How to get to Pena Palace from Lisbon (Guide + Tips)

If you’ve set your sights on exploring Sintra, chances are Pena Palace is at the top of your must-see list. Sitting atop a hill, high above the city and offering views of the coastline, the colorful palace is one of the region’s most popular attractions.

Getting to Pena from Lisbon is fairly straightforward, with several options to choose from. You can take the train, drive, or join an organized tour for convenience.

This post walks you through each choice, helping you find the best fit for your trip to Pena Palace.

how to get to Pena Palace from Lisbon
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How to get to Pena Palace from Lisbon by train

Traveling by train is an easy and cost-effective option for getting to Sintra from Lisbon and that’s why it’s such a popular choice among visitors.

Most direct trains leave Lisbon from Rossio Train Station which is conveniently located in the city center. Not only that, but just 3 minutes away on foot you can find the Rossio metro station, so it’s fast and easy to get here from other parts of Lisbon as well.

However, if your accommodation is located closer to the modern Oriente Station, then it makes sense to use it instead as it also has direct connections to Sintra.

Rossio train station in Lisbon, Portugal
Elegant Rossio train station in Lisbon

Upon a glance, you’d probably never guess that the beautiful Neo-Manueline building that houses Rossio is in fact a train station. I passed by it many times and even got a coffee from the Starbucks inside, without realizing this.

The ticket booths and machines, as well as the platforms for the urban trains (including the Sintra line), are located on the 1st floor, so take the elevators up upon arrival. Also on the 1st floor, you’ll find luggage lockers if you need one and some even accept credit cards.

Trains leave for Sintra every 15 to 30 minutes depending on the time of the day and the ride usually takes around 40 minutes (it passes through four fare zones). The cost of a single journey is €2.40, while a round trip costs €4.80.

I will mention that Google Maps doesn’t always list all existing connections. For example, I arrived at the station thinking I had a good chunk of time before my train left, yet there was one scheduled to depart in just a few minutes.

So make sure you check the current train schedule and fares here (enter “Lisboa – Rossio” in the “From” field and “Sintra” in the “To” field). Word of caution: not all routes are direct, so be mindful of that when deciding which train to take.

To see if a connection is direct, just press the small plus icon under detail and it will open a list with the train number and all the stations.

viva viagem card
I saved a Viva Viagem ticket as a souvenir

The tickets, known as Viva Viagem, are rechargeable magnetic cards with a paper exterior. When taking your first train ride, you’ll need to buy a Viva Viagem card for €0.50. Afterward, you can top it up for future train journeys.

If you have used the Metro and you already have a Viva Viagem card, you can only use it on the trains if the balance is €0 before adding new funds. Also, the card can only be used by a single person, so don’t top one thinking you can use it for a whole group.

As Rossi station tends to be quite crowded most days, I recommend you arrive 20-30 minutes before your intended departure time. This way you’ll have enough time to buy your ticket. An alternative to this is to buy or top your Viva Viagem in advance.

Since the train station in Sintra can also get quite busy, save yourself the trouble and just buy a return ticket directly. When I made the trip, I actually only asked for a one-way and the guy at the ticket booth gave me a return instead :)).

If you depart from Oriente station, there’s no difference in ticket price, even though the ride is a few minutes longer.

Pena Palace in Sintra
Probably my favorite photo taken at Pena

Sintra station to Pena Palace

While you can walk to Pena through a path in the forest, it will take you at least 50 minutes to reach it from the train station and will require a bit of effort as you’ll be going uphill and you’ll encounter a lot of stairs.

So unless you’re feeling a bit adventurous or you love hiking, I’d recommend taking the bus. Other alternatives are Uber, Bolt, taxi, or tuk-tuk and you can also rent an e-bike or a small 2-person electric car. Do bear in mind though that many streets in Sintra are narrow, hilly, and one-way if you are thinking of renting.

The bus route that links Pena Palace to the train station is called 434 Circuito da Pena and it will leave you right in front of Pena Park’s entrance, where the ticket booth is.

