How to Eat Your Way in Sintra in One Day

Have you ever been to a wonderland? If you visit Lisbon, don’t miss the chance to go to Sintra to experience the wonderland of Portugal.

Sintra is a long time royal destination, with lush forests and magical palaces. Just 40 mins by train from Lisbon, the now Unesco World Heritage Site offers the perfect haven for a Lisbon day trip.

Because any journey in wonderland should involve food, we put together the perfect guide on where to eat in Sintra in one day!

Article last updated – May 2021
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How to Get to Sintra from Lisbon

First thing, the best and easiest way to go from Lisbon to Sintra is to take the train.

You can catch a direct train departing from the Rossio train station in Lisbon.

There is a train departing every 10 to 20 minutes during the week or every 30 minutes during the weekends from 6:00 am to 1:00 pm.

For more information about the schedule, check the Portugal train website here.

You can buy your ticket directly at the train station and it only cost €2.25 for the 40 minute ride.

You will need to get a Lisboa card which you can pick up at the same time as for an additional 50 cents.

Rossio Train Station to go from Lisbon to Sintra Authentic Food QuestRossio Train Station to go from Lisbon to Sintra

Authentic Food Quest Tip: If you are sightseeing in Lisbon for a few days, consider getting a Lisboa Card. The train ride to Sintra is free and there are additional perks provided with the card. For example, you get 10% off on the Palacio Nacional de Sintra entrance. The card gives you free public transportation in the all Lisbon as well as many free or discounted museums entrance and tours.

Sintra Map: Where to Eat – Things to Do – Where to Stay

Start your day at Cafe Saudade

Start the day with a delicious cup of Portuguese coffee at Cafe Saudade which is located close to the Sintra train station.

This cozy restaurant offers a variety of coffee drinks, including the signature Portuguese style Galão coffee, which is similar to a latte or cappuccino.

Served in a tall glass, it made with half milk and half coffee, perfect for breakfast or with a sweet pastry on the side.

Once fueled up, you can start your exploration including where to eat in Sintra.

CafeSaudade_eatyourwayinSintra_AuthenticFoodQuestA variety of Portuguese coffees to choose from
Galao_eatyourwayinSintra_AuthenticFoodQuestFrothy glass of Galão Portuguese coffee

Things to Do in Sintra – Morning Visit at Palacio Nacional de Sintra

Once fueled up, make your way to the Palacio Nacional de Sintra and be impressed by the two unusual enormous large chimneys.

Located in the center of Sintra, the Palace is an easy 10- 15 mins walk from Cafe Saudade. You can also take the tourist bus 434 that departs from the train station from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, with four departures per hour.

We recommend getting the Hop-on Hop-off ticket for €6.90 per ticket.

With this ticket, you can take a loop from Sintra train station to the main sites and get on and off the bus on your way to the Pena Palace.

You find more information about rates and schedule on the bus website here.

PalaciodeSintra_ThingstodoinSintra_AuthenticFoodQuestThe impressive Palacio Nacional de Sintra overlooking the city

Palacio Nacional de Sintra was built on a site that was once a Moorish castle.

New parts were added over time and it was a favorite with the Portuguese nobility from the early 15th to the late 19th century.

The palace is lavishly decorated with richly decorated rooms, galleries, and corridors.

You will be dazzled by the eclectic blend of Moorish, Gothic, and Manueline architectural styles.

PalatineChapel_eatyourwayinSintra_AuthenticFoodQuesPalatine chapel with elaborate Moorish style and Portuguese Mudejar woodwork

Don’t forget to stop by the kitchen and look up the 33 meter high massive chimneys. This is also where royal banquets were prepared and on display are the original roasting spits and various copper and iron kitchenware.

Kitchen at Palacio de Sintra one of the best things to do Sintra by Authentic Food QuestClaire and Rosemary in the kitchen of the Palace where meals for over 1000 guests were prepared

Recommended Sintra Tour For Food Lovers

If you don’t feel like organizing your trip to Sintra, consider a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra with a local guide. This full day, 8-hour tour will take you on a guided Sintra Palaces tour. And, you’ll also stop at Cabo da Roca and Cascais. This is a fun excursion for food lovers who also love history and culture. 

