kami

Can't live without travels! Wherever she goes she always looks for alternative spots or street art. A huge fan of Central Europe and off the beaten path places and a living proof that you can balance full time job and extensive travel!

A perfect day trip from Lisbon – Sintra and Cabo da Roca

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I like when the city I visit has much more to offer than its beauty and cool vibe. When the great attractions wait outside of it too. And such is Lisbon. The capital of Portugal is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and exploring it properly takes at least few days. But despite all the awesomeness that the city has to offer no one can leave it without visiting Sintra, a nearby town that has been a beloved destination for kings and now is a favorite place for numerous tourists. No surprise as this little gem makes a perfect day trip from Lisbon!

I could have taken a train to Sintra, it departs right from the train station where my hostel was located. But I’ve learnt along the way that even if I really enjoy the independent travels sometimes an organized day trip is just the best option. Not only I don’t need to worry about the public transport, that usually is pretty limited off season, but I can see and learn more that way. I did it few times before (in Israel or in South Africa) and I figured it’s just not worth to be a smart pants sometimes, the one I know it all and can do it better. And so when Lisbon Destination Tours – the sister company of the awesome hostel I was staying at –  offered me a day trip to Sintra and Cabo da Roca I didn’t hesitate at all!

daytrip to Cabo da Roca
daytrip to Sintra
It was my second visit to Sintra but this time I fully understood why over the centuries so many people has fallen for this little town.  Even if it’s so close from Lisbon, just some 30 kms away, the place feels completely different. Lush forests on the surrounding hills and incredibly beautiful mansions make Sintra look kind of mysterious and unreal. And so incredibly charming! Even the climate is different here! While it was warm and sunny day in Lisbon, Sintra was much colder and kind of gloomy.

daytrip to Sintra
It’s incredible how many amazing monuments can be found in such a small town. Every second house and mansion brings your attention with the unique details and certain beauty. On top of that there are palaces, so magnificent they take a breath away. The Palacio Nacional de Sintra, the royal palace dating back to the 11th century, stands proudly in the heart of the town, impressing all the visitors with its weird chimneys. The unique Palace of Pena is hidden high in the hills and with its colorful and fairy-tale-alike look it could easily play in Disney movies. The ruins of the Moorish castle protect Sintra from above and the quirky Quinta da Regaleira is one of the most unique places I’ve ever visited (but more on that later). No wonder Sintra has made it to the UNESCO World Heritage List!

daytrip to Sintra
After getting to Sintra we started our tour with a short walk through Parque da Liberdade – romantic garden full of trees, flowers and plants from all over the world. It took us right to the center of the town, where Palacio Nacional de Sintra stands. And even if it was a random Monday morning at the end of March the place was bustling with tourists. I didn’t expect to see that many of them there, I remember when I was in Sintra 10 years ago in July there was hardly anyone around. Still the crowds didn’t really bother us with seeing the place. And it was just as pretty as I remembered!

daytrip to Sintra
We wandered the narrow cobbled lanes up to the view point from where we could admire red rooftops and Palacio Nacional de Sintra in its full glory. It was best seen from here how the palace was growing bigger and bigger over the years and each part was built in a different style. Further walk took us to the local shop where we could try some Port wine, local jams and cheese (so good!). I’m always a little bit hesitant when it comes to this kind of tastings but this one was really ok, no one pushed us to buy things and we were free to try everything we wanted to. And actually if I didn’t travel with a carry-on only I’d definitely have bought some goodies to bring back home!

daytrip to Sintra
It was time for the highlight of the day – visiting one of the palaces of Sintra. We were free to choose from Palace of Pena, Moorish Castle and Quinta da Regaleira. While most of the people head to the first one I went for the last option. And it was a perfect choice! Quinta de Regaleira lies within a walking distance from the town’s center and it just felt like the most underrated of Sintra’s attractions. The fairly large property is not only the home to a fancy romantic palace and a small yet beautiful chapel but also a maze of paths, tunnels, wells and underground passages. It’s a perfect area to play hide and seek! The whole place was the idea of an eccentric owner Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro who hid here lots of symbols related to alchemy, Masonry or the Knights Templar. I felt like in some sort of amusement park, wandering around and discovering all the hidden spots! I immediately thought of „Goonies”, one of my favorite childhood movies, as Quinta de Regaleira felt really similar to what was shown in this Hollywood production! I wouldn’t be surprised if some treasure is somewhere in there, still not discovered! It was really hard to believe that this whole bizarre place was the idea of one guy who just wanted to have an original summer house…

