Discover the Best Walking Tours in Sintra

Today we share our thoughts on walking tours in Sintra because we think discovering this magical place on foot is the best way to see its beauty. Sintra is akin to a fairy-tale-like village that takes you back to another era. Even if you have only a few days in Lisbon, we don’t think you should miss Sintra. It’s one of the most enchanting villages in Portugal.

Located just 30km away from the capital, Lisbon, Sintra’s breathtaking landscape and palaces received UNESCO World Heritage status in 1995. The area is jam-packed with some of Portugal’s most unique architecture, from Romanticism and Neo to Manueline.

So let’s go see the southwestern Europe village that the poet George Byron called “Glorious Eden” and discover the most popular places for sightseeing in Sintra.

Discovering the Key Sites in Sintra

When choosing a walking tour of Sintra, try to ensure it includes some or all of the following spots.

Sintra’s Historical City Center

At the foot of Monte da Lua (528 meters above sea level), the picturesque historic center of Sintra deserves some time in your itinerary. Get lost in its narrow streets, dine at its quaint restaurants, and traditional pastry shops.

Sintra Old Town

Be sure to not miss the specialties of Sintra, the delicious travesseiros, and queijadas at Casa Piriquita.

The National Palace of Sintra

Once home to the Portuguese royal family, the National Palace is considered the oldest Portuguese palace (they built its first version around the 10th or 11th century). Almost all the kings and queens live there until 1910.

Sintra-National-Palace
Sintra National Palace

Expanded over the centuries, the building has several architectural styles, the most important of which are Gothic and Manueline in style.

Quinta da Regaleira

A 4-hectare property located close to the historic center of Sintra, Quinta da Regaleira is filled with gardens, lakes, caves, enigmatic constructions, and a beautiful palace, built between 1904 and 1910.

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Entrance to Quinta da Regaleira

During your visit, do not miss the Initiation well, the Ziggurat Tower, the Cascata Lake, the Regaleira Tower, the Caves da Leda and Labyrinth, and the Chapel of the Holy Trinity.

The Moorish Castle (Castelo dos Mouros)

The Moorish Castle, located between rocks and on cliffs, is a fortress built in the 10th century during the Muslim occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. After the Christian reconquest, the castle was expanded and even housed a medieval village until the 15th century. From here you can sightsee a spectacular view that goes from the village of Sintra to the Atlantic Ocean.

Pena Palace (Palácio da Pena) and Park

In 2007 Palácio da Pena was named one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It was built between 1842 and 1854 on the ruins of the São Jerónimo monastery, which was acquired (along with the surrounding forest) in 1838 by King Fernando II of Portugal.

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Palácio da Pena

During your visit, in addition to discovering the Palácio da Pena, get lost in its magnificent wooded park where the highest point (Cruz Alta) of Serra de Sintra is located (528 meters above sea level). From here you will see Lisbon, Cascais, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Pena National Palace.

Monserrate Palace (Palácio de Monserrate) and Park

In 1846, the English merchant Francis Cook bought the Monserrate property and built a magnificent palace with Gothic, Moorish and Indian influences. He gradually built one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in Portugal. The park and palace opened to the public in 2010, but they did not complete restoration work on the interior of the palace until 2016.

Learn more about these sights in our detailed guide to the Castles of Sintra

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Our Favorite Walking Tours in Sintra

Why choose Sintra tours by experts rather than bus tours or free walking tours?

Wherever you go in Sintra, a lot of walking will be involved. None of the attractions in Sintra are small, since the palaces are expansive, and most include extensive grounds that involve some hiking, with perhaps a short bus trip in between.

To save time working out your path, we suggest you should join one of the walking tours below. Having an experienced guide show you around will make your trip to Sintra much more enjoyable.

Guided tours are a brilliant choice because:

  • Your tour guide will tell you all about the rich history of each of the attractions
  • They know which attractions to visit, the best order of stops, and when and where to include rest stops.
  • Guides know how the best entrances and exits, the fastest route around the extensive properties, and the shortest distances between the palaces.

However, Sintra is not just a historic center, hiking tours of Sintra are extremely popular because of the many exquisite former royal parks. Enjoying these can take a whole day, so your guide will show you the most incredible bits before giving you just enough time to explore on your own.

If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of travelers that choose one of these day trips from Lisbon, know that there’s no such thing as a ‘short walk’ on a day trip in Europe!

You can certainly opt to save a few Euros on the difference between one of the free walking tours and a paid tour (especially if you’re in Sintra for a few days), but check our favorite walking tours below. Compared to free tours, these expert-guided tours can save you time and energy, and help you get the most fun out of your day trip to Sintra.