Gourmet Lunch at a Steal  –  Incomum: The Best restaurant in Sintra

The kitchen visit at the Palacio Nacional de Sintra will leave you hungry.

You’ll be eager to lunch in Sintra and taste the local Portuguese delicacies unique to the region.

For lunch, don’t bother weighing any other options, the menu executivo at Incomum is a no-brainer.

At the best restaurant in Sintra, chef Luis Santos offers a creative cuisine with local products at a defying price of only 11 euros.

Lunch Menu at Incomum

The lunch menu includes the choice of soup or salad, fish or meat, a dessert and a drink. A Portuguese wine, of course is highly recommended.

The price includes the famous “couvert” which is bread, olives and olive oil, that is typically paid for.

You can also choose your meal from the menu or opt for the tasting menu.

Rosemary chose the Bacalhau a bras, one of our favorite ways to eat the famous Portuguese codfish style. I was tempted by the all inclusive menu executivo.

The restaurant is upscale yet accessible with tasteful decor and soft lighting. This one of the hidden gems for where to eat in Sintra.

Incomun_eatyourwayinSintra_AuthenticFoodQuestThe inviting interior at Incomum Restaurant, Sintra

We very much enjoyed the thoughtful touch from the waiter. He brought Rosemary a complimentary tasting of the local specialty, “pig’s ear with polenta”, while I was enjoying my chickpea soup, the starter on the menu.

The Bacalhau a bras, revisited by Chef Luis Santos, was very fresh and tender, prepared with delicious vegetables and the eggs, lightly battered and fried.

BacalhauaBras_eatyourwayinSintra_AuthenticFoodQuestBacalhau a bras with asparagus and olives

With the menu executivo, I had the Portuguese pork also called Iberian pork served with beans, vegetables, and sausages. It was hearty and full of flavor.

We shared the menu executivo dessert, a pie made of almonds with a raspberry jam. Rich and tasty but a tad sweet. It was the perfect size for sharing.

For wines, Rosemary chose a fresh and fruity Vinho Verde, while I had a nice red from the Alentejo region. Both were a great pairing for our Sintra food.

WinesatIncommun_eatyourwayinSintra_AuthenticFoodQuestDelicious Portuguese wines

Things to Do in Sintra – An Afternoon in Wonderland

Perched on the hills is one of Portugal’s fairytale castles. This whimsical building is the magical realization of King Don Fernando II, in the 19th century, also known as the “Artist King”.

Work your lunch off as you make your way up the hills to the Palacio Nacional da Pena.

Stop for Queijada de Sintra at Fábrica das Verdadeiras Queijadas da Sapa

On your way up to the Palace, stop by Fábrica das Verdadeiras Queijadas da Sapa. Since 1756, this is where to eat in Sintra, the famous pastries called queijada de Sintra.

These small sweet cakes are made of a thin shell filled with soft cheese, eggs, sugar, milk and flour. Order at least one of each kind of queijada de Sintra: almond, milk and orange for less than 4 each.

You can also get coffee at this shop where you can admire the view of Sintra in the tea room at the back of the store.

These pastries will make for your reward after the 45 minute hike up. We promise the combination of breathtaking views and delicious pastries to be sublime.

FabricasdeQueijadas_eatyourwayinSintra_AuthenticFoodQuestOne of the oldest pastry shops that once served royalty

Hiking Up To Palacio Nacional da Pena

The hike to Palacio Nacional da Pena will take about 45 minutes. It is a pleasant gradual hike to admire the views of the city and its region.

To do so, follow the signs to the Villa Sassetti. You will walk through the Parque de Sintra up to the base of the Palacio Nacional da Pena.

If your time is limited or your legs need a rest, hop on the 434 bus back at the train station or across the Sintra Palace.

