Only a 40 minute drive outside of Lisbon, Sintra is a must see town and I am going to make it really simple for you and point out three top spots to visit as well as a tip on how to get there.
1. Quinta da Regaleira
Owned by many families since the 1800s and now belonging to the town of Sintra, Quinta da Regaleira is an estate consisting of a palace, chapel, and park and it is the park my friends and I spent most of our time exploring. Full of caves, grottoes, and dirt pathways you feel like you are a kid again on some epic adventure. We searched for secret passageways and traversed through pitch black caves and didn’t care for a minute that we were getting lost. With nature at every turn it was a beautiful escape.
2. Pena National Palace
This palace sits on top of a hill that overlooks all of Sintra. You could hike up to the very top but if you are not training for a marathon or are not Superman, then it is probably best to drive up there. Vibrant colors and romantic architecture distinguish this former home pf Portugal’s kings and queens. You may walk through the lavishly decorated state rooms and peek inside the bedrooms but the view of Sintra from the palace balcony is the cherry on top. On a clear day, you can see lush green and deep blue across an infinite distance – a breathtaking view.
3. Cabo da Roca
Sometimes you should just sit on a rock and look at the view. Cabo da Roca was hands-down my favorite spot to do just this and is worth a stop on your drive back into Lisbon. Cabo da Roca is the western most point in Europe and has the most unbelievable views of the ocean that I have ever seen. The view was made even more gorgeous with the sun’s rays reflecting onto the water. My friends and I sat on a ledge looking out towards all of this and were completely still. Moments like that gave me perspective on just how important my travels were.
So how did we drive around to all of these places? All thanks go to Traveller’s House hostel in Lisbon. The staff was so incredibly friendly and proud to share their favorite restaurants and sites. They organized the whole day trip to Sintra and our guide and driver Pedro was awesome. He was a young twenty-something just like us so he became a friend eager to know us and teach us about the culture and history of Sintra. If you are looking for a place to stay in Lisbon, your visit will be exceptional if you bunk at Traveller’s House and let them show you everything Portugal has to offer.