Monserrate Palace in Sintra, Portugal - best Instagram spots in Sintra

17 most iconic Instagram spots in Sintra, Portugal

Sintra is one of the most magical places on Earth! With its fairytale castles, colorful buildings, beautiful gardens, and spectacular views, it is one of the best places to visit in Portugal! But where to find the best Instagram spots in Sintra?

Being one of the most beautiful places in Portugal and the number one destination for a day trip from Lisbon, we decided to spend a whole week in Sintra exploring all its iconic castles, beautiful palaces, secret corners, and best places for photos of Sintra!

With the help of this blog post, you won’t miss any iconic photo spots! Here I have summarized all the famous Instagram spots in Sintra with photos, descriptions, and exact locations on Google Maps. Happy exploring!

Read more >>> Enchanting Sintra: 17 best things to do in Sintra, Portugal

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1. Clock Tower view from the inner square of the Pena Palace

Things to do in Sintra, Portugal - Pena Palace Instagram spots in Sintra
One of the most iconic Instagram spots in Sintra – the red clock tower of the Pena Palace

Some of the absolute best photo spots in Sintra you will find at the Palácio Nacional da Pena or the famous Pena Palace! The charming 19th-century Romanticist palace is amongst the most visited places in Portugal! And rightly so!

I have to tell you a secret. All the most Instagrammable places in the Pena Palace are actually outside the palace. The inside was not too exciting. Besides it was packed with people queuing to get through the narrow hallways at a horribly slow pace.

Things to do in Sintra, Portugal - Pena Palace Instagram spots in Sintra
Access road to the Pena Palace
Things to do in Sintra, Portugal - Pena Palace Instagram spots in Sintra
The entrance gate to the Pena Palace

How to find the inner square of the Pena Palace? Once you walk past the entrance gate and reach the palace building, you will see another gate with big blue towers on each side (photo below). Go through it to reach the inner square – the most iconic place in Sintra!

The inner square is my favorite place in the Pena Palace and the perfect place to go for the best Instagram photo spots in Sintra. Not only does it have incredible panoramic views over the area, but it also offers countless photo opportunities!

Things to do in Sintra, Portugal - Pena Palace Instagram spots in Sintra
Entrance to the inner square of the Pena Palace
Things to do in Sintra, Portugal - Pena Palace Instagram spots in Sintra
The front facade of the Pena Palace

The most iconic photo spot that you have probably seen all over the internet is the iconic view of the red clock tower. Fun fact! Did you know that the inspiration for the Red Tower came from Big Ben in London?

There are two options for the photo of the red clock tower. One option is to stand on the stairs below the tower while the photographer climbs on the wall on the opposite side of the square (there are stairs) to get a photo like my first one.

Things to do in Sintra, Portugal - Pena Palace Instagram spots in Sintra

The second option – which is a better option if there are people in the square – is to climb on the wall on the opposite side of the square and take a photo from there (like my photo right above). This way the other people in the photo will look small!

The Pena Palace is a popular spot to visit in Sintra, so I would highly recommend visiting this place first thing in the morning before it turns into chaos with long lines and crowds, or go there right before closing. And buy your tickets online!

Location: Inner square of the Pena Palace

2. Yellow archways at the Pena Palace

Instagram spots in Sintra, Portugal - yellow archways at the Palace of Pena

Located in the exact same inner square of the Palace of Pena is another iconic photo spot in Sintra – the yellow archways that serve as the outer wall of the palace. Not only do the archways look cool and pretty, but the view beyond them is pretty amazing!

The yellow pop of color really stands out so this is definitely one of the best photo spots in the palace! Besides the photo is a close-up so it is quite easy to get a crowd-free shot here. I only wish they paint those arches soon, haha! They are getting a bit shabby-looking!

Location: Yellow archways

3. Red balcony at the Pena Palace

Sintra, Portugal-red tower view at the National Palace of Pena - best Instagram spots in Sintra

There is another unique photo angle that you can get from the yellow arches. If you look to the side you will notice a beautiful red balcony. To get to the balcony, simply climb up the stairs and walk through the red building. It is quite easy.