VillaSassetti_ThingstodoinSintra_AuthenticFoodQuestBeautiful gardens at Villa Sassetti

Visit Palacio Nacional da Pena

The Palacio Nacional da Pena is a remarkable example of Portuguese Romanticism architecture.

The fanciful architecture includes a mix of Manueline and Moorish styles.

PalaciodaPena2_eatyourwayinSintra_AuthenticFoodQuestMagnificent colors and architecture at Palacio da Pena
PalaciodaPena_eatyourwayinSintra_AuthenticFoodQuesAnother view of the impressive palance

After your visit, walk around the 85-hectare park, which surrounds the palace. Waterfalls, ponds, pavilions, and exotic plants and trees make this an exceptional place to explore.  

PalaciodaPenaGarden_ThingstodoinSintra_AuthenticFoodQuestThe chapel in the Pena Palace gardens

Authentic Food Quest Tip: We recommend buying the combined ticket which gives you access to both the palace and the park grounds. The park as much as the Palacio da Pena is worth touring and enjoying. Buy your ticket online to skip the line. Be warned that the Palacio can get really busy in high season from the spring to the fall. We recommend going really early or late in the day to avoid the large crowds.

Touring Moors Castle

After visiting the Palacio de Pena, head to the Castelo dos Mouros or Moors Castle.

This Castle is reminiscent of the Moors era in the Iberian Peninsula during the 8th and 9th centuries.

Although the castle was fortified in the 14th century, it was slowly abandoned until 1840. That’s when King Don Fernando II set out to rebuild the castle and make it what it is today.

Surrounded by the forest, the castle stands 412 m above the sea level. The views from Sintra to the Atlantic are breathtaking.

From the castle, the well marked path leads you back to the center of town via the rampa do Castelo and the Calçada dos Clérigos. It takes about 25 mins for the 1.5 miles or 2.4 km descent.

Castelo_dos_Mouros_VitorOliveira_ThingstodoinSintra_AuthenticFoodQuestIncredible views from the Moorish Castle (photo credit - Vitor Oliveira)

Authentic Food Quest Tip: The Castle of the Moors doesn’t get as busy as the Palacio Nacional de Pena. However, if you are visiting in the middle of the peak season, you may have to wait in line to get your ticket. You can skip the line by buying your ticket online.

A Sweet Finish With Sintra Must Eat Desserts at Casa Piriquita

Finish the day at Casa Piriquita and have the two delicious and famous desserts of Sintra. This pastry shop has been “fattening up” royalty and visitors alike since 1862. For where to eat in Sintra, this is one of the most tempting local gems. 

Casa Piriquita eat your way in Sintra Authentic Food QuestCasa Piriquita in Sintra

The famous Queijada de Sintra (if you didn’t try it at the Fábrica) is what got this pastry shop started, and was propelled to success by King Carlos I.

These delicious little pies have a crusty exterior and a soft inner batter made with cheese, sugar, eggs, flour and a little cinnamon. They are not too sweet and have a hint of a fresh cheese taste. Delectable!

Queijadas de Sintra Portuguese Cheese Tarts from Sintra by Authentic Food QuestDelicious Queijada de Sintra

Our absolute favorite and another signature dessert from Sintra and also created at Casa Piriquita is the Travesseiro.  

This dough based pastry, which is long and slender like a “pillow” absolutely melts in the mouth.

We ordered one to share and after the first bite, knew we made a mistake. We quickly ordered a second one because we couldn’t share.

This light pastry filled with almond cream and other secret ingredients is heavenly. As you eat your way through Sintra, don’t miss the Travesseiro dessert.

Keep in mind this is one dessert you cannot share.

Travesseiros Portuguese Puff Pastries at Casa Piriquita in Sintra by Authentic Food QuestHeavenly delicious travesseiro

More Things To Do in Sintra – Quinta da Regaleira

There are many monuments and parks to see in Sintra.

To complete your tour of this wonderland destination, we recommend visiting Quinta da Regaleira.

Located on the outskirts of the city center, Quinta Regaleira was first built at the end of the 19th century.

