Lisbon is such a cool city (don’t forget to read my Lisbon travel guide here) and even after proposed 4 days of stay, I could still find something new and interesting to do and couldn’t be bored. That’s for sure. But being in Lisbon and not be visiting Sintra, Cabo da Roca and Cascais would be such a shame. If you don’t have time to do the all three, do at least one. Whatever you prefer the most. Me, I had planned everything to the details so I could squeeze everything in a whole day. It was a bit tiresome, but it’s doable. Especially if you’re short with your time or the length of your trip.
So, this was my schedule:
Getting the train early in the morning (not too early, 9-10am) to Sintra. One of the hotels I’ve stayed in was near the Entrecampus station, so that’s where I took the direct train. In a less than an hour I was in Sintra. Thanks to Visit Portugal, they provided me the tickets to the National Palace, Palacio Pena and the Castle of the Moors. I visited all three and even had time to wander around Sintra historical centre. It’s beautiful. As the text on Visit Lisboa says: “Sintra is the most mystical and romantic destination in Portugal par excellence. It has been a UNESCO world heritage site for its cultural landscape since 1992. Its sudden and mysterious mists, farms, palaces and mansions dotting its verdant hills, and the novels, poems and artworks it has inspired have helped to make this town a unique, magical and utterly compelling destination.”
I had a guided tour scheduled at 2pm and a wonderful tour guide Dora. Very much recommended.
To get to all the three attractions you get to the bus 434, pay 6.90 euros for a ticket and you can basically ride with the buses all around Sintra for the whole day as it is valid for the bus rides going up to the Palaces and down to the centre. You buy the ticket from the bus driver.
The same bus also stops at the train station where you can take the train to go back to Lisbon, or, like me, you take another bus – number 403 (and pay the new ticket as you’re leaving Sintra) to Cabo da Roca. Cabo da Roca is cca 40mins away from Sintra. And it’s also on your way to Cascais. The price of the bus ticket is 4 euros.
CABO DA ROCA
Even though I caught one of the last buses to Cabo da Roca, and even though the weather was not promising; very strong wind mixed with rain and the temperature being 16C middle of June, it was still very much worthy. The bus stops just in front of the lighthouse and that’s also the station you’re waiting on a bus when you leave for Cascais. Exiting the bus, I immediately realised what the strong wind from the Atlantic really is about. It was completely mad. The wind was so strong, it was basically carrying us around (check the short video on my Instagram or wait for the Vlog soon on my Youtube channel). Not many people were there so we could really enjoy the place even though the weather was unbearable. Still, it was my birthday and I was standing at the most western point of European continent. Arms wide open, wind crazily blowing and all I could see was the magnificent Atlantic ocean on the horizon in front of me. It was definitely worth it. This was no doubt one of the highlights of my Portugal trip.
The last bus to Cascais that stops at Cabo leaves the Sintra at 19:40 on weekends or 19:10 during the week (timetable valid June 2018.). Be sure to check the timetable here. I caught next to to last bus to Cascais, a ride that lasts around half an hour. New ticket has to be bought when you enter the bus.
I got to Cascais at sundown. When you exit the bus, you cross the road and find the train station on the left and check when is the next train to Lisboa. Finding out the train leaves every half an hour (or twenty minutes; check the timetable here) I could easily take a walk around Cascais and get back whenever I wanted. The wind was still blowing although not as strong as on the Cabo da Roca but nothing could spoil walking on a sandy beach at sunset. Yep, there’s a sandy beach in the very centre of Cascais. You can’t miss it.
There are also plenty of nice little places where you can have dinner at reasonable prices, situated at the very centre. Also lots of souvenir shops and wine bars. As the night began to fall, I got back to the train station and got on the train to Lisboa, Cais do Sodre station. What I really liked about this train was that it goes along the coast so you have a very nice view all along the ride. The ride lasts about 40 minutes.
And here it is. A full day spent on trips around Lisbon. A day full of various attractions, beautiful sceneries and historical places. It was definitely worth it despite having a bad weather and being a little tired at the end of the day. Such a great birthday. Thank you Visit Lisboa (thanks so much Vitor for all the help & suggestions) & Visit Portugal.
- If you buy a 72hrs Lisboa card, the train from Lisbon to Sintra is free. The train from Cascais to Lisbon is also free with the card. You also have discounts while buying the tickets to Palaces in Sintra.