Photo Spots in Sintra
Only an hour’s train ride from Lisbon and often featured alongside the Portuguese capital, Porto, and the Algarve in lists of the best places to visit in Portugal and even Europe, the fairy-tale city of Sintra is a wonderful destination for pics. Surrounded by scenic mountains offering beautiful views, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to stunning gothic palaces, gardens and some of the most Instagrammable mansions you’ll ever see. With its natural and architectural wonders, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of places to take photos in Sintra. Whether visiting for a day trip or spending a weekend exploring, the city’s historic charm and incredible photography spots will transport you to a world of wonder. 🌍✨
Here at Flytographer, we easily connect people with trusted photographers for fun photo shoots and have captured over three million memories worldwide. Today, we asked our local photographers to show us around all the very best places to take photos in Sintra!
(A little sneak peek just for you 😊)
- Peninha Sanctuary: a popular pilgrimage site on a mountain with a Baroque chapel, a hermitage ruin and some of the best views of Sintra.
- Terrace of Triton: an Instagrammable archway, as intricate as it gets, that leads to the interiors of Pena Palace, the symbol of Sintra.
- Monserrate Palace: one of the most beautiful places in Sintra, an eclectic building blending Moorish and Gothic styles whose arches frame an exuberant garden.
- Old Town: Sintra’s historical area has narrow cobblestone streets, beautiful palaces, mansions and parks.
- Lighthouse in Cascais: a picturesque structure offering dazzling vistas of the green-blue waters of the Atlantic ocean.
1. Peninha Sanctuary
Within the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and nestled at an altitude of over 400 metres atop the Sintra Mountains, Peninha Sanctuary is an idyllic spot that offers some of the most breathtaking views of Sintra. A stony path connecting the car park to the sanctuary leads the walk up, revealing an incredible panorama that stretches far and wide, featuring the vast coastline, the city and the majestic Atlantic ocean beyond. Everywhere you look, there are stunning backdrops that make for fantastic photo opportunities. 📸
The sanctuary’s origin dates back to the 18th century when a Baroque church was built on the spot where, as legend has it, the Virgin Mary appeared to young shepherds. While the church is not always open to the public, it boasts a stunning interior with walls entirely covered in traditional Portuguese blue and white tiles. On the other hand, the terraces are always open and offer more beautiful views that include Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point in continental Europe. For those who love nature, exploring the hiking trails through the lush forests surrounding the sanctuary is an excellent idea.
Try visiting Peninha Sanctuary on a sunny day, as the panoramic views are the highlight of the experience. Don’t forget to look for the St. Saturnino Hermitage while wandering around the area. Even though it is now in ruins, it still makes for a photogenic spot. 😉
2. Terrace of Triton
The Terrace of Triton is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting the Palácio Nacional da Pena, also known as the National Pena Palace, the symbol of Sintra. This exquisite archway is a popular spot for Instagrammers, and it’s easy to see why. The attention to detail is simply amazing, with the mythical figure of Triton taking center stage. 🧜♂️
What makes the archway so unique is its theme, which blends elements of the aquatic and terrestrial worlds. The lower part of the arch features a stunning design with intricate corals and three seashells, one of which serves as Triton’s throne. Moving to the upper part, we see the tree growing from Triton’s head, representing the terrestrial world, along with grape vines framing a stunning window on the second floor.
But the Terrace of Triton is just one small part of the National Palace of Pena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best places to take photos in Sintra. With a vibrant red clock tower, yellow facades and breathtaking city views, this 19th-century castle is the perfect example of Sintra Romanticism blending different architectural styles, from Neo-gothic and Neo-Moorish to Neo-Manueline. Also, notice how this place is full of turrets, those medieval towers that stick out of the walls in castles, especially the ones you find in playgrounds. 🏰
When visiting the palace, don’t miss its extravagant gardens, which are as eccentric as the architecture itself. This is where beauty, history and nature come together to create a truly magical atmosphere.
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3. Monserrate Palace
Monserrate Palace, a 19th-century architectural marvel built for the British merchant Sir Francis Cook, is a fascinating attraction you simply cannot miss while in Sintra. The palace seamlessly blends various architectural styles, from Gothic to Moorish and offers a unique photo background at every turn. Its stunning facade and terraces are adorned by Arabic arches that beautifully frame the lush gardens surrounding the palace.
