Architecture and Religious Buildings Tour (Self Guided), Sintra

Sintra boasts diverse architecture, combining such styles as Romanesque, Gothic, Neoclassical, Renaissance and (typical for Portugal) Manueline. The city’s wonderful religious buildings date back to the Middle Ages and are still well-preserved. Palaces and castles never fail to impress visitors with their grandiosity and magnificent scenery of the city from the hills on which they stand. Take this tour and admire the beauty of Sintra’s architecture.
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Architecture and Religious Buildings Tour Map

Guide Name: Architecture and Religious Buildings Tour
Guide Location: Portugal » Sintra (See other walking tours in Sintra)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 4 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.3 Km or 5.2 Miles
Author: ellen
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Pena National Palace (Palácio Nacional da Pena)
  • Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle)
  • St. Peter Church (Igreja da Sao Pedro)
  • St. Maria Church (Igreja de Santa Maria)
  • City Hall (Câmara Municipal)
  • St. Martinho Church (Igreja de S. Martinho)
  • Quinta da Regaleira (Regaleira Palace)
  • Seteais Palace (Palacio Seteais)
  • Monserrate Palace (Palácio e Quinta de Monserrate)
Pena National Palace (Palácio Nacional da Pena)

1) Pena National Palace (Palácio Nacional da Pena) (must see)

The Pena National Palace (Portuguese: Palácio Nacional da Pena) is a Romanticist palace in São Pedro de Penaferrim, municipality of Sintra. The palace stands on the top of a hill above the town of Sintra, and on a clear day it can be easily seen from Lisbon and much of its metropolitan area. It is a national monument and constitutes one of the major expressions of 19th century Romanticism in the world. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It is also used for state occasions by the President of the Portuguese Republic and other government officials.

The Pena Palace has a profusion of styles much in accordance with the exotic taste of the Romanticism. The intentional mixture of eclectic styles includes the Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Islamic and Neo-Renaissance. References to other prominent Portuguese buildings such as the Belém Tower are also present. Almost the entire palace stands on rock. Structurally, it can be divided in four sections.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle)

2) Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle) (must see)

The Castle of the Moors (Portuguese: Castelo dos Mouros) is a hilltop medieval castle located in the central Portuguese civil parish of Santa Maria e São Miguel, in the municipality of Sintra. Taken by Christian forces from the Moors after the fall of Lisbon, it was an important strategic point during the Reconquista, and classified as a National Monument. The castle was constructed during the 8th to 9th century, during the period of Arab occupation of the Iberian peninsula, as the central place in an territory that was immeniently agricultural, and which was necessary to protect its population.

It is situated on the top of the Sintra Mountains, where it has a panoramic view of the municipality of Sintra, and on a clear day Mafra and Ericeira. It is accessible from Santa Maria e São Miguel by a protected gate and turnstile, or across a road accessway to the Palace of Pena. The castle is located in the limits of the Sintra-Cascais Nature Park, in the north flank of the Sintra Mountains, where the slopes are at most 40% gradients, with accented or moderate variation. The Serra da Sintra, known locally, consists of an eruptive massif with an abundance of granite, sienitos, gabros and dioritos rock formations, with soils consisting of litólicos, húmicos, câmbicos, normais, de granito (Mng).
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Peter Church (Igreja da Sao Pedro)

3) St. Peter Church (Igreja da Sao Pedro) (must see)

Church of St. Pedro is another medieval edifice in the city, built in the beginning of the 15th century. It was enlarged in 1565. The entrance to the church is executed in Baroque style with the coat of arms of a Lisbon Archbishop. When you enter the nave of the church, pay attention to the walls covered with beautiful 18th century panels with scenes from the life of Saint Peter. There is also a stone statue of St. Peter.
St. Maria Church (Igreja de Santa Maria)

4) St. Maria Church (Igreja de Santa Maria)

Santa Maria Church is one of the few medieval edifices you can admire today in Sintra. It was built in the 12th century by the order of Portuguese ruler Alfonso I. It was severely damaged in the 13th, 14th and 18th centuries due to earthquakes. The church itself represents Gothic-Romanesque architectural style with original arches. In 1922 Santa Maria Church was included in the list of the city’s historical monuments.
City Hall (Câmara Municipal)

5) City Hall (Câmara Municipal) (must see)

