Porto and Sintra are two of Portugal’s most popular places to visit but can you do a day trip from Porto to Sintra?
I actually spent a whole month living in Porto so I know quite a bit about the city.
In this post I’ll let you know if a day trip is possible, how you can do it for yourself and some other insider tips to help plan your stay.
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Is A Day Trip From Porto To Sintra Possible?
Yes, technically a day trip from Porto to Sintra is possible but it would involve over 6 hours of travel meaning you wouldn’t get that much time in Sintra to explore.
The distance between Porto and Sintra is 332 km (206 miles) which would take just over 3 hours by car.
The train ride is even longer and takes around 4 hours each way. There is no direct train from Porto to Sintra so you’d have to change trains in Lisbon which is why it takes so long.
Depending on your mode of transport, you’ll spend between 6 and 8 hours of your day traveling to and from Sintra.
This means that technically, if you don’t mind getting up early and going to bed late, a day trip from Porto to Sintra is possible.
Here’s an example itinerary:
- Leave Porto at 6AM, arrive in Sintra by 10AM.
- 9 hours of time to explore Sintra.
- Leave Sintra at 7PM, arrive back in Porto at 11PM.
I know it’s a long day but if you really want to do a day trip to Sintra then it’s definitely doable and this itinerary does give you enough time to see the main sights in Sintra.
Is It Worth It To Go To Sintra?
Sintra is a stunning town situated on a hilltop which features exquisite palaces, a thick pine forest and the ruins of a Moorish castle.
It almost feels a bit mythical, like something out of a fairytale.
If your only chance to ever see Sintra is on a day trip from Porto then it’s definitely worth it in my opinion. This place is absolutely gorgeous and I don’t want you to miss out!!
Having said that, if you have extra time then it’s definitely worth staying overnight in Sintra if you can.
Sintra is actually a better day trip from Lisbon (as it’s much closer) so if you’re also visiting Lisbon then plan to visit Sintra from there. (This is what I did!)
Sintra makes an ideal weekend trip from Porto but it’s less suited to a day trip due to the long travel times.
That being said, a day trip to Sintra from Porto is still possible and could be worth it if you’re on a once-in-a-lifetime kinda trip.
Also don’t overlook the other great day trips from Porto. There’s tons of stunning towns that lie much closer to Porto and make better day trips than Sintra.
These include Coimbra, Braga, the Douro Valley, Aveiro and Guimarães. These all lie less than 2 hours away from Porto so you won’t be a zombie when you visit them.
How To Get From Porto To Sintra
So whether you’ve decided on a day trip or a weekend trip to Sintra, next I’ll explain exactly how you can get there from Porto.
There are 4 main ways to get from Porto to Sintra: by train, by bus, by taxi or by rental car.
Here’s a quick summary of the three options including how much they cost and how long they take:
- Train – $13.50 to $25.50, 4 hours
- Bus – $5 to $14, 3 hours 49 minutes
- Taxi – $270, 3 hours
- Rental car – $30, 3 hours
*prices are each way, not a return journey.
Now I’ll go into detail on each of these options giving you everything you need to make this journey by yourself.
Train From Porto To Sintra
Unfortunately, there isn’t a direct train from Porto to Sintra so you’ll have to change trains in Lisbon.
It’s actually impossible to book a train ticket from Porto to Sintra online (believe me, I’ve tried!!). It’s just not an option on any Portuguese train websites.
You can book a train ticket from Porto to Lisbon online but you’re not able to pre-book tickets from Lisbon to Sintra at all. You can only buy them at the station.
The easiest way to make the journey from Porto to Sintra by train is to book the two train tickets separately.
You can book a ticket from Porto to Lisbon online then buy the second ticket to Sintra at the station when you arrive in Lisbon.
Here’s an overview of the steps:
- Reserve a train ticket from Porto to Lisbon using Omio.
- Take the train from Porto to Lisbon.
- When you arrive in Lisbon, buy a ticket from Lisbon to Sintra at the ticket machine.
- Take the train from Lisbon to Sintra.
I promise it’s not as complicated as it sounds! (It’s actually pretty easy)
I recommend booking your ticket from Porto to Lisbon on the Omio website as they offer the best prices and it’s super easy to use.
The train from Porto to Lisbon costs between $11 and $23 (one-way). The journey time varies but most will get you there in 2 hours 50 minutes.
The trains leave from Porto Campanha Train Station and arrive at Lisbon Oriente Train Station.
