The best independent guide to Estoril
The best independent guide to Estoril
Sintra is a delightful and historic Portuguese town that is set amidst the cooling hills of the Serra da Sintra, and is regarded as the best day trip from Estoril.
Sintra contains numerous fascinating tourist attractions, including lavish palaces, an ancient castle, and grand 19th century villas and houses that follow the Romanticism style of architecture.
It takes two full days of sightseeing to fully discover Sintra and for an extensive guide to the Sintra region, please click here.
The town centre of Sintra
Sintra makes for an enjoyable day trip for visitors of all ages and is easily accessible from Estoril, as there is a direct bus service. This convenient and inexpensive bus services removes the necessity of traveling into Lisbon to reach Sintra or the difficulty of driving in Sintra, which has very few carpark spaces and roads not designed for tourism traffic.
This guide will provide details of the Estoril-Sintra bus service and includes fares, links to timetables and bus station information.
The Estoril to Sintra bus service is the number 418 route and is operated by the Scotturb bus company. The bus journey takes approximately 30 minutes and a single adult ticket costs €4.25, with the ticket being purchased from the bus driver. The 418 bus does not have regular departure times but there is approximately one service every hour with, fewer departures at the weekend. For the latest timetable please see the Scotturb website and the link below:
The link above opens a new window and the webpage is in Portuguese. To navigate to the 418 bus timetable click on the “418 - Estoril Estação - Sintra Estação” tab. "Dias úteis" means Monday to Friday, "Sábados" is Saturday and "Domingos" means Sunday.
The magnificent Pena Palace
Neither Estoril nor Sintra have conventional bus stations as the towns are to minor and there are too few bus routes. The 418 bus service departs from the front of Estoril train station (Estoril Estação - GPS 38.70351, -9.39870), which overlooks the grounds of the Estoril casino. In Sintra the bus service terminates at Sintra train station but this is 1km from the historic centre or a very challenging 2km hike up to the Pena Palace. This is why most visitors then catch the 434 tourist bus (for the first day) or the smaller 435 bus (for the second day).
Sintra Train station
The common first day to Sintra visits the town, National Palace, the ruins of the Moors castle and finishes with the Pena Palace. The 434 bus route connects Sintra train station, the historic centre and then climbs into the hills to the Moors castle and Pena Palace.
It is a pleasant 1km walk from Sintra train station to the historic centre but a very steep climb to the Pena Palace and most tourists catch the bus. The Sintra 434 tourist bus costs €6.90 and there are departures every 20 minutes, for a guide to the bus please click here.
The suggested second day in Sintra visits the Quinta da Regaleira, Seteais Palace and Monserrate Palace. The Quinta da Regaleira is in Sintra town centre, while the 435 bus route connects the train station and town to the other two palaces. A single loop ticket costs €2.50 and departures are every 30 minutes.
The 434 and 435 tourist buses
There is a daily unlimited bus travel ticket, which costs €12.00 and this is good value for tourists who are also planning to catch the 418 bus and the Sintra tourist buses. Sintra gets very busy during the summer months and it is advisable to start the day early and avoid the weekends, when the town is most crowded. Monserrate Palace, being the furthest from central Sintra is always the quietest national monument and is probably the best attraction to visit at the weekend.
Do not consider driving from Estoril to Sintra as it is notoriously difficult to find car parking spaces and at the weekends there is an almost constant traffic jam as tourists clog the small roads searching for parking. The narrow roads that climb the Serra de Sintra hills were never constructed for modern traffic and parking is again very limited close to the Pena Palace and Moorish castle.
Traveling from Estoril to Sintra by train is impractical as two train journeys are required. The first train goes from Estoril to Lisbon and the second is from Lisbon to Sintra. The journey is made even longer as the two different train stations are needed in Lisbon, which requires an additional metro ride. The journey by train will cost twice as much as the bus and takes three times as long.
There is a second, more scenic bus route that connects Cascais to Sintra. The number 403 bus follows the coastline and passes the Cabo da Roca cliffs before climbing into the hills of the Serra de Sintra. The Cabo da Roca headland is the most westerly point of mainland Europe and is a region is of dramatic landscapes.
The Cabo da Roca coastline of massive cliffs
Cabo da Roca is a beautiful place to watch sunset but unfortunately the bus times do not allow for this and there is an hour wait between bus services. Cascais bus station is only a 20 minute walk from Estoril train station and is located beneath the main shopping mall in Cascais.
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