Difference between revisions of "Sintra"
Revision as of 10:32, 21 April 2015
Sintra is both a town and a municipality in the Lisbon Coast/aka Estoril Coast region of Portugal. Its spectacular setting, 28km from Lisbon, houses a Royal Palace, used by generations of Portuguese royalty prior to the 1910 revolution. The surrounding hills are surmounted by the remains of the Moorish Castle and by the nineteenth-century Pena Palace. Historic Sintra is an heritage patrimony site declared by UNESCO. The Estoril coast is often considered to be part of the Lisbon coast, which includes Cascais, Lisbon, Sintra, and other nearby municipalities.
Near Estoril, the majestic Sintra Mountains cast a veil of mystery over the town nestling on its northern slopes. The hills and the surrounding area have been classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage site both for their cultural significance and for their outstanding natural beauty.
Sintra rail station may be reached by CP services from several Lisbon stations, including Santa Apolónia, Oriente, Campolide and Rossio. The town is a 10 minute walk from the station. Alternatively, a bus to the center can be caught from the bus stop opposite the station.
It should cost around €4.10 return. Tell the machine that you want a ticket for two trips; you will need one for the outward and one for the return journey. Remember to validate your ticket by touching it to the checkpoint before boarding the return train. Keep the used ticket, as you can re-charge it for other trips in and around Lisbon. For more information, contact:
The historic 14km tram route from Praia das Maçãs, mainland Europe's most westerly holiday resort, terminates about 1km from Sintra town centre, at Ribeira de Sintra, which is located about 1km down the hill past the Hotel Tivoli, near the Royal Palace. The service is operated by restored trams dating from the early 20th century; operates F-Su 9:30AM-7:30PM; trams run hourly taking 45 minutes for the journey. The tram line is fully operational after being shut for 2 years (2011-2012) after extensive damage was caused when the overhead cables were stolen. 
Cycling in Sintra can be an interesting day out for those who are fit and have some experience.
If staying in Sintra and around a local company is a good option for you.
In case you are visiting Sintra then your best bet is to book a tour or rent a bike e.g. in Lisbon, take the commuters train from Rossio station to explore Sintra and/or the Nature Reserve finishing in Cascais, a beautiful day trip on a bicycle, in the end take a train back to Cais do Sodre station in Lisbon where you may drop back your bicycle. Adult return ticket is around 3 or 4 Euros and bicycles travel for free every day of the week.
Companies operating from Lisbon include Bike Iberia (Phone: +351 96 242 3455, ) located in Lisbon Downtown right off the train station of Cais Sodre.
Cycling-Rentals (Phone: +351 212 424 604, ) is a Sintra based company that offers all types of rental bicycles as well as guided and self guided road or mountain bike Day Trips in the the Sintra area. They will also deliver a hire bike to your hotel anywhere in the Lisbon / Sintra area. Their shop is located just outside the historical center of Sintra.
The best bet is to take the bus around town and walk from the bus stops to the attractions. Parking is abysmal and on a holiday weekend Sintra can be absolutely packed with cars and people. If you must drive to Sintra, park in one of the several parking lots below the town center and walk up into town.
Once you are in town you can take the circular 434 bus route (train station - Sintra town - Castelo dos Mouros - Palácio da Pena - train station). Tickets are €5 and can be purchased from the bus driver, there are buses every 15 minutes and the bus loop is only in the direction stated above . It should be noted that this bus can become very full and there is no guarantee that you will be able to fit on or that it will run on time. If you choose to walk be warned that the trek to Palácio da Pena and the Castelo dos Mouros can be a daunting, steep up-hill, one-hour climb from the city center. If you feel fit, though, the beautiful woodlands and the stunning view from the top are generous rewards for your troubles.
There is also a walking trail through the woods to the Moorish castle that starts above the Sintra city center at the wooden turnstile on the Rampa do Castelo; better bring a map (free from tourist information at the train station) or ask for directions as the entrance to this trail is well hidden. Once you have made the journey to the castle, it's only few more minutes walk up the hill on the main road to the Palácio. The walk to Monserrate from the Sintra town center is still approximately one hour but is less strenuous. Also note that the "Linha Monserrate" that picks up passengers in front of the Palácio Nacional de Sintra is only a "sight-seeing" bus, it does not deliver you to Monserrate.
To get to Cabo da Roca (Cape Roca), the westernmost point of mainland Europe, take the Scotturb 403 bus (Direction = Cascais). The journey takes about 40 minutes.
From Sintra train station at the same stop as the bus for Pena is the bus 435, called the Villa Express, which will take you all the way to the main entrance of Monserrate Palace and Garden via the palaces of Regaleira and Seteais for a return fare of about 4 euros. The journey is about 15-20 minutes. Monserrate is a magical garden with beautiful Palace, well worth visiting, it has a small tea house/cafe (drinks, cakes, snacks but no proper lunches). http://www.parquesdesintra.pt/en/index.aspx?p=parksIndex&MenuId=9&Menu0Id=9
Souvenirs and Porto wine are all on sale in the Sintra historic district. There are a number of shops that sell standard tourist items (post cards, t-shirts, etc.) and a number of shops that sell ceramics, pieces of art and hand crafts. If you are looking for gifts for friends and family, Sintra has a broad selection of items to choose from.
To get something truly unique and local, consider cork products that range from wallets to umbrellas. These original products wear like leather and are environmentally sound, as well as attractive.