The train from Lisbon to Sintra costs $2.50 each way and takes 47 minutes. You may end up waiting in Lisbon station for 10 – 15 minutes for the next train as they leave every 10 – 20 minutes.
As this is a local urban train, tickets from Lisbon to Sintra cannot be pre-booked so you’ll need to buy it at the station when you arrive.
There’s loads of automated ticket machines that are easy to use and can be set to English. You can also buy the ticket from one of the manned counters if you’d prefer.
These trains rarely get full so you should be fine getting a ticket and taking a seat on the train.
The whole journey from Porto will take you around 4 hours including both trains and the time it takes to buy a ticket in Lisbon and wait for the second train.
Bus From Porto To Sintra
Taking the bus from Porto to Sintra is the cheapest way to get there as it costs between $5 and $14 each way.
The journey time by bus is approximately 3 hours and 49 minutes each way.
Side note: although it’s generally referred to as a ‘bus’, it’s actually more like a coach.
You can book your bus ticket on the Omio website. This is by far the best place to book both trains and buses in Portugal as it offers the best prices and it’s easy to use.
Here’s an example ticket I found on Omio for the journey from Porto to Sintra:
Most of the buses leave from Terminal Intermodal de Campanhã in Porto which does sit on the edge of the city so you’ll need to take an Uber or the metro to get there.
Some buses do depart from different stations so check the ticket properly before booking.
Most of the buses arrive into Portela Estação Sul station in central Sintra but some will drop you off anywhere you want (ideal if you have a hotel booked).
The main companies that run the service from Porto to Sintra are Flixbus and Gipsyy. Both companies offer some pretty low prices.
For example, I found this ticket from Gipsyy that costs just $5!
Weekdays tend to be cheaper than weekends by at least a few dollars. Weekday tickets tend to cost $5 or $6 each way with weekend tickets reaching up to $10 to $14.
As well as being cheaper than taking the train, taking the bus is also more comfortable as it’s a direct journey (you don’t have to change buses at any point) and it’s quicker than the train too.
Porto To Sintra By Taxi
If you’re feeling fancy then you can also travel to Sintra by taxi, Uber or Bolt (Bolt is my personal favorite).
Although it’s definitely the most comfortable way to travel, it’s easily the most expensive (and by a long shot).
I personally think that Bolt is the best taxi app in Portugal as I’ve found that it tends to offer much cheaper prices than a traditional taxi.
It’s also way easier to use. No more having to hail down a taxi and haggle your way down to a reasonable price after the driver tried to charge you 3x the normal rate.
Although Bolt is the cheapest place to get a taxi, this journey is still pretty expensive. I checked on the Bolt app and it quoted me $270!! And that’s just a one-way journey…
I then checked a regular taxi and was quoted over $500 for the same one-way journey.
It takes around 3 hours to travel there by car which is a bit quicker than the bus and train so if money isn’t an issue and you want to get there as fast as possible, a car is the way to go.
Porto To Sintra By Rental Car
If you don’t mind driving yourself then you could save a lot of money by renting a car over taking a taxi.
Renting a car in Portugal is actually super cheap. I checked on rentalcars.com and you can rent a car for just $12 a day. Sounds much better than paying $270 on a taxi right!?
Of course, you’ll also need to pay for your gas which will probably cost around $50 dollars if you’re traveling from Porto to Sintra and back again.
Gas prices do vary depending on the car you choose so $50 is just an estimate using the Fiat Panda car as an example.
This means that you’ll spend, on average, around $62 total to get from Porto to Sintra and back (that’s just $31 each way!).
It’s even more cost effective if you’re in a group as if you traveled by train, you’d need to pay the ticket price for each person so renting a car might actually be cheaper than the train if you have multiple passengers.
Example for a 4 person group
Here’s the prices you’ll pay each way for this journey as a group of 4:
- By train: $54 to $102
- By bus: $20 to $56
- By rental car: $31
As you can see, for a 4-person group, renting a car is definitely cheaper than taking the train and it could even be cheaper than taking the bus.
Renting a car is one of the best transport options for this journey as it’s the fastest, most comfortable and it’s not too expensive.
You also have a bit more freedom when deciding when to leave and you don’t have to worry about train/bus schedules so you’ll feel less rushed.
And that’s it!
Thanks for reading this post on doing a day trip from Porto to Sintra, I hope it helped you plan your trip.