The romantic property was then acquired by Carvalho Monteiro nicknamed Monteiro dos Milhões or Monteiro the Millionaire due to his vast fortune.

The construction of the Palace as we know it started in 1904 and was completed for the most part in 1910.

Quinta da Regaleira is an amazing romantic palace to explore. Don’t miss the Initiation Well, the surprising caves and the many winding path through the gardens.

It is easy to spend two hours wandering through this vast magical estate.

Quinta da Regaleira one of the best things to do in SintraThe majestuous Quinta da Regaleira (photo credit: Susanne Nilsson)

Recommended Sintra Tour For Monuments Visits

If you would like to explore the four main monuments in Sintra in one day without having to take care of the logistics, consider a Sintra tour with a local guide.

We recommend the Full-Day Private Monuments Tour from Lisbon that gets you to visit the main four main monuments in Sintra.

Consider a Hotel in Sintra To Prolong Your Stay

You’ll be surprised how a day in Sintra can go by so fast. If time isn’t a concern, you should definitely plan on spending at least two days or more at this wonderland.

Explore at your own pace including all the local specialties we’ve highlighted for where to eat in Sintra.

Sintra Boutique Hotel

For a hotel stay consider Sintra 1012 Boutique Hotel.

Located in the historical center of Sintra at walking distance from the train station and the National Palace, you will feel at home in this charming Guest House.

The breakfast included is copious and freshly made every morning.

Prices start at $84 a night for a standard queen room breakfast included.

Airbnb in Sintra

There are some fabulous properties on Airbnb for Sintra. We are big fans of Airbnb as it allows to choose different accommodation styles and have your own kitchen.

This charming stone cottage a short walk from the historical center caught our eyes.

With a private garden overlooking the city, you get to relax after a day exploring the historical sites. 

In the morning, help yourself to a wonderful breakfast with fresh farm eggs, fruits, and more for your day of sightseeing. 

Prices start at $124 a night for the entire cottage.

Have you been to Sintra before? In the comments below, please tell us your favorite part about the visit? 

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96 comments

  1. Great information here! Thank you. I am going to be in Sintra on December 25th and I’m wondering where I can find food to eat since most things will be closed 🙂 Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Denise, thanks for your feedback and so glad you enjoyed the article. Our recommendation would to check the nearby restaurants and see their holiday hours. Sintra is a popular place to visit and there might be some places open. Have fun and check out our other Portugal articles. Cheers.

      Reply
  2. Hi. We are looking for a nice dinner place for 4 in Sintra. We are staying at the Penha Longa which has fab restaurants but are looking for something in town. Could you suggest please?

    Reply
  3. Wow I didn’t know about Sintra but the food looks delicious. I’d love to hike up to see the different buildings. The architecture is very unique and im glad they rebuild the Moore Castle, so cool!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Dylan and glad you got to learn more about Sintra. It is a magical place with lots to see and eat. I do hope your travels take you to Portugal where you can enjoy the stunning architecture and food. Cheers.

      Reply
  4. We are impressed by the architecture and beauty in Sintra and the food is really to droll over. Everything looks so tempting especially the pastry shop and Portuguese coffee. Loved your post and pictures.

    Reply
  5. I loved Sintra! I was so busy trying to squeeze everything into one day I wished I had stayed the night. I did find time to eat a few pastries though lol. I also ‘tried’ a few shots of Ginja from a chocolate cup!

    Reply
    • Yes, Sintra is pretty accessible and a great day trip from Porto (although we would recommend spending a couple of nights in Sintra). The desserts are unique to Sintra and best enjoyed on site. When are you planning your Portugal trip?

      Reply
  6. We are so sorry we missed Sintra when e visited Lisbon. But a great reason to head back. Starting the day with a Galao coffee is the perfect idea. Good idea to take the tourist hop on hop off bus up to the top. And to get the combined ticket for the palace and park grounds. Your lunch at Incomum looked like a great way to enjoy a little downtime before continuing your exploration of Sintra.

