The best independent guide to Sintra
The best independent guide to Sintra
Home page - Sintra day trip - Lisbon to Sintra - Tourist bus - Pena Palace - 2 days in Sintra - Lisbon day trips
The 434 bus route in Sintra connects the train station to the Palácio Nacional da Pena and Castelo dos Mouros, before passing through the town centre on its way back to the station. This bus service is essential for your day trip to Sintra, as it is the best (and least expensive) option for travelling from the train station up to the top of the hill where the majestic Palácio da Pena lies.
Insight: During the peak season, there can be incredibly high demand for the bus. Even if there are long queues at the train station or in Sintra town centre, the 434 bus is still your best option.
The 434 bus service is designed for tourists and the fare costs €11.50, which includes unlimited use of all Sintra buses for 24 hours. The ticket price may seem expensive, but it will be cheaper than if you were to make a return trip by taxi, Uber or tuk-tuk.
This article will provide a guide to the 434 bus, helping you get the most from the service and your day trip to Sintra.
Related articles: Lisbon to Sintra - The Palácio da Pena
If you plan on visiting the Palácio da Pena and Castelo dos Mouros, then the simple answer is yes. The Caminho de Santa Maria footpath up to the palace and castle is very steep and incredibly draining in the summer. Also, the uphill hike (which takes around 55 minutes) is a complete waste of your time, especially if you have just a single day in Sintra. This could be better spent exploring the Parque de Pena, the grounds surrounding the palace.
If you choose not to take the bus, other options to reach the top of the hill include hiring a taxi (€12 or €15 at the weekends), Uber (€10), or taking a tuk-tuk (€30+).
Insight: Uber and Bolt drivers dislike the drive up to the palace, as the traffic is so bad that it can take a long time. The route is almost always on a surge/higher rate, so it often costs more than a taxi.
Warning: Never consider driving to Sintra. The historic centre is closed to traffic, and the surrounding area is a constant traffic jam, with frustrated drivers searching for parking spaces. During the peak season, the upper sections of the Estrada da Pena (the road to the Pena Palace) are also closed to traffic. The best way to travel to Sintra for a day trip is to catch the train from Lisbon and then the bus.
A great way to discover Sintra in a single day is to join an organised tour. This removes the hassle of public transport and provides you with a knowledgeable guide. We have worked with GetYourGuide for the previous seven years, and some of their best tours of Sintra include:
The 434-bus follows a one-directional loop from the train station up to the Palácio da Pena, and back to the station via the centre of Sintra. The exact route is:
• Sintra Estação (train station)
• São Pedro de Sintra
• Castelo dos Mouros
• Palácio da Pena
• Sintra Vila (historic centre of Sintra)
• Sintra Estação
The bus follows a very convoluted route due to the one-way system on the Estrada da Pena and through the historic centre of Sintra. The bus route is 10km long in total, even though it’s just 1km from the train station to the Palácio da Pena.
Warning: The road up to the Pena Palace is very winding, with multiple switchbacks and tight turns. If possible, it's always best to be sat down for the journey.
The map below displays the bus route and bus stops (green) along with the major sights of Sintra (yellow).
Bus stops of the 434 route: 1) Train station 2) São Pedro de Sintra 3) Castelo dos Mouros 4) Palácio da Pena 5) Sintra Vila (historic centre of Sintra)
Major sights of Sintra: 6) Palácio da Pena 7) Castelo dos Mouros 8) Quinta da Regaleira 9) Palácio Nacional de Sintra
The 434 bus service is operated by Scotturb, the bus company of Sintra and the Lisbon coastline. The fare for the 434 bus is €11.50, which allows for 24-hour use of all of the buses in the Sintra area.
Insight: There was originally a €7 single ticket for the 434 route, however this is no longer available.
The 24-hour Sintra bus ticket also includes the following routes:
• 435 - Sintra train station to the Palácio de Monserrate
• 403 - Sintra train station to the Cabo da Roca (and on to Cascais)
• 417 - Sintra train station to Cascais (faster route)
Realistically, if you are on a day trip to Sintra then you probably won’t use these other bus routes. There is so much to see within Sintra that you could easily spend two days sightseeing.