The photographer will have to stay at the arches to get this angle. This is an especially great photo if you want a photo at the Palace of Pena without many people in it. That balcony is quite narrow so not many people can fit there anyways!

This is one of my favorite Instagram spots in Sintra because it definitely felt like I was the queen of the palace overlooking my territories, haha! If you pay attention, you will notice the Moorish Castle in the background of the photo as well!

Location: Red balcony at the Pena Palace

4. Yellow-blue wall at the Pena Palace

Sintra, Portugal-yellow and blue wall at the National Palace of Pena - best Instagram spots in Sintra

And, finally, one of the coolest Instagram spots in Sintra that you can find inside the Pena Palace is the yellow and blue wall. It is located in the same inner square of the palace right next to the entrance tunnel.

The photo looks the best if you have high-contrast clothes like red, black, white, etc., however, even without them standing between the yellow and blue building blocks will make for a cool Sintra-style photo. This shot is next-level color blocking!

Location: Yellow-blue wall

5. Chalet of the Countess of Edla inside the Park of Pena

Sintra, Portugal-Chalet of the Countess of Edla inside the Park of Pena

While you are inside the Park of Pena, don’t rush home because hidden in one of the far corners of the park, is an incredible building – Chalet of the Countess of Edla. Visit to this chalet is included in the price for the Park and Palace of Pena so do check it out!

Chalet of the Countess of Edla is one of the most unique buildings and one of my favorite Instagram spots in Sintra! It is a charming yellow Swiss-style chalet hidden inside the lush green forest. However, there is something uniquely special about it!

Sintra, Portugal-Chalet of the Countess of Edla inside the Park of Pena
Sintra, Portugal-Chalet of the Countess of Edla inside the Park of Pena

The most special feature of the house is that its balconies, windows, doors, and handrails all are covered with cork from the famous Portuguese cork oaks. This unique detail is something I haven’t seen anywhere else around Portugal.

The chalet was built for King Ferdinand II of Portugal and his second wife, the Countess of Edla during the second half of the 19th century. It is surrounded by lakes, fountains, and 200 species of trees, bushes, and flowering plants.

Sintra, Portugal-Chalet of the Countess of Edla inside the Park of Pena
Sintra, Portugal-Chalet of the Countess of Edla inside the Park of Pena

On the inside, you can visit different rooms on two floors – every room decorated in a different style each one of them more unique than others. In the middle of the house, there is a beautiful stairway that connects both floors.

When we visited there were practically no people around as it is quite a walk away from the Pena Palace (about 1 mile/1.6 kilometers). If you are not in a rush, I highly recommend taking a walk to the beautiful chalet.

Location: Chalet of the Countess of Edla

6. Viewpoint of the Pena Palace

Sintra, Portugal-view of the National Palace of Pena - best Instagram spots in Sintra

When walking back from the Chalet of the Countess of Edla to the exit of the park we stumbled upon the most perfect viewpoint of the majestic Pena Palace (photo above). The whole palace was perfectly visible in all its glory!

If you have ever been to Sintra, you should know how difficult it is to find a good view of the Pena Palace! If you see one, then usually the palace is too far and looks too small in the photo, but if you go too close then it is usually hidden behind trees.

Sintra, Portugal-view of the National Palace of Pena - best Instagram spots in Sintra

If you are a simple traveler and only have your phone camera like me, then you can imagine my excitement when I casually stumbled on this little pathway with the most gorgeous view of the palace.

The view is 10 out of 10. You can even see the tiny details of the palace without a large zoom. I only zoomed in a little bit with my phone and got this stunning view where you can easily see the yellow towers as well as the red ‘Big Ben’ clock tower!

The walk to the chalet was worth it! Not only it is a gorgeous walk through nature, not only is the chalet very charming and unique, but we also found, I think, one of the best viewpoints of the famous Pena Palace (see exact location below)! It’s a success for me.

Location: Viewpoint of the Palace of Pena

7. High Cross inside the Park of Pena

Sintra, Portugal-Cruz Alta-High Cross inside the Park of Pena

Another place to visit inside the Park of the Pena Palace is the High Cross or the Cruz Alta viewpoint. Standing proudly at 529 meters above sea level, this is the highest place in the Sintra Mountains with amazing views over the surrounding area and the Atlantic Ocean.

