A day trip to Sintra is a must when you’re visiting Lisbon! This Portuguese Fairy tale land is 50 minutes away from the city, and it’s where you’ll find the most beautiful castles and gardens you’ve ever seen. More than an Instagram guide to Magic Sintra and the most iconic places to visit on your trip, we’ll introduce you to some important information to prepare you for the journey! To make the fairy tale complete, stay tuned till the end where we share the amazing FREE Lightroom preset we used to edit this photo series!
First things first, the easiest way to Sintra
The easiest way to get to Sintra is by train. The line closest to the touristic districts is Rossio Station. You can get a return ticket of 5.50 euros, and trains to Sintra are very frequent, almost every 20 minutes. With your ticket, you can travel by any train, no matter the hour.
Our trip lasted 45 minutes. It wasn’t crowded, even if we went in the summertime. So no worries, you’ll get there easily! More information here.
What to visit first?
With only one day and so many castles, you might wonder what to visit first? We’ll introduce you to the most beautiful two castles in Sintra, though, if you wake up early, you might get the chance to see three! We think all of them are worth it, so we’ll surely go back to explore all the rest!
Sintra Instagram Guide Step 1: Quinta da Regaleira
The first stop of our Instagram Guide to Sintra is Quinta da Regaleira. This amazing castle is within walking distance, about 1.5 km away from the Train Station.
The wonderful gardens of this castle, its many towers, and the must-see Quinta da Regaleira Fountain, are all so photogenic. The architecture is simply stunning and for a second it makes your mind wander to the Bali-like temples and greenery. It’s quite a unique experience.
After exploring the Fountains and Caves, head over to the Castle to get some more beautiful Instagram shots. Use trees, flowers or other natural elements to frame your photo, so it will get more of a fairy-tale look.
Now let’s get back to the train station and take bus 434 to our next destination: the Pena Palace. The return ticket it 6.9 Euros and the bus stops at other castles as well. So, if you’re early on in the day, it’s worth checking a third, maybe forth castle afterward.
Sintra Instagram Guide Step 2: The Pena Palace / Palacio de Pena
The Pena Palace is famous on Instagram due to its vivid colors. Everybody wants to take that perfect shot when the palace is empty and it just looks like the Fairy-tale Castle of Dreams.
In summer, that shot is kind of hard to get, since the palace has many visitors this time of year. You can wander around and try and get some nice perspective shots. If you’re not going for a portrait, you can use the wide-angle feature on your camera to get a great perspective of the castle. This way, people in the photos seem to be further away and they are no longer the main focus of the picture.
Finally, Step 3: The Pena Palace Gardens
What we loved even more than the castle itself, were the gardens. The Pena Palace is a beauty inside and outside, but don’t worry if you’re on a low budget and get only the garden ticket. The forest surrounding the palace is incredible and you get amazing viewpoints over the castle.
The photo above was taken from The High Cross Viewpoint, which is about 900m away from the palace. You’ll find it on the map you get at the entrance. You’ll need a camera with good zoom-in features to get the shot, but it will surely be stunning. Even if you do the walk just to admire the gardens and palace from above, it’s still absolutely worth it. When we reached the Cross, lots of butterflies were flying around and it was a joy to watch them.
The Pena Palace Gardens are our favorite stop of our Sintra Instagram Guide! They are gorgeous to walk around, explore and photograph. So many hidden pathways, wild nature, tiny discoveries around every corner. Travel photography at its best!
And, as promised, you can download here the Lightroom preset we used to edit our travel photographs from Sintra. This is a FREE preset we have discovered, which helped us so much when editing our pictures for this blog post.