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3 Days in Lisbon - Spend one in Sintra?

Hi all, this is my first forum post! Looking for advice on whether to spend one of my three days in the Lisbon area in Sintra, or really maximising Lisbon in full. From what I can tell, there is no shortage of things to see in Lisbon proper. Is Sintra an absolute MUST? It also looks amazing.

For additional context: I will be renting a car and driving from Lisbon to Porto after my three days in Lisbon.

Thank you!

Posted by
415 posts

Sintra is beautiful. You can get there in less than an hour by train from Lisbon, so I would see it as a daytrip. Trains depart Lisbon’s Rossio station for Sintra every 15 minutes.

Posted by
28 posts

We were in Lisbon for six full days last week. Considered taking the train or bus to Sinatra but felt precious time would be lost making transfers and walking from place to place. We hired a private driver one day and had time to visit the Peña palace, the town of Sinatra and Quinta de Regaleira. Our guide picked us up at our apartment in Lisbon at 8:20 in the morning. The drive to the Peña palace took about 40 minutes, while our guide explained the history of the city and palaces. After visiting the two palaces and the town of Sinatra, We left Sinatra around 2:00 pm and were driven to a beach front restaurant near Cascais for lunch. We finished with a drive back to Lisbon along the coast. The palaces are very busy now so I suggest you arrive as early as possible and buy tickets to the palaces in advance. I highly recommend R.M. Ceasar tours. He was waiting for us at the exit of every stop and kept us on track to make the most of our day.

Posted by
104 posts

The advantage of staying in Sintra overnight is that you get to experience Sintra village before the crowds arrive in the morning and after they leave in the afternoon.
However that may not not help you with the most popular attractions since they have set hours and timed entry.
If you stay in Sintra enquire about car parking and road driving since there are some restrictions on both.
With a car you can also visit Praia das Macas (beach), Azenhas do Mar (village on a cliff - great for photos) they are both slightly north of Sintra.
Cabo da Rocha lighthouse, Guincho Beach, Cascais village, south of Sintra.
Happy travels

Posted by
3349 posts

We enjoyed a day tour to Sintra prior to the RS Portugal Tour. We hired Lisbon Riders. Our guide was Manuel. He was knowledgeable and engaging. It was truly the best introduction to Portugal. They take a maximum of 8 people. Highly recommend this great company. We had 4 nights in Lisbon. Three full days of touring Lisbon.

Posted by
1778 posts

I have never been to Sintra because I can’t peel myself away from Lisbon. You need a minimum of four nights in Lisbon so you can take Rick Steves self-guided walking tours (one per day): the Alfama Stroll and the Castle (great neighborhood to sleep in too), Baixa Stroll, and the Bairro Alto and Chiado Stroll.

Posted by
2328 posts

Well, Emilie, I loved both Lisbon and Sintra, spending 2 nights in Sintra, followed by 7 nights in Lisbon. There’s really a lot to see and experience in each place. You say you have only 3 days total in the area. I feel that if you spend one of those days in Sintra, you will end up rushing through both, and only knowing Sintra at it’s most crowded time in the heart of the day, when it is filled with other day-trippers. I guess my guidance would be to skip Sintra this time, and schedule more time in the area during your next trip to Portugal.
Note: However the private tour with a good guide and his car does sound quite appealing!

Posted by
3 posts

Hi all, thank you so much for the tips. All noted and very appreciated! I think we will skip Sintra this time around and give it its proper visit next time. We'll really focus on Lisbon before making our way up to Porto. From the looks of it, this won't be our last time visiting Portugal. :-)

Posted by
1767 posts

Loved Sintra! Would try and see it, can do as a day trip for 1 day from Lisbon if you have 3 nights I think rather than have to break up the hotel stay 2/1.
Or once you get your rental car get out early that day and drive to some of the sites in Sintra before making your way to Porto. While you likely don't have time for the castles and the like you could stop off at the oceanside spots all of which you can find parking at without much trouble.

Posted by
338 posts

Once you get to Lisbon, see how you feel. Could always decide the night before to get up early and hop a train to Sintra.