Inside Pena Palace: Discover the Wonders of Portugal’s Colorful Castle
Step inside Pena Palace, a Romanticist castle located on a hilltop in Sintra, Portugal. Designated as a National Monument and part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, this palace is one of the grandest expressions of 19th-century Romanticism in the world. Explore its two wings: the monastery and the new palace, and discover its rich history while enjoying breathtaking views of Sintra and Lisbon.
What's Inside Pena Palace?
Top Things To See Inside Pena Palace
The interior of Pena Palace features ornate stuccos, multi-patterned columns, Moorish-arched ceilings, and much of the original monastery’s chapel. Many rooms inside Pena Palace are painted in trompe-l’oeil which is an amazing painting method that gives the illusion of depth and layering while only using paint. The palace also has painted walls in trompe-l’oeil and various revetments in tile from the 19th century, forming part of the numerous royal collections.
The Queen’s Terrace
The Queen’s terrace of Pena Palace is an exquisite place for any visitor - affording majestic views across the palace, Sintra Valley, and Moorish Castle. In front of the Queen’s terrace, you can see the High Cross, which is located at the highest point of the Sintra mountain range. There is a vast view from this terrace ranging from the ocean in the distance on one side and Lisbon looking eastwards. The Queen’s Terrace is perhaps the best spot for obtaining an overall picture of the architecture of the palace.
The Chapel of Our Lady of Pena in Pena Palace is one of the few remaining original structures from the former monastery. Parts of the original monastery were destroyed in an earthquake, leading to the construction of the present Pena Palace. The chapel is surprisingly small and its centerpiece is usually the altar. The history of this site reaches back to the 12th century when there was a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pena here. In this same location, King Manuel I ordered the construction of a Monastery, subsequently handed over to the Hieronymite Order.
King Carlos’ office
The Office of King Carlos served as his place of work and leisure and adjoined the king’s bedroom. On the walls, there are paintings on fabric by King Carlos himself, depicting nymphs and fawns in the Park of Pena. The paintings may have been left unfinished due to the 1908 regicide that saw the assassination of both King Carlos and his eldest son.
Pena Palace is comprised of two wings: one built over a former monastery (painted pink) and a new one (painted yellow). The palace is ringed by storybook watchtowers, battlements, and even a drawbridge. The watchtowers are of various shapes and provide stunning views of Sintra from the second-highest vantage point on Sintra Hill. The palace was elected one of the seven wonders de Portugal on 7 July 2007.
The Manueline Cloister is a point of interest within Pena Palace. Visitors access the interiors of Pena Palace along a route that was reserved for the Royal Family up until 1910 and also corresponds to the entranceway of monks into the monastery prior to 1834. Ferdinand II redesigned this entrance to establish a double staircase with parallel flights. The cloister is one of many elements preserved from the remains of the Hieronymite convent including the dining room, sacristy, and Manueline-Renaissance chapel.
The Courtyard of Arches
The Courtyard of Arches is a terrace located within Pena Palace. It is named after its arches that provide a view of a vast landscape looking out over the Atlantic Ocean and the Sintra Hills1. From this vantage point, visitors may also view the Park of Pena, planted by Ferdinand who transformed the rough landscape of the hills into a romantic park with trees brought in from all over the world.
Royal Dining Room
The Royal Dining Room is a grand room where the royal family would dine. It features ornate decorations and furnishings that give you a sense of what it was like to dine like royalty. The room is adorned with beautiful paintings and tapestries that add to its grandeur. The table is set with fine china and silverware, giving you an idea of the lavish meals that were served here.
Inside Pena Palace, you will pass through various staterooms that served as the summer residence for the royal family 1. Some of these staterooms include a royal dining room, noble room, bedrooms and a chapel. There are also some large assembly rooms inside such as Sala de Visitas, Salão Nobre and the King’s Chambers. The interior of Pena Palace is impressive with many staterooms styled with fine examples of grand 19th-century furniture
Can I go Inside Pena Palace?
If you are a tourist who wishes to visit Pena Palace, you will have to get your hands on the National Palace of Pena & Park Timed Entry Tickets. You need a paid ticket to enter the Pena Palace and explore the interior, walk around the terraces outside, and enjoy Pena Park below.
Here are some tips to improve your experience when visiting Pena Palace:
- Avoid crowds: If you don’t want to deal with crowds inside the palace, consider visiting Pena Palace on a weekday.
- Restrooms: Pena Palace has restrooms available for visitors. Keep a map at hand to easily locate them.
- Food and drinks: Take advantage of the coffee shops and restaurants at Pena Palace to relax and grab a bite in between your tour.
- Souvenirs: If you’re looking for souvenirs or unique gifts to bring back home, be sure to check out the stores at Pena Palace.
- Accessibility: Pena Palace has wheelchair access available for visitors who need it.
- Views: There are several great spots in and around Pena Palace from which visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Sintra and its surroundings.
- Architecture: Don’t miss the opportunity to admire the Romanticist architecture of Pena Palace up close.
- Sunset: If you don’t mind staying till late evening, find a comfy spot on one of the terraces outside and witness the golden charm taking over Sintra’s skyline as the sun sets on the horizon.
Book Tickets to The National Palace of Pena & Park
Combo (Save 5%): National Palace of Pena & Park + Moorish Castle Tickets
Combo (Save 5%): Lisbon Card + National Palace of Pena & Park Tickets
Frequently Asked Questions About What’s Inside Pena Palace
A. Inside Pena Palace, you will pass through various staterooms that served as the summer residence for the royal family. A royal dining room, a noble room, bedrooms, and a chapel are some of the notable ones.
A. Yes! You can purchase an entry ticket which allows you to tour the interior of Pena Palace as well as walk around the terraces outside and explore Pena Park below
A. Pena Palace is surrounded by Pena Park which covers an area of about 200 hectares. The park is located in the hills and mostly consists of uneven terrain covered with plants and trees imported from all corners of the world. The highest point of Pena Palace is at 390 meters
A. Photography is prohibited inside Pena Palace. However, you can take pictures outside on the Palace terraces or gardens
A. Pena Palace features a mix of Romantic, Medieval, Islamic, Renaissance, neo-Gothic and neo-Manueline architectural styles.
A. Some facilities you can expect at Pena Palace include coffee shops and restaurants, stores and wheelchair access.