Although the Sintra Line ends sat the World Heritage town, you can actually get from Lisbon to Praia das Maçãs by rail as there is a picturesque tram that connects Sintra to the beach and makes for an interesting trip that is greatly appreciated by hundreds of tourists.
The Sintra line has recently been modernised, both the track and the rolling stock, which means you have a comfortable quick journey from the capital up to the tourist town. If you begin your journey from the far side of the city, there are lots of connections from Oriente and Roma-Areeiro stations or the hundred year old Rossio station right in the heart of the city.
The train journey to Sintra takes less than 45 minutes passing through Queluz with the magnificent National Palace. As we get closer to our destination the hills become clearer, as are two of the town's greatest attractions, Pena palace and the Moorish castle.
Once we get to the station, it is just a short walk to Estefânia, mostly through a pedestrian zone, to the tram terminal. Behind us lies the town centre with its cafes and pastry shops with the famous travesseiros and nozes, so typical of local sweet delicacies), and of course, the Town palace with its two huge chimneys that are quite unmistakeable.
The tram, which is now over a hundred years old, has stood up well to the passage of time. The service has been suspended several times over the years and some of the material has been repaired and renovated but it still attracts lots of domestic and foreign tourists. The tram leaves a short distance from the pedestrian and shopping zone of Estefânia. But if you are in any doubt, everyone knows where it is.
The journey is slow and gentle so you can really appreciate the scenery. Basically tyhe line heads downwards beside the road leading to Praia das Maçãs. The old tramway workshops are now an annex to the "Live Science" network of museums. Once we pass Galamares, the tram turns in and passes by old houses, farms and vegetable patches all the way as far as Colares.
After Colares it finds the road again and it is amazing how many car drivers and pedestrians wave as the tram goes past. This must be the friendliest form of transport anywhere. Forty five minutes after setting off we finally arrive through the middle of a pine wood to Praia das Maçãs. It is a good excuse to take a dip in the ocean, try some fresh fish at one of the many street restaurants or go for a walk in this architectural paradise that is the coastal village of Azenhas do Mar.