The best independent guide to Cascais
Sintra is a fascinating town of lavish palaces and stunning natural scenery, which creates a fantastic day trip from Cascais. Cascais is the finest resort town of the Lisbon coastline and is the most easily accessible beach, for visitors based in Sintra.
Both towns are connected by a direct bus service, and this means that there is no need to travel into Lisbon. This guide will detail how to travel from Cascais to Sintra (or conversely Sintra to Cascais) using public transport, and includes fares, timetables and station information.
Related artilces: Sintra Introduction - Day trip to Sintra
Sintra lies 17km north of Cascais and is connected by both rail and road public transport. The rail route is impractical as requires two journeys; one from Cascais to Lisbon and a second from Lisbon to Sintra. The Cascais Sintra bus route is direct and is the recommended means of travel between the two tourist towns.
There are two bus services which connect Cascais to Sintra, service number 403 and 417. Both routes start at Cascais bus station (Cascais Terminal) and terminate at Sintra train station (Sintra Estação). The 417 bus route is faster, but the 403 is more scenic, following the coastline and passing the Cabo da Roca cliffs.
The 417 bus takes 30 minutes to travel from Cascais to Sintra while the 403 takes a whole hour. The single fare costs €4.25 and the ticket is purchased from the driver on boarding the bus. The bus services are operated by Scotturb and the latest timetables can be seen on their website (note: their timetables are seasonal):
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In Cascais the bus departs from the main bus station (Cascais Terminal), which is located below the Cascais Villa shopping centre, (GPS38.70129, -9.41972). For visitors arriving in Cascais, this is close to the town centre and a 5-minute walk to the Praia da Duquesa, the main beach of the town.
In Sintra both bus services terminate at the Sintra railway station (Sintra Estação - GPS: 38.79870, -9.38646). The train station is 1.5km from the historic centre and for visitors new to Sintra, it is not always clear which way to head. We suggest catching the 434 tourist bus (€6.90, single loop), as this connects the train station, the historic centre of Sintra, the Pena Palace and the Moors Castle, in a one directional loop. The 434 bus departs from the train station and there is a service every 20 minutes. During the summer, when Sintra is swamped with tourists, there can be long queues for this bus service.
For those who wish to walk, it is a pleasant route from the train station to the historic centre, but it is a very challenging uphill hike to the Pena Palace and Moors castle.
Related articles: 434 tourist bus guide
Certain visitors who will be reading this article will be planning a trip to both Sintra and Cascais in one day. Don’t do it. There is too much to possibly see in one day, and a significant portion of the day will be spent waiting for public transport. Even worse would be to drive to Sintra, as the narrow roads are not designed for the heavy tourist traffic and there is simply no car parking.
These are both historic and wonderful towns with a vast amount to see, and give them the justice that they deserve (Sintra two days, Cascais one day). If you are really pushed for time consider joining an organised tour, but do not plan both destinations in one-day trip!
Along the 403 bus route are the Cabo da Roca cliffs. This headland is the most westerly point of mainland Europe and was thought to be the end of the known world in the 14th century. The region is of dramatic landscapes, 150m high cliffs fall away to raging seas and the entire region is buffeted by strong winds. Cabo da Roca is a beautiful location for people who appreciate natures raw beauty and is a wonderful place to watch sunset, but unfortunately the bus times do not allow for this.
Do not consider driving from Cascais to Sintra if you planning to visit the historic centre or the major tourist sights of the Moorish castle or Pena Palace as it is notoriously difficult to park. The ancient and narrow roads that wind through the hills were never designed for high traffic volumes and parking is almost non-existent.
Up by the Pena Palace there is less than ten parking spaces while down in the town hordes of tourist make driving difficult especially at the weekend. Driving in Sintra becomes essential to explore the Sintra-Cascais National park and sight not on the common tourist trails such as the Convent of the Capuchos the Quinta da Regaleira.