Visit Pena Palace in Sintra

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

This fascinating palace is located less than an hour away from Lisbon and is the best example of Portuguese Romanticism in the entire country. The amazing architectural wonder you see today and its equally awesome gardens were built in the 19th century by Prince Ferdinand and his two wives. Read all about how you can visit Pena Palace in the charming city of Sintra:

How to Get to Pena Palace

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

The beautiful resort town of Sintra lies in the foothills of Portugal, 25 kilometers northwest of the capital. Although the fastest way to get to the city is via car, it’s not really recommended due to the city often being overcrowded and not having enough parking spaces. Thus, traveling by train is the best and cheapest option, a round-trip setting you back merely 4.30 euros. The journey lasts 40 minutes one-way and  trains depart every few minutes or so from Lisbon (see the timetable for more), making it extremely easy to reach the resort town.

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

Once you’re in Sintra, you can leisurely walk a couple of minutes to reach the central area of the town. The Palace is located on a pretty steep hill right above you, but if you don’t have enough time to walk up, don’t worry! The 434 regular bus route will take you up the hills of Serra da Sintra, costing 5 euros for the round-trip. We didn’t know when we’d end our visit, so we decided to buy a one-way ticket only and walked down at the end of our Pena Palace Tour. If you have enough time, walking up on the tree-lined street is not such a bad idea, considering you can see numerous towers and minarets along the way.

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

If you like to shop, the best place to do it is at the foot of the hill. A myriad of stores, restaurants, cafes and bars are at your disposal to help you build up the courage to face the steep climb (a shot of Ginjinha might help!) Also, don’t forget to look around the center of Sintra a bit before you immerse yourself into the captivating beauty of Pena Palace.

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

A Brief Historical Introduction

The first building constructed on the site know today as Pena Palace was a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pena, in the Middle Ages. In the late 15th century King Manuel I of Portugal ordered the construction of a monastery atop the hill, which would become a sacred meditation ground for monks. After being used for a few centuries, the monastery collapsed during the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, but the chapel’s alabaster and marble works miraculously survived.

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

After the monastery stood in ruins for a couple of decades, it was Prince Ferdinand who bought the old remnants and its surrounding grounds, with the aim of building an extravagant summer residence for the Portuguese royal family. He hired the German architect Baron Wilhelm Ludwig von Eschwege to lead the construction, however it was the King Consort Ferdinand and his wife Maria II of Portugal, who suggested adding Medieval and Islamic elements to the castle.

Thus, the palace was built in an extremely eclectic style, mixing Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance elements. After the queen died due to complications of birth, Ferdinand remarried to the Coutness of Edla, who is responsible for designing the palace’s interiors. (Info sources: Wikipedia and National Geographic Traveller’s Portugal Travel Guide)

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

Visit Pena Palace

Due to our limited time in Sintra we decided not to enter the Palace’s interior. We chose to wander around and see as much of the gardens as possible, instead of staring at furniture. We did, however, buy extra tickets to visit the terraces, enter the palace grounds and see the church. Even though we didn’t go inside, we spent a good hour just admiring the architectural details, the unbelievable colors and the unobstructed views over the ocean.

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

The Best View of Pena Palace

During your visit you shouldn’t, under any circumstances, leave out the climb to the Cruz Alta (High Cross), to get the absolute best view of the palace and the gardens. Located at the highest point of the Sintra Hills at 529 meters, you can get to the cross after an easy ascent in the forest. A well-marked path will lead your way to the most scenic panorama in Sintra, from where you can see as far as Lisbon on clear days. Don’t miss it!

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

Pena Palace Gardens

Thanks to the excellent micro-climate of Sintra, the gardens of Pena Palace are booming throughout the year. The enormous 200 hectares of meticulously-maintained grounds are a highly-impressive attraction in Sintra, where you can spend a few good hours just enjoying the surroundings. The gardens are made up of a collection of rare trees, lakes, wells, fountains, sculptures and greenhouses accommodating exceptional plants from around the world. Take time to enjoy the lush green forests and if you can, also visit the Chalet of the Countess of Edla.

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

Visit Pena Palace SintraVisit Pena Palace Sintra

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

Sightseeing in Sintra

Unfortunately we only got to visit Pena Palace during our short time, but Sintra has plenty more amazing attractions to offer. Although we didn’t manage to visit them, I did some research and would love to share with you some other must-sees in this beautiful resort town. I am really sorry for not visiting O Castelo dos Mouros, the  8th century fortress that has been guarding Sintra for centuries, due to lack of time.

Castelo dos Mouros | Moorish Castle Sintra

Don’t miss out on the Quinta da Regaleira, the beautiful 20th century residence and its Charming Initiation Well. Make time for the exotic Palace and Park of Monserrate, an eclectic gem dating back to the 19th century. Enter the National Palace to learn about the ten thousand year old history of Sintra and also check out the local Art Museum if you still have some time on your hands.

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

Practical Info

I really regret not planning our trip to Sintra for at least 3 days, because there are just so many places to see in this small city. So please learn from my mistake – if you truly like to explore a place and not just tick off an attraction from your list, then devote at least 2, but ideally even 3 days for yourself to leisurely visit Sintra. I will definitely be back, because too much was left unexplored here!

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

Pena Palace and Gardens Opening Times:

High season: 9:30 AM to 8 PM | Low season: 10 AM to 6 PM

Entrance Fee Palace + Park:

Adults: 14 € | Youth & Seniors: 12.5 € | Family Ticket: 49 €

Entrance Fee for the Park:

Adults: 7.5 €| Youth & Seniors: 6.5 € | Family Ticket: 26 €

You can also get tickets to visit merely parts of the palace and the gardens at a fairer price. Consult the official website for more information.

I really hope you can include a visit to Pena Palace during your Portuguese trip! Don’t forget to check out 15 Awesome Things to do in Lisbon to help with your travel plans. Finally, if you liked the post, please pin it to Pinterest to help spread the word! Thanks!

Visit Pena Palace Sintra

3 Responses to “Visit Pena Palace in Sintra

  • The Pena Palace is truly gorgeous, it was my main reason for visiting Sintra. The interior is alright, though I’ll admit I don’t remember much of it since they didn’t allow photography (and I have a very photographic memory, haha). I’ve been to the Castle of the Moors which was cool, but due to lack of time, I didn’t go to Cruz Alta (though I did see the palace from the castle) and I regret not having enough time in Sintra. Next time I want to visit Quinta da Regaleira as well.
    Vlad recently posted…A Relaxing Weekend In Puglia, ItalyMy Profile

    • Yep, there will definitely be a next time for me as well! I actually didn’t know there were so many things there – I thought it was like Sinaia in Romania, where there’s a Peles Castle and that’s kind of it… But boy, was I wrong! I’ll definitely go back for Quinta da Regaleira and the Castle of the Moors <3
      cityoftheweek recently posted…Visit Pena Palace in SintraMy Profile

Trackbacks & Pings

  • 6 Beautiful Places You Need to See in Lagos, Portugal :

    […] actually get to see it with my own eyes. But after exploring the capital and visiting the fabulous Pena Palace in Sintra, we hopped into a rental car in Lisbon and drove down the Western part of the Algarve Coast. […]

    5 months ago

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