Insight: Never try to combine visiting Sintra and Cascais in a single day; each town needs at least one day of sightseeing to fully explore.
Bus tickets can be purchased from the ticket office opposite the train station or on boarding the bus at the train station.
The bus service starts at 09:15 (09:30 low season) and continues until 19:50 (18:20 low season), and there are four departures per hour between 10:00 and 17:00. The entire route is expected to take 27 minutes, but with the boarding of confused tourists and heavy traffic it can take much longer, and there can be long delays between services.
There are two different sets of timetables for low season and high season, and the latest timetable can be seen on the Scotturb website.
• High season: https://scotturb.com/en/carreira-434/
• Low season: https://scotturb.com/en/carreira-434-eb/
The bus can get very busy during the peak season, and there can be very long queues at the bus stops.
Insight: If there is a very long queue at the bus stop near the Pena Palace, consider the scenic downhill footpath to the centre of Sintra, which passes through the forests surrounding the Castelo dos Mouros. It takes 35 minutes to walk from Pena Palace, and a guide can be found here.
The key advice for any day trip to Sintra is to start as early in the day as possible and try to have seen one of the attractions before the start of the peak time at 11am.
The route of the 434 bus means that most visitors head to the Pena Palace as their first sight of the day, and it can get very busy from 10:30am.
Insight: Entrance to the Pena Palace is via a timed ticket, which provides a 30-minute window to enter the palace building. The best times often sell out during the peak season, and it is advisable to purchase tickets the day before. Tickets for the Palácio da Pena at €14 can be purchased from Getyourguide.com.
Warning: Never miss your time window to enter the palace, as you will be refused entry and will only be able to see the palace grounds.
The 434 bus stops at the historic centre of Sintra after the Castelo dos Mouros and Palácio da Pena. If you want to visit the town centre before the Palácio da Pena, it is better to walk than to ride the 35-minute bus journey. The walk to the historic centre is very scenic and is only 1.5km in length.
The ‘Sintra Vila’ bus stop for the town is situated to the east of Sintra, where the Rua Visconde de Monserrate joins the Volta do Duche, and is close to the News Museum.
The Castelo dos Mouros and Palácio da Pena are very close together. It is only a 350m walk from the Castelo dos Mouros ticket office to the entrance to Palácio da Pena, so for this short journey there is no point in taking the bus.
Insight: We would always suggest visiting the Palácio da Pena before the Castelo dos Mouros, as it is the better tourist attraction. If the Pena Palace is too busy, (or you have a long wait for your time slot) you can always go back to the castle. The Castelo dos Mouros is highly recommended, but it is not quite as impressive as the Palácio da Pena.
Portela de Sintra is a residential area to the east of Sintra. Within this area is the Portela de Sintra train station, which is the penultimate station along the Lisbon-Sintra railway.
There are no tourist attractions in Portela de Sintra, but an alternative 434 bus departs from the Portela de Sintra train station twice an hour. These departures, at 5 minutes and 35 minutes past the hour, provide a much quieter alternative to the 434 buses that depart from Sintra train station.
The Portela de Sintra departures follow the same route as the 434 bus and terminate at Sintra train station.
The main entrance to the Pena Palace can be extremely busy during the summer, with long queues for the ticket machines and to enter the grounds. There is a secondary entrance to the Palácio da Pena, the Vale dos Lagos, which is normally much quieter.
This entrance is 600m to the west of the main entrance and is served by the Quinta dos Lagos bus stop, the stop before the Castelo dos Mouros. If you miss the bus stop, it is only a short walk downhill from the Castelo dos Mouros to the Vale dos Lagos entrance.
The Vale dos Lagos enters the palace grounds near the Lago dos Peixes lakes. It is a longer walk to the actual palace, but at least you won’t be standing in a massive queue waiting for a ticket machine.
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