    Reply
    • Bummer that you missed Sintra…though that is a perfect reason to go back. The chance to visit this extraordinary city is worth it. Keep the itinerary in mind for when you finally make it back to Portugal 🙂

      Reply
  7. This post really brought back the memories. I was in Sintra in 2012 and really loved exploring the palace and the moorish castle. I cant remember where I was eating, some sort of small restaurant near the pena palace but I do remember how good the local wine was. One of the highlights of the day that was. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Unfortunately, I’ve missed Sintra when visiting Lisbon, but it’s on the bucket list for the next round. I know about the benefits of the Lisbon Card when it comes to the city transportation, but didn’t know that it also includes Sintra trip. Thanks for the tip. 😉
    My mouth watered when I read about the lunch menu at Incomum. Fish and deserts are always good idea in Portugal, so I’d definitely visit the restaurant, sounds delicious and affordable.

    Reply
    • You are most welcome about the tips about Sintra. There is so much to see and do, and when you go back to Portugal again, we definitively recommend staying more than one night 🙂 So glad you enjoyed the article.

      Reply
  9. I love prix fix meals and that one looks perfect especially when you are touring and it is in the right location and your hungry. What a great tour, I definitely would do everything you recommend and would love to go back to Portugal and visit this city.

    Reply
  10. Sintra is always on my wishlist and it would great to know so many eating out options. I would love to try out Portuguese coffee and some sugary desserts at Casa Piriquita. Thanks for sharing nice eating out options.

    Reply
    • Sintra is a popular destination in Portugal and has been for centuries and with the royal family. It is certainly a destination worth exploring if your travels take you to Portugal. Hold on to this article for your future trip. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Reply
  11. The coffee looks amazing! I love coffee so am always interested in trying new varieties. The castles look lovely. I love castles too so this would definitely interest me 🙂

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  12. Reading about the different foods you guys tried has got my mouth watering! That codfish looks and sounds decadent. I don’t know if you’ve been to Prague, but the different ways they prepare coffee in Portugal reminds me of all the different ways beer is poured in the Czech Republic!

    Reply
  13. Ah I love Sintra so much! I’ve been there once and it was amazing!! I wish I had seen this before our trip – so many interesting places and tasty sounding dishes to eat here!

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  14. I’ve been in Sintra few years ago and I liked it so much. But I have to admit that my favourite part was ginja tasting. White, milk or dark chocolate…I liked them all. 🙂

    Reply
  15. Adding these to the bucket list- especially the Travesseiro! I’m technically a little allergic to almonds, but I always make exceptions for the best desserts ;P. Thanks also for sharing on the Guided Sintra Palaces tour. I love that combination of both food and sightseeing!

    Reply
  16. I’ve never been to Portugal yet, but it’s on my list! My mother in law is Spanish, so it will be interesting to compare the food – your pictures look delicious. I’d love to stay in that quirky stone cottage, it looks idylic.

    Reply
  17. Sintra looks incredible! I’ve seen so many good things about it. Love all the food recommendations and will for sure keep this post for when I can finally make it there.

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  18. This is such a complete guide!! And I love how foodie centered it is. The cheese dessert looks to die for. Portugal is one of those places I HAVE to make it to one day. So many cool things to do even in just one city.

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  19. Fantastic post! I’m going to Sintra 1 day in the Summer, and I will take your recommendations with me. I love to eat while travelling and you’ve found so many delicious treats!!

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  20. I have never been to Sintra! This looks like a beautiful place to visit and all the foods are wonderful, too! I love getting a taste of local and authentic cuisine when traveling.

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  21. Portugese coffee sounds like my way to start the day! And the Palacio Nacional de Sintra does look like a fabulous spot to sightsee. Incomum Restaurant sounds incredible though, and I love that they create amazing food that’s affordable too! €11 euros is a steal for lunch!! I’ve seen photos of the Palacio Nacional da Pena and it really does look as though it belongs in a fairytale. Thanks for this great guide for what to eat and see in a day 🙂

    Reply
    • You are right, all the different preparations for bacalhau are incredible and so fresh. It truly is amazing how something so dried up can taste so good! Indeed, to keep the food recommendations for your next trip. Thanks for stopping by, Fiona.

