, or during off-peak hours.
  • Budget-Friendly Dining Options: Skip touristy spots and head to local pastelarias (bakeries) and tasquinhas (small taverns) for affordable and delicious meals. Enjoy traditional Portuguese dishes or delicious pastéis de nata (custard tarts)!
  • Transportation Hacks: Use public transportation, such as buses or trains, to get around Sintra town and its neighbouring areas. Consider purchasing a travel pass for unlimited rides, or join shared rides to split costs with fellow travellers.

Cultural Etiquette and Local Customs

Respect local traditions and enhance your cultural experience with these tips:

  • Respectful Behaviour at Religious Sites: Dress modestly when visiting churches or monasteries, covering shoulders and knees. Maintain a quiet demeanour to respect the sanctity of these places.
  • Understanding Portuguese Dining Customs: Embrace the unhurried pace of Portuguese meals. Dinner is typically enjoyed later in the evening, and sharing dishes is common.
  • Politeness in Interactions with Locals: Learn a few Portuguese phrases like “bom dia” (good morning) or “obrigado/a” (thank you) to show appreciation and connect with locals. A friendly approach goes a long way in fostering positive interactions.

Safety Tips

Exploring Sintra is a delightful experience, but it’s essential to prioritise safety during your trip. Here are some valuable safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Stay Vigilant in Tourist Areas: Be cautious of pickpockets and petty theft in crowded tourist spots. Keep your belongings secure and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Use Reliable Transportation: Opt for licensed taxis or reputable ride-sharing services. Avoid unmarked or unofficial vehicles to ensure safe and reliable transportation.
  • Stay Informed About Weather Conditions: Check weather forecasts before embarking on outdoor activities. Sintra’s climate can change rapidly, especially in mountainous regions.
  • Emergency Contacts and Resources: Keep important numbers handy:
  • Emergency Services: Dial 112 for police, ambulance, or fire services.

Sustainability and Responsible Tourism

Sintra, renowned for its natural beauty and cultural heritage, promotes sustainable and responsible tourism practices. Embrace eco-friendly initiatives and support local conservation efforts with these tips:

  • Public Transport: Utilise public transport or eco-friendly options like cycling and walking to explore Sintra, minimising carbon footprint.
  • Support Local Products: Purchase souvenirs and products from local artisans and businesses that prioritise sustainability.
  • Stick to Designated Trails: Stay on marked trails to protect fragile ecosystems and avoid disturbing wildlife habitats.
  • Respect Nature: Leave no trace behind. Take all waste with you and refrain from picking flowers or disturbing natural formations.

Let’s travel responsibly and sustainably to ensure a harmonious relationship between tourism and the environment in Sintra.

Conclusion

Sintra, with its enchanting landscapes and rich cultural heritage, invites travellers to immerse themselves in a journey of self-discovery and tranquillity. Whether exploring historic palaces, venturing into lush forests, or indulging in local flavours, this destination offers a unique blend of beauty and introspection.

At Shamballah Yoga Retreats, our commitment to holistic wellness and spiritual growth stems from decades of dedicated practice and study. With 48 years of combined experience in body-mind therapies and meditation, we’ve created a sanctuary where guests can reconnect with their authentic selves and embrace inner peace.

Embark on a transformative journey with us. Experience the serenity of Sintra and deepen your yoga practice amidst stunning natural surroundings. Book your retreat at Shamballah Yoga Retreats and discover a haven for spiritual growth and rejuvenation.

Contact us now to reserve your spot and embark on a life-affirming escape to Sintra, Portugal.