Sintra mountain is a small massif - the Roman promontory of the moon - set before the ocean which climbs up to 528 meters at Cruz Alta. Once the domain of bushland the mountain has changed its features after the introduction of several forest essences. Today, in certain areas you can breath the air of a dense forest which contrasts with the cover of the coastal strip or the limestone platform in São João das Lampas. The exotic vegetation reaches its higher expression in the Pena and Monserrate Parks.
Cliffs, small arribas, beaches, dunes and the Rocha muzzle draw a seashore that amazes with its vigour and there are even dinosaur footprints tracks (Praia Grande do Rodízio).
Besides countless examples of erudite architecture - the Palácio da Vila (Village Palace) with its unique chimneys is the symbol of the Park - and with its well preserved gardens, the Sintra-Cascais Nature Park (14.583 ha) houses within it curious manifestations of popular architecture.
The undeniable scenic value associated with this protected area was recognized by UNESCO by integrating part of the mountain and Sintra's historical centre in the World Heritage List with the category of "cultural landscape".
Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas, I.P. (ICNF, I.P.)
Lisbon and Tagus Valley
Identification and Access
Access coming from:
- Cascais follow the N247 heading towards Guincho beach; or
- Lisbon, towards Sintra, follow A5 and IC19 heading to Sintra, entering the protected area through N9.
Don't limit yourself to the Sintra of Volta do Duche and the "Sunday Walk's" cheesecakes. The Natural Park is a two-faced coin: on one side is the much celebrated romantic Sintra; on the other is the rough and strong coastal area that goes from Cascais to S. Julião beach finding its centre on Roca's cape.
To observe the fauna leave early in the morning or a bit before dusk. Bring binoculars and a camera, if you have them. Always pay attention to the weather forecast and avoid performing activities in days of rain, thunderstorm or fog. Avoid going out by yourself, but, if you do, inform an acquaintance or a local entity of your departure and return. Use simple and comfortable clothes. Make outerwear, food, water, sunscreen and/or a raincoat available. You may also want to take a cellphone and flashlight (do not start a fire and don't dispose of cigarette butts incorrectly). If you want to enjoy the beaches do not forget your bathing suit. Take special precautions when walking in moist and rocky areas, to avoid falling and do not act in a way that might endanger yourself or others.
In case of an accident contact the emergency service 112.
Supports in place
The Park has directional and informative signs throughout all of its area.
Several visiting structures are already in place allowing for universal accessibility.
Statutes of Conservation
PTCON0008 Sintra / Cascais
PTZPE0061 Cabo Raso
Part of Sintra-Cascais Nature Park is classified as World Heritage within the category of "cultural landscape".
Visit the Tapada de Mafra, with more than 1000 hectares, surrounded by a wall of 21 km, has a great diversity of animal and plant species.
What you can do
1. In the spring, the Monserrate park garden make your eyes forget the gray winter, with the flowering plant species from several parts of the world.
1. If you don’t enjoy the heat, the coastal beaches of this Nature Park are for you. A little bit windy, Park beaches are also diverse: those at the north of Roca cape are rocky, narrow, framed by high cliffs; those inthe south are flatter and bordered by mobile dunes.
2. In August, during the pilgrimage to S. Mamede Hermitage, watch the cattle going around the temple.
1. Enjoy and visit some of the lighthouses in the Nature Park.
2. On the road between Sintra Galamares enjoy the different colours of hardwoods. In the northern area of the Nature Park, pass through the agricultural fields around São João das Lampas, observe the parcels surrounded by stone walls in Fontanelas (where cultivates Pippin apple (maçã reineta) of Colares and the vineyards) and visit the Museum of São Miguel de Odrinhas or hop on the cliffs of Samarra beach.
1. Visit the area of the Forest Perimeter of Serra de Sintra on the road between Azóia and Peninha and the fog, that normally sets in between the Mexican Cypress and Northern White Cedar trees. This time of year always count on unpredictable rains and cold.
2. Observe the camellias in bloom at the Parque da Pena and understand the reason why it earned the distinction of " Excellence Camellia Garden ".
Best Season: All year long