The construction of Sintra City Hall began in 1906 and was finished in three years. The style of the architecture is Neo-Manueline. The City Hall has a tower topped by battlements. One of its outstanding features is the glazed tilework symbolizing the national coat of arms and the Christian Cross. On the top of the tower’s central pyramid is a sphere. The building has beautiful balconies with arches in Neo-Renaissance style.
St. Martinho Church (Igreja de S. Martinho)

6) St. Martinho Church (Igreja de S. Martinho) (must see)

The exact period of St. Martinho Church’s construction is unknown but it is believed to be from the 12th century. In the 13th century a new Gothic church was erected in its place. Today you can see the Gothic altar that survived after the 18th century earthquake and three paintings on wood dating back to the 16th century.
Quinta da Regaleira (Regaleira Palace)

7) Quinta da Regaleira (Regaleira Palace) (must see)

Quinta da Regaleira is an estate located near the historic center of Sintra. Along with other palaces in this area, it is one of the principal tourist attractions of Sintra. It consists of a romantic palace and chapel, and a luxurious park featuring lakes, grottoes, wells, benches, fountains, and a vast array of exquisite constructions. The palace is also known as "Palace of Monteiro the Millionaire", from the nickname of its first owner, António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro. The Regaleira Palace bears the same name as the whole estate. Sometimes, the name "Regaleira Palace" is used to refer to the entire estate.

The façade is characterized by exuberantly Gothic pinnacles, gargoyles, capitals, and an impressive octagonal tower. The palace has five floors (a ground floor, three upper floors and a basement). The ground floor contains a series of hallways connecting the living room, dining room, billiards room, balcony, some smaller rooms and several stairways. In turn, the first upper floor contains bedrooms (Carvalho Monteiro's bedroom used to be the one with a balcony) and a dressing room. The second upper floor contains Carvalho Monteiro's office, and female servants' bedrooms. The third upper floor contains the ironing room and a smaller room with access to a terrace. Finally, the basement contains the male servants' bedrooms, the kitchen (which possessed an elevator for lifting food to the ground floor), and storage rooms.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Seteais Palace (Palacio Seteais)

8) Seteais Palace (Palacio Seteais) (must see)

The Seteais Palace is a neoclassical palace located in Sintra. The palace is nowadays a luxury hotel, restaurant and a tourist attraction included in the Cultural Landscape of Sintra. It was built between 1783 and 1787 for the Dutch consul Daniel Gildemeester, on lands granted by the Marquis of Pombal. The consul chose to build his house on the border of an elevation, from which the vast landscape around the Sintra hills could be admired. The palace was surrounded with a large garden with fruit trees.

In 1797, some years after the consul's death, his widow sold the palace to Diogo José Vito de Menezes Noronha Coutinho, 5th Marquis of Marialva. The palace was enlarged between 1801 and 1802, probably by neoclassical architect José da Costa e Silva. The palace was turned into a symmetrical U-shaped building, with the consul's house becoming one of its wings. The cornice of the buildings that compose the main façade was decorated with typical neoclassical motifs like vases, busts and reliefs of garlands. The gardens of the palace were remodelled following romantic trends.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Monserrate Palace (Palácio e Quinta de Monserrate)

9) Monserrate Palace (Palácio e Quinta de Monserrate) (must see)

The Monserrate Palace (Portuguese: Palácio de Monserrate) is an exotic palatial villa located near Sintra, the traditional summer resort of the Portuguese court. It was built in 1858 for Sir Francis Cook, an English baronet created visconde de Monserrate by King Luís. Monserrate turned to an English architect, James Knowles Jr., for designs. Though its Moghul-inspired details are unique in Portugal, its eclecticism is a fine example of the Sintra Romanticism, along with other nearby palácios, such as the Pena Palace.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Sintra, Portugal

Create Your Own Walk in Sintra

Create Your Own Walk in Sintra

Creating your own self-guided walk in Sintra is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Sintra Introduction Walking Tour

Sintra Introduction Walking Tour

Sintra is a gemstone of Portugal, a city with rich culture, majestic architecture and intriguing monuments. There are many cultural venues such as theaters, galleries, museums, art centers, and concert halls founded to promote art and culture in the country. The admirable city of Sintra inspired many artists to create their wonderful masterpieces. Check out the nest sights in Sintra in the next...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Sintra Museums and Galleries Tour

Sintra Museums and Galleries Tour

Sintra is very popular among visitors to Portugal. During the thousands of years of its history a tremendous heritage was collected, reflecting its development and cultural level in different periods. Such items are displayed in the city’s museums and art galleries. The city boasts unique collections of fossils, art objects and toys. A visit to the memorial houses of Sintra's distinguished...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles