Portugal Palaces and Coast Walk

    enquire now 8 Days From NZD $1,090 pp twinshare
    Independent traveller
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    Set amidst the pine-blanketed hills of the Serra de Sintra, Sintra has been plucked straight from a book of fairytales. Explore the former summer residences of the nobility of Portugal and its impressive Manor houses and national monuments over the course of a week. Arriving in Sintra, discover this unique and historic town, which punches well above its weight in terms of historic monuments and tourist attractions. Its elaborate 19th century design style was inspired by the mysticism of ancient cultures, and is Europe’s finest example of the whimsical and colourful Romanticism architecture. Take your time exploring Sintra’s decorative and flamboyant palaces, mansions and gardens, including the Palácio da Peno, Castelo de Mouro, the Palacio Nacional and hidden gems like the Arabic-inspired Palacio de Monserrate. Leave the crowds behind and transfer to a 16th century Franciscan monastery, which you’ll have the opportunity to view before setting off on a walk through the mystical Mediterranean woodlands to Azoia. Traverse fields, vineyards and the forested hills of the Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais to the rugged and dramatic coastline, which is dotted with pretty fishing villages, glorious sandy beaches, interesting rock formations including the “Boca do Inferno” (Hell’s Mouth) and the most westerly point of mainland Europe, the “Cabo da Roca”, whose raw beauty, epitomised by raging seas and wind-blasted cliffs, makes it a memorable detour to top off a week of diversity.


    • Discover the unique and historic town of Sintra
    • Exploring Sintra’s decorative and flamboyant palaces, mansions and gardens
    • Visiting the most popular summer residence for the families of Portuguese rulers and noblemen
    • Walking through fields, vineyards and forested hills to the rugged and dramatic coastline with its pretty fishing villages
    • Enjoying easy walks along coastal trails


    Day 1 Arrive Sintra
    Make your own way to Sintra and your hotel, located just outside Sintra’s town centre. Sintra is a picturesque town in the pine-covered hills of the Serra de Sintra. In 1995, UNESCO classified the area a World Heritage Cultural Landscape, the first to receive this category in Europe. Overnight Sintra.

    Day 2 Sintra Palaces walk (4.5hrs) 9km
    Your walking tour today takes in the three most prominent monuments of Sintra: Castelo de Mouro (Castle of the Moors), Palacio da Pena and the Palacio Nacional. To start, there’s a steep ascent to the Moorish castle and the colourful palace of King Ferdinand, followed by a walk in the vast palace grounds. You then descend steeply and continue via Vila Sasseti to the town centre of Sintra, where you’ll find the Palacio Nacional, the main residence of Portugal’s royal nobility from the 15th to the 19th centuries. Overnight in Sintra. Distance: 9km (B)

    Day 3 Transfer to Convento dos Capuchos, walk to Azoia, return to Sintra (5hrs)
    Today you leave the crowds behind, with a transfer to the Convento dos Capuchos, a classic example of an austere 16th-century Franciscan monastery – please note it is closed for renovations until 31 May 2020 – at other times you can visit before heading off for your walk. The walking route leads you through mystical Mediterranean woodlands, past hillside menhirs and the shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary of Peninha. You then descend to Azoia and take the bus back to Sintra and your hotel. (B)

    Day 4 Loop walk to discover Sintra’s manor houses (2-3hrs) 4.5-7km
    In the 19th and early 20th centuries a Romantic wind blowing through Europe was strongly felt in Sintra. Within a few square kilometres you will find extravagant palaces and mansions built by nobles and wealthy merchants, most of which are still occupied or in use as luxury hotels, many of which you can visit. Overnight in Sintra. (B)

    Day 5 Walk through vineyards and pine forest to the coast and Praia Grande (5hrs) 15km
    Today you leave the wealth and romance of Sintra behind as you walk north through fields, vineyards and pine forests toward the rugged coast. In the pretty fishing village of Azenha do Mar, you pick up the GR11 trail and follow it south to your beachfront hotel on the “Praia Grande” in Colares. (B)

    Day 6 Circular route along the GR11, Costa Atlantica and return through villages (5hrs) 11.3 or 12.6km
    From your hotel you follow the long-distance walking path, the GR11 “Costa Atlantica”, heading south along fishermen’s trails towards the village of Ulgueira. There are beautiful views of the Cabo de Roca – the westernmost point of the European continent – and nice sandy beaches along the way. After a drink or ice cream in Ulgeira, you return to Praia Grande and your hotel via a different route which passes through the authentic village of Almoçageme.  (B)

    Day 7 Transfer to Azoia, walk along the coast to Cascais (5hrs), option to shorten the walk. 8 or 17.5km
    Your last walking day begins with a transfer to Azoia, where you pick up the GR11 and follow it along the coast to the 17th-century fortress of “Fortaleza de Guincho”, now a luxury hotel, with views over Praia do Guincho. You can stop off part way (after 8 km and approximately 2.5-3 hrs walking) and take the bus directly to Cascais, or walk an additional 9.5 km all the way to your hotel (footpath between the road and beach). Overnight in Cascais. (B)

    Day 8 Trip concludes
    Your trip concludes after breakfast. You can travel back to Lisbon by public transport (one hour) or by private transfer – please ask for our rates. (B)


    • 7 breakfasts
    • 7 nights in 2-3 star hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
    • Luggage transfers on days 5 and 7
    • Information pack including route notes and maps per room booked
    • GPX Tracks available on request
    • Emergency hotline
    • Private transfers on day 3 (Sintra to Convento dos Capuchos) and 7 (Praia Grande to Azoia)

    UTX – UPP

    Images courtesy of Utracks