Pena Palace is the most notable example of Portuguese architecture in the Romantic period

Fanciful to an extreme, the architectural fabric of Pena finds much of its inspiration in the Moorish, Gothic and Manueline motifs of Portuguese art (red buildings), as well as in the Wagnerian spirit of the Schinkel Castles of Central Europe (yellow buildings).

It stands on one of the rocky peaks of the Serra de (Mountain of) Sintra and blends in a fortunate manner with its natural background of greenery and crags.

Birdview of Pena palace with the ocean in the background and the Moorish Castle on the right

Birdview of Pena Palace with the ocean in the background and the Castle of the Moors hilltop on the right

Pena Palace Queen's terrace featuring a sundial and cannon

Sundial and cannon (used to fire automatically everyday at noon) on the Queen's terrace

History

A pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages, the chapel of Our Lady of Penha was replaced by a Hieronymite monastery whose foundation was authorised in 1503 by King Manuel I (1469-1521), the monarch during the great Portuguese discoveries.

The monastery was greatly damaged by the 1755 earthquake and finally abandoned after the nationalisation of the monasteries in 1834.

Pena Monastery around 1836

Pena Monastery around 1836

Pena Palace around 1843

Pena Palace around 1843

In 1838, German Ferdinand Saxe Coburg-Gotha (1816-1885), King Consort of Queen Maria II , bought the ruins of the monastery, the woods and the Castle of the Moors, 0.80 square mile (200 hectares) all together, and initiated the construction of a road that would link the palace to Sintra.

The remodelling of the old monastery (red buildings) began in 1840 and, around 1845, Ferdinand extended it by building another complex (yellow buildings) which was known as the "New Palace" inspired by the palaces and castles of Bavaria.

The German architect Baron von Eschwege was in charge of the remodelling and the new construction.

Pena Palace in 1850

Pena Palace in 1850

King Ferdinand in 1855

King Ferdinand in 1855

It became the summer residence of the Royal family.

Under his explicit command, the monastery was painted in red and the new building in yellow.

In 1994 the original colours, which disappeared with time, red for the former monastery and yellow for the new palace were restored.

Birdview of Pena palace (Old remodelled Monastery in red and New Palace in yellow)

Birdview of Pena palace (Old remodelled Monastery in red and New Palace in yellow)

Styles

This astonishing castellated building standing on rocks beautifully portrays the Romantic esprit of the 19th century. Combining national decorative elements (Neo-Romanesque , Neo-Gothic , Neo-Manueline with the Oriental styles (Neo-Moorish and Indo-Gothic ), its eclectic medley of drops, towers, small turrets, terraces and others creates a harmonious whole that is unique in South Europe.

Pena Palace towers, turrets and terraces

Towers, turrets and terraces

Pena palace terrace featuring a neo-Arab turret with the 'Statue of the Warrior' in the background

Terrace featuring a neo-Arab turret with the Statue of the Warrior in the background

Features

Among the countless striking features of the palace :

Pena Palace monastery"s manueline cloister

Manueline cloister preserved from the old monastery

Pena Palace chapel retable

Chapel altarpiece alabaster and marble reredos by French sculptor Nicolau de Chanterenne commissioned by King John III (1502-1577), 30 years before similar constructions appeared in Bavaria

Pena Palace Triton arch symbolising the Creation

Triton arch symbolising the Creation

Pena Palace Noble Hall

Combination of objects, porcelains, illustrating the tendency to bric-a-brac and collecting that characterised the 19th century (here in the Noble Hall)

Pena Palace Twisted Columns inspired by the Alhambra

Twisted Columns sustaining the balcony of the Auditorium

Pena Palace Noble Hall

Noble Hall

Pena Palace trompe-l'oeil fresco in the Arab Room

Luxuriously decorated rooms (here the Arab Room) exhibit marvellous trompe-l'oeil frescoes

Pena Palace walls covered with 19th century tiles

Walls covered with 19th century tiles (Azulejos ) by Wenceslau Cifka, Ferdinand's personal friend

Pena Palace monastery chapel

Chapel preserved from the old monastery

The Park

This shady park, covering an area of some two hundred hectares round the Palace, was planted with trees in the third quarter of the 19th Century.

