Sintra, Portugal

Sintra was definitely the highlight of the trip for our kids. So glad we decide to spend more than an afternoon here. Castles, castles, castles!
— Sarah Hart
  • More about your oliver guide:
  • Trip type: Family, City
  • Activity level: easy
  • Ideal length of trip: About two weeks

to & from

Lufthansa from SFO/Frankfurt/Porto and back home from Lisbon/Frankfurt/SFO. We wanted to explore as much of the country as we could in 12 days, so rented a car for freedom and flexibility. We ditched our car while in Lisbon, then rented another for the drive south to The Algarve.

stay

  • Villa Mira Longa Guest House: Although easily accessible as a day trip from Lisbon, we were so glad we decided to stay the night in Sintra. The Villa Mira Longa Guest House is quirky, but beautiful, and walkable to everything. Amazing breakfast spread, beautiful garden and lovely hosts. No elevators and family rooms on 4th level, so pack light.

eat and drink

  • Tascantiga: Great for lunch. Amazing tapas with healthy options and something for everyone.
  • INcomum: Amazing octopus. Slightly more formal atmosphere, but the staff was great and welcoming to our kids.

do

  • Quinta Regaliera: An elaborate estate with beautiful, rambling gardens, mysterious caves and secret passages.
  • Pena Palace: The giant, colorful Pena Palace is a short drive or bus ride from town and absolutely worth a visit. We spent the morning here, then hiked a mile or so to the medieval, Moorish Castle.
  • Moorish Castle: Perched high above Sintra, the Moorish castle boasts a fascinating history and incredible panoramic views of Sintra and beyond.

inside scoop

  • Go now! The secret is out, but it’s still a steal by European standards and there are so many amazing spots to explore. Summer in the Algarve sounds amazing for a beach vacation, but we traveled in April and found crowds to be super manageable, and the weather great for exploring.
  • Would love to have visited chic Comporta, but didn’t have time and summer probably a better time.

skip it

Unless you have a die-hard Harry Potter Fan, Porto and the Douro River Valley might be a trip better suited for adults.

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