Skip to content

Visiting Sintra’s Convent of the Capuchos (Convento dos Capuchos) Worth it in 2024?

The Convent of the Capuchos may or may not make your Sintra shortlist, but should it?

This sight was the one place that we couldn’t seem to make work over three different trips and about 6 days combined in Sintra. Finally we were able to visit, and I have all the tea!

Is the Convent of the Capuchos Worth Visiting?

Before we get started for real: Should you even visit the convent?

Capuchos Convent is absolutely worth visiting. If you can make it work, you won’t regret it.

Convent of the Capuchos nestled in the forest of Sintra with mossy stones

Should you skip other sights in Sintra to see the convent? Maybe not. There is just so much to see in Sintra, and it’s easier to combine almost any of the other attractions with one another. The convent is very much on it’s own.

The biggest plus to visiting the convent, is that it is much less visited than the other Sintra sights.

Almost none of this attraction is accessible, and strollers are not allowed, so that may make a difference in your decision.

How to Get to the Convent of the Capuchos

The best way to get to Convent of the Capuchos is with Uber or Bolt. There is no public transit that actually goes all the way to the convent. You can get a public bus, but you will still need to walk the last 25 minutes.

In Sintra your legs will already be tested, so it’s best to sit while you can!

An Uber cost us 9 Euros to get there, and 11 Euros to get back. As of very late in 2023, Uber really doesn’t know the road to the convent, so it is undercharging for a 30 – 40 minute ride. We tipped a little bigger to make up the difference.

A cross in the forest at the Convent of the Capuchos

Considering that a public bus is 3 Euros per person each direction, Uber is barely more expensive, and much faster.

There is an advertised Hop on Hop Off Bus in Sintra, but do not take this bus, particularly in the off season. It doesn’t run as advertised, and you may end up on the public bus anyway. For example, we visited at the end of November, and while tickets were for sale online for this bus, and we didn’t see one the whole day.

What is There to See at Convent of the Capuchos?

We were pleasantly surprised by everything there was to see at the Convent! I had only ever seen photos of a few mossy rocks and caves, and had no idea that there was still a monastery standing there.

You can download a map of the Convento dos Capuchos for free on the Sintra Park website.

Courtyard of the Crosses

The first place that you will see after you head down the gravel path to the convent, is the Courtyard of the Crosses.

A crucifix on a large stone at the courtyard of the crosses at the Convent of the Capuchos.

This simple courtyard is centered around a large tree, and features three crosses representing Golgotha.

A large tree in the center of the courtyard of the crosses at Convent of the Capuchos
A crucifix on a stone wall covered in moss in the Courtyard of the crosses at Convent of the Capuchos

Boulder Gate

Boulder Gate is the formal entrance to the convent. You climb a few stairs between mossy stones and pass a bell.

Boulder gate at the Convent of the Capuchos. Two large mossy boulders have fallen together to make a gate, with stairs leading up to a pile of stones with a crucifix on top.

This is a great spot to take an other-worldly picture.

Courtyard of the Bell

There are two paths around the pile of stones and the crucifix, and this is meant to symbolize free will. We hadn’t read that at the time, and didn’t properly contemplate the paths we took. Oops!

The courtyard of the bell at the Convent of the Capuchos features a cross on top a pile of mossy stones, and the bell over boulder gate in the background.

Courtyard of the Fountain

Adjacent to the Courtyard of the Bell, is the Courtyard of the Fountain. Here there is a fountain (of course) and a large stone table and booth.

The fountain in the courtyard of the fountain, featuring blue and yellow azulejos.
a hill of rolling ivy behind a carved stone booth and table.

Entrance to the Monastery

At the entrance to the Convent, there is a door to your left that leads to the church. This is where you are meant to start your visit, but first turn around and go to the right.

The entrance porch to the Convent of the Capuchos

The Chapel of the Passion of the Christ

We totally missed this little room! We went through the church and followed the visit through the convent, not realizing that we would not exit back here.

There are some beautiful azulejos (Portuguese blue and white tiles) in this room, so make sure you see it!

Inside the Convent of the Capuchos

The interior of the convent features loads and loads of cork! The ceilings, doorways, and windows are all lined with cork. The result is a truly quiet atmosphere that you notice as soon as you step inside.

Cork ceiling at the Convent of the Capuchos

The Church

The church at Convent of the Capuchos is one of the largest rooms. It is built under a stone, and features a marble altar.

A large stone boulder forms the ceiling in the chapel at the Convent of the Capuchos, and a stone altar sits at the front of the room

The Choir

The Choir was one of my favorite rooms. You could almost picture it as a cozy cafe today. The cork in here even covered the seats.

A cork bench in the choir room at Convent of the Capuchos
Cork on the ceiling and bench in the choir room at Convent of the Capuchos
The Choir room at the Convent of the Capuchos looking towards the doorway into the stairs to the dormitory

The Dormitory

These little rooms were the living quarters for the monks. The low and narrow doorways required a bow of humility in order to enter.

Kneeling in the hallway of the dormitory with all the little cork lined doors.

The Washrooms

You can see the little hallway and the washroom from the dormitory. Originally I thought it was a super cute room, so of course it ended up being the toilets!

The washroom at Convent of the Capuchos, where the bathtub still naturally fills with water.

Don’t worry, the monks used holes cut into stone, but there is a real WC with flush toilets on the grounds.

The little bathtub and water reservoir still have natural water flow from the hill!

