Just outside of Lisbon lies the enchanting fairy-tale city of Sintra, a UNESO World Heritage Site and must-see if you’re visiting Lisbon.
As soon as I told my family and friends that I would be visiting Lisbon for a few days on my way to the Algarve, they all insisted I take a drive to Sintra for a day. I’ll be honest, I was hesitant as I only had a few days in Lisbon and didn’t want to waste them elsewhere, but I am so glad I decided to visit this charming little town!
You can get to Sintra from Lisbon by train or taxi. Most people recommend the train service as it’s fairly easy to use and there is limited parking in Sintra. The train will only put you back 6€ and you can catch it from the Rossio train station located in Rossio Square, in the heart of downtown Lisbon. It takes about 40 minutes to reach Sintra by train and about 30 minutes by car. However, if you want to take all the hard work out of planning your trip to Sintra, look no further than “We Hate Tourism Tours”.
For those looking for something outside of the “cookie cutter” style city tours, the team at “We Hate Tourism Tours” are your guys! As the name suggests, they’re not a fan of the typical tourism business and they take their guests to more “off the beaten path” stops that still capture the charm of a destination.
“We Hate Tourism Tours” offers a day trip to Sintra and the nearby beach town of Cascais to show guests what else Portuguese culture has to offer outside of downtown Lisbon.
The tour meets at Rossio Square around 9am, where guests will have the chance to meet their friendly tour guides and pick a seat in the comfy, air-conditioned bus. The bus only fits 8 people, so each tour is fairly small and intimate, giving you the chance to chat with some of your fellow travellers.
Our tour was led by Joao, who was just as knowledgeable as he was funny, making every moment of our tour a memorable one. Once we were all introduced to Joao and the other travelers we headed out of the city and towards the beautiful village of Sintra.
Our guide Joao, navigated the streets of Portugal effortlessly, while pointing out interesting monuments and providing us with some information along the way. While we were told a lot of information about Portuguese culture, I never felt like I was being weighed down with boring facts, everything Joao told us was interesting and usually pretty funny, making the details of the trip that much more memorable.
Once we reached Sintra we made our first stop in a little village where we had time to get out of the van to explore and indulge in some coffee while enjoying the stunning views overlooking the city. From there, we traveled to one of the famous palace’s in Sintra. This tour doesn’t take you to Pena Palace, which is overcrowded with tourists, but instead you have the opportunity to explore Quinta da Regaleira, which has a ton of history and some unique caves and wells you can wander through.
After a few more picturesque stops Joao took us to a market and food truck for our lunch stop. The market had a ton of fresh cheese, sausage, and produce available for purchase. Lunch at the food truck is included in the tour, including a few bottles of wine for the group to split. Lunch was by far Logan’s favourite part of the tour as the pao and chourico they served were nothing short of delicious!
The afternoon of the tour includes stops at da Roca, the most western point of Continental Europe, as well as a stop in Cascais, where you have the chance to chill out on the beach for a bit.
After our stop in Cacais we made our way back to Lisbon where we had a final “goodbye” drink with the crew before parting ways.
Overall I was very impressed with how well the tour was organized while still being so fun and laid back. Our guide, Joao, was a hoot and kept us entertained and well-informed the entire day. I thought there was a good balance between time on the bus and time at each stop; I never felt rushed to get back to the bus and really enjoyed having the free time to explore on our own for a bit with a few helpful directions from Joao.
I’m really glad we chose to visit Sintra with “We Hate Tourism Tours”. It took all the logistical planning out of our hands and let us sit back and enjoy the day without worrying. You definitely pay a little more for this tour than you would if you chose to go on your own via the train, but the hassle-free experience, delicious lunch, and great time with our guide were well worth it!
Book your day trip to Sintra with “We Hate Tourism Tours” HERE!
Cost of tour: 53€ (including lunch, excluding entrance to palace)
Airplanes & Avocados was welcomed as a guest by “We Hate Tourism Tours”. All opinions are my own.