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2 things to do around Lisbon | Sintra and the beaches of Lisbon
If you have any free time left when you visit the beautiful city of Lisbon, you should not miss a day trip to the city of Sintra! Located less than 30 km west of the capital and classified as a world heritage site by UNESCO, this pretty little corner of Portugal is well worth a day trip. Accessible by train or by car from Lisbon, this city is built on the mountains and is full of incredible palaces and monuments to discover.
Also, beside of Sintra, do not miss laying down at one of the beaches around Lisbon. We enjoyed spending a day trip in Sintra and were pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the beaches nearby Lisbon.
How to get there?
Sintra is easily accessible by train from Lisbon. There are connections every 40 minutes or so from the Rossio station (downtown).
Once in Sintra, you will need to take the tourist bus number 434 which will take you to the main sites of the city. The bus follows the following route: Sintra Railway Station (in front of the station) – Sintra Historical Center and National Palace – Moorish Castle – National Palace of Pena – Sintra Railway Station.
This is ideal if you are visiting Sintra for the first time. It costs €3.90 each way or €6.90 each way to do the loop. You can buy your ticket from the driver.
You can also explore Sintra on foot. This will take you to the beautiful Parque da Liberdade in the city center.
What to see in Sintra ?
Built between 1839 and 1885, the National Palace of Pena is, since 2007, one of the seven wonders of Portugal and, above all, a wonder that Portugal presents to the world.
This palace is an architectural mix, with sparkling colors, yellow, red, a real fairy tale castle worthy of Disney!
The Moorish Castle
The Moorish Castle is located just in front of the Palace of Pena, in the Serra de Sintra. It is as if lost in the forest, yet it is also one of the must-see tourist attractions in Sintra. Isolated on its high perch, one of the peaks of the Sintra hills, the Moorish Castle is a fortification founded in the 10th century, when the Moors occupied the Iberian Peninsula.
Its famous walls wind through the hills, their granite blocks connecting the rocks and cliffs.
Its walkway offers unique and amazing views of the city, the Palace of Pena and, further on, the greens of these hills contrasting with the blues of the Atlantic Ocean.
I advise you to book your tickets in advance for either the Pena Palace or the Moorish Castle on the internet. You will not lose time on the spot, because there are automatic ticket machines, but you can easily wait 30 minutes at least. That would be a shame.
Don’t miss the city of Sintra itself as well. That town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has nice souvenirs shops, restaurants and bars.
In the historical center, two white and conical chimneys rising symmetrically are a famous landmark of the city, symbol of the National Palace of Sintra, also known as Town Palace. Inside, you can visit large painted rooms, all different from each other.
Relax on one of Lisbon’s beaches
You can opt for beaches north of Lisbon like Cascais, which is a popular resort, or you can opt for the south of Lisbon and go to the Costa da Caparica. This coastline is located 20 minutes from Lisbon and is very popular with locals. The beaches extend over 15 km, and the atmosphere changes from one pier to another. The beaches in the center are the most frequented, while the more remote ones are sought after by those who spend the day on the sand.
In the north, you will find the beach of S. João, a little quieter. All the beaches have excellent bars and restaurants in common.
We spent the afternoon at Yamba, a very relaxing beach bar/restaurant with beautiful beachfront loungers. I would recommend this place! 🤩
How to get to the Costa da Caparica?
If you have a car, there is no problem, well, as long as everyone doesn’t try to get out of Lisbon to go to the beach at the same time, because then you can spend a few hours in a traffic jam. But this is the easiest way to get to the Costa da Caparica. By car it should take about 25 minutes.
If you don’t have a car, don’t worry, because there is public transportation that can take you to the beach on a hot, sunny day.
You can choose between the direct bus that leaves from Areeiro in Lisbon and ends at the Costa da Caparica bus station or take a ferry from Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas, then change to a bus at Costa da Caparica.
Getting to Costa da Caparica by bus
The direct bus from Lisbon (Praça do Areeiro) to Costa da Caparica is service 161 operated by Transportes Sul do Tejo (TST by Arriva).
A one-way ticket costs €3.20 and can be purchased from the driver. Unfortunately, TST does not use the Viva Viagem system (Lisbon transport card). The trip takes between 40 minutes and an hour, depending on Lisbon traffic, and ends at the Costa da Caparica bus station, located 500 meters from the beach and 1 km south of the resort center. We went there by Uber, as their cost is not very expensive.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article about a day trip to Sintra and the beaches of Lisbon. Don’t miss my article about Lisbon and about the Algarve region for more inspiration about Portugal. You can also read HERE my Lisbon food guide .