Palaces & Pathways of Sintra

From dramatic coast to hill-top splendour
 
The unique cultural and historical sights are as much a part of this self-guided holiday as the walks and the glorious coastal views, and there’s plenty of time to visit the ornate palaces. You stay in accommodation of character, where your luggage will be waiting for you at the end of each walk.
Palaces & Pathways of Sintra. 7 nights
Palaces & Pathways of Sintra. 7 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday to Sintra

Not far from Lisbon, the hills and coastline of historic Sintra are a remarkable national treasure. Rising from rugged cliffs, a succession of hilltops are capped by luxuriant vegetation, and it is amid this bucolic landscape that the old Portuguese aristocracy built their ornate summer palaces and enriched the area’s natural beauty with exuberant gardens.

Our delightful route meanders along the spectacular coast, passing wide bays of golden sand and rugged headlands once thought to be the ends of the Earth. Sweeping inland through rolling wooded hills and unassuming vineyards, you arrive amid the grandeur of Sintra and its amazing architectural heritage. 
Featuring accommodation of real character, this holiday is as much about delving into the region’s rich past, culture and cuisine, as it is about exploring its gentle landscapes.
 
Gallery

 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 14 15 17 18 21 24 26 27 26 22 17 15
    mm 123 121 78 70 46 26 7 8 31 89 122 120
  • Arrival in Cascais 
    Night 1: at Pergola House (where you spend one night).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Cascais to Azóia: 10.5km, 4hrs; ascent 400m/descent 225m
    We suggest you begin your first day with a short exploration of this colourful seaside town, perhaps picking up some local delicacies for lunch from one of the small cafés or supermarkets. To reach the start of the walk, you are taken on a short taxi ride along the coast, before continuing on foot to the expansive golden sands at Guincho, where you could pause for a swim or linger over lunch. Your route continues along the undulating coastal path, scented with herbs and wildflowers, before turning inland to reach the Quinta Vale da Roca near Azóia, where you stay for two nights.
    Cascais to Azóia: 10.5km
    Guincho beach on the route from Cascais to Azoia
  • Circular walk around Azóia: 12km, 5hrs; ascent/descent 450m; shorter option: 8.5km, 4hrs
    If you can tear yourselves away from your hotel, we suggest a circular walk that leads via forested hills and through a eucalyptus wood to the striking hill-top chapel at Peninha, rewarding your efforts with far-reaching views. From here, descend through trees to return to the hotel. You can shorten this walk by taking a short cut to the chapel. 
    Circular walk around Azóia: 12km
    Peninha on the circular walk around Azoia
  • Azóia to Colares: 12.5km, 5hrs; ascent 410m/descent 520m
    Your day starts with a short transfer to the lighthouse at Cabo de Roca, mainland Europe’s most westerly point, a wild and rocky promontory once thought to be the edge of the world, from where the views are superb. The walk itself then begins with a visit to the cove of Praia da Ursa, known for its distinctive rock stacks. From here, you head inland to the traditional village of Ulgueira, before weaving down to the coast again, passing sandy fields planted with Colares vines. You reach the golden sands of Praia da Adraga and continue along the clifftops, before turning inland across rolling hills and heading for the workaday town of Colares, for two nights at Vila Vitorino.
    Azóia to Colares: 12.5km
    Praia da Ursa on the route to Colares
  • Linear walk from Colares: 15km, 5.5hrs; ascent 330m/descent 360m
    Head north through countryside to reach a spectacular beach, where you join a panoramic cliff-top path. After passing through a fishing village, you reach a small resort from where you catch a bus or tram back to Colares (pay locally).
    Linear walk from Colares: 15km
    The coast near Colares
  • Colares to Sintra: 10km, 4.5hrs; ascent 470m/descent 300m
    The day begins with an ascent along wooded trails to reach the warren-like Convento dos Capuchos, where monks lived in dwellings embedded in the ground and rocks. Traversing the hills some more, you come to the Palace of Monserrate, a remarkable Neo-Gothic mansion set within fine landscaped gardens. There is ample time to explore the ornate interiors of the house as well as the extensive gardens, which include a wonderful collection of ferns and a number of intriguing follies. Continuing on foot to Sintra, you have the opportunity to call into Quinta de Regaleira, famed for its luxuriant gardens and remarkable spiral well, and also Biester Palace with its exotic plant and tree collection from around the world, before reaching the centre of Sintra's Old Town, where you spend your last two nights at the venerable Lawrence’s Hotel or stylish Sintra Boutique Hotel.
    Colares to Sintra: 10km
    Palace of Monserrate
  • Circular walk around Sintra: 5.5km, 2.5hrs; ascent/descent 350m
    There are many architectural treasures to discover in Sintra. Close to the hotel in the centre of the town is the National Palace, the best preserved medieval royal palace in Portugal and summer retreat to the royal family for centuries. Within walking distance – or a short bus ride – are the astonishing Pena Palace (dominated by its golden onion domes) and the imposing Moorish Castle, both set high above the town and worthy of leisurely exploration. Such is the grandeur and importance of these buildings and monuments that the ‘Cultural Landscape of Sintra’ was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. And when the day is done, indulge in one last exquisite dinner, relaxing in the elegance of sumptuous Sintra.
    Circular walk around Sintra: 5.5km
    The town of Sintra with the Moorish castle above
 

