About Pena Palace Sintra
The Pena Palace of Sintra is a Romanticist castle completed in 1854. It is situated on a top of a hill above the town of Sintra and can be easily spotted from Lisbon on a clear day. The national monument known for its architectural features and vast forested park welcomes thousands of visitors every year. Read on to find out more about the Pena Palace history, highlights, things to do and lots more before you make a visit.
Pena Palace at a Glance
- Pena Palace of Sintra is open everyday from 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM. Last entry will be at 6:00 PM.
- Pena Palace is located in Sintra, around 4 km away from the Sintra National Palace and is easily accessible by bus, train, and car.
- Coffee shops and restaurants, stores and wheelchair access are some of the facilities you can expect at Pena Palace.
- Due to safety reasons post lockdown it is advised to book your tickets online before arriving at the venue.
- Best time to visit: It is best to arrive as early as possible to avoid overcrowding at the venue. In the high season, avoid sightseeing around 11-12 and 3-4, when it's very busy.
A Detailed Look at Pena Palace Sintra
Pena Palace History
The site of Pena Palace used to be a medieval chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pena until it was ordered by King Manuel I to build a monastery which was donated to the Order of Saint Jerome. However, by the 18th century, it was majorly damaged by the great Lisbon earthquake. Fortunately, the chapel managed to survive without being ruined at all, which surprised the Portugal King, Ferdinand II. It was then decided by the king to acquire the monastery and its surrounding to build what we see today as the grand Pena Palace.
The castle was built with a purpose to serve as a summer residence of the King. However, after his death, the palace was passed into the possession of his second wife Elisa Hensler, Countess of Edla, who later sold the palace to King Luis. In 1889 it was purchased by the Portuguese State and was later classified as a national monument and transformed into a museum.
Pena Palace Architecture
The Pena Palace houses a rich profusion of styles resembling a lot towards to exotic taste of Romanticism. It houses a mix of several architectural styles such as Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, New-Romanesque along with other Oriental styles such as Neo-Moorish and Indo-Gothic most of which has become prominent since the major renovation in the 1840s.
Many of the elements of the convent were well preserved including the cloister, the dinning, the sacristy and the Manueline-Renaissance chapel. All of it was later moved to the new section of the palace that featured a wide and a clock tower. The key highlight would definitely be the Queen’s Terrace as it displayed a sundial cannon that used to fire daily at noon. The clock tower was completed later in 1843.
The Pena Park is a vast forested area spread out over 200 hectares and it surrounds the palace. The park is filled with walking paths, secret paths, pavilions, lakes, ponds and exotic trees designed based on the orders given by King Ferdinand which is where the exotic taste comes from.
Some of the must-see exotic trees include:
- Sequoias from America
- Gingkos from China
- Cryptomeria from Japan
- Ferns from Australia
- Succulents from Africa
- Ferns and tree ferns from Australia and New Zealand.
Why Visit Pena Palace Sintra?
- In 1995, the Pena Palace Sintra was classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
- The Pena Palace is listed among one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.
- Witness a unique blend of architectural styles from the Neo-Gothic to Neo-Manueline and even the Neo-Moorish which became prominent in the 1840s.
- Pena Palace is known for its colourful terraces and decorative battlements that cannot be missed.
- The interiors of Pena Palace are richly decorated with tiles presenting amazing stucco sand Trompe-loeil painted walls.