Palácio Nacional da Pena (the Pena National Palace) stands on the site of an old chapel and monastery. The monastery was ruined by the great earthquake of 1755, and about 100 years later, King Ferdinand II started to build his new royal summer residence here on the hilltop above Sintra.
After the Republican Revolution the palace was transformed into a museum, and you can now visit this beautiful place. Impressive gateways, onion domes, palace buildings almost covered with tiles and others painted in its original red and yellow colours - heavily decorated with old Moorish, Gothic and Manueline symbols - , the old clock tower, and the interiors of Palácio Nacional da Pena with many tile-covered rooms, old royal furniture, and various exhibitions...
Pena Palace was the first romantic palace built in Europe. Is a very colorfull palace with an amazing sightseing and a big garden witch hides lots os details (bridges, pergolas, fountains, etc)!
The garden connects the Condessa d'Edla Chalet and the Pena Palace.
On 7th July 2007 it was selectd as one of the seven wonders of Portugal. You can't miss it!
My suggestion of day trip:
Pick the train to Sintra in ther middle of the morning. Geting there go have your lunch on Apeadeiro (restaurant near the train station).
After lunch go to the village center and to Piriquita (local business) to buy a Travesseiro and a Queijadinha (and a bottle of water! this treats are really sweet!).
Sit down in the stair of Sintra Palace and enjoy your dessert!
In the village center look for the bus to Chalet condessa d'Edla, nuy your tickets and start visiting the chalet, then go to Pena Palace ant at last to Moorish Castle.
In an afternoon you can see the 3 places becaise they're near each other.
At the end of the day go back to Lisbon an relax a while in your hotel room.
The go to the downtown to dinner and enjoy the sightseeing on Lost In restaurant bar.
Being almost a catalog of Portuguese art's main aspects, tiles couldn't be absent in Pena's Palace.
One of the facades is totally covered by tiles. Beautiful? Well... it's a question of taste. It's not one of my favorite details.
Built in the 19th century, this is a "German" castle, with a rather artificial look, but that (and its location) is what makes it so interesting, because its bayerisch structure is decorated with unexpected Portuguese and Arab elements.
In my other tips I show some more details of the Palace, with better pictures.
Entrance: (Park included) 9 € (6€ for the holders of Lisboa Card).
The foliage around the Palace is just amazing, and you can even hike around the area! Unfortunately, we were not staying overnight in the area but I just wanted to add this tip for those who love hiking beautiful mountains and who have extra time in their hands.
Ask for a map of the Nature Trail to appreciate the beautiful 85 hectares of amazing landscaping in what used to be a barren hill. You will find sequioa, several kinds of pine trees, gingko biloba, several kinds of ferns…chapels, statues, gardens (like the Graden of Queen Dona Amelia) and even little lakes with duckhouses.
Next time we visit Sintra and with ample time, we will do this :)))
Standing atop the mountain, one of Pena's highlights is the gorgeous views.
The palace has a public coffee shop, where, in a bright day, you may sit and enjoy the wide views, reaching as far as Lisbon and the ocean, surrounded by the palace's magic.
One of the finest details in Pena's palace is the way they kept everything as in king's time.
Advancing from room to room, we feel like the place keeps being in use, expecting to find the owners in the next room. The small dimensions of some rooms, the vision of the king's artistic weakness, everything is well displayed.
In my last visit pictures were not allowed anymore. It's a pity! In a prior visit there were no restrictions, except using flash in the chapel, and I know what damage could a photo cause to the palace. Maybe, by your visit, things will be back to normal.
Parque e Palacio da Pena
Beautiful place on the top of the mountain, nice colors and a chaos from the architecture point of view.
Without being an expert, I’ve seen Pena Palace as a mix of all the possible styles, from the Medieval to Romanic and after to the Moorish and Manueline , new-Gothic and probably all the others :)
This is what the specialists identify as eclectic style, in my opinion, to be polite, there is not the best combination…
But it is not a reason to miss it if you’re going to Sintra.
It is one of the MUST SEE, if not for the un-inspired-but-unique architecture (it is probably only my opinion), at least for its history.
What is really annoying is the fact that you’re followed by too many “guards” having on their job description to stop you taking pictures.
I would never understand this… If they want to protect the paintings or the wooden furniture, or whatever, the mention DO NOT USE THE FLASH should be enough.
If there is something else… it is really bad as anyway, I have spent for that visit about 100 Euro (22 euro/person, plus the bus+++), without mentioning the prices for flighttickets and accommodation.
In this price they shall include the right of taking some pictures… at least in some of the rooms…
This palace, painted with vivid colors, is one of Sintra’s main attractions. It’s located in the top of the hill and it has a dazzling sight over the coast, sea and the hill itself.
There you can visit the palace and its gardens which have lakes and an enormous diversity of plants and trees.
To get there you can take a bus from the village or walk if you find the transportation costs too high – it’s exhausting but the sights while climbing it’s worth it!