Inside, you’ll find majestic rooms, halls and corridors that are sure to take your breath away. The Central Gallery is the best photo spot with its central marble fountain, pink marble columns, arches raised in stucco and intricate Moorish patterns all coming together to create a truly captivating setting. The palace’s corridors, formed by beautiful Gothic arches, also make for stunning photo backdrops. 👌
Besides its exquisite architecture, Monserrate Palace is also home to a romantic garden that spans over 33 hectares. The garden features a diverse collection of plants from all over the world, providing the perfect spot to relax and embrace nature. The presence of artificial lakes and waterfalls further adds to the garden’s charm and makes everything even more photogenic. Don’t forget to look for the church ruins covered by wild nature, another incredibly popular photography spot.
4. Old Town
Sintra’s Old Town epitomizes the city’s charm and romance. If you’re a first-time visitor, the Old Town is easily accessible by public transport from the train station. Once you arrive, you’ll instantly understand why it’s one of the most photogenic places in Sintra. This area is perfect for exploring by foot, with its picturesque narrow cobblestone streets, beautiful palaces, mansions and parks, as well as tempting local delicacies to try. 😋
One highlight is the imposing Sintra National Palace with its recognizable pair of chimneys. Built on the site of a former Moorish Castle, the white-washed walls of this minimalist gothic palace make for beautiful photo backdrops. Inside, minimalism is not a thing, and the highly adorned rooms are a sight to behold.
While exploring the Old Town, be sure to visit the exuberant palatial villa Quinta da Regaleira. Along with the palace and its lush gardens, the site boasts the intriguing Initiation Well, which features a beautiful spiral staircase that’s totally Instagrammable and one of the best places to take photos in Sintra.
5. Lighthouse in Cascais
Cascais, a charming fishing town just a 30-minute drive from Sintra, is another excellent day trip option with a delightful mix of historic buildings and pristine beaches. One highlight of Cascais is the Santa Marta Lighthouse, which offers fantastic photo opportunities. Recently renovated, the 19th-century lighthouse features a striking contrast of blue and white tiles with the bright red lantern room, all set against the backdrop of the blue-green waters of Cascais Bay. 🌊
This is an ideal location for romantic proposals, and going up the spiral stairs of the lighthouse is very rewarding for the panoramic views of the Atlantic, especially during sunsets. The place also houses a museum that tells the history of Portugal’s lighthouses — a worthwhile cultural visit.💡
Capturing Memories in Sintra
Among the many stunning sights in Sintra, Castelo dos Mouros, or Castle of the Moors, deserves an honourable mention for its breathtaking city views. Another great lookout spot is Cruz Alta, the highest point on the Sintra Mountains. If you’re in the mood for a change of scenery, head to the secluded Praia da Ursa or Ursa Beach to take in the dazzling ocean views and picture-perfect surroundings.
To make the most of your trip, connect with one of our local photographers. They can capture all the beauty of this Portuguese gem and your best moments in it. 🇵🇹
“Claudia was Fantastic! She was so great helping us find our inner model since we don’t take a lot of pictures. Claudia has a great eye and we couldn’t be happier with our experience and overall turnout of photos. She was so accommodating and you shouldn’t think twice about booking with her for any of your photography needs. She made our special moment even more spectacular and we can not thank her enough.”
“Ana Lucia was amazing! Our photos are for sure the highlight of our trip, and we will continue to cherish them now that we’re home. She also made a great effort to make our shy 2.5-year-old feel relaxed. I highly recommend Ana Lucia to anyone looking to capture some memories in Portugal!! Beyond pleased with the photos and the interactions throughout.”
“Maria is a phenomenal photographer that captures the moment beautifully. I booked her for my surprise proposal in Sintra, Portugal and now my fiancée and I can look back and smile forever. Maria also helped us with a photoshoot after the proposal. She is a natural and captured us in many different elements and backgrounds. We now have ‘save the date’ and future photos that we are happy with as well. Thank you Maria!”