daytrip to Sintra
daytrip to Sintra
We had two hours to explore Quinta da Regaleira and it was enough to look inside every corner of the property. Once we were done it was time to leave Sintra behind and head to the place I was looking forward the most – Cabo da Roca! I remember very well this westernmost point of continental Europe from my previous trip to Portugal, it was the place that left me speechless the most. Dramatic landscape with high cliffs going steep into the Atlantic Ocean, the sound of crashing waves mixed with whistling wind trembling in my ears. Over these 10 years nothing has changed there and Cabo da Roca again took my breath away! I could easily stand there for hours, staring perplexed at the view – too bad the wind was so strong it was impossible to be outside for more than 15 minutes! Even when I was trying to walk straight I couldn’t, it was that intense.

daytrip to Cabo da Roca
We were slowly heading back to Lisbon. On the way we stopped first at the Devil’s Mouth near Cascais. This unobtrusive point along the coast took many lives away due to the strong currents. The place looked really beautiful and it was really disturbing to think of its tragic faith. Later on we also had a quick break in Cascais – a fisherman town that became an extremely popular holiday destination. Even if it’s super wealthy now the place still has the old times charm and seeing fatigued boats used for fishing is not an uncommon view there.

Cascais
After 8 hours we got back to Lisbon Destination Hostel. I was super tired, mostly because of the wind, but also really glad about the tour. There were only 5 of us and the driver/tour guide – a really cool guy who know everything about the places we’ve visited and answered all of my questions (and I had a lot of them!).We’ve made a really nice group, mix of Polish, Australian, Korean and Portuguese and got along well very quickly. For the whole day I didn’t feel like I have not enough time for one of the attractions, we weren’t pushed to do anything (that sometimes happens on daytours) and I really think we got the most from that day out! I had such a blast on this day trip from Lisbon and I can easily recommend it to everyone visiting capital of Portugal!

daytrip to Cabo da Roca
What was the quirkiest attraction you’ve ever visited? Have you been to Portugal? Would you like to visit Sintra and Cabo da Roca?


Sintra Tours depart on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from Rossio train station where the Lisbon Destination Hostel is. It lasts the whole day (8 hours) and costs 37.50€. You will get free lunch bag and local products tasting, however the entrance to the Sintra attraction of your choice is not included. I was invited for the complimentary tour by Lisbon Destination Tours however all the opinions remain 100% mine.


In Lisbon I’ve stayed in the Destination Hostel, located at the Rossio train station in the heart of the city, and until now it was the best hostel I’ve ever stayed at! If you’re going to Lisbon you should definitely sleep there too, here you can book your stay. Are you interested in some other accommodation options? Take a look here!


If you think of visiting Portugal or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it:


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6 Kwi '15

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There are 39 Comments.

  1. Fabolous place!!!
    KasiaN latest post…Florencja – wśród mumii i sarkofagówMy Profile

  2. I can definitely see why you had such a blast on this trip! Sounds like you met a great bunch of people, too! :)
    Alli latest post…Sweet As! Ultimate Packing List for New ZealandMy Profile

    • kami
      16:52 03/05/2015

      I did, it was a perfect bonus to a great day anyway :)

  3. 20:14 07/04/2015

    This sounds lovely, and I totally agree with you abut how sometimes it’s just so much nicer to take an organised trip so you don’t have to worry about working out all the train timetables and so on! Can you believe that even after being in Lisbon for a whole month, we still didn’t manage to visit Sintra! Shame on us! Next time, right?!
    Sam latest post…Guide to Eating Vegan in LisbonMy Profile

    • kami
      16:53 03/05/2015

      I really don’t believe! Sintra is like a must when being in Lisbon! but at least you have a reason to go back (not that you need any ;))

  4. Sounds like briliant idea to hava a trip there :) Any tips on the best season to visit?
    Mateusz latest post…Gruzja: zagraliśmy w filmie (chyba) erotycznymMy Profile

    • kami
      16:54 03/05/2015

      I’d say spring or autumn – summer might be way too hot!

  5. I actually am thinking of going to Portugal somewhen soon, not sure exactly when, just that I need to travel some time soon!
    Sammi Wanderlustin’ latest post…Traveller Tuesday with Jenna of Wander the MapMy Profile

    • kami
      16:56 03/05/2015

      Definitely go – Portugal is amazing!!! One of my fave countries in Western Europe!

