We are staying 3 days in Lisbon, and then planning one day to visit and explore Estoril and Sintra. Would folks recommend we try to do this from Lisbon for the day (and then come back and stay in Lisbon that night), or instead rent a car and do Estoril and Sintra that way? We are headed north after that anyway with a rental car, but just didn't know whether having a car to explore would help, or be more of a pain in those areas to have it (and would be easier to explore those areas by some other mode of transport from Lisbon). Thanks for any advice
I believe most people take a full day for Sintra; not sure how well it will work to try to combine it with Estoril from the standpoint of having enough time for the sights in Sintra. Individually, I think either town can be visited readily from Lisbon. I hope someone who's used a car in that area can comment on what the parking situation would be like. I'm a public-transportation person.
There seems to be an hourly bus link between Estoril and Sintra, and the bus takes a bit over half an hour.
I would suggest doing a day trip to Sintra on the train as the parking in Sintra is marginal at best. Some people do recommend a night in Sintra but I’ve never done that so can’t give an opinion. Potentially, if you spent a night there, the hotel would have parking and that would help. It just depends on how much time you want in Sintra.
Combining Sintra with Estoril would not be my suggestion. First, there is really not a lot to see in Estoril. The casino is tacky IMO. There is a beach and a walkway (paredão) between Estoril and Cascais, but basically the town is more residential. Cascais has a much better central area and cliffs over the sea. But, as I live in Cascais, I’m somewhat partial...
And, you will need an entire day in Sintra without trying to fit in another destination. I’ve never been able to do more than two of the palaces in one day.