Convento dos Capuchos - Cork Convent of the Capuchos in Sintra

Convento dos Capuchos - Cork Convent of the Capuchos in Sintra

Portugal
Portugal

When Is the Best Time

The Convent of the Capuchos is truly unique situated in the forest in Sintra. Imagine monks lived here in isolation, squeezed in these small cells hundreds of years ago—one of the magical sights where nature, architecture, and religion got combined. Step back in history and enjoy this peaceful and silent place off the beaten path in Sintra.

Holy Cross outside the Capuchos Convent
The Cork Convent is mystically situated in the nature park.

It is situated in the Sintra area, which is popular and busy from midday on. The best time for a visit is in the morning when they open at 9.30 in the peak season, and 10 am in the low season. However, it is still not as crowded as Palacio de Pena or Quinta da Regaleira.

Avoiding Crowds

An old weathered building on the Capuchos Convent property.
We were almost alone during the day.

Sintra is utterly crowded in July and August due to the “Three Palace Tour”. If you want to visit during the summer, go either early or late in the day. Weekends are even busier, and it might be a hassle to find a parking space. Winter is the best time to avoid masses of tourists coming by bus from Lisbon and swarming around. My favourite months are May and September, less hot and busy frequently with a blue sky. However, this time we came at the end of December and experienced 16°C in Lisbon and 13°C in Sintra. It was sunny around Lisbon for weeks during winter. You never know but from my own experiences and more than 20 visits, it is frequently nice and pleasant.

Opening Hours and Entrance Fee

The cork on each window
Cork even on the window.
  • Peak Season (end of March until the end of Oct.): 9.30 a.m. until 8 p.m. last admission at 7 p.m. Entrance fee: adult 7 €
  • Low Season (end of Oct. until the end of March): 10.00 a.m. until 6 p.m. last admission at 5 p.m. Entrance fee: adult 5 € and family 17 € (2 adults and 2 under 18 years)

Weather

Although Sintra has a different climate to Cascais and Lisbon due to higher elevations, summer can be scorching with up to 30°C. There is mostly a pleasant breeze during summer but be careful in autumn and winter. Weather is more unpredictable from October to March, and more rain occurs. However, it seldom rains the entire week here. Sintra is frequently covered in fog, which creates a mystic atmosphere. We often experience pleasant weather and mild temperatures from mid to end of December in winter.

Best Months to Visit

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Location and Tips

Sintra National Park
Portugal
Portugal

The austere Franciscan Monastery located in the dense forest of the Serra da Sintra National Park is only half an hour drive from Lisbon. The common tourist route does not lead along the ancient monastery. Due to the remote location, the monks could separate from the world outside. The eight small monk cells are so pretty tiny that I don't know how they slept there. Even the visitor rooms were bigger. The convent is unique for the extensive use of cork for protection and decoration. It is nestled in harmony with nature around.

The Holy Cross of Capuchos Convent

The unique Convent of the Capuchos is also called “Convent of the Holy Cross” and “Cork Convent” built-in 1560. The cork from the oak trees in the region was used as insulation for the cold and humidity Sintra is notorious for. The most famous monk was Friar Honório. It is said he became more than 100 years old.

The narrow corridor in the convent

Sintra is a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1995 and famous for being the first centre of European Romantic architecture in the 19th century. Plan one up to 1.5 hours for the self-guided tour through the monastery, courtyard, and forest. You may think the entrance fee is expensive but what you get is much more than at the popular sites. 

I recommend Monserrate Palace first and afterwards drive 3.5 km or walk 3 km through the old grown forest to Capuchos Cork Convent. I visited all of the sights in Sintra multiple times, and these two are my favourites. They are off the beaten path what makes them even more interesting.

 

Nearby Places
Season Guide and Tickets for Monserrate Palace in Sintra
2 km
Season Guide and Tickets for Monserrate Palace in Sintra
Monserrate Palace is rich in history dating back to 1540. It was a chapel…
Ancient Pilgrims Path Around Sintra
3 km
Ancient Pilgrims Path Around Sintra
Our walk, ancient way of pilgrims, begins in the most beautiful dam of the…
Praia da Adraga - Caves at Adraga Beach Close to Sintra
5 km
Praia da Adraga - Caves at Adraga Beach Close to Sintra
Although Adraga is less than one hour drive west of Lisbon located I never…
Praia da Ursa - Ursa Beach Hike and Location
5 km
Praia da Ursa - Ursa Beach Hike and Location
Praia da Ursa is a wild and unmaintained beach that is wonderful to spend an…
Where the Land Ends and the Sea Begins
5 km
Where the Land Ends and the Sea Begins
Our hike begins at the continental Europe westernmost point, Cape Roca, where “…
Cabo Da Roca - The Most Westerly Point of Portugal and Lighthouse
5 km
Cabo Da Roca - The Most Westerly Point of Portugal and Lighthouse
Cabo da Roca offers spectacular views. The lighthouse and lookout are extremely…
Praia Santa Marta - Santa Marta Beach in Cascais
10 km
Praia Santa Marta - Santa Marta Beach in Cascais
This beach is beautifully located with a magnificent view of the lighthouse "…
Torre de Belem - Belem Tower in Lisbon
22 km
Torre de Belem - Belem Tower in Lisbon
Belem Tower, located 5 km from the centre of Lisbon close to Jerónimos…
Millennium BCP Foundation - Archaeological Site in Lisbon
27 km
Millennium BCP Foundation - Archaeological Site in Lisbon
For each tour are just 15 visitors allowed; means only 105 visitors daily. This…
Praia do Meco at Costa da Caparica
40 km
Praia do Meco at Costa da Caparica
Costa da Caparica is a 30 km coastline of sandy beaches. You can visit this…
Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I am always open, curious about new…