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Best attractions in Sintra: Top 15

After reading our review, you will know what any curious tourist should see in Sintra. We will tell you about the attractions of Sintra that will make your trip to the hospitable Portuguese city unforgettable.

What to see in Sintra first

It is simply not possible to compile a rating that would include all the interesting places of Sintra. Therefore, in our article we have included only those excursions in Sintra that enjoy maximum success:

1. Pena Palace

Pena Palace on a high cliff above Sintra

The palace is located in a beautiful park with centuries-old trees and exotic plants, on top of a cliff. The building was erected in the 19th century in the architectural style of European Romanticism. In its appearance one can see the features of “manuelino”. Separate attention deserves the lush interior decoration with neo-baroque, neo-Renaissance and Gothic furniture. Whatever the length of your trip to Sintra, make time to see this castle.

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2. Sintra National Palace

Parade facade of the medieval Village Palace in Sintra Georges Jansoone
The Armory or Armorial Hall of the National Palace of Sintra Vitor Oliveira
The picture of swans on the ceiling in the Swan Hall of Sintra National Palace Luiyo

Just like many other attractions in Sintra, this one is located in the historic center of the city. For many years the palace was the property of the royal family. Visitors are invited to explore the building inside and out. Of great interest are the Chapel with its wood ceilings and tiled floor, the Heraldry Room, the Foreign Guests Room, and the Swan Room (the palace’s largest room, the ceiling of which is decorated with gilded swans).

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3. Quinta da Regaleira

The lavishly decorated facade of the four-story Regaleira Palace Nicholas Maximovich

The complex includes a chapel, a park, and a mystic mansion. Inside the cottage, surrounded by a garden, one can see ancient frescoes, original sculptural compositions and fireplaces decorated with unique carvings. The villa has a secret passage with a whole system of tunnels running under the park. Mysterious Freemasons, great alchemists and Templars once walked through these tunnels. Such fascinating places guides in Sintra recommend visiting first.

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4. “The Well of Initiation”

Stone well with a spiral staircase and moss-covered arches in the Quinta da Regaleira complex

Located in the park, the object is a vast well, a real tower of stone, but going down rather than up. The well has stairwells and arches. The symbolic meaning of the construction is the connection of the earth and heaven. At the top of the well, in “heaven”, one finds goodness and light; at the “bottom”, in the lower part of the tower, one is in darkness. The reviews of travelers on visiting the well are invariably rapturous.

5. The Palace and Park of Montserrat

The green lawn in front of Monserrat Palace Cláudia Almeida
The English-style landscape park around Monserrat Palace

Both sites were created in the Moorish style in 1790. The castle, which resembles a chest from Arab legends, got its present appearance in the 19th century. The palace is beautiful not only outside but also inside. The interiors are represented by the colorful stucco on the ceilings, arches with lace decoration, fine carvings on the walls. The complex includes several lakes, a waterfall and a rose garden. There are trees and shrubs from around the world growing on the grounds.

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Check out the wonderful views of Sintra in this fascinating video!

6. The Castle of the Moors

The ramparts of the Moors' Castle on top of the Serra da Sintra near the city of Sintra Guillén Pérez
A view of the city of Sintra from the walls of the Moors Castle Concierge.2C

If you don’t know what to visit in Sintra but are fascinated by history and architecture, come here. The fabulous palace rises more than 400 meters above sea level, on top of a hill. Construction of the structure began back in the 10th century, at a time when the island was successfully attacked by the Moors. Climbing to the highest points of the fortress, you can see not only the entire city, but also many sights of Portugal.

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7. Capuchin Monastery

Capuchin Monastery in the Sintra-Cascais National Park Mangelbenito

The temple is located a dozen kilometers from the central part of the city. It was built in the middle of the 16th century, opting for an austere, ascetic style typical of all things Capuchin. The monastery provides an interesting contrast to the chic castles of Sintra. Visitors can explore both the household and the living quarters. But let’s say right away that the monks’ abode is currently in disrepair. The interiors of the sanctuary are meant to show that comfort is not a big deal in life. The sleeping boxes are extremely narrow, and there are no excesses in the decoration of the household and cells.

