The Palacio da Pena Sintra is definitively the most unforgettable piece of architecture in Portugal. Standing on top of a hill, its mix of styles and colors are mesmerizing. Below is my guide to help you plan your visit to the Sintra Pena Palace.
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Why visit the Sintra Pena Palace? Video
The Pena Palace in Sintra is one of the most iconic buildings in Portugal and in the World. There is nothing else like it. You must not miss it when visiting Sintra.
The colors, the shapes, the locations, the park... It is worth at least half a day to explore it.
See what I mean:
Let's start with a short video showing you the highlights of a visit to the Sintra Pena Palace: the views from the Castle of the Moors, many angles of those colorful towers as well as a visit of the inside... No wonder it is part of the Sintra Unesco World Heritage Site.
PLANNING TIPS - Palacio da Pena, Sintra, Portugal
How to get to the Pena Palace in Sintra
- Lisbon to Sintra - 30min drive West
- The Pena palace is on top of a hill - you can walk from the city center, but it is quite steep!
- By car: there are a couple of car parks near the Palacio da Pena Sintra but access is via a small road where you will have to wait in the traffic jams, and the car parks get full very quickly
- By taxi: you will still have to be patient but no parking issues...
- By bus: there is a cheap bus that leaves from the city center, however the queues in October were huge so I can't imagine in Summer
- By hop on hop off - several companies do stop there - pre-purchase your ticket in your currency
- By organized tours from Lisbon - Just sit back and wait to arrive at your destination - see small group tour option
The Pena Palace is included in both my travel guides to help you easily plan your Portugal road trip itinerary:
Visiting the Palacio da Pena
- You need to be quite fit to visit Pena Palace
- Always keep your ticket, they keep checking it
- Pena Palace entrance fee - 14€
- Pena Palace opening hours - 9.30am to 6:30pm - the park may stay open later
- Check out the latest prices and opening hours here
- Pena Palace tickets - better to take a combined ticket with the Castle of the Moors - both are worth seeing
- Access to Pena Palace Sintra: from the gate you still have to go up through the park to reach the Pena Palace itself
- Or you can Transfer by bus from the park gate to the palace gate: every 15min, 3€, tickets sold at the ticket office and at the souvenir shop - and even from where the bus stops at the top, you still have to walk up a little...
- I recommend staying one night in Sintra, to have more time to explore this unique area - Check out this link to see the best rated accommodations in Sintra.
Views from the distance
I first discovered the Palace during my visit of the Castle of the Moors nearby (see my tips and pictures about that visit). As you walk on the wall, you discover perched high on top of the hill the red tower and yellow walls of the surprising structure. What a contrast with the old fortifications of the castle!
Pena Palace history in short
Originally there was just a chapel on top of the hill, then a monastery which was destroyed. What you see today of the romantic structure, was built by King consort Ferdinand I as a summer residence in the mid 19th century. After the revolution of 1910, it became a national monument and a museum.
The unique architecture of the Pena Palace
The most interesting part of a visit to the Sintra Pena Palace is to see it from various angles:
- The main colors are red, yellow, blue and purple.
- You get round, square and conic features
- The mix of architectures: neo-gothic, neo-Manueline, neo-renaissance...
The best part is really to explore all the paths that you can find to discover all its façades. Have a look:
Don't miss the details!
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the overall impression of the Palacio da Pena Sintra with the colors and all. But take the time to look closer at the details, especially the tiles. They are quite unique!
Visiting the National Palace of Pena - Interiors
Once inside the wall of the Palacio da Pena Sintra, you can pay extra to visit the inside of the building: the tour includes the Cloister, the Dining Room, the Apartments of King Carlos I and Queen Amelia, the Gallery of Passage, the Stag room, the Kitchen and much more...
Furniture has been placed in all rooms showing how all the rooms were used. And some rooms are covered in tiles from ground to wall to ceiling. Completely tile-crazy!
Our Lady of Pena Chapel
Originally only the Chapel of Our Lady of Pena was built at the top of the Sintra hill. Later a monastery was added but was destroyed by lightning and the 1755 Great Lisbon Earthquake. But the chapel remains standing with its impressive work of marble.
Inside again, the more recent pieces are colorful. The stained-glass window was particularly bright!
Exploring the park
The park surrounding the Sintra Palace is big. You don't have to take the bus up and down, you can also choose to explore on foot to admire the forest, ponds, flowers and small waterfalls.
Views from the Palace
Another advantage of visiting the Palacio da Pena Sintra is the views you get from up there in the hills.
In every direction, you get unobstructed views as the Sintra mountains are the only ones around.
Below for example you can see the wall of the castle of the Moors. (you can see many photos of my visit there in the Sintra Castle article)
Want to see more of PORTUGAL?
Very unique, isn't it?
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