However, the most iconic thing here is the beautiful Neo-Manueline cross. Interestingly, the cross has been struck down twice already by lightning and by storm and this is a replica from 2008 measuring 3.5 meters high and 1.5 meters wide. Impressive!

By the way, can you see the Pena Palace in the background? I told you – a good view of the Pena Palace is not guaranteed even from the highest point in the Sintra Mountains! Unless you have a permit to fly a drone there, my secret viewpoint is probably the best option you have!

Location: Cruz Alta

8. Balcony and gardens of the Palace of Monserrate

Sintra, Portugal-balcony and gardens of the Palace of Monserrate
The balcony of the Palace of Monserrate is one of the most iconic Instagram spots in Sintra

The majestic Palace of Monserrate is a beautiful hidden gem and one of the most gorgeous places in Sintra regarding architecture. The unique palace was built in the middle of the 19th century and today serves as the perfect example of Sintra romanticism.

Book now >>> Monserrate Palace and Park Skip-the-Line Ticket

The credit for creating this masterpiece goes to an English merchant Francis Cook who created this vision by mixing together elements of Gothic, Indian, and Moorish styles. Today it is part of the Sintra Cultural Landscape – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sintra, Portugal-balcony and gardens of the Palace of Monserrate
Sintra, Portugal-balcony and gardens of the Palace of Monserrate

The Palace of Monserrate features some of the most Instagrammable spots in Sintra. The exterior of the palace alone deserves a photo as it is one of the most unique-looking palaces in Portugal.

However, one of my personal favourite places in Sintra is the balcony of the Palace of Monserrate. It features romantic archways and overlooks the natural beauty of the gardens and forests surrounding the palace.

Sintra, Portugal-balcony and gardens of the Palace of Monserrate
Sintra, Portugal-balcony and gardens of the Palace of Monserrate

The Park of Monserrate opens at 9 AM however, the palace doors are open at 9:30 AM. We arrived at the entrance at 9 AM and used those 30 minutes to explore the park and the exterior of the palace, including the balcony which is accessible from the outside!

Then at 9:30 AM, we were already at the palace to get inside and explore the interior. This is not amongst the most popular places in Sintra, so there were zero crowds when we visited in the middle of July.

Location: Palace of Monserrate

9. Rooms and hallways of the Palace of Monserrate

Sintra, Portugal-Park and Palace of Monserrate - rooms and hallways

Despite the unique exterior, I do think that the most iconic part of the Palace of Monserrate is the inside. Although the palace is rather small compared to other palaces and castles in Sintra, it is packed full of dazzling beauty.

As you enter the palace, you will have the opportunity to explore two floors connected with a staircase. The rooms upstairs are less impressive than downstairs where you can observe an exotic mix of architectural styles.

Sintra, Portugal-Park and Palace of Monserrate - rooms and hallways
Sintra, Portugal-Park and Palace of Monserrate - rooms and hallways

One of my favorite places in the Palace of Monserrate is the hallway lined with golden Moorish-style arches decorated with carved elements and details (first photo). This picture-perfect hallway is one of my favorite Instagram spots in Sintra!

Another one of my favorite places inside the Palace of Monserrate is the Music Room (you will recognize it by the piano in the room). It is a circular room with arch-shaped windows and a stunning flower-resembling decoration on the ceiling! Incredible!

Sintra, Portugal-Park and Palace of Monserrate - rooms and hallways
Sintra, Portugal-Park and Palace of Monserrate - rooms and hallways

In the center of the palace, there is a round fountain. This space is not only connected to hallways and rooms but it also has an open ceiling connected to the second floor. Once you climb up to the second floor, you can have a great overview of the fountain.

The whole palace felt like a magical fairytale. No wonder it is amongst the most amazing wedding venues in Portugal. Entry to the palace and the garden costs 8 EUR per adult and you can buy tickets online prior to your visit and show them on your phone at the entrance.