Created by King Ferdinand II, it is a natural prolongation of Pena Palace itself, with its thirty-odd constructions and an enormous variety of exotic plants from the farthest corners of the earth, which mingle with the autochthonous vegetation in an exuberance of greens and scents.

It is one of the most attractive places on the Serra de (Mountain of) Sintra, owing to the spell of romanticism that emanates from its greenness and the wide stretches of countryside that can be glimpsed from it.

The way that the trees have been arranged in contrasting clusters, setting off to advantage the delicate note of the gardens, the graceful curve of a path, or the sudden view of a pond, all show the artistic intent that governed the planting of this park.

Cruz Alta (High Cross)

Cruz Alta (High cross) in Pena Palace park

The highest point on the Serra (mountain) at 540 metres, with its 16th Century cross (1522) and panoramic all-round view that embraces the fantastic ensemble of the romantic Palace. It is a place that should on no account be missed by anyone visiting the Pena Park

Countess Edla’s Chalet

Pena Park Countess of Edla’s Chalet

Built by Ferdinand, one year after his second marriage to the Swiss-born American opera singer Elise Friedericke Hensler, Countess d'Edla , it was designed by her, inspired by Swiss chalets and rural houses of the United States

Statue of the Warrior

Pena Park Statue of the Warrior

1848 bronze statue from Ernesto Rusconi, believed to be representing Ferdinand guarding his works

Birdview of Pena Palace emerging from the clouds

Birdview of Pena palace emerging from the clouds

Opening hours

Open all year except December 25th and January 1st

Winter 2016-2017 up to

Palace & Park: From 10:00 until 18:00

Summer 2017 up to

Palace: From 09:45 until 19:00 - last entry 18:15

Park: From 09:30 until 20:00 - last entry 19:00

Accommodation nearby

out of which:

Booking.com

Moon Hill Hostel

see on Google Maps
Booking.com

Penha Longa Resort 5

see on Google Maps
Booking.com

Quinta Velha Guesthouse

see on Google Maps
Booking.com

Sintra Boutique Hotel 4

see on Google Maps

Getting there

Coordinates: 38.78704911; -9.39030110

Address: Estrada da Pena, 2710-609 Sintra Portugal

4 km from Sintra National Palace (Sintra's historical centre>)

Bus 434 (Pena line)

15 minutes to and from Sintra Train Station

Frequency:
Every 15 minutes, from 09:30 until 18:20
Detailed timetable

Sintra Bus 434 Itinerary Diagram

Itinerary:
Sintra Train Station > Historic City Centre - Tourist Office - Sintra National Palace > Castle of the Moors > Pena Palace > Historic City Centre - Sintra National Palace > Sintra Train Station

Route Calculator | Scotturb, Cascais Sintra Busses Website
Public transportation in Sintra

€ Prices until Oct 28, 2017

Palace & Park

Adult (18-64 years) Entry 14,00
Child (6-17 years) Entry 12,50
Senior (over 65 years) Entry 12,50
Family (2 adults + 2 children) Entry 49,00

Park only

Adult (18-64 years) Entry 7,50
Child (6-17 years) Entry 6,50
Senior (over 65 years) Entry 6,50
Family (2 adults + 2 children) Entry 26,00

Palace & Park
Happy Hour from 09:30 to 10:30

Adult (18-64 years) Entry 13,00
Child (6-17 years) Entry 11,50
Senior (over 65 years) Entry 11,50
Family (2 adults + 2 children) Entry 44,00
Birdview of Pena National Palace overlooking Sintra's plain

Birdview of Pena National Palace overlooking Sintra's plain