Sintra is our Untours hometown for Central Portugal. It has so much atmosphere and plenty of things to see and do, but it also makes a perfect base for exploring the wider region. Here are just some of the excellent day trips within easy striking distance.
This capital city of Portugal has more than one can see in a single day’s visit, from expansive museums and monuments to lush gardens to markets and a grand castle, there is something for everyone here. See the city center by street car or climb the hills on a funicular. Walk the charming streets of the Alfama district and explore landmarks like São Jorge Castle, Belém Tower, and Jerónimos Monastery. Visit more than once!
Scenically situated in the foothills of the Serra da Arrábida mountains, Sesimbra is a charming fishing village. Visit the 13th century Moorish Castle. Its ancient walls protect a beautifully restored baroque church. Leave time to stroll this charming town and walk down to the beach, or eat fresh fish in one of its inviting restaurants.
Tomar and the nearby village of Constância hold some important historical sites for those interested in the Knights Templar. Visit the beautiful Tomar Convent, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of most important historic Templar sites. The Knights also controlled the nearby Almourol Castle, just a short walk away and very worth the walk.
Set to the south, this town is known for its wines and cheeses. Azeitão sits in the Setubal region, which is also known for its vineyards and views, making this an essential stop for its flavors and views. Enjoy the excellent local food and taste the local wines.
The historical medieval village of Óbidos may be one of Portugal’s best-preserved towns. Its cobbled streets and bright painted houses are only part of its charm. The town’s castle (now a hotel) hints at the royal intrigue the town has witnessed. The tiled chapel in the Porta de Vila and the church of Santa Maria are interesting to visit. Take a look at the 16th century aqueduct. Also, be sure to sample Ginja de Obidos, a sweet cherry liquor.
Best known for its marina and beaches, Cascais has natural beauty and medieval lineage. See the Nossa Senhora da Luz Fort and Citadel Palace, which was formerly a royal retreat. Nossa Senhora da Assunção is a beautiful whitewashed church with lovely tiles. And the Paula Rego House of Stories is an interesting museum featuring Portuguese painters. Nearby, visit Boca do Inferno, an open cave set dramatically among the seaside cliffs.
This medieval walled city is full of fascinating sites, including an ancient Roman temple. Be sure to visit the church of St. Francis and the Chapel of the Bones. In town you can sample the area’s wines and enjoy views of the Alentejo. You can also stop off at nearby Palmela to see its medieval castle.
Pilgrims flock to this sacred site, where Our Lady of Fatima was said to have appeared to two young shepherds in the 1900s. Visitors can see the Chapel of the Apparition, the Holy Trinity Cathedral, and the former house of the shepherds. One of the Camino de Santiago trails passes through Fátima on its way from Lisbon up to the Spain, with travelers stopping here along the way.
Stay a week or more in Sintra on an Untour, and you will have time to discover some of these wonderfully beautiful towns and cities.