Sintra — Day 3 of a 8-Day Trip in Portugal
We headed to Sintra on Day 3. Sintra is about an hour train ride from Lisbon and has many palaces to visit – Pena Palace, Palacio de Monserrate, Palacio Nacional de Sintra, Quinta de Regaleira, and Castelos dos Mouros to name a few. Throughout history, Sintra became a popular destination for royalty due to its surroundings and climate, hence the number of palaces. The day started with some sun, then slight rainfall in Lisbon, but by the time we arrived at Sintra, the weather was miserable (pouring rain). We decided to stay at Sintra for the night, but you can also do a day trip to Sintra from Lisbon instead.
To start our day, we headed to O Trevo to have bifanas for breakfast. A bifana is a Portuguese sandwich with thin slices of pork covered in pork sauce. A little bit of chili oil and mustard on top completes the sandwich. Simple, but delicious! We also enjoyed a nice morning stroll through Lisbon.
After breakfast, we headed to Sintra. The train ride to Sintra was included as part of our 72-hour Lisboa card. Upon arrival to Sintra, we purchased a day ticket for the buses at 10 euros/person. Sintra has two buses (Bus 434 or Bus 435) that do a loop to the popular tourist spots, but is one-way only. Bus 434 and Bus 435 have different routes, so make sure to select based on the attractions you want to see. We got on an overcrowded and hot 434 bus to the city centre, but missed our bus stop at the city centre and had to complete the full bus loop. Our trip to Sintra was not starting off great.
At the city centre, the bus stops near the Palacio Nacional de Sintra, which presently is a museum.
It was nice to get to the hotel and change into dry clothes. Next was lunch at Cantinho Gourmet. He ordered the duck salad and I ordered the grilled cheese sandwich with porco preto cured meat. Afterwards we stopped at Casa Piriquita for travesseiro and espresso. Travesseiro is a puff pastry filled with a sugary almond custard. The cafe, Casa Piriquita, has existed since 1862.
We then attempted the bus loop again. This time, the bus was not overcrowded and we got off at the Pena Palace without issue. Pena Palace is perched at the top of the hill and is visible from Sintra (on a nice day). It is a very colourful palace with yellow, red, and blue external walls. The admission is paid for at the very front entrance and from there, it is a 15 minute uphill walk to the actual palace. The weather definitely lessened the bright colours, but not the grandeur. After the palace, we wandered the garden/park area (Pena Palace admission required).
Although it was late, we walked to Castelos dos Mouros hoping we might be lucky it would be open still. We weren’t – it was closed when we arrived. Note the bus stops at Castelos dos Mouros on the way to Pena Palace. The Castelos dos Mouros is a medieval castle with walls spreading along the hill and was built by the Moors in the 8th or 9th century.
Afterwards, we followed the signs to the city centre and started our descent. We could have taken the bus, but thought this might be a more interesting walk. There were others that seemed to have the same idea as us. We were awarded with a mostly grey, but almost blue sky view of Sintra on our stroll.
To end the night, we chose Bacalhau na Vila, a restaurant specializing in salted cod dishes (popular in Portugal), for dinner. We ordered two glasses of Super Bock, a Portuguese beer brand for drinks. For appetizers, we started with the bread, butter, olives and codfish pate. The codfish pate was the highlight of this dish. For our mains, we shared the codfish and coriander soup, octopus salad, codfish cakes, and codfish “à Brás” style. For dessert, we had a slice of almond pie. So tasty!
After dinner, we headed back to our hotel. The streets were quiet and empty, almost a bit eery.
Complete Day 3 Itinerary
*Travel times may vary. Check Google Maps for most accurate travel details.
9:00am: Have bifanas for breakfast at O Trevo.
10:00am: Take the train to Sintra Station (1 hour train from O Trevo).
11:00am: Have lunch at Cantinho Gourmet (10 minute walk from Sintra Station).
12:00pm: Have travesseiro at Casa Piriquita (1 minute walk from Cantinho Gourmet).
1:00pm: Visit Castelos dos Mouros (25 minute bus from Casa Piriquita).
3:00pm: Visit Pena Palace and explore the gardens (5 minute bus from Castelos dos Mouros).
5:00pm: Visit Palacio Nacional de Sintra (15 minute bus from Pena Palace).
7:00pm: Dinner at Bacalhau na Vila (5 minute walk from Palacio Nacional de Sintra).
16-Day Italy and Portugal Itinerary
Click “Download” below for an excel version of my 16-Day Italy and Portugal Itinerary. Feel free to use the excel file as a planning template for your own trip!