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.
Colorful and kind of"funny" palace,and a "must" thing for Sintra-vistors.Personally we liked mooris castle more,but of course we wanted to see this also.And one funny thing for us,was the name.My father´s nick-name is Pena :) We send a card to him from his own palace ;)
I think that kids might like this also.
The Palace dates back to 1839, when the King Consort Dom Fernando II of Saxe Coburg-Gotha (1816-1885) bought the ruins of the Hieronymite Monastery of Nossa Senhora da Pena and started to adapt it for use as a residence, according to his Romantic taste.
As you can see the varying architectural styles, not to mention the colors, or have I already mentioned those ^)o(^.....make the Pena Palace a very enjoyable trip there if not for the history, then for the photographic opportunities...
Sorry about those "Very strange Tourists" in the fourth photo, they insisted that I take their photo....
Sorry that my camera was not up to capturing the views from the palace, it would seem that one of the reasons to build here on top of a mountain, other than the ability to protect oneself beeter, would be for the VIEWS. Each and every way you look you have an extended perspective on the surroundings. As you can see in the first photo, that Tal took of me, I had to go out on the ramparts to get a better look.
Pena Palace looking out over the landscape above the Portugese town of Sintra commands a perfect view of the countryside, but it also has its own interior landscapes which are a delight. The numerous and totally different styles gives the impression of an architect driven to extremes. The styles, not to mention the colors catch your attention at each and every corner of the palace.
It is not often on our travels that I am surprised by a place, in Sintra we found the Pena Palace and I WAS SURPRISED...how had they kept this wonderful architectural wonderland a secret from me....????
Your first view of the castle, which is hidden because of the forest, is a peak through those trees, giving you only a glimpse, sort of teasing you with what is to come.
The gates, of which there are several which you must pass through to access the main buildings are of differing styles. As you can see the main entrance gate has what looks to be triangles or diamonds bulging out all over it..I was immediately reminded of a building in Ferrara, Italy with the same style and a legend that goes with it -- that there is an enormous diamond to be found within one of the diamond shapes.
Did I mention that from the entrance gate where the bus from Sintra leaves you off, you can catch a "tram" from the gate to the palace. Or you can do as we did, WALK...but I must warn you it is a steep climb.
This palace was built in the 19th century in order of Ferdinand von Coburg Gotha (D. Fernando II) hi was married to Queen Maria II.
To get to Pena Palace you can buy Circuito da Pena bus ticket on bus 434
(This bus stops at Sintra Estacao, Sintra Vila, Castelo do Mouros and Palacio da Pena.) We paid 4.50 euro for a return to Pena Palace ( Circuito da Pena) from Sintra centre and back.
The entrance ticket is very confusing but i guess you need to pay 11 euro and we had no time to visite the gardens we walked up from the entrance and then we saw a bus you can use it but need to pay 2 euro for return and you can walk it in less then 10 minutes but up hill.
open 1st may - 15th September 9.45 - 19.00 last entry half hour before closing or an hour
16/09 - 30/04 10.00 - 17.00
closed 1 jan 25th dec
Entrance 11 euro
think there is a discount for kids and 65+ and family tickets but not sure.
it was not aloud to take pictures in the small palace and bags you have to carry at the front as the paths are small.
we went with 4 to this palace and had 1 ticket together so we had to stick together.
Redang , Longsanborn +1 (Helena and Lee? from Vienna)
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