Retire in Sintra

Retire in Sintra Portugal
–>Sintra Livability Factors
–>Sintra Cost of Living
–>Sintra Best Area to Stay
–>Sintra Best Tours
–>Sintra Walking Tour Video and Map
–>Sintra Nightlife (Bar Hopping) Tour
–>Digital Nomads in Sintra: Best Food, Experiences
–>Sintra Facts and History
–>Sintra Flights, Buses, Trains
Best Travel or Retire Cheap in Paradise Locations in the World

Retire in Sintra Portugal

[kkstarratings]This is Dan from Vagabond Buddha. This is my retire in Sintra Portugal guide. Both retirees and digital nomads like to reduce expenses.

I document all the best places in the world to live or retire cheap. I save money living in cheap places most of the year. This allows me to visit more expensive places on excursions. The excursions are sort of my mini-vacations from longer vacations.

I am a digital nomad. ‘Digital’ means I earn money on my laptop using the Internet. ‘Nomad’ means I move forward from one place to the next, only going home once a year or so.

Subscribe to Vagabond Buddha or our Youtube Channel to find out where I go next. I have been to 65 countries so far. I started in 2007. Here is my old travel blog.  I hope you enjoy my retire in Sintra guide.

Sintra Livability Factors

These are the factors I consider when thinking about whether or not I could retire in Sintra. 65 countries and hundreds of cities so far. This section of the post reminds me to rank each factor I consider important right before I leave each place. I rank each one low desirability, medium desirability, or high desirability. Then I rank the destination high, medium, or low depending on the individual factors and my gut feeling about a place.

In another post, I will compare the high desirability locations in Sintra to each other.

Walkability: High. Sintra is very walkable.

Internet: Speed Test. It was medium desirability. The buildings are all made of stone here so make sure you are really close to the router or bring a cable with you to plug in.

Food: Medium. Great restaurants but not very diverse in international food choices. Not a surprise for a smaller tourist town catering to people who are there for just a few days and want to focus on regional favorites rather than international diversity.

Weather: Medium. August is the warmest month with an average high of 78F, 25C, and it cools down at night to an average low of 61F, 16C. The moderate temperature and cool breezes from the Atlantic Ocean often mean you may not need your AC. But the last few years have reached historic temperatures. If that trend continues, AC will become necessary. January is the coldest month with an average low at night of 43F, 6C but often warms in the day to an average of 57F, 14C. The rainy season is October through January when it rains more than 7 days per month on average.

Things to Do: Medium. The city mainly focuses on tourism so that limits things somewhat. But I am calling it medium since the landscape is so beautiful and both mountains, beaches, and Lisbon are not far away. If you like a romantic small town with excellent foods, beautiful and gorgeous natural beauty, this could easily be rated high for you.

Social Considerations: Medium.

Expats Penetration: Medium. Most of the foreigners are more transient in nature, rather than being expats.

Real Estate: Medium. Although cheaper than much of Europe, it is expensive for Portugal.

Sintra Desirability Score: Medium. I could see myself living in Portugal, but Sintra is a little sleepy for my taste. I view it more as a great weekend getaway. Are you curious where we will go next?

Sintra Cost of Living

This table is a compilation of my own search and experience while I was in Sintra along with some data shared by Numbeo. The data below is static. It isn’t updated in real time. Significant inflation since my last visit would render this table inaccurate.

Monthly Cost of Living, Sintra, Portugal ($USD)






Airbnb per day





1 Br Apt/Lease/per day*





Hostel/per day





High-End Restaurant





Neighborhood Restaurant





Food Cart





















Per Month





Per Day




The above numbers are for one person and do not include alcohol, tours, or extras. I do not guarantee these prices for anyone. Here is a link explaining how the table works.

