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Sintra in 2 days, a suggested tour and itinerary
(A second day in Sintra)
Sintra is a fascinating Portuguese town that makes for a great day trip from Lisbon or the beach towns. The majority of tourists spend just a single day in Sintra but there are further interesting attractions to fill a second day of sightseeing. This guide will provide a brief overview of the first day of sightseeing and then explain in detail the second day. The guide to 1 day (or the first day) in Sintra can be read here.
The decrotive Quinta da Regaleira
Suggested Overview for two days in Sintra
The first day in Sintra should visit the town centre, the National Palace, the Castelo dos Mouros and the Pena Palace.
The second day of Sintra should visit the Quinta da Regaleira, the Seteais Palace and Monserrate Palace.
Day 1 in Sintra
The suggested route for the first day in Sintra is divided between the historic town centre and the hills of the Serra da Sintra, the location of the Pena Palace and Castelo dos Mouros. Connecting all of the sights for the day is the 434 tourist bus, which departs from outside the train station.
The colourful Pena Palace
The 1st day should begin in the town centre and explore the pretty shopping streets of the historic centre. At the heart of Sintra is the gothic styled National Palace, which was the most used royal palace and is distinctive by the huge chimneys that extend from the kitchens.
After lunch it is recommended to catch the 434 bus up to the Castelo dos Mouros, an ancient (10th century) ruined castle that from the battlements provides wonderful views over Sintra. Close to the Moors Castle is the Palácio da Pena, a beautiful styled palace with a vividly decorated exterior and an interior that has been restored as it was in 1910. For a full guide to day 1 in Sintra please click here.
A night in Sintra?
The majority of tourists at the end of the day return to their accommodation in either Lisbon or along the coast, but there are advantages of spending a night in Sintra. Sintra gets very busy during the day and at the evening the town dramatically quietens, making it a much more pleasant time to explore. Also starting sightseeing early in the day (before 10:30) avoids the crowds. There is a range of excellent hotels in Sintra and they tend to be charming or historic buildings.
Highlights for the 2nd day in Sintra
The Initiation Well and hidden passages of the Quinta da Regaleira
The Moorish inspired interior of Monserrate Palace
The Neoclassical architecture of the Seteais Palace
The varied gardens of the Monserrate Palace
The second day in Sintra
The second day in Sintra should visit the sights which are to the west of the town and are the Quinta da Regaleira, the Seteais Palace and Monserrate Palace. Over half of the day will be spent exploring the Quinta da Regaleira, Monserrate Palace requires 1.5-2hours (depending on time in the gardens) while Seteais Palace can be fully seen in less than 1 hour. The day can be extended by hiking along the challenging trails that surround Sintra or shopping in the artisan stalls that line the road back to the train station.
The Moorish/Indian inspired Monserrate Palace of Sintra
How to get around for the second day
There is a convenient bus service which connects the train station, the town centre and the three palaces. The 435 bus route begins at the train station and terminates at Monserrate Palace, the return route is the reverse route. The bus is operated by Scotturb and the number 435 route is named the Villa Express 4 Palácios.
The 435 and 434 tourist buses outside the train station
A single stage of the loop costs €1.00 and the entire route costs €2.50. There are 2/3 departures per hour and the first bus of the day is at 9:40 and last is at 18:45 (correct 2016). The latest timetable can be found here:
The bus route starts from the train station and this makes the day trip suitable for visitors who are based within Lisbon. Please note that Sintra gets very busy during the summer months and the entire town can be crowded with visitors.
Walking Routes for Sintra 2 days
Sintra is an enjoyable region to walk as all of the paths and roads are shaded from the intense sun by the forests that cover the hills and the height means that there is usually a cooling breeze. It is only a 10-minute walk from the tourist information office in the centre of Sintra to the Quinta da Regaleira and this short walk avoids queueing for the bus.
The walk from the Quinta da Regaleira to Monserrate Palace is much longer at 30-40minute (3km) and the route passes Seteais Palace. The route from the train station to the historic centre passes market stalls and is quiet scenic. Our recommendation is to catch the bus between Seteais Palace and Monserrate Palace and walk the other stages.
Entrance Fees and Opening Times
The entrance fee to the Quinta da Regaleira is €6.00/€3.00/€4.00 (adult/child/senior) and opens at 10:00 and closes at 19:00/17:30 (high/low season).
Seteais Palace is free to enter the grounds and the terraces but the interior is a hotel so access may be limited.
Monserrate Palace entrance fee is €8.00/€6.50/€6.50 (adult/child/senior) and is open 9:30 – 19:00 (summer) 10:00-17:00 (low season).