Location: Palace of Monserrate

10. Mystical chapel ruins at the Park of Monserrate

Sintra, Portugal-Park and Palace of Monserrate, old ruins of a Chapel

Another not-to-miss place when visiting the Palace of Monserrate and one of my favorite hidden gems in Sintra is this mystical place hidden inside the Park of Monserrate – ruins of an old chapel already overgrown with trees and plants.

There is this one unique archway (photo above) that makes for a perfect backdrop for a cool photo. The roots of a giant tree have grown around and in front of an archway creating a scene of a sea monster capturing its prey with its tentacles. Can you see it?

Sintra, Portugal-Park and Palace of Monserrate, old ruins of a Chapel
Sintra, Portugal-Park and Palace of Monserrate, old ruins of a Chapel

I loved this place a lot! Imagine everything being quiet while you are exploring these ruins surrounded by nature. Such a magical feeling! Thanks to its fairytale look, this enchanting chapel is a popular place for wedding ceremonies in Sintra.

Location: Chapel ruins at the Palace of Monserrate

11. Fonte Mourisca or Moorish Fountain

Sintra, Portugal-Fonte Mourisca or Moorish Fountain

One of the magical corners you can find around Sintra is Fonte Mourisca or Moorish Fountain. It is a beautifully built decorative street fountain with a notable Moorish design and one of the most iconic Instagram spots in Sintra.

Built back in 1922, the hundred-year-old fountain proudly boasts the Neo-Mudejar style with three jagged horseshoe arches positioned inside one bigger arch. The fountain is decorated with Mudejar-style tile mosaics.

Sintra, Portugal-Fonte Mourisca or Moorish Fountain
Sintra, Portugal-Fonte Mourisca or Moorish Fountain

Actually, there are a couple of decorative fountains you can find around Sintra like Fonte da Sabuga or Fonte dos Pisões, however, none of them can really be a competition to the stunning Moorish Fountain.

We visited this place in the early morning when we were heading to Quinta da Regaleira palace. It is a quick stop along the way as there is nothing else to do here, but nevertheless it is a beautiful place worth visiting when in Sintra, Portugal!

Location: Fonte Mourisca

12. Quinta da Regaleira

Sintra, Portugal-Quinta da Regaleira palace in Sintra-Best Instagram spots in Sintra
Garden view of Quinta da Regaleira next to a statue

Designed by an Italian architect, the spectacular Quinta da Regaleira or Regaleira Palace is one of the landmark tourist attractions in Sintra. Quinta da Regaleira is an early 20th-century palace with vast gardens, lakes, fountains, and underground passages.

Romantic-style palace stands out with its Gothic-style pinnacles, towers, and gargoyles. While the Pena Palace with its colors looked fun and princessy, the moody and dark grey Quinta da Regaleira kind of feels more like the villain’s castle you see in cartoons.

The spectacular palace was one of my top favorite places in Sintra! Quinta da Regaleira incorporates a beautiful mix of Gothic, Renaissance, Manueline, and Roman styles making it a perfect place for photos in Sintra.

Sintra, Portugal-Quinta da Regaleira palace in Sintra-Best Instagram spots in Sintra
View of Quinta da Regaleira next to the greenhouses
Sintra, Portugal-Quinta da Regaleira palace in Sintra-Best Instagram spots in Sintra
Photo of Quinta da Regaleira from the outer wall

Quinta da Regaleira is also very photogenic and different angles of this palace were some of my favorite Instagram spots in Sintra. For the best photos, I recommend three different garden views of the palace (see photos above).

Two of the photo spots are located at the exit of the garden territory. You can climb up on the outer wall to get a beautiful angle of the palace or get a beautiful garden view next to a statue just a few meters from the wall (which was my favorite photo spot).

There’s another photo spot where you can take a beautiful photo with an overview of the gardens and the palace. For this photo, you have to climb up to a higher level next to a line of greenhouses. From here you can also see the tower of the palace’s chapel.

Location: Quinta da Regaleira

13. Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira

Sintra, Portugal-Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira

I can safely say that Quinta da Regaleira is truly famous for only one thing – the Initiation Well (also called the inverted tower). There are actually two wells, however, only the bigger one has this photogenic spiral staircase and 23 niches inside the wall.

