Travel Diary: Sintra Day Trip

Sintra Day Trip castle

Sintra Day Trip

If you’re planning a trip to Lisbon, I highly recommend setting aside a day to head out to Sintra, which is a picturesque resort town that attracts tourists from all over the world thanks to a wide array of impressive palaces the Portuguese nobility have built here between the 15th and 19th century and is a fairly affordable day trip between train tickets and entrance fees.

Today, I’ll be sharing some photos from Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira, the two spots Victoria and I decided to check out. There are so many other places you can visit in Sintra and I’ll list those for you in the post, as well, so you can figure out which one strikes your fancy. These were just the two that I personally have been lusting over and couldn’t wait to see for myself!


Victoria and I took the train out of the Rossio Train Station in Lisbon to Sintra. Here is everything you need to know if you decide to take the train.


• When you enter the train station, take the escalator up to the second level. You can either wait in line to book your rides by a ticket attendant or you can do it at an electronic kiosk, which is what we opted to do. It was fairly simple but, what we didn’t realize, is that we can purchase ONE ticket with two train rides on it. So, essentially, you book your TO and FROM rides together, and it cost €5. You don’t have to choose the time for your return ticket. You can go back at whatever time is most convenient for you.

• Do not confuse the Rossio Train Station with the Rossio Subway Station. They’re down the street from each other and we definitely made that mistake and missed the original train we wanted to catch.


• Trains literally head to Sintra every ten minutes or so, so missing that initial train wasn’t that big of a deal! The ride from Lisbon takes about 40-minutes.

• Make sure you look up what time the places you are wanting to go to open so you know  The Pena Palace opens at 9:30 am during the Summer months and closes at 7:00 pm. The park is open until 8:00 pm. You also need to take into account that, from the train station, you’ll need to get TO that destination, whether it be Pena Palace, Castle of the Moors or National Palace of Sintra.

It usually takes quite a bit of time to get up to where the ticket office is for most of these places. For example, it’s a 20-minute ride to the Pena Palace ticket office from the train station. You have to wait in the line then there’s about a 20-minute walk UP to the castle itself. So, leave Lisbon EARLY if you’re wanting to hit a lot of places in one day!


• When you get off the train, I would take a taxi to whichever palace you are wanting to venture to. There is also Uber but, honestly, we had a few cancel on us. I’m sure it’s kind of a frustrating place to be an Uber driver. It’s not SUPER easy to get around as there are lots of tuk-tuk’s and tour buses and the roads are all very windy without any short-cuts when there’s a lot of traffic.

I will say, we opted for a tuk-tuk to get from Pena Palace to Quinta da Regaleira but had trouble finding a taxi or a tuk-tuk when we were trying to find a ride back to the train station. We ended up using Uber, but we waited for a good 20-minutes for him to get to us.

What To See In Sintra


Situated atop a hill amidst the beautiful pines of the Sintra Mountains, colorful Pena Palace [and Park] is one of the most popular destinations in Sintra. It is the greatest expression of 19th-century romanticism in Portugal. King Ferdinand II [husband to Portugals’ Queen Maria] purchased what used to be a monastery and transformed it into what you see Pena Palace as today.

We didn’t go on a tour or anything like that. I typically don’t like being tied to things like that if I have other things I want to see in an area. We just bought a ticket to enter the palace and walk around but there are Guided Tour options. You can also purchase your ticket online and get a little bit of a discount.

Entry Fee: €14.00

sintra day trip pena palace

sintra day trip pena palace

sintra day trip pena palace


This estate was built in the early’s 1900’s toward the end of the monarchy’s rule in Portugal. It is known for its Gothic architecture and luscious gardens throughout the property. There are also unforeseen treasures in the wells, tunnels, and towers. The only thing I felt like it was missing were fairies flying around. It seriously felt like I was walking around in a fairytale. It was so beautiful and whimsical.

Entry Fee: €6.00

sintra day trip

sintra day trip

sintra day trip

sintra day trip pena palace

What To Wear In Sintra


One of the reasons the Portuguese nobility were drawn to building their exquisite palaces and mansions in Sintra was because it was at a higher elevation, which offered much cooler temperatures in addition to stunning, sweeping views. With that said, if you’re visiting early-to-mid-Spring, I would recommend a jacket. I’ll let you look at the temperatures and make the distinction on how heavy but it was pretty noticeable how much cooler it was up there, so keep that in mind when you’re packing!


I also recommend wearing comfortable shoes. I am wearing sandals in the photos at Pena Palace, as you’ll see, but I had a tote bag with me in which I stored a pair of sneakers. What you can’t see in these photos are the hills you climb to get the entrance to the palace so keep that in mind! More on what to pack for your trip to Portugal can be found HERE.

What I Wore At Pena Palace

This was one of my favorite outfits from my trip to Portugal. I rarely wear red so I felt a little weird at times, ha. Let me explain. I already attract attention when I have photos taken in busy places like this. But I felt like I was causing even more of a scene, or just attracting even more attention to myself because I was wearing red. Hah!

This midi dress fit me perfectly, which is rare, and was perfect for a hot Summer day, most of which was spent outside walking around, so no complaints! Bring on the stares! I love that it had adjustable straps and the multiple layers of the dress made me feel like I was playing the part of a princess for the day in all of these castles.