*A 1 Bedroom apartment at a 12-month lease rate, is estimated at $700 USD + $80 Utilities per month, or $26 per night at the time of this post. We saw a 1 Bedroom condo posted for sale in a real estate office window for just under 100k Euro. But we do not recommend buying until you are positive you will stay for at least 5 years.

Please book using our links to recommended flights, tours (Viator Tours, Get Your Guide Tours) or accommodations. You will pay nothing extra, but we will earn a small commission. That will encourage us to keep making these travel guides and videos for you.

Sintra Best Area to Stay

You should stay within the yellow area if possible. If you are healthy and mobile and you can walk paved hills and sidewalks (sometimes slippery), you can stay in the red without much trouble. Uber was up and functioning when we were here. The following recommendations go from most to least expensive. After that, we tell you where we stayed.

Here is an amazing home just a few blocks from the National Palace. It has a swimming pool, an amazing view, and a beautiful garden. It is pricey but you will be living in first class. If you prefer to stay in a luxury hotel at about this same price point, check out this hotel in a former palace.

Here is a mid-range hotel right in the middle of the action. Here is a hotel at the low end in the center. This one is a hostel that is right in the center.

We stayed in this Airbnb in a house in the (above) red zone with a private room and bath with kitchen privileges.  It cost less than a hostel for two people. It is a gorgeous house with a lovely family (we gave 5 stars) and a very private room. (If you are new to Airbnb, use this code for a big discount).

If you are enjoying this, could you please like it, share it, comment below, or subscribe? That will rank us higher in search engines so we can keep making these travel guides.

Sintra Best Tours

Guided Tours

If you just want to take a day tour from Lisbon that visits Sintra, Cabo da Roca, and Cascais, then this one was a best seller (and on sale) when we were there. But they also have a skip the line ticket, and 30 other choices for Sintra.

Self-Guided Tours

Sintra Walking Tour Video and Map

I have made videos of each Castle or Palace so you could decide which to visit.  Just watch the videos below and then click the interactive Google Map on your smartphone to be guided on this tour.

Castle of Moors: This medieval castle was built by the Moors in the 8th and 9th centuries. The term ‘Moors’ refers to the Muslim inhabitants of various parts of what is now called Spain and Portugal during the religious wars between Islam and Christianity. This area of Portugal was recaptured by the Christians in 1147. This castle is now a national monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pena National Palace: This castle is on top of a mountain and can be seen from Lisbon on a clear day. Our Lady of Pena Church was built on this hill after a vision of the Virgin Mary appeared here. King John II visited here in 1493, and his successor, Manula I, ordered a monastery here. After the 1755 Sintra Quake, it was left in ruins. In 1838, King Ferdinand II acquired the monastery and surrounding lands and constructed a summer estate for the royal family. Queen Amelia, the last monarch of Portugal, spent her last night here in 1910 before leaving Portugal. She died in France in exile.

Palace of Sintra: This is the best preserved medieval royal residence in Portugal, continuously inhabited from the 15th to the 19th century. It presently acts as a museum. Its first historical reference dates to the 10th century when it was the residence of the Morrish Taifa of Sintra. In the 12th-century Christian King Alfonso recaptured this area and took this Palace as his residence.

Quinta da Regaleira: This estate in Sintra consists of a romantic gothic palace, a chapel, luxurious park, and immense ornate scenic enchanted grounds. A wealthy businessman, Carvalho Monteiro, purchased the state from Viscountess of Regaleira in 1892, for a song. Monteiro’s reconstruction of the estate evokes Roman, Gothic, and Renaissance styles. The present construction took 6 years to complete in 1910.

Monserrate Palace: After Afonso Henriques recaptured Sintra from the Moors in 1094, he built a chapel on the Monserrate Estate dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Over the ruins of Alfonso’s Chapel, Our Lady of Montserrat was built in 1540. After the 1755 Earthquake of Sintra, the estate became unlivable. In 1789, an English Merchant built a neo-gothic house over the ruins of the church. In 1856, Francis Cook, an Englishman and Viscount of Monserrate, purchased the estate and built this palace as his summer residence. The construction includes influences from the Moorish period.