The wells were never used as water sources but instead served for spiritual ceremonial purposes. When you go to the well, you will enter it at the top and then walk down the staircase until you reach the bottom.

Sintra, Portugal-Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira
Initiation Well seen from the bottom
Sintra, Portugal-Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira
Underground tunnels at the bottom of the well

At the bottom of the staircase you will enter underground tunnels. The main tunnel leads outside but there is one tunnel branch at the beginning that leads to the bottom of the second well called the Unfinished Well. Do check it out before exiting the caves!

The Initiation Well has become quite famous in social media so this place is no longer a hidden gem in Sintra. If you want to see this place with fewer people around, then the best time to come here is first thing in the morning.

Sintra, Portugal-Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira
The Unfinished Well seen from the bottom

We visited Quinta da Regaleira in early November, bought our tickets in advance, and arrived at the entrance 30 minutes before opening time, so we could be the first ones to enter. When the palace opened, the line behind us was already massive!

We ran straight to the Initiation Well (yes, we ran) and with all that we got about 1 minute to ourselves inside the well before the next people arrived. I do not mind people, but it is much easier to explore and take photos when there’s fewer people around.

Location: Initiation Well

14. Gardens of Quinta da Regaleira

Sintra, Portugal-Quinta da Regaleira-Terrace of the Celestial Worlds and Reservoir
Fountain at the Terrace of the Celestial Worlds in Quinta da Regaleira gardens

After visiting many palaces and castles in Sintra, I can safely say that Quinta da Regaleira gardens are easily the most extravagant and luxurious of all the properties we visited! Besides the famous Initiation Well, there are many other cool spots to explore!

The terraced gardens feature beautiful viewpoints, lakes, scenic benches, towers, fountains, statues, and bridges, as well as a chapel and a large collection of plants, bushes, and trees. I loved this garden! Almost got lost in the winding network of paths, haha!

Sintra, Portugal-Quinta da Regaleira-Watchtower at Leda's Grotto
Watchtower at Leda’s Grotto
Sintra, Portugal-Quinta da Regaleira-The Regaleira Chapel
The Regaleira Chapel

Some of my favorite photo spots in the garden were the gorgeous fountain at the Terrace of the Celestial Worlds. The architecture of this fountain is simply stunning! Another favorite was the watchtower at Leda’s Grotto (you can climb up on it!).

Another beautiful corner in Quinta da Regaleira gardens was The Regaleira Chapel. The stunning chapel beautifully mixes Gothic, Renaissance and Manueline styles closely resembling the Regaleira Palace. A beautiful place for photos!

Location: Terrace of the Celestial WorldsWatchtower at Leda’s GrottoChapel

15. Window of Sintra Historic Center

Sintra, Portugal - Sintra Historic Center, Centro histórico

Sintra is one of the most charming towns in Portugal. Built on the slope of a hill, Sintra has a terraced layout with one building sitting on a higher or lower level than the other. It makes for a picturesque view!

Another charming characteristic of Sintra, especially the Sintra Historic Center, is that all the buildings are painted in different colors. You could easily mistake it with some of those iconic seaside villages in Italy!

Sintra, Portugal - Sintra Historic Center, Centro histórico
Sintra, Portugal - Sintra Historic Center

There is one particularly pretty view where you can get a unique photo of the Sintra Historic Center – let me call it the ‘Window of Sintra’. In reality, it is an archway located at the entrance to Sintra National Palace right in the heart of the historic center.

If you come here in the morning before the crowds arrive to enter the palace, you can get a beautiful arch-shaped view of the colorful buildings of Sintra. A special shout out to the Moorish Castle peeking at the top of the hill, haha! Beautiful, isn’t it?

Location: Sintra National Palace

16. Coat of Arms Room at Sintra National Palace

Sintra, Portugal - Sintra National Palace

While you are in the Sintra Historic Center, let’s continue our Instagram photo tour with Sintra National Palace. Do not mistake it with the famous Pena Palace! This one – Sintra Palace – is located inside the old town, but the one sitting atop a hill is Pena Palace!

