Sintra is a small town located in the mountains of Portugal. It is known for its many palaces and castles, which have drawn tourists for a while. Is Sintra worth visiting? Let’s take a closer look.
If you have limited time in Portugal, you might wonder if Sintra is worth visiting. Is it worth your time? Is it worth the money? Or should you focus on Lisbon or Porto instead?
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By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to decide why Sintra should be (or shouldn’t be) on your Portugal bucket list.
We’ll discuss the pros and cons of visiting Sintra so that you can see if it’s the right destination for you.
The Pros Of Visiting Sintra: Reasons To Visit
People love going to Sintra because it has lots of fantastic palaces and castles. If you go, you’ll be able to see all of them!
The Pena Palace is especially popular. It’s a 19th-century palace that’s painted in bright colors. It sits on top of a hill, so you’ll get great views of the surrounding area.
Sintra is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That means it has been recognized by the United Nations as being culturally significant.
Let’s take a look at the main reasons why you should visit Sintra.
Sintra Is A Great Destination To Visit Palaces And Castles
If you love visiting old palaces and castles, then Sintra is the place for you. It’s packed full of them! The most popular one is the Pena Palace, but there are plenty of others to see as well.
You can learn more by reading our guide to the best castles in Sintra.
Sintra Is A Cool Spot If You Want To Hike
Sintra is a great place to visit if you’re into hiking. There are plenty of trails to explore, and you’ll get some great views of the area.
It’s a fun way to explore the different palaces and castles while you’re in the area.
We recommend the following hikes: The Santa Maria Trail, The Pena Palace to Cruz Alta, and more. You can read our complete Sintra hiking guide to learn more about the best hikes.
Sintra Is Great For Photographers
If you love taking photos, then Sintra will be a paradise for you. There are plenty of Instagram-worthy spots, and you’ll have a blast taking photos of the different palaces and castles.
Some of the most photographed places are the Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle.
We recommend you head there early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Sintra Is Interesting If You’re Into History And Culture
Sintra is a great place to visit if you’re into history and culture. There’s plenty of history to learn about, and you’ll also get to see some remarkable architecture.
You’ll learn more about Portuguese history, especially if you join a guided tour of one of the castles.
The Cons Of Visiting Sintra: Reasons To Skip It
Now that we’ve covered all the reasons why you should visit Sintra, let’s take a look at a few reasons why you might want to skip it.
Sintra Can Be Overcrowded
Sometimes, Sintra can be pretty crowded. That’s especially true if you visit during the summer months or on weekends. If you don’t like crowds, then you might want to consider visiting during the week or pick a different time of the year to visit.
It Could Get Boring If You Don’t Like Palaces And Castles
If you’re not into palaces and castles, then Sintra might not be the best place for you. There isn’t much else to do in the town, so you might get bored pretty quickly.
We recommend visiting Sintra if you’re interested in its history and culture. If you’re not, then you might want to consider visiting a different destination in Portugal. That said, if you’re into hiking, you might enjoy the hikes around Sintra, and you won’t have to visit all the castles or palaces.
It Can Be Expensive To Visit The Different Palaces And Castles
It can get quite expensive if you want to visit different palaces and castles. While entry tickets will add up, you might waste a lot of time queuing to get your tickets too.
We recommend you buy your tickets online in advance to avoid wasting time, especially if you travel during summertime.
You’ll Have To Drive Or Take A Bus Or Train To Get There
Sintra is located about 30 kilometers from Lisbon, so you’ll have to take a bus or train to get there. This won’t be a big deal if you’re staying in Lisbon. But if you’re staying elsewhere in Portugal, then it might be a bit of a hassle to get to Sintra. You can take a look at the transport options on Omio.
By car, you can expect around 30-40 minutes of driving. But, you’ll also need to find parking in the area, so if you’re on a tight schedule, you might want to leave earlier.
If you have limited time in Portugal, we recommend you book a day trip to visit Sintra from Lisbon. This way, you can see all Sintra highlights without wasting too much time.
The Final Verdict: So Is Sintra Worth Visiting?
Yes, we think Sintra is definitely worth visiting! It’s a great place to learn about Portuguese history and culture, and you’ll also get to see some beautiful architecture. Just be warned that it can get quite crowded during the summer months or on weekends.
If you’re interested in visiting Sintra, we recommend you buy your tickets online in advance and consider visiting during the week. And if you’re short on time, we recommend you book a day trip from Lisbon so you can see all the highlights without wasting too much time.
After visiting many destinations in Portugal, Sintra wasn’t among my favorite. I’m more of an outdoor lover – but if you are interested in castles and palaces, you’ll love Sintra because there are so many of them. They are very colorful and unique – so it’s worth visiting.
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