Visiting Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal

When I travelled to Lisbon, the hostel I stayed at introduced me to the picturesque town of Sintra. The perfect town — dotted with fairytale-like palaces and villas — for a day trip from Lisbon, Portugal.

Being the typical 18 year old who still liked to sleep in — possibly because of a hangover — I arrived pretty late in Sintra. So a 45-minute train ride and a quick lunch later, I chose to visit one of the most famous and Instagrammable main attractions, Pena Palace and I couldn’t recommend it more! Looking back, I wish I had more time and could have visited more palaces. Oh well, now I have a reason to return one day!

Disclosure: When you decide to purchase any of the shared links, I will receive an affiliate commission, at no extra cost to you! This will make a huge difference to Finding Falke and ensure I can keep sharing many more travel tips and tricks.

How to get to Sintra from Lisbon

Since Sintra is a popular day trip destination from Lisbon, there are quite a few ways for you to get there.

The first option is a tour that you can book through platforms like GetYourGuide. Those tours will take you around Sintra for the day. This option might be an interesting one for people who do not want to figure it all out by themselves. Or who want a guide. Or maybe you are a solo traveller and would like some company on this day trip.

The second option is the one I did and recommend because it gives you the chance to see things at your own pace — and sleep a little longer if you are a partying youngster. Not only is the train ride only 45 minutes, but it’s also a budget-friendly option! I paid 4.50 euros for my train tickets at the time. Once you arrive at Sintra station, you can easily walk towards the centre. It’s not that far, just a bit uphill. There is also a bus stop next to the station if you want to go straight to one of the castles.

A third option would be by car. This option will get you easily to Sintra but once there… Finding a parking spot near the palaces and within the town is pretty tough. Kudos to you if you can find one! I think we can all agree that you do not want to waste most of your day trying to find a parking spot. So maybe we should just skip this option.

Visiting Pena Palace

Like I said before, Sintra is a hot day trip from Lisbon — meaning lots and lots of tourists no matter the time of the year. I visited in February and while it seemed like I was one of the few tourists in Lisbon, I was definitely not in Sintra. So starting your day early is ideal if you want to visit several palaces and avoid big crowds.

Starting the day early in my situation, however, would not have been ideal. So I chose to focus on the town itself and more importantly, the most famous main attraction: Pena Palace. I only have one thing to say about this one: do not skip this one! This fairytale-like, colourful palace took my breath away. It’s simply stunning. Or in more contemporary terms, “This place is an Instagrammer’s dream.”

Since I was planning on only visiting Pena Palace, I decided to make most of my time here and buy the full ticket to the palace and the gardens. I am not kidding when I say that I easily spend 2 hours inside the palace alone. Of course with the necessary photoshoot breaks. Afterwards, I walked all the way around the palace via the narrow outer walls. For those with a fear of heights, you might want to avoid looking down. But for everyone else, enjoy the wonderful view.

Up next were the gardens of Pena Palace. The grounds surrounding the palace are filled with little paths, landmarks and very few signs. Of course, I got lost. However, I discovered a lot of beautiful hidden gems here with no other tourists around. So my advice would be: take your time and do get lost in the gardens.

One last tip specifically for Pena Palace. This is the one-stop almost everyone takes. So I suggest doing it first thing in the morning if you want to avoid the crowds.

Overall

I recommend everyone to plan one extra day when in Lisbon so you have enough time for a day trip to Sintra. Start your day early and enjoy as many palaces as you want. Personally, I would love to return one day and also visit Castelo dos Mouros and the Quinta da Regaleira. But even if you only visit one palace and the centre of this picturesque town, it’s still so worth it.

Disclosure: When you decide to purchase any of the shared links, I will receive an affiliate commission, at no extra cost to you! This will make a huge difference to Finding Falke and ensure I can keep sharing many more travel tips and tricks.

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