      Reply
  22. We hardly explored the food scene at Sintra and now I regret. The pastries are so delicious looking 🙂
    The Sintra interiors look grand, my memories got revived seeing them.

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  23. I did not know that Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! I love that coffee by the way, just the way I like to have mine. Since I have a sweet tooth, my eyes always follow sweet food and I couldn’t help noticing how yummy the travesseiro looks (I have never heard of it but it looks yum). Would love to try all sorts of Portuguese food when I am there, thanks for these suggestions!

    Reply
  24. OMG… I swear I am drooling right now:) We were in Sintra 10years or more ago and had some yummy foods (can’t remember LOL). Traditional cuisine is the way to go…. great job and thanks for sharing:)

    Reply
  25. Hope this doesn’t say too much about my food naivety, but I had never really thought about Portuguese food as being outstanding until we toured Thailand with a chef. He told us about how the best flavors we loved from Thai cooking were actually imported by the Portuguese. That opened my eyes. Ever since then, I have been noticing Portuguese cooking and influence every where I look. Sinatra looks like a true fairy tale town, right down to its castle. We are sweet lovers, so it is calling us. We are also coffee lovers and that Galão looks better than anything Starbucks has on their menu.

    Reply
    • OMG, the galao is amazing…much better than anything you’ll find in most places. The Portuguese influence is global, from the age of discovery and it is reflected in the food. If you are sweet lovers, Portugal is your country. Be on the lookout for a future article about the sweets of Portugal soon. It’s amazing how much you learn on food tours…thanks to your chef in Thailand!!

      Reply
  26. We loved the fairytale Pena Palace in Sintra but unfortunately didn’t have time to eat there. We intend to go back in the future because we somehow missed the The Quinta Regaleira and when we do I definitely want to try one of those Queijadas. They sound so good. And I like the look of that coffee poster at Cafe Saudade.

    Reply
  27. Palacio De Pena looks so stunning with those bright yellow and red colors against a blue sky. I am not a much of a food tourist and being a vegetarian comes with its own limitations. How would you rate Sintra for vegetarians?

    Reply
    • Pena Palace is truly amazing. The architecture and colors are unlike anything else. From my experience traveling through food, you’ll always find vegetarian dishes and Sintra is no exception. Go for the architecture and delight in the vegetarian-friendly cuisine!!

      Reply
  28. Your post made me so hungry, I should’ve read it after lunch! Good idea trying the menu executivo at Incomum Restaurant, it’s cheap and if they have local products and traditional recipes, then I’d definitely be up for it!

    Reply
  29. I’ve never been to Portugal before, but I sure do want to now! That Queijada de Sintra looks and sounds like a cheesy version of creme brulee, and I’m all for it. The Palacio da Pena also looks pretty stunning and worth a visit!

    Reply
    • You would love Portugal Rachelle, there is so much to see and do. Sintra is quite exceptional and conveniently located close to Lisbon. The Queijada de Sintra is more like a cake than a creme brulee, and all around divine. The Pena Palace is quite amazing and worth a visit. Hope you get to Portugal soon!!

      Reply
    • You are most welcome, Alicia. It is our pleasure to share the wonderful local Portuguese food in Sintra. The architecture is outstanding and it has the local food scene to go along with it!. Hope you get to visit Sintra soon!!

      Reply
  30. Since Portugal has became pretty popular on the past couple of years, I have read quite a lot about Sintra. Now, it is the first time I read about the food scene there. Seems like you would not have to rough it there! I love those executive / three courses menus (I had several in Spain). The food is good and the price is better. I have not been to Portugal yet but I know I will love the food there.

    Reply
    • That’s awesome that we introduced you to the food scene in Sintra. This is something that we also felt as missing in the midst of all the Sintra information. It truly is a wonderful place to explore and the local dishes are incredible too. Hope you get a chance to visit Portugal and Sintra soon!! Appreciate you stopping by Ruth.

      Reply

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