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8. Countess Edl’s Chalet

The Countess Edla's Chalet among the lush vegetation of the Pena Palace Park HenGomes

A villa built in the spirit of the Swiss Alps. Its design is also somewhat reminiscent of a traditional Russian terem. The client of the chalet was Fernando the Second. The duke decided to give the mansion as a gift to his wife, a famous actress and operetta singer. The facade is interesting first of all due to the unusual terrace on the second floor. In 1999 the building was almost destroyed by fire. However, after a decade the city authorities decided to reconstruct it. Not far from the attraction (within walking distance), is the Pena Park. You can combine the sightseeing of these two attractions.

9. Puppet Museum

Puppets from the collection of the Puppet Museum
Collection of 17th and 18th century puppets at the Puppet Museum Paulo Valdivieso

The largest collection of toys devoted to the history of puppets and puppet theaters. There are over four thousand exhibits from more than 30 countries. The Puppet Museum often hosts puppet shows, workshops where you can make your own puppet. For those who travel with children the museum has a playroom, where the kids can play with puppets and become participants in the performance.

Official website:

10. Museum of Modern Art

Visitors to the Museum of Contemporary Art Pedro Ribeiro Simões

What to see in Sintra in 1 day if you are passionate about the visual arts? The museum, of course, with most of its exhibits consisting of masterpieces collected by the billionaire collector J. Berardo. The complex is set up in an Art Nouveau building, which used to be a casino. The collections include works of art created in the 20th century after the war. The most valuable pieces are creations by Bacon, Warhol and Polock.

Official website:

Sintra sights: what else to visit in Sintra

We have told you about the main attractions of Sintra briefly. And that’s not where our recommendations come to an end. The list of must-see places to go in Sintra will also include:

11. Natural History Museum

Exhibition of the Natural History Museum of Sintra Gabriel de Andrade Fernandes

Since 009, the museum complex operates in the old part of the city, and is located in a 20th-century building. The permanent exhibition is based on exhibits collected by the Barbosa family. For several decades, the famous scientist and his wife collected minerals and fossils from various parts of the world. Now the number of items they have selected is over 10,000. The collection is recognized as a scientific and cultural value. In addition to the permanent exhibition, temporary exhibitions are organized.

12. News Museum

The Babylon Pyramid TV screens broadcast news from around the world Michael M. Matias

When listing the best attractions in Sintra, we should not forget this rather unusual museum. It began its work only two years ago. guests of the complex are invited to get acquainted with the history of the emergence and development of the media, to learn interesting facts about Portugal, covered by journalists.

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13. Museum of aircraft building

Exhibits of the Portuguese Air Force Museum at Sintra Air Base Ricardo Reis
The Aviation Museum collection in the former military air hangar Ricardo Reis

The building is on National Alley and belongs to the Smithsonian Institution. The vast grounds contain the largest display of spaceships and airplanes from various eras in the world. Virtually every specimen is a true historical specimen or a perfect replica of a working air, space vehicle. Even if the purpose of your trip to the city is, for example, shopping in Sintra, come here by all means.

14. The Sintra Tram

The old open motor car No. 7 built in 1903 by Brill Alain GAVILLET ("Trams aux fils")

Since the beginning of the 20th century Praia das Masanche and Sintra have been connected by a 13-kilometre streetcar line. On the way the streetcar makes 8 stops. On the way there are many stores, attractions and hotels in Sintra. Therefore, the journey can be not only interesting but also useful. Unhurried rides in one of the 11 original carriages are of interest mostly to tourists. Locals prefer the bus.

15. Cape Roca

The lighthouse at Cape Roca in Sintra-Cascais National Park

West of the European continent, as reminded by the cross towering on a pedestal. To get from the city to this promontory you have to overcome almost 20 kilometers. But the effort is worth it: from here you have incredible views of sheer cliffs, mountain peaks and the entire Atlantic. One of the local attractions is the beautiful lighthouse. There is public transportation to The Rock. There is a small office on the property where you can purchase a “certificate” rendering a stay on the Cape. There is also a post office where you can visit to send a letter with the appropriate return address.

We hope that those attractions of Sintra, photos with names and descriptions of which you have now seen, aroused your interest and you will want to visit them in person. Read also about sights of Porto and be inspired for your further Portugal trip.

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