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Lisbon...Sintra or Belem?

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We have 3 days in Lisbon pre-cruise. We’re trying to decide between a tour to either Belem or Sintra. Any thoughts? And, any tour company recommendations?

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We did both. I really enjoyed Sintra. We did it on our own - very easy because the local train runs from Lisbon to Sintra. Belem was nice, too, but doesn't need a full day (imo). And it was very easy to do because it's also on the local train and much closer - it's basically a suburb of Lisbon.

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I agree - you could do both.

Belem is easily reached from Lisbon (Praca da Figueira) via tram #15. It connects central Lisbon's Baixa district with the Belem district.

Many iconic sites are located in Belem:  Jeronimos Monastery (don't miss the cloisters), Tower of Belem, Pastéis de Nat (home of this pastry & simply delicious), Monument to the Discoveries, Botanical Gardens (located behind the Monastery), Belem Palace, Coaches Museum. 

Trains to Sintra run at approximately 30 minute intervals and the journey is about 40 minutes. Info here: http://www.sintra-portugal.com/guides/Lisbon-to-Sintra.html

 

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You can and should absolutely do both!  Sintra is beautiful, we have been twice on two separate trips, both times going to Quinta da Regaleira, where it is truly a pleasure just to wander the grounds.   

 

We've had excellent experiences with We Hate Tourism Tours on multiple tours with them.  Very accommodating, fun tours that run a bit off the beaten path of your typical touristy excursion.  

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On 1/29/2019 at 1:36 PM, lizp said:

You can and should absolutely do both!  Sintra is beautiful, we have been twice on two separate trips, both times going to Quinta da Regaleira, where it is truly a pleasure just to wander the grounds.   

 

We've had excellent experiences with We Hate Tourism Tours on multiple tours with them.  Very accommodating, fun tours that run a bit off the beaten path of your typical touristy excursion.  

We have them booked for a night food tour for our overnight in Lisbon in the fall. Their website is hysterical

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We arrive in Lisbon at 9 am and stay overnight in port. We went to Belem, Monastery do Jeronimo and the statue of the Discoveries on a previous cruise stop, so we think we will try to get to Sintra on our own. We think we can walk from the port to the Rossio train station and take the train to Sintra (2.25 euros each way) and then catch the 434 tourist bus (6.90 euros) outside the station to take us to Pena Palace. Is this a hop on hop off type bus or is it a separate fare for each trip?

Am I right that this will eliminate some (but not all) of the hills? After Pena we want to go to Quinta da Regaleira. Is this a short walk or can we hop on the 434 bus to take us there? Or is that a different bus? Then we would spend some time in the old part of Sintra before taking the same train back to Rossio station and visit the Elevador Santa Justa. Do we have time to do all this? Is there anything else we should do when in Sintra?

Thanks.

Tony

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On ‎2‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 4:26 PM, disneykins said:

 

We arrive in Lisbon at 9 am and stay overnight in port. We went to Belem, Monastery do Jeronimo and the statue of the Discoveries on a previous cruise stop, so we think we will try to get to Sintra on our own. We think we can walk from the port to the Rossio train station and take the train to Sintra (2.25 euros each way) and then catch the 434 tourist bus (6.90 euros) outside the station to take us to Pena Palace. Is this a hop on hop off type bus or is it a separate fare for each trip?

Am I right that this will eliminate some (but not all) of the hills? After Pena we want to go to Quinta da Regaleira. Is this a short walk or can we hop on the 434 bus to take us there? Or is that a different bus? Then we would spend some time in the old part of Sintra before taking the same train back to Rossio station and visit the Elevador Santa Justa. Do we have time to do all this? Is there anything else we should do when in Sintra?

Thanks.

Tony

 

I was in Lisbon in September and went to Sintra on my own as described above.  I was on a Princess ship, which dock closer to Belem, so paid to take the ship shuttle into town.  It let us off very close to the Rossio train station.  The 434 tourist bus does a one way loop like a hop on hop off; be sure to keep your ticket as you'll need to show it each time you get back on.  I'd been in Sintra town on a previous cruise so this time I got off at the Castello dos Mauros stop first.  The entry fee was 8 euros.  You may already know, but Sintra is exceptionally hilly.  Castello dos Mauros is a ruined fortification with a wall walk you can do.  (the Castello is about 400 meters from the road on an up and down walk through lush forestry with quite uneven stone slab walkway.  Not for the mobility challenged. ) I didn't do the wall walk as I have a bad head for heights now but it looked awesome. Allow about an hour max here I think, then either walk the 200 meters up the road to the next stop - Pena Palace - or wait for the bus.  For Pena Palace there are 2 types of tickets - one is just for the grounds and palace terrace (where there is small café and toilet facilities), the other ticket includes the palace too.  It is a bit of an uphill walk from the entry gate to the palace however there is a small shuttle vehicle for a nominal fee.