Accommodation

The varied accommodation on this holiday is truly delightful. 

In Sintra, we work with more than one hotel, as shown below. All are hand-picked by us and, unless there is a price implication (in which case we will contact you to discuss your options), we will tell you which one we have booked for you on your booking confirmation.

Wherever you stay in Sintra, we recommend adding an extra night so that you have more time to explore. 
 

Options to extend or shorten your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 7 nights: 01 April 2024 - 30 June 2024 & 01 September 2024 - 31 October 2024

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 Apr 2024 £965 £450
    1 May - 23 Jun 2024 £1130 £485
    1 - 23 Sep 2024 £1220 £550
    24 Sep - 24 Oct 2024 £1050 £490
    3rd & 4th person discount -£60
    Single traveller supplement £60

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    The Pergola, Cascais
    Deluxe with balcony: 01 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £18
    Deluxe with balcony: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2024 £18
    Superior with garden view: 01 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £10
    Superior with garden view: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2024 £10
    Quinta Vale da Roca, near Azóia
    Superior with sea view & terrace: 01 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £20
    Superior with sea view & terrace: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2024 £20
    Lawrence's Hotel, Sintra
    Suite: 01 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £80
    Suite: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2024 £80

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    The Pergola, Cascais (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2024 £92 £105
    01 May - 31 May 2024 £110 £163
    01 Jun - 30 Jun 2024 £117 £130
    01 Sep - 30 Sep 2024 £121 £141
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2024 £117 £130
    Lawrence's Hotel, Sintra (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £112 £189
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2024 £112 £189
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Lisbon
    As an alternative to flying, we can arrange rail travel from London

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Lisbon. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Lisbon (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Lisbon easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Lisbon easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Lisbon easyJet,  Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Lisbon Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - Lisbon (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Lisbon easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    London City - Lisbon TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Lisbon Air Europa,  Azores Airlines (SATA),  easyJet,  TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Lisbon Azores Airlines (SATA),  British Airways,  TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Lisbon easyJet,  Wizz Air 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Lisbon Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Lisbon easyJet,  Ryanair,  TAP Air Portugal 
    Manchester - Lisbon (via Frankfurt) Lufthansa 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Lisbon (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Norwich - Lisbon (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Lisbon. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you for any of the options listed above. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service. Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Unless otherwise stated, connecting travel by rail or bus tends to be from the city centre station, rather than from its airport, and connections between the two should be paid for locally.

    Where a price range is given, the price you pay depends on your date of travel.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Lisbon

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    taxi Lisbon airport to hotel (0h35) £35 flexible
    rail Lisbon Cais de Sodre to Cascais (0h40), walk to hotel (0h02) pay locally 1800
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Lisbon airport (0h45) £33 flexible
    walk (0h15) or taxi (0h05) hotel to Sintra station, rail Sintra to Lisbon Oriente (0h40) pay locally 1000
What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 7 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
  • transfer on days 1 & 3
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from A to B, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • Yes, prior to going on holiday you will be able to download GPX tracks so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you use them – our detailed, step-by-step route notes remain the principal means of guiding you from A to B – but we provide them as a secondary means of navigation for additional reassurance when walking.
  • We can book a wide range of routes from the UK with a variety of airlines. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. The fee for this service is £35 per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted to book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can incur a five or six-figure bill.

    Many insurers offer travel insurance (you can find details on our insurance page of a policy that you may like to consider if you are a UK resident), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    When you purchase a policy, be sure to check that it covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Portugal, Madeira and the Azores, but not a visa (please note, however, that a new travel authorisation system is being introduced). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice for UK citizens can be found through the Travel Health Pro website. You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). You should also apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if your EHIC has expired (if you have a still-valid EHIC, you can use this until it expires).
  • The official language is Portuguese. The currency is the Euro. Portuguese time is the same as GMT/UTC. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on the same time as BST.
  • For information on the practicalities of travel now that the UK is no longer part of the European Union, visit www.gov.uk/visit-eu-switzerland-norway-iceland-liechtenstein.
  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.

    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
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