The outdoor hallway to the toilets was one of the prettiest spots in the convent.

The hallway to the washroom at the Convent of the Capuchos

The Kitchen

The kitchen is pretty simple. It’s a small room featuring a sink and stove area…

The kitchen with sink, counters, and ovens in the  Convent of the Capuchos

As well as a pass-through for sending food into the dining room.

The pass through from the kitchen into the dining room

The Dining Room

The dining room was used while seated on the floor. A stone slab was donated to the monks by Cardinal King Henrique so that they could have a table.

The rectory/dining room at the Convent of the Capuchos with large stone table in the center of the room

The Library

The library was chosen as it has the most natural light in the whole convent, which is pretty shocking because it’s still quite a dark room.

A window out onto the roof at the Convent of the Capuchos

Don’t forget to take a picture from the window here! It has a great view.

The view over the rooftop of Convent of the Capuchos from the library

The Infirmary

The Infirmary features two cells for the sick, as well as a pharmacy/dispensary.

The two rooms and the pharmacy at Convent of the Capuchos
The infirmary at Convent of the Capuchos

Visitor’s Quarters

In the same hallway as the Infirmary, are the rooms for visiting friars or monks. It’s interesting that they were placed so close to the ill, but maybe that’s why they were visiting?

Stairs leading to visitors quarters at Convent of the Capuchos

The Upper Room

Finally, above the visitor’s quarters and the infirmary is the Upper Room. There was no signage in this room, and the map doesn’t provide an explanation.

I am thinking that it was a special meeting room, like the upper room in the bible where Jesus had the last supper. Arguably this should have been the library, because it appears to actually have the best light in the convent.

The Upper Room at Convent of the Capuchos features three windows lined with cork

The Chapter House

The last room inside the main part of the convent, is the Chapter House. This room was where the community met. Inside there are some azulejos and a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Our Lady of Sorrows surrounded by Azulejos in the chapter house at the Convent of the Capuchos

The Cloister

The main courtyard behind the convent is the cloister. This was a private space for the monks to gather.

The fountain at the cloister  outside Convent of the Capuchos

This is a great place to take pictures of the whole convent from the outside.

Photo of the outside of the Convent of the Capuchos from the cloister.

Door of Death

Adjacent to the cloister, you can find a back hallway that leads to the convent entrance. Here you will find a couple of statues, and what is known as the door of death.

A blue room with a beam ceiling and a crucifix over the door in the Convent of the Capuchos.

You can pop in here for a second, but don’t leave just yet! There is more to see in the back yard.

Hermitage of Our Lord of Gethsemane

This little outbuilding contains more Portuguese tiles, and looks like a chapel.

The hermitage of our Lord in Gethsemane on the grounds of Convent of the Capuchos
Outside of the hermitage of our Lord in Gethsemane with painting of saints beside the door

Hermitage of “Behold the Man”

This little outbuilding is located up the hill behind the convent. The door is closed and you can’t see much inside.

There is an image of Christ and the words “Behold the Man” or “Ecco Homo” in Latin.

Window into Hermitage of the Ecce Homo or Behold the Man

Chapel of the Crucifixion

We actually missed this spot because we didn’t reference our map and confused it with the Hermitage Ecco Homo. It is quite a little hike up into the woods. I believe it is a clearing in the boulders, and not an actual building of any kind.

Cave of the Friar Honorius

The final spot that we missed, which is also deeper into the convent grounds, is the Cave of Friar Honorius. This is where the namesake friar decided to get some seclusion away from his dormitory cell.

I have no doubt we will be back to the convent at some point, and hopefully have fresher legs for exploring more thoroughly!

Mossy rocks in front of the Convent of the Capuchos

Gardens, Toilets, & Exit

Following the outside areas, the path will take you down to the garden area. Here you will find a small fountain with more azulejos, a seating area, and the garden house which now contains the WC.

Fountain in the garden below Convent of the Capuchos

Tips for Visiting the Convent of the Capuchos

Here are a few tips for visiting the convent, that may not be obvious.

Wear Good Shoes

Like many of the sights in Sintra, the Capuchos Convent is a lot of walking. There are lots of tight little stairs, slippery outdoor areas, and steep hills. You will not want to be wearing flip flops if you visit here.

Have Cell Service

As I mentioned earlier, you will probably want to take Uber or Lift to and from the convent. You should make sure that you have cell coverage so that you can order a ride. You will also need cell service to download the map.

Prepare for a Couple of Hours

Silly us, we went into this visit pretty blind. We didn’t realize there was so much to see! Plan to be here for a couple of hours, especially if you want to take pictures and videos.

This would be a great mid-day stop if you are visiting Sintra during high season. It will be far less busy than the more famous spots like Quinta da Regaleira or Pena Palace.

Hours and Admission for the Convent of the Capuchos

Current admission for the Convent is 7 Euros for adults, and 5.50 Euros for kids and seniors. 5 and under gets in free.

Chart showing current admission and hours for Convent of the Capuchos

Daily hours are from 9 am to 5:30 pm, with the last entry being at 5 pm. I believe in the summer it is open one hour later, but it’s better not to leave it to the last minute just in case.

I’ve got more Portugal content here!

Graphic reads is Porto worth visiting? Over Porto city centre background
Guide to Guimaraes written over a photo of the long garden in Guimaraes
Cover reads "Say Hello to Quinta da Regaleira" over a background of the initiation well with a magical book and a small photo looking down into the well