My hat is a travel staple of mine. It’s gone on all of my trips and is under $50. These sandals are also highly recommended, not so much for travel, just for everyday use. They’re great and it looks like they were just restocked in the color that I’m wearing! They were sold out for a while!

sintra day trip pena palace

sintra day trip pena palace

So, between the train ticket prices and the entrance fees, Sintra is clearly a fairly affordable day trip destination for all that you get in return! I cannot recommend a Sintra day trip enough! We went on our last full day in Portugal and I don’t think we could have spent it doing anything more worthwhile than this.

Please feel free to leave any questions below that I may have missed! I am happy to help! xo.


Editor's Notes



  1. Rach wrote:

    Sintra is seriously amazing!!

    Published 7.9.18 · Reply
  2. Roses for Fridays | by mia wrote:

    Such a beautiful trip … love ♥️the photos! ????

    ??ROSES FOR FRIDAYS ??| by mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

    Published 7.9.18 · Reply
  3. Jennifer wrote:

    I want to gooooo!! I need more friends who want to travel! You are so lucky to have Whitney and Victoria! That palace is gorgeous!!

    Effortlessly Sophisticated

    Published 7.9.18 · Reply
  4. Kim wrote:

    I love that dress, and the pink shorts! sounds like an amazing place to visit. Thanks for the tips. I love how detailed your travel posts are!

    Published 7.9.18 · Reply
  5. Kristie wrote:

    This looks like such an awesome day trip! The colors in the architecture is so bold and loud. Love that!

    Published 7.9.18 · Reply
  6. Michael @ Mile in My Glasses wrote:

    Incredible photos Haley! Sintra sounds absolutely magnificent!

    Happy Monday!

    Published 7.9.18 · Reply
  7. Jessica wrote:

    This is amazing! Do you remember any restaurants in Sintra?

    Published 7.9.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Oh yeah! Food slipped my mind! We just ate at the restaurant at Pena Palace [2 out of 5 stars; not my favorite] and then grabbed a quick coffee from a cafe on our way to the train station. So, sadly, we didn’t eat anywhere that was amazing and / or worth making sure you don’t miss!

      Published 7.9.18 ·
  8. Beautiful photos! Sintra is like a dream. I was there as a little kid so I barely remember it. I have to come back soon!

    Published 7.9.18 · Reply
  9. Lauren wrote:

    So magical!

    Published 7.9.18 · Reply
  10. Natalie wrote:

    I’m loving all your photos from this trip! It’s inspiring me to want to branch out of my typical Caribbean beach vacation and go somewhere exotic abroad.

    Published 7.9.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      That makes me so happy! I know it’s harder to venture that far away with the amount of time most people have ‘off’ but, if you can swing it, I think you definitely should! Europe is a gold mine of beautiful places!

      Published 7.9.18 ·
  11. Lauren wrote:

    What size are you wearing in the red dress from Nordstrom? It’s gorgeous and want to order it for my family vacation!
    Thank you!

    Published 7.9.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      I wore an XS! 🙂 xo.

      Published 7.9.18 ·
  12. Looks so beautiful and amazing! Definitely adding to my bucket list. And I love the outfits you chose! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Published 7.9.18 · Reply
  13. Ashley Baca wrote:

    I need that red dress! Such beautiful pics!

    Published 7.10.18 · Reply
  14. Simona Adamcova wrote:

    Oh this place is like from the fairy-tale! It is such an amazing place and you also looked great in a red dress which perfectly fits with the surroundings :))

    Published 7.10.18 · Reply
  15. Chloie Favinger wrote:

    Wow! I love the photos and the helpful travel advice (esp. the timing and potential things that might lead to mix-ups)! Also, you rock the red!!

    Published 7.14.18 · Reply
  16. Aliya wrote:

    Wow what a beautiful place and you are looking very stunning. Thanks for sharing your traveling experience with us. Keep posting .

    Published 7.16.18 · Reply
  17. Whitney wrote:

    Love the photos!! What camera do you use?

    Published 8.16.18 · Reply
  18. Wow what a beautiful place and you are looking very stunning. Thanks for sharing your traveling experience with us. Keep posting .

    Published 11.10.18 · Reply
  19. Marides wrote:

    Hi. I love your photos!! You looked gorgeous. My family and I are traveling to Lisbon in May. We want a photoshoot for my daughter’s 18th debut in Sintra. What outfits should she bring? Will a simple gown with faux fur look ok since her celebration will be in December.

    Published 4.16.19 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Marides! Sadly, I don’t have enough context to understand the shoot and what look you are going for so it’s hard to give you insight into styling. At this time, I do not offer personal styling as a service but I would just encourage you to remember that there are lots of stairs and a lot of walking to get up to Sintra so dressing for comfort first-and-foremost would be something I’d recommend. I’d also say get there early as it’s very, VERY busy and shoots take quite a bit of patience. These photos are beautiful but took about an hour to get them all. It’s important to remember and respect other visitors and not operate out of frustration that there are others around. I always like to remind people of that because I’ve seen people trying to shoot photos getting annoyed with people walking in front of shots but, you didn’t rent out the place so it’s not only yours 🙂 hah, so just keep that in mind! But enjoy and have fun! It’s a great location and backdrop to get some beautiful imagery for a special event and occasion in someones’ life!

      Published 4.16.19 ·