Discover the rich architectural heritge of Sintra’s castles and palaces
Hiking beautiful forest trails among the pine-covered hills of the Serra da Sintra
Visit the remarkable and hobbit-like Capuchos Convent
Enjoy stunning clifftop views from Cabo da Roca, Europe’s most westerly point
Feast on delicious seafood fresh from the Atlantic Ocean
Self-guided walking from Sintra to Cascais
Just a short distance from Lisbon, this walking holiday combines forest trails with spectacular hilltop vistas, 13th century castles with charming ‘quintas’ and rugged cliffs with golden sandy beaches.
“With its rippling mountains, dewy forests thick with ferns and lichen, exotic gardens and glittering palaces, Sintra is like a page torn from a fairy tale.” Lonely Planet
A designated UNESCO world heritage site, the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park is home to the most popular summer residence for the families of Portuguese rulers and noblemen. On this 8-day hiking trip, you will wind your way through this lush forest, discovering architectural treasures as you go, before reaching the stunning Cabo da Roca. Here, at the westernmost point of the European continent, waves crash against the vertical cliffs, which rise up 100 m from the Atlantic Ocean. Finish up by exploring the lively seaside town of Cascais, with its pedestrianised old town, alfresco fish restaurants and its trio of golden bays.
|8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS||From €625 per person sharing*
*Discounts available for groups of 4 or more. Please enquire for prices.
|ACCOMMODATION||The hotels on this trip have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite. Some of the hotels we work with are listed below. If a certain hotel is unable to confirm due to lack of availability, we will request a similar one and inform you about the alternative booked.
It is also possible to book extra nights at any of the hotels along the way.
|AVAILABILITY||You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, throughout the year.|
|DIFFICULTY||This tour is graded easy to moderate. It consists largely of easy walks on forest and coastal trails with relatively short daily distances, although you should be aware that there are some quite significant elevation gains through the Sintra Hills.|
Day 1: Arrive in Sintra
This charming small town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, enjoys a spectacular setting and is a popular day trip from Lisbon. Your accommodation will be in a family run business just outside Sintra’s town centre that has a quiet terrace with splendid views of the town and hills and is conveniently located opposite the train station and with a few restaurants nearby.
Day 2: Sintra Palaces
Distance: 9 km | Ascent/Descent: 475 m | Walking time: 4½ hrs approx.
The first day’s walking is through dense woodlands, high above the sea. This route takes in the three most prominent monuments of Sintra. Beginning with a steep ascent to the Castelo de Mouro (constructed by the North African Moors who ruled over the region between the 8th to 11th century), winding along two ridges of the Serra de Sintra, then continuing on to the colourful dream palace that is the Palacio da Pena, a flamboyant example of Portuguese romantic architecture. Enjoy a walk in the exotic gardens before the steep descent via Vila Sasseti to the town centre of Sintra, where the Palacio Nacional stands.
Day 3: From Convento dos Capuchos to Azoia
Distance: 11½ km | Ascent: 425 m | Descent: 500 m | Walking time: 5 hrs approx.
Today you leave the crowds behind with a transfer to the Convento dos Capuchos, a bewitching 16th century Franciscan monastery hidden away in the mystical woodlands. From here, the woodland trail leads you past hillside menhirs and the shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary of Peninha. Then you descend to the village of Azoia and get the bus back to Sintra.
Day 4: Sintra Manor Houses
Distance: 4½ or 7 km | Walking time: 2 or 3 hrs, with time for visiting the palaces
In the 19th and early 20th centuries a Romantic wind blowing through Europe was strongly felt in Sintra. You will find extravagant palaces and pastel coloured villas nestled among the forested hills. These were built by nobles and wealthy merchants, and most are still occupied or in use as luxury hotels.
Day 5: Sintra - Praia Grande
Distance: 15 km | Ascent: 225 m | Descent: 485 m | Walking time: 5 hrs approx.
Leaving Sintra behind, today’s walk takes you north through fields, vineyards and pine forests toward the rugged Atlantic coast and the pretty clifftop village of Azenhas do Mar, with its whitewashed fisherman’s houses. Here you join the GR11 coastal route and follow it south to the 1970’s hotel on “Praia Grande” in Arribas, with its huge saltwater pool.
Day 6: Praia Grande Circular Route
Distance: 11.3 or 12.6 km | Ascent/Descent: 500 or 575 m | Walking time: 4½ to 5 hrs approx.
From Hotel Arribas you continue south along the GR11 coastal route, following old fisherman’s trails to the village of Ulgueira. Breathtaking views await you at Cabo de Roca, the most westerly point on the European mainland. Reward yourself with a cool drink in Ulgeira before returning to Praia Grande via an inland route that passes through a pine forest and the traditional village of Almoçageme.
Day 7: Azoia - Guincho - Cascais
Distance: 8 or 17½ km | Ascent: 175 or 275 m | Descent: 375 or 475 m | | 3 hrs – 5 hrs approx.
After a short transfer to Azoia, you join up once more with the GR11 and follow it along the coast to the 17th century fortress of “Fortaleza de Guincho”, now a luxury hotel with views over Guincho’s long golden beach and sand dunes.
Option to stop part-way (after 8 km and approximately 2½ to 3 hours walking) and take the bus directly to Cascais or walk the rest of the way along the beach (an additional 9.5 km).
Day 8: End of programme
Your trip comes to an end today after breakfast. You can travel back to Lisbon by public transport (40 mins approx.), or we can also arrange a private transfer.