Kingdom of Love Private Walking Tour in Sintra with a Historian

Key: Free cancellation and refund up to 24 hours | Tour guide (English) | Private Tour | 4 hours

This afternoon walking tour begins in the Sintra center on focuses on the romantic stories of Sintra. Listen to old tales and secret stories told by an expert historian while exploring monuments and gardens. If you want to explore an alternative side of the village, hidden away in the 18th and 19th centuries, personal memoirs and historic documents.

walking tours in Sintra at night
Sintra town

Why take this walking tour?
This is one of the best walking tours for history lovers and those wanting to get off the beaten track. It’s perfect if you have a few days in Sintra and have already seen inside the palaces. Alternatively, you could choose to view them in the morning before the afternoon’s departure.

This tour includes:

  • Historic Center of Sintra
  • Pena Palace (surrounding landscapes, hills, and woodlands)
  • Quinta da Regaleira (surrounding landscapes, hills, and woodlands)
  • Sintra National Palace (surrounding landscapes, hills, and woodlands)
  • Visiting ancient secret romantic meeting-points

Pros

  • Professional historian guide
  • Visiting ancient secret romantic meeting-points
  • Cover more of the beautiful outdoors of Sintra

Cons

  • No inside access to the monuments – make time to see these before your tour or on another day.
  • The route includes several hills and is moderately strenuous. It is not suitable for anyone with mobility difficulties.

Sintra: Walking Tour with Palace, Castle, and Old Town Visit

Key: Free cancellation and refund up to 24 hours | Tour guide (English, Portuguese) | Private tour | 4 hours

What I love about this tour of Sintra is that you can ask your guide to customize it to suit your interests and ability. While centers on exploring the UNESCO landscape of the town and your expert guide and geographer will explain much about the region and its vegetation he also includes a good amount of historical facts and stories. While wandering the paths, you will discover views and aspects not usually seen on standard visits.

Moorish castle-sintra
Moorish castle, Sintra

Why take this tour?
This is one of the best walking tours if you want to enjoy the sights, and get to know not just about the vast and diverse nature of Sintra, but also visit and learn the history behind each monument building you come across on your walking tour.

This is a great choice if you are currently in Lisbon and decide to take a day trip to Sintra. Just go to Rossio Station in Lisbon and there you will board the train to Sintra train station.

What can you see on this walking tour?

  • Historic Center of Sintra
  • Pena Palace and gardens
  • Chalet of the countess
  • Villa Sasseti
  • Moorish Castle

Pros

  • Itinerary planned around your interest and physical ability
  • Professional geographer guide
  • Personalized walkthrough Sintra
  • Skip the ticket line
  • Small-group tour
  • Includes: Snacks, Water

Cons

  • They do not include monument entrance fees

Sintra: Hidden Gems Guided Walking Tour with Pastry

Key: Free cancellation and refund up to 24 hours | Tour guide (English, Spanish, Portuguese) | Guided Group Tours | 3 hours

This 3hr walking tour in Sintra centers on learning about the rich history of Sintra’s Quinta da Regaleira. After a walk through the city center and a taste of famous local pastry, you will spend time at the Palace and its beautiful garden.

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Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira

Why take this walking tour?
This is one of the best walking tours if you want to enjoy want to deep dive into the fascinating Quinta da Regaleira, with all of its attractions. Learn about the Templars and Freemason symbols and legends. The tour offers plenty of time to rest, as well as free time to discover on your own.

Where the walking tour begins:
Meet at Sintra train station making this another good choice if you are currently in Lisbon and decide to take a day trip to Sintra. The trip from Rossio Station in Lisbon to Sintra train station is straightforward.

What can you sightsee on this walking tour?

  • The historical center of Sintra
  • Visit the famous pastry shop Piriquita (eat the included travesseiro here)
  • Walk by the Moorish fountain
  • See the outside of the Palace of Seteais (the oldest hotel in the Iberian Peninsula)
  • Extensive visit to Quinta da Regaleira and gardens, tunnels, and wells

Pros

  • Small-sized group allows you to avoid crowds
  • Tasting of Sintra’s traditional pastry Travesseiro
  • Two departures per day, morning and afternoon.

Cons

  • Quinta da Regaleira entrance fee is not included

Not suitable for: People with mobility impairments

Private Sintra Night Walk: “Dreams in the Woods”

Key: Free cancellation and refund up to 24 hours | Tour guide (English) | Guided private tour | 4 hours

Spend the day exploring the streets of Sintra’s historic center and then, after dinner, join this private 4 hour night walk around Sintra. Over 3.5 miles (or 6 km) you will hear dazzling tales of Sintra’s history, including a brief excursion into the dark of the mountain.

Evening in Sintra

Why take this walking tour?
If you are someone who enjoys storytelling and seeing a different side of the city, this is a fabulous choice. It’s a fun way to see another side of the town.

What can you experience on this tour?

  • Discover European medieval beliefs in Sintra’s history
  • Experience the mysterious aura that surrounds Sintra’s history

Pros

  • A passionate Historian guide
  • Hear legends and tales of those who lived in Sintra
  • Experience the silence and beauty of the city when the day visitors have left

Cons

  • Need to be comfortable walking in low light

Not suitable for:

  • Children under 12 years
  • Those with limited mobility

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