Palacio Nacional da Pena
July 14, 2019Travel
The day before we left Portugal, we visited the famous palace „Palacio Nacional da Pena“. The palace is located 30 minutes from Lissabon, in a small, but beautiful village, called Sintra. The castle stands on the top of a hill in the Sintra mountains above of the town of Sintra. On a clear day, you can even see the palace from Lissabon. It is one of the gems of Portugal, which you can find on UNESCO World herritage list. Rightly, because it is the most beautiful palace I have ever visited.
Here are some interesting facts about this palace:
- In the middle ages, a chapel was built at the very same place as the castle stands today. King Manuel I ordered the construction of a monastery. For centuries, Pena was a small, quiet place to meditate.
- In the 18. Century the monastery was destroyed by the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755.
- In 1838 King consort Ferdinand II acquired the monastery and all of the surrounding lands. He decided to transform the monastery into a palace, which would serve him and his wife Queen Maria II as a summer residence.
- Ferdinand II was an admirer of art and architecture. This can be seen in the gorgeous, colorful facade of the castle.
- The architecture is a mixture of Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance.
- Another highlight of the castle is the park, which was created (?) by Maria II. The exotic taste of Romanticism was applied to the park, as it was to the palace. There are trees and plants from all over the world, including North American sequoia, Chinese gingko and Japanese Cryptomeria. It is a beautiful experience to stroll around the park.
How to get to the palace
As I already mentioned, the palace is located on a hill above the town of Sintra.
There is a bus line, which drives from Sintra directly to the Palace of Pena. The pricing is 8 euros in both directions. Another fun way to drive is by Tuk Tuk. This is a scooter like vehicle, where you can sit in the back and enjoy the ride, while the driver tells you all the facts and history you need to know about the castle. The cost is 15 euros per Person for both directions.
I wouldn’t recommend going on foot, as it takes about 1 hour and you can easily get lost.
But, if you are a passionate hiker, go ahead, you will enjoy the nature.
When to visit?
Don’t visit the palace between 10 am till 3 pm! This is when there are huge crowds of tourists visiting the palace.
I would suggest visiting either in the morning, or in the late evening. We actually hit the perfect timing. We visited at around 7 pm. Not only there was almost nobody there, it was also the perfect lighting for photos. 🙂
I really enjoyed our visit at the Pena Palace. It felt like Disneyland.