A long time ago, near Lisbon, among the Sierra da Sintra hills, the first buildings of the picturesque town of Sintra were built. Even if it sounds like a fairy tale, it is quite an authentic story.
The attractions in Sintra easily make you feel like in a fairy tale. Let colorful palaces, magical parks and the extraordinary past of this place win your heart! This is definitely one of the places that you cannot miss when visiting Portugal. And which places should attract your attention in the first place? You can find their full list below.
The Pena Palace
If you can think of any picture of Sintra, it is definitely the Pena National Palace. Although this fairy-tale building is hidden among the green of the trees and the gray of mists often floating among the hills, its façade is visible from afar thanks to its vivid colors. The building was originally constructed as a monastery, and its later palace function and its present appearance are largely due to King Ferdinand II.
It comes as no surprise that the Pena National Palace has been included in the list of the seven wonders of Portugal. Its interior is a maze of royal rooms that still hide original equipment and gilded decorations. However, the building mesmerizes you even before you enter it. The intricate details of the façade and the original, detailed decorations of the portals attract your attention. The park surrounding the fortress is an integral part of it, and the atmospheric alleys and diverse vegetation emphasize its romantic character.
Sintra National Palace
In the heart of Sintra lies the National Palace which is the witness of the most significant events in the history of the country. In the past, it was the favorite residence of many Portuguese rulers. Built during the reign of the Moors, it underwent numerous reconstructions over the centuries. This is evidenced by its present-day appearance, combining various architectural styles, among which Gothic and Manueline elements dominate. The walls of the palace hide unusual rooms, each of which dazzles you with its unique appearance. The walls are decorated with paintings, murals and colorful azulejos. Among the sumptuous chambers there is also a chapel and a kitchen. The latter houses two chimneys, visible from the outside, which, due to their characteristic appearance, are one of the symbols of Sintra.
Monserrate Palace and Park
Even though it is not one of the most famous elements of the monuments complex in Sintra, its sight takes your breath away from the very first moment. From 1540, when the first buildings were built there, this place was a place of worship. For it to become an extraordinary palace, boasting today’s appearance, the building had to be taken over by Francis Cook, a British art collector.
The history of the building is very interesting, but what attracts attention in the first place is its architecture. Before entering, you will be fascinated by the numerous details, intricate decorations and the harmony between the stone facade, columns and lace ornaments of the arches. The interior is a continuation of similar decorations and another portion of arches supported by columns with meticulous capitals. Visitors are delighted with both the ornaments and the vaults as well as the body of the building itself. The surrounding park harmoniously complements the exotic appearance of the Monserrate Palace. It proudly represents Portuguese Romanticism, and its greatest pride is botanical specimens imported from all over the world, from Mexico to Japan.
Castelo dos Mouros
Castelo dos Mouros, or the Castle of the Moors, is today one of the most important monuments of Sintra and a point offering extraordinary views. Its strategic location on the hill resulted from the defensive nature of this fortification. Built on high rocks, Castelo dos Mouros allowed both to observe the access to Lisbon by sea and to prevent land invasions.
Thanks to archaeological excavations, it is known that over the centuries the castle was inhabited by many peoples. While it is definitely one of the most peaceful areas of Sintra, and your visit will be mainly about admiring the castle’s granite walls, you will be surprised how much it has to offer to visitors. You can see the interior of the five towers and admire a different panorama of the town from the top of each of them. Inside you will also find the oldest chapel of Sintra, built on the ruins of a mosque. Don’t forget to check out the old granaries inside the walls, which bring the history of this place even closer.
Quinta da Regaleira
Do you like the atmosphere of dark castles and haunted forests? Quinta da Regaleira will take you to such a place – a huge, mysterious park, whose intricate paths will make you feel like in a fairy tale. At the very entrance to the property there is Regaleira Palace, the interior of which is an ideal introduction to sightseeing.
However, it is not the palace that is the main attraction here, but the park itself. Its showpiece are winding, chaotic paths, numerous tunnels and caves. In many places, it is water that plays first fiddle, as it appears there in the form of waterfalls or lakes. The star of Quinta da Regaleir is the Initiation Well, to which a complex network of tunnels leads. If you don’t want to get lost there, get a map at the entrance to the park. It may prove very useful!
Sintra Myths and Legends Interactive Center
Sintra, as befits a fairy-tale land, is shrouded in mystery associated with local stories, myths and legends. All of them are gathered in the Interactive Center of Myths and Legends of Sintra, which engages the visitors’ senses. Thanks to a unique combination of creativity and technology, it promotes the most interesting stories of the city. This zone, with the help of history, music, play of lights and literature, creates an interesting mixture of reality and fiction. There you will discover the story of the death of some two brothers, the secrets of the life of mythical creatures and the secrets hidden by the aforementioned Well of Initiation of Quinta da Regaleira. With the attractions of the museum, gathered in 17 rooms, you can be sure that you will not get bored!