  6. My
    12:54 08/04/2015

    Excellent photo , the views even more beautiful …

  7. Your post made me want to go to Portugal. I love this country although I spent only one week there! Since I haven’t been to Sintra nor Cabo da Roca I have a reason to come back :)
    Jowita latest post…Jigokudani Snow Monkey ParkMy Profile

    • kami
      17:10 03/05/2015

      you definitely need to go back! both Sintra and Cabo da Roca are pretty great!

  8. Kamila, I have been to Sintra, but skipped Cabo de Roca and now, well, I regret it! By the way, have they improved security after the accident with Polish couple?
    Marcin Wesołowski latest post…Sziraz. W mieście Hafeza, poezji i udanych zakupówMy Profile

    • kami
      17:12 03/05/2015

      there’s a fence around the cliff but it’s really easy to go over it… you definitely need to visit Cabo da Roca next time you’re in Portugal! it’s even better than Sintra!

  9. I regret not visiting Portugal while still living in Europe. Now even more! Thanks Kami! :P
    Tresvodka_Chile latest post…KINO CHILIJSKIE: Allende en su laberinto (2015)My Profile

    • kami
      17:13 03/05/2015

      you’re very welcome :D but seriously, when you get back to Europe you definitely should go there!

  10. Such a cute little side attraction from Lisbon. I love the rocky cliffside dropping into the ocean…I bet one could sit out there for hours enjoying the fresh ocean air and views! :-)
    Ron | Active Planet Travels latest post…Top Secrets to Save you Money While TravelingMy Profile

    • kami
      17:13 03/05/2015

      definitely! I did that when I visited Cabo da Roca for the first time, I just couldn’t stop staring at the view!

  11. Sintra looks straight from a fairytale! I can’t wait for visit one day- love your photos :)

    • kami
      17:14 03/05/2015

      thank you! I really hope you will get there one day!

  12. Ah! Goonies was one of my favorite childhood movies, too! I’d love exploring this place. And that view is amaaazing. Thank you so much for sharing your lovely photos and information with us!
    Lauren latest post…Snorkeling in St Martin: Boat Tour With Soualiga DestinationsMy Profile

    • kami
      17:16 03/05/2015

      thank you for your lovely comment Lauren! Now you really made me rewatch Goonies! I will do that as soon as I get back to Poland! :D

  13. When seeing this, I feel kinda sorry we didn’t get around to visiting Sintra when we were in Lisbon a couple of weeks ago. Did you make it to Belem? Really nice place, too!
    antonette – we12travel latest post…5 magic moments: Rothaarsteig in picturesMy Profile

    • kami
      17:16 03/05/2015

      I was in Belem during my first visit in Lisbon 10 years ago, now I was just passing by. It’s such a lovely area I really regret not having time to go there this time…

  14. Lovely places. I don’t remember much and my holiday in Portugal was ages ago – I need to go back one day!
    Monika latest post…Colours. GreenMy Profile

    • kami
      17:17 03/05/2015

      you definitely should go back! Portugal is still pretty amazing!

  15. Rouven
    12:00 10/04/2015

    Sintra is a great day trip from Lisbon. I went there last October and it was a nice break from Lisboa. I recommend it to everyone who visits Portugal’s capital.

  16. Really does look like the perfect day trip from Lisbon – thanks for sharing Kami! Have wanted to get to Portugal for the longest time now so hopefully it’ll happen soon!!
    Meg Jerrard latest post…Don’t take chancesMy Profile

    • kami
      17:22 03/05/2015

      I really keep my fingers crossed you will get there soon! Portugal is sooooo amazing, I’m sure you’d love it there!

  17. Piękny blog! I wielki podziw za to, że piszesz po angielsku! Profil na FB zalajkowany, więc będę śledzić co u Ciebie nowego! Pozdrawiam!

  18. Great post, thanks for sharing!

  19. Ruth Rogge
    18:42 29/09/2015

    We are here in Lisboa for a month and will do this on our own with the train/bus connection. Live your pictures and can’t wait to go!

    • kami
      22:28 29/09/2015

      Thanks! I’m sure it’s doable with public transport, I did it once too! This time however I was off season and my itinerary was tight so the organized tour seemed like the best option – and it was! Have fun, you will love it for sure!

  1. Pingback: A perfect day trip from Lisbon and the best way to see Sintra – Sintra Day Trips

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