The Region

The Sintra Municipality is a region just north of Lisbon, previously the longtime summer refuge for the royal family. It is famous for its cliffs overlooking the ocean and its forested hills, windmills, and quaint villages.

From the house you can hike west through forested paths to reach Praia do Magoito beach. Also within walking distance is the village of Magoito, which offers a small supermarket, cafés, and restaurants.

Following footpaths along the cliffs, the next town over south of us is Azenhas do Mar, which is only about an hour’s hike and it’s quite picturesque with plenty of places to enjoy lunch by the sea.

Azenhas do Mar

A longer hike north of of us is Ericeira, which is equally picturesque. For surfers, this is an important destination as Ericeira is famous for its waves.


Bus 1249 runs every hour southeast to Sintra (or by car it’s a 20 minute drive). Sintra has an abundance of restaurants, museums, castles, and other tourist attractions.


The main sites to see in Sintra include the sprawling complex of crazy castle-like buildings that make up Quinta da Regaleira:

Quinta da Regaleira

There’s also the colorful summer retreat of the royals, the Pena National Palace:

Palácio da Pena

And further up the hill is the much older Castelo dos Mouros, first built by the Berbers in the 8th Century:

Castelo dos Mouros

There’s also the Monserrate Palace with its ornate carvings:

Palácio de Monserrate

And further south still you can visit the most western point in continental Europe, Cabo da Roca:

Cabo da Roca

That’s all within a 20 minute drive. Further afield, there is, of course, the city of Lisbon to the south. You can reach Lisbon using Bus 1249 followed by either the Rossio-Sintra or Oriente-Sintra trains.

Alternatively, if you head north, the city of Mafra has the enormous National Palace and library, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Palácio Nacional de Mafra

The next town over lets you hike in the former king’s royal hunting grounds, the Tapada Nacional de Mafra. This is a walled park of 2,000 acres and features lots of wild boar and deer — plus some significant wildlife, such as Bonelli’s eagle.

Tapada Nacional de Mafra

Further north still is the walled city of Óbidos, which is also fun to visit: