Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

Day trip to Sintra and Cascais

After my work trip to Spain this spring, I booked two days to explore Lisbon on my own. From Lisbon, I took a day trip to Sintra and Cascais with Lisbon Riders, and it was one of the highlights of my trip. We saw much more than I would have been able to do on my own, and I learned about the history and culture of Portugal from our local guides. Lisbon Riders only takes small groups; there were five on my tour. We left at 9 a.m. from Praça da Figueira and returned to Lisbon around 5 p.m.

Here were our stops along the way:

Pena Palace

Our first destination was the National Palace of Pena, a romantic castle high in the Sintra hills that was built in the 19th century. The roads were narrow and winding, and I was glad I wasn’t driving there myself. After buying our tickets, which aren’t included in the tour, we took a short walk through the grounds on the way to the palace. My favorite part was walking along the ramparts for the views over the valley below. The inside of the palace was packed with tour groups, which made it frustrating to explore. I’d suggest spending your time on the ramparts and walking the grounds instead.

Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

Sintra

After visiting the palace, we were dropped off in the heart of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We had about an hour to explore. I walked along the tree-lined Volta Duche and stopped at a small outdoor cafe near the botanical garden to grab a coffee and eat my packed lunch. I’d suggest bringing some food since there isn’t much time to sit down at a restaurant for lunch. If you do have more time, you could try Ekvilibro, which has gluten-free options.

Sintra, Portugal

Sintra, Portugal

Sintra, Portugal

Sintra, Portugal

Azenhas do Mar

We made a quick photo stop at Azenhas do Mar, a lovely seaside town outside of Sintra.

Azenhas do Mar, Portugal

Azenhas do Mar, Portugal

Cabo da Roca

Then we stopped at Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of mainland Europe. We had about 30 minutes to explore this scenic spot, which was one of the highlights for me. I love a good seaside view.

Cabo da Roca, Portugal

Cabo da Roca, Portugal

Cabo da Roca, Portugal

Cabo da Roca, Portugal

Cabo da Roca, Portugal

Cascais

Our last stop was the resort town of Cascais, where we had about an hour to explore. I visited Santini for its famous gelato and ate my raspberry and cream scoops at the harbor. Alternatively, Cafe Galeria House of Wonders has gluten-free options.

Cascais, Portugal

Cascais, Portugal

Cascais, Portugal

Cascais, Portugal

Cascais, Portugal

Cascais, Portugal

If you have time while you’re in Lisbon, I’d suggest getting out of the city to visit Sintra and Cascais with Lisbon Riders.

(This isn’t a sponsored post; I just really enjoyed my experience and wanted to share it.)