Book now >>> National Palace of Sintra and Gardens Fast Track Ticket

Although Sintra National Palace is not so well-known as some other castles and palaces in Sintra, I very much enjoyed our visit to this iconic place – considered the best-preserved medieval residence of Portuguese royalty in the whole country.

Sintra, Portugal - Sintra National Palace
Sintra, Portugal - Sintra National Palace

The palace stands out with its two gigantic conical chimneys rising above the palace’s kitchen into the skyline of Sintra. It is believed that the first foundation of the building complex was built in the 10th century making it the oldest palace in Portugal.

However, the palace as we see it today was built, shaped, and redesigned over the next centuries. Practically every king and queen of Portugal has spent some time in this palace leaving a rich mix of architectural and cultural heritage.

Sintra, Portugal - Sintra National Palace
Sintra, Portugal - Sintra National Palace

The palace is truly massive and most of what we see today was created during the 15th-16th centuries. For me, the place that stood out the most was Sala dos Brasões, or Coat of Arms Room (first photo).

The impressive room is where you will get the best photos of Sintra Palace. It is a large 13-by-14-meter room proudly boasting walls covered with painted Portuguese tiles and a high golden ceiling with paintings of 72 coats of arms of Portuguese noble families.

I also loved The Swan Room as well as the inner courtyard with a nook full of beautiful Portuguese ‘azulejos’ tiles and paintings on the ceiling. If you have an extra hour to spend in Sintra, I recommend paying a visit to this historic palace!

Location: Sintra National PalaceEntrance Tickets

17. Castle walls of Castelo dos Mouros

Sintra, Portugal-Castelo dos Mouros, Moorish Castle Instagram spots in Sintra

Sintra is full of magical places and Castelo dos Mouros or the Moorish Castle is one of them. The medieval castle was built during the 8th and 9th centuries by the Moors but was conquered by the first king of Portugal in the 12th century.

Book now >>> Castle of the Moors Fast Track Ticket

The castle is, in fact, a medieval fortress as it was built as a strategic military structure. However, there is no castle today – all you will see are 450-meter-long massive stone walls with multiple defensive towers built on large rock formations.

Sintra, Portugal-Castelo dos Mouros, Moorish Castle Instagram spots in Sintra
Sintra, Portugal-Castelo dos Mouros, Moorish Castle Instagram spots in Sintra

When visiting the Castle of the Moors, definitely walk around the whole perimeter of the walls. They offer some of the best views over Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and Sintra Mountains. Fingers crossed for a blue sky on the day of your visit!

The walls offer many photo opportunities where you can take an iconic medieval photo of the castle walls as well as the beautiful views over Sintra. It helps if you can arrive in the morning but this castle is not as crowded as the famous Pena Palace.

Sintra, Portugal-Castelo dos Mouros, Moorish Castle Instagram spots in Sintra
Sintra, Portugal-Castelo dos Mouros, Moorish Castle Instagram spots in Sintra

If you walk to the Southern end of the castle walls, there will be a defensive tower overlooking the South side of the mountains. It is the perfect spot for a photo of the nearby Pena Palace – you can clearly see it rising high up in the distance.

Tip! If you arrive at the Moorish Castle early in the morning, know that the entrance to the castle is located a good distance from the main road! You have to enter the gate and walk about 350 meters to the actual entrance to the castle (exact location below).

Location: Castelo dos MourosEntrance to the castleEntrance Tickets

Happy exploring!

Sintra definitely feels like it has been touched by some sparkling fairytale magic. Portuguese royalty has favored this dreamy place since the Middle Ages and even to this day as the current claimant to the now defunct Portuguese throne still lives in Sintra.

I hope you enjoy your time in marvelous Sintra and in Portugal! And I hope you will get some travel inspiration from this blog post to make your trip to Sintra even more exciting, memorable, and filled with lots of fun and, of course, beautiful photos!

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Sintra Instagram spots - most Instagrammable places in Sintra, Portugal
Sintra Instagram spots - most Instagrammable places in Sintra, Portugal

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