Lisbon Airport to Sintra
Traveling From Lisbon Airport To Sintra
When people are planning their vacations to Portugal they often think of centering their trip about Lisbon, thinking it has the best to offer with sightseeing, shopping, food and drink, leisure and relaxation. But travelers should consider instead heading to Sintra, which offers just as many wonderful things to do as the capital city and can be a less-crowded alternative.
Sintra has centuries of history, and visitors can still see numerous castles and palaces from the Moorish occupation and beyond. These historic sites site alongside modern hotels and fine dining restaurants, creating the best of both worlds. Today Sintra is a vibrant city with a population of more than 375,000 and with something to offer for everyone.
If you plan a trip to Sintra, some of the must-see sites include: the colorful Pena Palace in the Sintra Mountains overlooking the city, the Quinta da Regaleira historic palace estate, the neoclassical Seteais Palace on the Portuguese Riviera, and the beautiful Monserrate Palace estate with its expansive lush grounds located just outside of the city.
And thankfully it’s very simple to get to Sintra if you’re flying into Portugal. Humberto Delgado Airport — commonly known as Lisbon Airport — where the international flights arrive has several great options for getting from the airport to the coastal city of Sintra, both with pros and cons. Whatever you choose will depend on your budget and how much time you have.
Perhaps the best way to get from Lisbon Airport to Sintra, and the most affordable, is to take a combination of the above-ground train and subway systems. You’ll take the Metro subway system for a ride to another station where you’ll transfer on to a train for Sintra.
Once you land at the airport and have your baggage, head for the signs to the Aeroporto Metro station. Board the Red Line train in the direction of São Sebastião and take the Metro three stops to the Oriente station. Get off the subway at Oriente and then follow the signs for the above-ground train and take the green line in the direction of Sintra. Once on the train stay on until the very last stop, which is Sintra. And then you can enjoy your vacation.
The entire journey including transfers takes between roughly 1 hour 15 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes, which can be a lot longer than traveling by taxi when traffic is light.
But the very attractive aspect of the train option is the incredibly low cost. First you’ll pay €0.50 for a rechargeable Metro travel card, then €1.50 for the fare to Oriente. Second you’ll pay €2.25 per adult or €1.15 per child for the ride from Oriente to Sintra. The fact the train is so affordable means that’s more money left in your wallet to enjoy during your time in Sintra.
If you don’t want to take the train and Metro, an easy and not too expensive choice is going by taxi. Lisbon Airport has many taxis stands at the terminals, so you won’t have long to wait once you arrive. But the journey could take a long time during rush hour. And it will also cost at least €35, or more depending on your final destination in Sintra, making it more expensive than the train. But if money and time are not major concerns, a taxi can be a relaxing way to travel.
When you get in the taxi be sure to speak with the driver about whether you want to pre-arrange a set flat rate to get you to Sintra, or to let the Lisbon airport taxi meter run.
The meter will charge by distance and could end up more expensive than whatever flat rate you can agree to with the driver. But be sure to get any such agreement in writing so that you have proof of it when you arrive, which will help in the rare instance that you get a driver who tries to charge you more at the end. Also expect to pay fees for your luggage; these are legal and must be paid. Tipping is not mandatory, but if you have a good driver it is a nice gesture to tip between 5 and 10 percent of the fare.
As an alternative to the traditional taxis, several ride-hailing apps such as Uber service Lisbon Airport. To use these simply download the company’s app and then once you’ve landed and collected your baggage, you enter your destination in the app and it will connect you with a driver. While Uber and similar apps can be cheaper in other countries, you’ll find the rates comparable to conventional taxis in Portugal. And if you use the app you also have the added step of having to get to whatever designated pickup spot you and the driver agree to. For this reason, many people simply wait in line for the many taxis that service the airport.
Whether you use a ride-hailing app or simply get in an airport taxi, be aware that your journey will be subject to traffic and could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour or more.
Some people like the independence of driving on their vacations because it allows them to travel at their own pace. And because the drive from Lisbon Airport to Sintra is only about 19 miles, it will only take roughly 30 minutes — although it can take twice as long during busy times like the morning and evening rush hour. Whether you’ve parked your own car at the airport or are renting a car, simply enter Sintra into your smartphone or car GPS (or get a printed map before your trip) and enjoy the drive.
Potential drawbacks of this option include the cost of a car rental, the potential for being stuck in traffic, and having to find parking once you arrive in Sintra. Parking spaces can be somewhat limited during peak times like the summer.
For anyone curious about taking the bus, there is no direct bus connection from the airport to Sintra. In fact, you’d have to walk for more than a mile from the airport to get to the nearest bus station at Pç. Aeroporto. If you are determined to take this option, one route is to take the bus from Pç. Aeroporto to the Estação Benfica station, and transfer there to a train to Sintra. But this is such a complicated option, involving an almost 30-minute walk, that it’s not worth the hassle.