I can't remember if the bus stop in town was before or after the hill route to the castello and palace, however the town is also worth a visit.  Some lovely restaurants, many stores selling cork and textile goods.  There is another palace (the name escapes me at the moment) right in the town centre and many buses of tourists were going there too. You can walk (downhill) from the town back to the train station if you like but I'd recommend looking at the route in Google Maps ahead of time as the route is quite winding!

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Thanks for all of this great information. Now my follow-on question: For someone who is mobility challenged (uneven surfaces and steep hills are not possible), can one still see Pena Palace and enjoy the old part of Sintra? My friend and I are looking into booking a private guide to take us from Lisbon into Sintra for a half-day tour. Many thanks in advance for your advice.

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We have an overnight in Lisbon and have our plans set except from noon to 6pm on one day.  Is this enough time to do the DIY to Sintra?

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3 hours ago, BAYA said:

Thanks for all of this great information. Now my follow-on question: For someone who is mobility challenged (uneven surfaces and steep hills are not possible), can one still see Pena Palace and enjoy the old part of Sintra? My friend and I are looking into booking a private guide to take us from Lisbon into Sintra for a half-day tour. Many thanks in advance for your advice.

 

The little shuttle that runs from the entry gate on the road up to Pena Palace drops you off about 100 feet from the palace entry, however it's an uphill walk to the entry.  (I also think there's a slight climb to get to the shuttle bus itself)  I've attached a photo showing the distance and climb from the bus to the palace entry, and another of the interior courtyard area.  If you can do that then you can do the terrace part of the castle.  I didn't go inside the palace.  The central square section of Sintra is quite flat but very compact and parking is extremely limited.  There is a palace right off the central square that was included in some of the bus tours but I don't know it's name and didn't visit it.

Good luck with your planning!

 

IMG_0785.JPG

IMG_0793.JPG

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3 hours ago, mskaufman said:

We have an overnight in Lisbon and have our plans set except from noon to 6pm on one day.  Is this enough time to do the DIY to Sintra?

 

Hmmmm, you could definitely get to Sintra and do a full loop of the tourist bus from site to site, but I'm not sure how  comfortable I'd be getting off at any of the sites for a look around - other than perhaps the town centre.  You'd need to research the train times and journey time (I think about 40 minutes?), the frequency of the tourist bus and journey time to make one full loop. Also the time involved to get between Rossio train station and your ship.  I was on a Princess ship that docked quite west of the city centre but I think some other cruise lines dock in walking distance.  When I did this last fall the tourist bus in Sintra was often very full and people had to wait for a subsequent bus or maybe 2 to move on to the next site.  The bus loop runs one direction only on a very narrow up/down road. Exploring Sintra town itself was moderately interesting; very steep narrow roads, many cute little shops, and I found a public garden at the top of one road that was free to enter and provided some good views. The town is not large. It's possible to walk from town back to the train station if necessary though you'd want a map as all the roads were really twisty/turny!

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Thanks for that input.  We have a private tour going to Cascais, Cabo de Roca and Queluz so we will probably leave it at that.

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On 6/3/2019 at 11:43 AM, Raisinette said:

 

The little shuttle that runs from the entry gate on the road up to Pena Palace drops you off about 100 feet from the palace entry, however it's an uphill walk to the entry.  (I also think there's a slight climb to get to the shuttle bus itself)  I've attached a photo showing the distance and climb from the bus to the palace entry, and another of the interior courtyard area.  If you can do that then you can do the terrace part of the castle.  I didn't go inside the palace.  The central square section of Sintra is quite flat but very compact and parking is extremely limited.  There is a palace right off the central square that was included in some of the bus tours but I don't know it's name and didn't visit it.

Good luck with your planning!

 

IMG_0785.JPG

IMG_0793.JPG

Raisinette, thanks for the info. The pictures are also quite helpful for us!

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