All tour books suggest that you don’t drive into Sintra. I think this is one of the times I should have taken that advice. Sintra is located on a hillside about 45 minutes from Lisbon. It is a popular day trip from Lisbon but only if you can come in the middle of the week. Friday – Monday are supposed to be the worst. I would now agree with tour books that you shouldn’t drive into Sintra. We arrived shortly before 3 PM but didn’t get to the hotel until around 4 PM. The first time, we missed the street to our hotel and our detour took us up to the palace. This would be fine except we maybe went 5 mph for about 30 minutes. All the streets are pretty much one way and there isn’t a shorter route to get back. The next time, we got the right street but there wasn’t any parking available in front of the hotel. They have 3 spots but they were full. I was going to try to squeeze into a little spot on the end but I had a bus right behind me who wasn’t willing to go around. So I had to keep on going which was about another 20 minute detour around the city. At least I didn’t have to go back up by the palaces. The next time, I double parked in front of a different building and we were able to get the hotel to come get our luggage and then go park our car in their garage for us. Phew…that was maybe the worst time driving into a city.
The city was packed full of people. It was a little overwhelming after coming from a beach town. We visited the presidential palace before it closed because we knew our full day here would be spent visiting the palace and castle on top of the hill.