starting at €300 total, not per person
• 4-hour private driving & walking tour
• skip ticket lines
• our guides take you inside the monuments
• reservations required
castelo de S. jorge
the best palaces for short visit
This casual half-day tour explores 2 opulent palaces, gardens and the Sintra Village, which allows guests to enjoy part of their day touring other sights. Discover the mystical hilltops of this UNESCO world heritage site with our unique driving and walking tour. This Sintra tour offers an efficient way to discover the fairytale palaces and most opulent of the Sintra palaces which still entertain presidents and foreign dignitaries from around the world world. Today, the gardens and opulent palaces are a surreal mixture of history and fantasy for the curious to explore. The two palaces we visit are enormous, but we make the most of them within a half-day tour.
The Sintra National Palace (Palácio Nacional de Sintra), is the best-preserved medieval royal palace of Portugal, and dates back to the times of the Morrish, North African Muslim occupation which started in the 8th century. The palace today mostly dates from the 14th century with monarchs added their modifications over the centuries, creating a fascinating mix of different architectural styles that include Moorish, Portuguese-Manueline, Gothic and Mudejar. The lavish interior of the palace is built around a courtyard. The grandest room is the Swans Hall (Sala dos Cisnes), with a dazzling mosaic-like ceiling. The decorative hand painted tiles, (Azulejos ) that adorn many of the rooms are a beautiful representation of how Portuguese and Spanish artisans became masters of this art form. Discover the stories of mad King Afonso VI, forced to live without leaving the palace for 7 years. In the Magpie Room there are clues to the philandering king John I. On the ceiling of The Coats-of-Arms Room a conspiracy against the life king Joseph I is revealed, and much more.
The Pena Palace Estate spreads over 200 hectares of mountainous terrain, but we focus our time inside of Pena Palace. Learn how the Palace, was created through the dreams of “The Artist King”, Dom Fernando II, sparing no expense in the creation of his colorful castle. The architect was Baron von Eschwege who worked with the king's visions to reinvent the abandoned ruins of a monastery into something that would rival the Castles of Bavaria. The result is an architectural offspring of many styles including Moorish, Gothic and Portuguese Manueline mixed with the Wagnerian designs of the Schinkel Castles of Central Europe. It is fanciful to an extreme, and there are oddities that need to be explained inside.
The Sintra Village is a charming medieval hamlet which today is lined with shops selling handmade artisanal items from all over Portugal. The village offers a commanding view of the Sintra Valley, National Palace and Moorish Castle. If time permits guests can visit the Piriquita Cafe to enjoy Travesseiros, a local phyllo-pastry filled with warm almond paste.
why do we use a dedicated driver and a separate guide?
We provide a luxury modern vehicle with heat and air conditioning, a driver, and an official guide who can take guests inside the palaces of Sintra. Unlike budget tour operators, our guides won’t leave you to wander the interior of the vast palaces on your own with no explanations of what you are seeing. Many budget tours of Sintra have the guide double duty as the driver. This is something we would never do, and you will have a dedicated driver for 3 reasons.
The Sintra National Palace:
The iconic palace of Sintra, a dizzying labyrinth of architecture for over 900-years.
A dream-based palace built by D. Fernando II, “The Artist King”.
Historic Sintra Village:
A magical village and palace and a mecca for Romantic Era writers for the
Serra Mountains of Sintra: Discover the beautiful landscape as we traverse the hills.
Optional tasting of Ginjinha:
A cherry liquor of Portugal, and a stop at the famous Cafe Periquita for a Sintra
Travesseiro, (puff pastry filled with warm almond paste).
Beware of budget tours
We use authorized guides, and you will go to the front of ticket lines. Many budget tour operators do not take their guests inside the palaces of Sintra, because they do not have authorization to speak inside as guides, and they cannot skip the ticket lines. They will simply park outside and wait while guests wonder the inside of the palaces and gardens on their own.
We will always be able to skip the ticket lines, but it is impossible for any guide to move head of the crowds passing through the palace chambers.
December 25 and 31
*We are happy to offer this tour on Sundays, but please be aware of some shop closures in Sintra's historic village on Sundays.
The village of Sintra is very small and the shops are not a major part of the tour. However, for those who plan to visit handicraft shops and cafes of Sintra, Sundays are not advisable tour days.
1. We don't want our guests to wait for a guide to find a parking place before they lead guests inside the palaces. Parking
in Sintra can be hectic and there are often waits during the high season.
2. We don’t want our licensed and insured drivers to be distracted by conversations with guests. Because Portugal has
the highest accident fatality ratio per capita in the EU, it is very important that we keep our guests safe on the narrow
mountain roads of Sintra, while our guides explain the sights, culture and landscape.
3. The weather conditions in the Atlantic mountain, micro-climate of Sintra are very unpredictable, we encourage guests
to bring windbreakers and umbrellas, because the temps can vary dramatically from Lisbon, and the climate can
change very quickly bringing rain, winds, fog, or even hail. We like our guests to have the convenience of leaving their
unused personal items, like packs, coats, or umbrellas inside of the vehicle with the driver monitoring it all times.
Vehicle burglaries are common in the parking lots of monuments in Portugal.
A tasting of Ginjinha, a cherry liquor of Portugal.
A stop at the famous Cafe Periquita for a Sintra Travesseiro pastry, (puff pastry filled with egg cream and almond paste).
Skip the ticket lines with an official tour guide.
Round-trip transfer in a luxury vehicle with a dedicated driver at all times.
Authorization to enter sights.
90% downhill and stairs with upstairs and inclines. 10% in vehicle. No elevators available. Some cobblestones and unpaved paths on tour route. Must be able to walk for 1-hour without resting.
Wear comfortable athletic shoes. Bring windbreakers or umbrellas.
There are stops for clean restrooms, and food & beverage breaks if needed.
Hotel, apartment, or ship dock.
Meetings at hotels or apartments located outside of Lisbon can effect tour price because of fuel and time expenses.
7-days a week, year round.
Morning: 8:45am only
There are no later start times because crowds become unruly around the late-morning hours.
Entry fees vary by season and age, but average a total of €20 per adult for all the sights we visit. There are senior and student ticket discounts as you enter. Children under 6 years have no ticket fee.
Ticket fees are additional.
Audio headsets when required in palaces for parties of 6 more more. Price €1.50 per person.
Food and beverages.