Best Day Trips from Lisbon: Sintra Cascais Natural Park

Portugal is a small country and it is easy to get around. That is why Lisbon can make an excellent base for day trips. There are so many beautiful places to see in Portugal, and most of the best are day trips from its capital.

Among the most interesting places you can see in a day trip from Lisbon is Sintra. The city of Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the beautiful Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and for Cabo da Roca, but also for several architectural & historical gems, like the Castle of the Moors or Pena National Palace.

Castle of the Moors. Sintra, Portugal

Photo: Castle of the Moors. Sintra, Portugal.


In Lisbon’s close surroundings you can find picturesque towns, UNESCO world heritage sites, some beautiful beaches, amazing viewpoints right on the Pacific Coast, hikes, surf spots, and much, much more!

A visit to Sintra is enjoying landscapes with a unique charm and know a little more about Lisbon surroundings. Besides, near Sintra you will encounter tourist sites that worth a visit. Such places can be the town of Cascais or the exciting Cabo da Roca from where you can see wonderful views over the Atlantic Ocean.

Sintra palace kitchen

Photo: Sintra palace kitchen.

Best day trips from Lisbon

Beyond Lisbon there are several day trip options. Some of the best-known tourist destinations can be reached within an hour, either by car, bus, or train. Surrounding Lisbon there are ancient castles, sumptuous palaces, and many other historic monuments waiting to be discovered.

Old House in the Forest of Sintra

Photo: Old House in the Forest of Sintra.

Whether you are heading North or South from Portugal’s capital, discover the best places to visit from this list:

Quinta da Regaleira. Sintra, Portugal

Photo: Quinta da Regaleira. Sintra, Portugal.


The city of Sintra is placed in the middle of a forest and therefore boasts several colorful castles and parks. Every castle here has a lovely garden, so take your time to tediously admire each one.

You will love walking around the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, which is where the fortress is. The views from this hill are memorable. Besides, if you are a history buff or a nature lover, you will need more than a day to see each corner.

Because of its castles, Sintra inspires the imagination. Pena Palace, the Moorish Castle, Quinta da Regaleira, and others amazing places call to be explored.

The perfect mix between nature and architecture in Sintra is stunning

The Palace of Pena. Sintra, Portugal

Photo: The Palace of Pena. Sintra, Portugal.


This small town, located in the middle of nature, hosts a historic city center and a wide collection of historic castles, most of them UNESCO world heritage monuments.

Here are the best things you can do in Sintra:

Quinta de Regaleira. Sintra, Portugal

Photo: Quinta de Regaleira. Sintra, Portugal.

Praia das Azenhas do Mar. Sintra

Photo: Praia das Azenhas do Mar. Sintra.


If you’ve ever seen any of the brightly colored, Disney-like images lately, it´s very possible that they were snapped in Sintra.

Located at the top of a mountain, this fantasy palace is mixing Gothic, Manueline, Moorish and Renaissance styles and creates one of the best examples of European Romanticism. It has some watchtowers of various shapes and one of the gateways is protected by the half-man half-fish Triton.

Pena Palace from Portugal is colorful, lively, vibrant and very eclectic

Pena Palace. Sintra, Portugal

Photo: Pena Palace. Sintra, Portugal.

The Palace of Pena is the most visited castle from Sintra

Quinta de Regaleira. Sintra, Portugal

Photo: Quinta de Regaleira. Sintra, Portugal.

Pena Palace (or the Palace of Pena) is the bright yellow and red palace in the middle of the Sintra mountains and it is a delightful sight. Many tourists visit Sintra only for this castle.

It takes about 2 to 5 hours to explore all its beauty and hike the palace gardens or the park. If you want to fit everything in a day trip, consider cutting the hike or walk at the park. Instead, you can go for a short stroll.

Pena Palace: Sintra best-known castle

Photo: Pena Palace. Sintra best-known castle.

