There are several fantastic walking routes found within the Sintra/Cascais area. They offer adventurous visitors an intimate way of experiencing the natural beauty of the region and feel the landscapes underfoot. These well-marked trails vary in terrain, length and difficulty. MADABOUTSINTRA.COM is your guide.
1.9km (1.2 miles) | 1hr | Easy. Slight Incline
This short circular route starts at the Largo Rainha Dª Amélia in front of the National Palace of Sintra in the old town centre. On the way to the 12th-century church of Igreja de Santa Maria, you'll pass the Miradouro da Ferraria viewpoint, the Fonte da Sabuga medieval fountain and the Parque da Liberdade. The Igreja de Santa Maria church was commissioned by the first king of Portugal, Dom. Afonso Henriques yet has seen many alterations and renovations since. Today it's a triple naved Gothic-Romanesque construction with ogival arches and finely worked capitals and a rare example of churches dating from the Middle Ages.
4.5km (2.8 miles) | 2.5hr | Moderate. Steep
These circular routes start at the Largo Rainha Dª Amélia in front of the National Palace of Sintra. They ascend up through the wooded mountain passing along the way the Miradouro da Ferraria viewpoint, the Fonte da Sabuga fountain, the Igreja de Santa Maria church, the Casa do Adro (the house where Hans Christian Andersen lived in 1866), Convento da Santíssima Trindade (a 14th-century convent), Capela de São Pedro de Penaferrim (a 12th-century chapel) and Álea Ferreira de Castro, where the writer Ferreira de Castro (1898-1974) is buried. Thereafter the route forks; the PR2 will take you to the Moorish Castle and the PR 3 to the Pena Palace.
3.5km (2.2 miles) | 1.5hr | Moderate. Steep
This circular route starts at the Largo Rainha Dª Amélia in front of the National Palace of Sintra in the old town centre. The route continues through the old town, past the tourist office, clock tower and the 12th century Igreja de S. Martinho church. Leaving the old town you will pass the Lawrence's Hotel, the Ferreira de Castro museum, the Fonte dos Pisões fountain, Quinta da Regaleira before arriving at the 18th Century Hotel Palácio de Seteais and the Fonte da Pipa fountain.
Local legend proclaims the name Seteais is derived from people calling out "Aye" on the road that would then echo seven times – "Sete-Ais.
2.3km (1.5 mile) | 1.5hr | Easy: Slight Inclines
As with the other hiking routes, the PR5 starts outside the National Palace and follows the PR4 path until Quinta da Regaleira where it branches off to the right passing the Quinta do Relógio. Other estate houses along the route include the Quinta do Castanheiro and then joins the Castanhais route to return to Sintra Old Town.
9km (5.6 miles) | 3.5hr | Medium
This medium circular route starts at the damn on the river Mula (Barragem do Rio da Mula - 38°45'49 N | 9°25'19 W, Rua Alcabideche) 6.2 miles (10km) South of National Palace of Sintra where there's parking space for your car. The route takes you to the Capuchos Convent along the southern slopes of the Sintra mountain range through the beautiful countryside that passes the Memorial of the soldiers who perished fighting the great fire of 1966 and the Yellow Rock (Pedra Amarela) boulder formation along the way.
10km (5.7 miles) | 3hr | Medium
Starting at the Cabo da Rocha, this route follows the line of cliffs along this impressive coastline of the Sintra-Cascais National Park that passes the spectacular viewpoints such as Pedra de Alvidrar and Buraco do Fojo. En route you will encounter the Praia da Adraga and Praia Grande with it's dinosaur footprints. Although the cliffs are tall in places, the path itself doesn't have any steep inlines. The route back takes you through the traditional villages of Almoçageme and Ulgueira, pine forests and orchards.
14km (8.6 mile) | 3.5hr | Medium
The route starts at the Adega Regional de Colares, the Colares Regional Winery on the EN 375 in Colares. This circular trail is, for the most, flat and winds its way through pine forests and follows the line of the coast passed the Adega Visconde Salreu winery before reaching the villages of Fontanelas and Gouveia. En-route you'll experience the rural countryside or the so-called Saloia region, the ancient sandy vineyards, the fishing village of Azenhas do Mar and the circular chapel of Janas.
13.5km (8.3 mile) | 3.5hr | Easy
Meaning the "route of the villages", it both starts and ends at the Largo do Coreto, in São João das Lampas, at the northern end of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. The route cuts through the regions agricultural landscape dotted by small farmsteads and pastures separated by dry-stone walls and hedges, interspersed with pine forests. Here age-old rural traditions live on and thrive. Some of the roads hereabouts are of Roman origin in addition to the Roman bridge at Catribana (Ponte Romana da Catribana). See first hand the medieval São João das Lampas church, quaint roadside fountains and traditional windmills.
5.9km (3.6 mile ) | 2.5hr | Medium
Starting at the Peninha Sanctuary itself, perched of a assemblage of rounded boulders, it's a place of wonder and ancient worship. From the car park, the route heads north through dense shrub and windswept trees to the so-called Anta de Adrenunes. This arrangement of rocks resembles a Megalithic dolmen. The jury is still out over if it really is an ancient structure of a natural feature. Along the way you'll also encounter the lighthouse at Cabo da Roca, the Pedra da Ursa and the valley of Adraga.
4.9km (18.5 miles) | 6.5hr | Medium
The trail begins at the 16th century Franciscan Capuchos Convent and runs along the top of the Sintra Mountain. It passes many sites along the way. Including the Soldiers memorial. Yellow Rock (Pedra Amarela) and the "Tholo do Monge", a prehistoric chambered tomb.
29.7km (3.6 mile) | 2.5hr | Medium
The GR11 (Grande Route) is part of the Atlantic Way that, at this point, runs through the Natural Park of Sintra-Cascais (PNSC). The rout starts at in the village of Ulgueira and finishes in São Miguel de Odrinhas and follows the coast traversing many of the seaside towns along the way such as Praia da Adraga, Praia Grande, Praia Pequena, Praia das Maçãs, Praia da Aguda until it reaches Praia do Magoito before the path turns inland. Once at São Miguel de Odrinhas, you can visit the famous Archeological Museum and Roman villa.