Discover PortugalDiscover other interesting places, attractions, and monuments in Portugal:
|Tourist attractions and interesting places
|Attractions in Lisbon: Lisbon Oceanarium, Lisbon Stadium (Estádio da Luz), St. George's Castle, Jerónimos Monastery, National Pantheon of Lisbon, Royal Treasury Museum, Lisbon Cathedral, National Azulejo Museum, Lisbon Cable Car, Lisbon Zoo, Belém Tower, Ajuda National Palace, Immersivus Gallery Lisbon, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Arco da Rua Augusta, Iconic Trams of Lisbon, Cod's Interpretation Centre, Pilar 7 Bridge Experience, National Coach Museum, Portuguese School of Equestrian Art, Carmo Convent, Berardo Collection Museum, Fado Museum. Other attractions in the Lisbon district: Monserrate Palace and Park, Pena National Palace, Castle of the Moors, Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra Myths and Legends Interactive Centre, Mafra National Palace, Queluz National Palace and Gardens, Dino Parque Lourinhã, Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, Capuchin Convent in Colares, The National Palace in Sintra.Interesting cities: Lizbona, Sintra, Mafra, Queluz, Lourinhã
|Attractions in Porto: Porto Stadium (Estádio do Dragão) and FC Porto Museum, Stock Exchange Palace, World of Discoveries, Alice Porto's Magical Garden, Immersivus Gallery, The Chocolate Story Museum, Stained Glass Museum, Serralves Foundation, Museum of Textiles and Fashion, Calem Caves, Pocas Caves, Burmester Cellars, Water Pavilion, Cork Planer, The Bridge Collection, SEA LIFE Porto, Porto Cathedral, Church and Tower of the Clerics, Vila Nova de Gaia wine region, Douro Valley.Interesting cities: Porto
|Attractions in Aveiro: Costa Nova, Aveiro Canals, Aveiro Museum of Modern Art, Barra Beach, Aveiro Lighthouse.
|Attractions in Beja: Beja Cathedral, Beja Regional Museum, Castro Verde Castle, Castro Verde Regional Museum, Aljustrel Archaeological Museum.
|Attractions in Braga: Braga Cathedral, Bom Jesus do Monte, Bishop Castro Monteiro Museum, Caniçada Lake, Tibães Monastery.
|Attractions in Bragança: Bragança Cathedral, Bragança Castle, Military Museum of Bragança, Montesinho Natural Park, Macedo de Cavaleiros Archaeological Museum.
|Attractions in Castelo Branco: Castelo Branco Cathedral, Castelo Branco Textile Museum, Serra da Estrela, Sertã Ethnographic Museum, Cabril Lake.
|Attractions in Coimbrze: Badoca Safari Park, Berlengas Nature Reserve.
|Attractions in Évorze: Évora Cathedral, Chapel of Bones in Évora, Almendres Cromlech, Água de Prata Aqueduct, Évora Archaeological Museum.
|Attractions in Faro:Benagil Caves, Lagos Zoo, Sand City Lagoa, Algarve region, Zoomarine in Algarve, Praia da Marinha Beach, MiniGolf Amusement Park, Aquashow Park in Quarteira, Ponta da Piedade.Interesting cities: Albufeira, Lagos, Lagoa
|Attractions in Guarda: Guarda Cathedral, Serra da Estrela Natural Park, Guarda Museum, Tower of Homage, Gouveia Regional Museum.
|Attractions in Leiria: Leiria Castle, Leiria Cathedral, Nazaré Beach, Batalha Monastery, Alcobaça Monastery.
|Attractions in Portoalegre: Portalegre Cathedral, Portalegre Tapestry Museum, Serra de São Mamede, Marvão Castle, Cabeço de Vide Archaeological Museum.
|Attractions in Setúbal: Arrábida Natural Park, Alcácer do Sal Monastery, Setúbal Archaeological Museum, Sado Estuary Natural Park, Setúbal Cathedral.
|Viana do Castelo
|Attractions in Viana do Castelo: Viana do Castelo Cathedral, Serra de Arga, Cabedelo Beach, Viana do Castelo International Region Museum, Viana do Castelo Provincial Museum.
|Attractions in Vila Real: Vila Real Cathedral, São Gonçalo Monastery, Peneda-Gerês National Park, Vila Real Archaeological Museum, Douro Museum.
|Attractions in Viseo: Viseu Cathedral, Grão Vasco Museum, Serra da Estrela, Lamego Castle, Casa da Ribeira.
|Attractions in Santarém: Santarém Cathedral, Vasco da Gama Bridge, Convent of Christ, Castelo do Bode Lake, Tejo National Park, Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima.
|Tourist attractions and interesting places
|Interesting cities: Flores.Islands in the Azores archipelago: Corvo, Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Graciosa, Terceira, São Miguel, Santa Maria
|Attractions in Maderze: Cable car from the botanical garden, Garajau Natural Reserve. Cities in Madeira: Funchal, Machico, Santana, Porto Moniz, Câmara de Lobos.Other islands in the Madeira archipelago: Porto Santo.