Sintra Nightlife (Bar Hopping) Walking Tour and Map

Here are the best areas to explore for Sintra Nightlife. Just click the below map or ==>this link<== on your smartphone. After you click the link, just explore the places shown below to find the music or crowd that you enjoy most. It’s a small town so don’t expect much.

Digital Nomads in Sintra: Best Food, Experiences

We were here for a week. We never even tried to find a coworking space. We just worked from our Airbnb room when it was raining outside. When the sun was out we explored the village.

Vagabond Buddha’s Kitchen: We cooked most of our own meals in our Airbnb. See above link. We were surprised how cheap and great the food was in this grocery store: LIDL. We took an Uber taxi there and back. It cost 6 Euros each way. We even made and brought meals with us on day trips in order to save money on lunch.

Since we wouldn’t have had a second meal at any of the restaurants we tried, we are not going to mention them to you.

The best experiences were just walking around and marveling at this magical place.

Sintra Facts and History

Here are some interesting facts about, mostly from Wikipedia. I am here now as I type these words. You can click on the below map and zoom into Sintra.

Sintra is an enchanted city in the Lisbon region of Portugal.

Sintra is growing with just under 400,000 people.

Sintra is a major tourist destination famous for its picturesque hillside castles and palaces called within an area called the Portuguese Riviera. Sintra is one of Portugal’s sought-after real estate markets, international expat communities, and consistently ranked as one of the most expensive communities and one of the best places to live in Portugal.

Sintra has evidence of Roman presence as early as 200 BC to about 500 AD such as road construction techniques and burial customs.

Sintra is in an area of Portugal that was controlled by Muslim-Spain. Al-Andus describes the area of Spain and Portugal that was governed by Muslims.

Parts of what we now call Spain and Portugal were fought over for centuries starting in around 711 AD through the 15th century–often called the religious wars.

In 1154, Sintra entered a period of stabilized Christian control but the Islamic influences in construction remain.

In the early 16th century, King Manuel I spent summers in Sintra due to its cool climate and abundance of game. Aristocracy began building estates and farms in the region. Sintra became famous when Renaissance poets began writing about its beauty in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The 1755 earthquake destroyed the center of Sintra but it was rebuilt.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Romanticism fueled by Aristocrats and foreign travelers fueled international interest in Sintra which has remained to this day.

In the 20th century, Sintra became a privileged place for artists, musicians, composers, painters, and authors; fueled by all of Sintra’s enchanted landscapes.

Sintra Flights, Buses, Trains

Buses and Trains: In Portugal, Google Maps is getting pretty good at finding buses and trains to move around Portugal. Eurail is also a great resource. You can use Google Maps to find buses and subway stops around Sintra.

Lisbon International Airport: You can fly to Lisbon and take Uber to the train station. It takes about 15 minutes in an Uber to get to the train station and costs about 8-11 Euros when we were there. Once at the train station in Sintra, the Uber to your place will be 5-6 Euros. I have provided suggested places to stay above.

Flights (International or Domestic): I always use Skyscanner to book domestic and international flights. If you allow a range of dates to fly and return, you can sometimes save hundreds of dollars. Get a local SIM card for your smartphone when you land in Portugal. Get your phone unlocked before leaving your home country.

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I started living internationally over 11 years ago. If you would like to learn how to make money online, or how to live internationally possibly with less money than you spend at home, please subscribe to Vagabond Buddha, our YouTube Channel or get a free copy of my Ebook.

This is Dan of Vagabond Buddha. Thank you for stopping by. The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?

Warning: I am not offering you these prices.  These are just my notes and estimates from the time of my visit and this post.  Your costs will likely be drastically different if significant inflation or deflation occurs or the market changes after this post.  I will not update these numbers until I am on the ground again here, if ever.   

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