For more information visit the site below.
The most strange element in the complex mixture that is this palace, is the door with the Triton.
Willing to represent the world's creation, this door is the theme for the longest talking of the local guides about mythology... the four elements... the king...
An old convent atop Sintra mountain was destroyed by Lisbon's earthquake 1755 only surviving the chapel. It was around it that the palace was built, in a strange but beautiful mix of many styles.
The masterpiece in the chapel is a work in alabaster and marble from the french sculptor Nicolau de Chanterenne.
The most famous building in Sintra is Pena Palace. Built in the 1840s, it is one of Europe's most fantastic palaces, often compared to Neuschwanstein and the other mock-medieval castles of Ludwig of Bavaria in Germany, although it was actually built more than two decades before those. It includes a drawbridge, a conglomeration of turrets, ramparts, and domes, and a gargoyle above a Neo-Manueline arch, all washed in an array of pastel shades. The extravagant interior is decorated in late Victorian and Edwardian furnishings, rich ornaments, paintings, and priceless porcelain preserved just as the royal family left them. Other highlights include the spacious ballroom, the marvelous "Arab Room", and an impressive 16th-century chapel altarpiece (part of an original convent founded to celebrate the first sight of Vasco da Gama's returning fleet).
Surrounding the palace is the mystical Pena Park, filled with a variety of trees and exotic plants from the former colonies of the Portuguese empire, ponds, fountains, and black swans. There is also a charming lodge hidden among the trees that can be visited. At the highest point is a statue of King Ferdinand looking towards his palace, and a viewpoint called "Cruz Alta" overlooking Pena Palace and surroundings.
The Palácio Nacional da Pena started as a chapel for Our Lady of Pena in the Middle Ages. In the 16th century a Monastery for the Order of Saint Jerome was added and Pena became a place for meditation for a maximum of eighteen monks.
In the 18th century the monastery was severely damaged by lightning. The following Great Earthquake of 1755 reduced it to ruins. Luckely the chapel escaped without significant damage.
In 1838 King Ferdinand II acquired the old monastery, the Castle of the Moors and all of the surrounding lands and gave the order to built a summer residence for the Portuguese Royal family. The construction took place between 1842 and 1854.
In 1910 the Palace became a national monument and was transformed into a museum.
Since 1955 the Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Summer: 9.45AM - 7PM; Admission fee € 11.00
Winter: 10AM - 6PM; Admission fee € 8.00
Tickets on sale till 17.00h
Guided Visits: additional € 5.00
Visit of Castelo dos Mouros for a great look off onto Sintra: € 5.00 (Adult)
The Pena Park is a vast forested area completely surrounding the Pena Palace, spreading for over 200 hectares of uneven terrain. The park was created at the same time as the palace by King Ferdinand II, who was assisted in the task by Baron von Eschwege and Baron von Kessler. The exotic taste of the Romanticism was applied to the park as it was to the palace. The king ordered trees from diverse, distant lands to be planted here which included North American Sequoia, Lawson's Cypress, Magnolia and Western Redcedar, Chinese Ginkgo, Japanese Cryptomeria, and a wide variety of ferns and tree ferns from Australia and New Zealand.
To say this place (correction, palace) is a little on the OTT (over-the-top) side is an understatement. It's a remarkable example of Portuguese Romantic architecture with a profusion of eclectic styles that includes the Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Islamic and Neo-Renaissance. Built at approximately 500 metres above sea level, it dates back to 1839, when the prince consort D. Fernando II of Saxe-Coburg (1816-1885) bought the ruins of the Hieronymus Monastery of Our Lady of Pena, built in 1503, and began to make it into a small palace. To oversee the work, he called Baron Eschwege, whose inspiration for this remarkable edifice came from palaces in Bavaria.
The construction took place between 1842–1854, although it was almost completed in 1847: King Ferdinand and Queen Maria II intervened decisively on matters of decoration and symbolism. Among others, the King suggested vault arches, Medieval and Islamic elements be included, and he also designed an exquisitely ornate window for the main façade. After the death of Ferdinand the palace passed into the possession of his second wife Elisa Hensler, Countess of Edla. The latter then sold the palace to King Luís, who wanted to retrieve it for the royal family, and thereafter the palace was frequently used by the family. In 1889 it was purchased by the Portuguese State, and after the Republican Revolution of 1910 it was classified as a national monument and transformed into a museum. The palace quickly drew visitors and became one of Portugal's most visited monuments. Over time the colours of the red and yellow façades faded, and for many years the palace was visually identified as being entirely gray. By the end of the 20th century the palace was repainted and the original colours restored which are a little on the garish side. The interior was adapted to serve as the Summer residence of the royal family and features amazing stuccos, painted walls and various tiles from the 19th century. Unfortunately, it's not allowed to take photos once inside.
Open: 9.45am-7pm. Admission: €14.00 when combined with entry to the nearby Moorish Castle.