Portugal is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, and fortunately, it is easy to explore the country’s most breathtaking locations by car. Pick up a Lisbon car rental and explore the country at your own pace. Feel free to stop when you want, and take as many photos from the side of the road as you want – as long as it’s safe to stop!
To help you make the most of your trip to Portugal, we have put together the ultimate journey by showing you how to get to Sintra from Lisbon, by car. The beauty of driving is that you can see more of the heart of Portugal, and not be stuck on a train or tour bus as the quaint villages and beautiful countryside flies past. So to help you out, we have included some of Portugal’s most incredible must-see locations along the way!
You can choose to stop wherever you like, whenever you like. That’s the beauty of driving.
Here’s how you can experience one of the best drives in Europe, with this exciting road trip from Lisbon to Sintra:
Known as Portugal’s hilly capital, the hills and cliffs of Lisbon are a great place to begin your Portuguese adventure. Visit the city’s Roman and Moorish ruins, its beautiful plazas, and walk its narrow and old-fashioned cobbled lanes. After you have tasted some of Portugal’s finest foods and enjoyed the vibrant nightlife of the city, the Portuguese countryside awaits you. While you can take a 28 minute direct route through the country to reach Sintra, we think it’s best to maximize the drive and see more of Portugal’s unforgettable landscapes with this rural drive–widely considered to be one of the best drives in Europe.
National Palace of Queluz
Just a 15 minute drive from Lisbon lies the stunning National Palace of Queluz. Designed by Mateus Vicente, the palace is one of Portugal’s most prestigious and recognizable landmarks. Visit the formal gardens, which include the largest collection of English sculptor John Cheere’s work, and often hosts concerts and royal events. Take a moment to tour the palace, and gaze in awe at the lavish interior, which was designed by Jean-Baptise Robillion, and includes a Throne Room which dates back to 1774.
The beautiful seaside town of Cascais, which was once a small fishing village, is a great place to stop and relax during your road trip from Sintra to Lisbon. A top destination for Portuguese holidaymakers, the town is small and manageable for visitors who don’t have much time. Enjoy the town’s great shops, bars, and restaurants in its historic center, as well as a number of beautiful beaches. Try to spend some time exploring the imposing fortress, Cidadela de Cascais, that overlooks the main harbor and marina.
Praia do Guincho
If you enjoy taking part in extreme watersports, or just like to watch them, then Praia do Guincho is the place for you. The beach town is one of Portugal’s most famous destinations for surfing and windsurfing. There are a number of surf and windsurf schools, as well as surf camps, based at the beach. The beach’s large waves and strong currents mean it isn’t safe to swim here, but the incredible sandy beach is ideal if you just want to relax and watch the action. You can also try to spot the location where James Bond rescued Contessa Teresa de Vicenzo from a suicide attempt in the James Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Service, which was filmed on Praia do Guincho!
Cabo da Roca
Visit the westernmost point of northern Europe at Cabo da Roca, the place that Europeans thought was the end of the world until the 14th century! The dramatic cape has always been an important location for sailors and Portuguese people, and it offers spectacular views of the Serra de Sintra. If you have time, or want to stop here for a little bit longer, it’s worth taking a coastal walk along through the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park for more panoramic views.
Azenhas do Mar
Your final stop before Sintra is at the postcard-perfect village of Azenhas do Mar. Located in the Serra de Sintra region, the beautiful cottages are peacefully perched on the edge of the cliffs and slopes. Enjoy the natural rock pool just below the village, where you can spot crabs and other local wildlife. The slow-paced village is a great place to spend some quality relaxing time, and walk aimlessly through the beautiful hilly streets of the village in the evening sun.
You will finish your journey in the unique historic city of Sintra, bordering some of the most beautiful landscape in Portugal. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a hilly, mountainous city that is accentuated by its majestic palaces, pretty shops, pastel-colored houses, and green gardens. There is magic everywhere in the city, so much magic, in fact, that it has been nicknamed the “Disneyland for grown-ups”. You cannot miss the Gothic architecture and white-washed walls of the Palacio Nacional de Sintra in the middle of the old town during your stay here.
Enjoy the Best Drives in Europe with Auto Europe
With the intention of maximizing the sightseeing potential of your next vacation in Portugal, we have created this detailed itinerary of how to get to Sintra from Lisbon, a journey we consider to be one of the best drives in Europe, hands down. Cruise Portugal’s cliff-lined coastlines with a convertible rental in Lisbon, and end your day of driving with a relaxing evening at a luxury hotel accommodation. No matter what your travels may require, from car rentals and international airfare to Portuguese road trip itineraries, Auto Europe can provide you with everything you need to have a memorable vacation abroad.