Cascais in Portugal

Cascais is among the most luxurious seaside cities in the world. The Portuguese Royal family has chosen it over 100 years ago to chill by the beach, and soon after the rest of the aristocrats followed. This may be a very good reason why a day trip to Cascais from Lisbon is a must. This big city goes along several sandy beaches, so you may spend several hours walking about and discovering new places.

Don´t hesitate to enjoy a shopping evening in Cascais town center, and to eat some delicious seafood in the best restaurants in the region.

Cascais is the most famous resort city from Portugal

Photo: Cascais is the most famous resort city from Portugal.

Sintra Cascais Natural Park

Home to some natural treasures and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Sintra Cascais Natural Park is a place that everyone should visit at least once in a lifetime.

Sintra Cascais Natural Park is one of the 13 amazing natural parks all across Portugal

Sintra Cascais Natural Park

Photo: Sintra Cascais Natural Park. Vlaimer. Adapted under license (CC BY-SA 3.0)

When visiting this unique attraction, you will have many choices of things to see and do. Here there are endless sites to discover, from protected UNESCO World Heritage Sites to some amazing natural wonders.

Rocks next to the ocean in Cascais Portugal

Photo: Rocks next to the ocean in Cascais Portugal.


Among the best places to see in Sintra Cascais Natural Park you will find:

  • Sintra Town: The most important destination is, of course, Sintra town and the mountain of Sintra (Serra da Sintra). This region is a UNESCO listed site. The area combines a beautiful forest with parks, ruins and unbelievable castles.

  • Cabo da Roca: the most Western point of Europe is home to stunning cliffs and unbelievable coastline.

  • Cascais & the South Coast: Cascais is the most famous resort city from Portugal. This is where you can find the ‘Lisbon Beaches’.

  • The West coast of Sintra Cascais National Park: here you encounter awesome beaches of great variety. Be sure not to miss Magoito, which is one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal.

  • Inland: If you like avoiding tourists, then head off the beaten tracks. Choose the small roads and discover incredible valleys, farms, a few windmills and abundant wildlife.

Cascais in Portugal

Photo: Cascais in Portugal.

Quinta da Regaleira

This Quinta in Portugal is designed with its enigmatic buildings, which may hide symbols related to alchemy, to Masonry, the Knights Templar, and to the Rosicrucian’s. The architecture of this palace reminds of Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and the Manueline architectural styles.

Quinta de Regaleira. Sintra, Portugal

Photo: Quinta de Regaleira. Sintra, Portugal.

Quinta de Regaleira is a UNESCO World Heritage site

The gardens in Quinta da Regaleira are incredibly ornate. Set on a hillside, they have many fountains, a chapel and an aquarium, statues and caves, and the ponds are connected both above ground and by a series of underground tunnels.


Cabo da Roca means “the edge of the world”. This is the westernmost place of continental Europe. So, it’s definitely one of those places that you can boast about: ‘I went to the westernmost point of Europe´.

This edge attracts tourists to its shores because the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean touch the sky and make it so amazing to look at.

The area is very isolated, but it is the sound of the waves crashing against the huge cliff that attracts thousands of visitors year-round.

The views here are incredible, and there are very few places like this in the world.

Cabo da Roca is the Westernmost point in Europe

Cabo da Roca: The edge of the world and the end of Europe

Photo: Cabo da Roca. The edge of the world and the end of Europe. Ввласенко. Adapted under license (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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Sintra’s charm is mainly due to its fascinating past, and this attracts more and more international visitors every year. Walking or visiting this area makes it impossible not to be impressed by its architectural attractions gathered is such a small territory.

Sintra is a must on any Portugal itinerary. Sintra´s Natural Park is not only home to many castles and some architectural wonders, but the whole region has a lot to offer.

Whether you come here to explore Pena Palace, to surf the waves, or to hike hiking the trails, there is something for everyone in Sintra.

Old art. Sintra

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