You can buy a 24-hour ticket or pay per ride as you go (see all ticket options here). Tickets can be purchased from either the booth outside the train station or from the driver. It’s usually better to have cash if you go for the latter option.

How to get to Pena Palace from Lisbon by car

I don’t think you should rent a car to travel to Sintra from Lisbon specifically, but if you have planned for a bigger road trip through Portugal and you’ll need a rental anyway, then it can make sense to also use it to visit Sintra and its surroundings. However, I recommend you leave it parked outside the city center.

Parking lots in Sintra where you can leave your car on a Lisbon to Sintra day trip
Suggestions for parking in Sintra

Not only are Sintra’s streets a bit hard to navigate, but there are traffic restrictions in certain areas like the city center, Pena National Palace and Park, and Moorish Castle among others. Only residents, public buses, taxis, Uber/Bolt and other authorized cars are allowed to enter these zones.

car in Sintra

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Choose between international and local rental companies

Regardless of whether you’re thinking of renting a car in Lisbon or Porto, there are numerous choices available. To make the process a little easier, you can use an aggregator site like Discover Cars to explore your options.

In many cases it will also save you some money because they negotiate the rates with the car rental companies and their full coverage insurance is much cheaper. However, since it’s third-party insurance, you will still have to pay a security deposit when receiving the car.

As long as you return the car without any damage, the entire sum will be refunded. However, if it needs any repairs, the costs will be deducted from the deposit. You would then need to file a claim with Discover Cars to get back that money and this is up to $3400.

To check the deposit amount (as requirements vary between different companies) and other really important details, you can click “Rental conditions” when reserving the vehicle.

Rental companies may sometimes attempt to sell you their own insurance, even though you already bought one through Discover Cars. Just decline. Also, I suggest you rent your car from a company with high ratings on Discover Cars (ideally above 8). Often, this will ensure you receive better customer service.

Visit Sintra in a day: Pena Palace
Pena Palace

Best Pena Palace tours from Lisbon

If you don’t want to be bothered to get to Pena on your own, you can opt to book a tour. Here are a few good options:

  • Sintra, Cabo da Roca and Cascais Full-Day Tour 4.8/5 ★: The ticket for Pena Palace is not included with the tour, you’ll need to buy it yourself separately. Make sure you get it ahead of time to guarantee your visit as you’ll need one for the 10:00 AM slot. Other attractions on the itinerary are Cabo da Roca (Europe’s westernmost point) and Cascais. The tour also does a short stop in Azenhas do Mar.
  • Guided Day Tour of Sintra, Pena, Regaleira & Cascais 4.7/5 ★: During this tour you’ll visit both Quinta da Regaleira and Pena Palace (tickets are included), as well as have free time in Cascais and Sintra.
  • Sintra and Pena Palace Tour 4.9/5 ★: Small group tour perfect for those mainly interested in visiting Pena Palace and are short on time.
Pena Palace in Sintra: interior
One of the rooms inside Pena Palace

Useful tips for visiting Pena Palace

  • Check the weather forecast before you go (if possible): The area around Pena is known for being foggy and rainy and if it’s a really cloudy day, there is a real probability that you’ll not even see the exterior of the castle well.
  • Visit in the afternoon: In the morning the risk of fog is usually higher, but as the day progresses and temperature rises it tends to clear up by afternoon.
  • Get the transfer: For a small extra fee, you can get a transfer ticket from the entrance of the park to the palace. It’s worth getting it at least for using it on your way up as it’s faster and it will spare you from climbing the hill. You can then return on foot if you wish.
  • Visit first the Palace and then the Park: Pena Park is quite vast, so I recommend you first visit the palace to get that out of the way and then use your remaining time to see the gardens.
Pena Park in Sintra
Pena Park

As you can see it’s fairly easy and convenient to travel to Pena Palace from Lisbon, especially by train.

If you are a first-time visitor to Sintra, I recommend you also visit the pelicular-looking Quinta da Regaleira. You can find more details in my day trip to Sintra travel guide. Or you can check all my Portugal posts.

Happy travels~

how to visit Pena Palace from Lisbon

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