The Pena Palace is one of the most visited attractions in Sintra and in Portugal as well. It is an extravagant colorful building laying on top of the Sintra mountain that grabs our attention the minute we enter this charming city.
The palace like we see it today is the end result of a project from D.Fernando II, a german Prince who married the Portuguese Queen Mary the 2nd.
Until the mid 18th century a convent belonging to the Order of Saint Jerome existed there, until it was destroyed by the gigantic 1755 earthquake that also affected Lisbon and surrounding areas.
When D.Fernando II married to the Portuguese Queen and came to live in Portugal he was amazed and intrigued by the mystical aura surrounding Sintra, and soon it prepared an ambitious plan to give this city a magnificent Palace that would match the finest that existed in Europe in the 19th century.
Baron Von Eschwege, a German engineer renowned for his works at palaces across his home country.
In terms of style the Pena palace is a typical Romantic structure, combining styles from many different eras with a modern twist that makes it so unique. We can see Renaissance, medieval, Arabic and gothic elements that were blended together for an original outcome both extravagant and inspiring.
At the interior the palace is very sober and simple considering it was the summer residence of the Portuguese Royal family, with many small rooms that kept the original layout of the ancient monastery that existed there.
Some of its walls were painted by King D. Carlos in the late 19th century since he was an amateur painter and art lover.
The Pena palace is also famous for its beautiful unique surrounding park. This green area was carefully planned by Ferdinand II and contains more than 400 species of trees and bushes from America, Asia, Africa, and other distant places.
A large net of trails and semi-secret paths are also a unique feature of the Pena Park, inviting anyone to get lost for some time and experience the beauty and mystic of this place.
When to visit?
The Pena Palace only closes on Dec 25th and January 1st and its usually open from 10 am to 5 pm. Allow at least 1,5 hours to visit everything specially if you intend to spend some time wandering around the park.
Sintra has a very peculiar microclimate so avoid the winter months as it can get very cold and humid.
How to get there?
Since it rests on top of the Sintra mountain walking is not an option unless you have at least 2 hours of free time and really enjoy walking in trails. The best option is to go with a private tour company since parking is very restricted on top and gets filled quick. There is also a bus service that runs every 20 minutes to the top but its usually very crowded and not an option if you travel with older people or children.
Where to buy tickets?
You can buy the entrance tickets at the door ( price is 10.5€ for an adult) but get there 15 minutes before opening so you can skip big lines.
You can also buy them online or at the automatic ticket machines available at the door.
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Have a nice day 🙂