Monserrate Palace (Palácio de Monserrate)
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MONSERRATE PALACE (PALÁCIO DE MONSERRATE)

A couple of miles out from the old town of Sintra along the forested road of Rua Barbosa do Bocage, past the Quinta Regaleira and the Palácio de Seteais hotel you'll encounter one of the most beautiful eclectic architecture and landscaped gardens in Portugal. The house is set among a vast botanical park of exotic trees, subtropical shrubs and plants.

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HISTORY

Monserrate Palace (Palácio de Monserrate) - South View

The history of Monserrate goes way back to the 12th century and the reconquest of Sintra when it's said Afonso Henriques, Portugal's first King, commissioned a chapel here dedicated to the Virgin to give thanks for his victory over the Moors. A further chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Monserrate was constructed in it's place in 1540 by Friar Gaspar Preto who was inspired by the Sanctuary of Monserrate, near Barcelona. Sadly, however, this chapel did not survive the devastating earthquake of 1755.

The building we see today, and the landscape it inhabits, is the result of a series of foreigners who took control of the site. After coming to Portugal in around 1746 the prominent merchant Gerard DeVisme spent most of his life here and he was a prominent member of the British Factory in Lisbon. His great wealth is said to have been from the Brazilian diamond trade. In 1790 Gerard DeVisme built a Neo-Gothic mansion on the ruined site of Preto's chapel. However due to laws forbidding ownership of property by foreigners in Portugal at the time DeVisme was only allowed to rent the site.

Monserrate Palace (Palácio de Monserrate) - Main Hall

From 1793 to 1799 the property was sub-let to William Beckford, author of the Gothic novel Vathek and the wealthiest untitled Englishman of his age. Beckford was in self-exile from British society after his affair with a very young Earl of Devon was exposed in the national press. During his stay he applied his artistic talents to improving the estate, he landscaped a waterfall and even imported a flock of sheep from his Wiltshire estate at Fonthill. By the time Lord Byron visited the property in 1809 it was noted that the house was in a poor state of repair. The shabby-chic appearance actually became a source of inspiration for Byron who went on to write about Monserrate in his poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, after which it became draw for foreign visitors.

The next proprietor of Monserrate was another Englishman, Francis Cook, who was a textile millionaire and took it upon himself to expand on the eccentricities of DeVisme. He was able to purchase the site in 1856 after being decorated by King Luís with the title of Viscount of Monserrate. The task of reforming the site fell on the architect James Knowles who set about applying Indian, Gothic, Italian and Moorish influences within the building. It's said the design is inspired by the Duomo Cathedral in Florence and the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. Cook also employed the head gardener from Kew to lay out over a thousand different species of subtropical trees and plants. At the time Monserrate possessed the only lawn in Iberia and the garden remains one of Europe's finest.

The Park and Palace of Monserrate were classified as a Property of Public Interest in 1993, and were included in the Cultural Landscape of Sintra, which has been classified by UNESCO as World Heritage since 1995. In 2000, responsibility for the management of the estate was transferred to Parques de Sintra, which embarked upon a profound programme of recovery and restoration work.

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THE HOUSE

The interior of Monserrate Palace is incredibly ornate without being kitsch, drawing from Indian, Arabesque and Italian architectural influences. The first room you come to as you enter is the Main Hall. This octagonal atrium has a Carrara marble fountain at it's centre. If you look up you can marvel at the stucco-clad wood frame dome which is the inside of Monserrate's large red cupola. Sprouting off from the main hall is the gallery corridor which connects the three towers and allows access from one side of the house to the other. Along it's length are a series of arabesque arches and columns which create a dramatic effect when peering down from one end.

Walk down the Northern arm of the corridor past the Indian Drawing Room and the Billiards Room you'll end up at the Music Room. It is topped by another striking domed ceiling and the walls are decorated with representations of the muses and the graces. The room has amazing acoustics and is still used for cultural events and weddings.

The Southern arm of the corridor will take you past the Library which was restored in 2008/9. It's key features are it's walnut shelves, high relief doors and the decorative wall painting and wallpaper. Past the Library is the Entrance Hall which is also octagonal whose walls are lined with gothic arches and pink marble columns. The Entrance Hall opens onto the terrace and the Triton Fountain.

Monserrate Palace (Palácio de Monserrate) - Main Hall
Private Sintra Day Trip from Lisbon with Wine Tasting and Monserrate Palace

Private Sintra Day Trip from Lisbon with Wine Tasting and Monserrate Palace

Explore Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, at your own pace on this private, guided tour from Lisbon. Wander the romantic and picturesque villages of the region, visiting the Gincho Dunes, Sintra National Palace (ticket included), and the Palace of Queluz. Taste local wines, stop at the beaches, shop in boutiques, and more…





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Sintra Palaces Tour with Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira

Sintra Palaces Tour with Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira

Discover the wonders of Lisbon during this full-day, small-group guided tour of Lisbon and Sintra. First, meet your friendly local guide in Lisbon and head by minivan to its top landmarks and the Belém neighbourhood, where you can catch sight of Monastery of Jeronimos. Learn about Lisbon's fascinating history and snap some memorable photos. Refuel by tasting traditional Portuguese dishes. Then, head to the beautiful village of Sintra. Stroll the scenic grounds of Quinta da Regaleira and Pena Palace before returning to Lisbon. This tour is limited to a small group for a personalised tour.

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Quinta da Regaleira and wine tasting - All Inclusive

Quinta da Regaleira and wine tasting - All Inclusive

Come and enjoy our Quinta da Regaleira and Wine Tasting tour in Sintra! Come visit with us the highest exponent of the mystical aura of the mountains, down the famous Initiation Well. After lunch in Colares it is time to enjoy a magnificent wine tasting from the region that will conquer your palate. We will then board the charming tram which departs from Praia das Maças to bring you back to Sintra to enjoy the regional sweets. Finally, we will take you to your hotel by the Cascais road so you can enjoy beautiful breathtaking scenery.

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THE GROUNDS

Monserrate Palace (Palácio de Monserrate) - Gardens

In 2013 the grounds of the Monserrate estate was distinguished with a European Garden Award under the category of the "Best Development of a Historic Park or Garden". It's also created as a important botanical collection with species from all corners of the globe.

Originally landscaped by the master gardener James Burt from Kew Gardens under the direction of William Stockdale and continued by Francis Cook. Its wooded hillsides bristle with exotic foliage, from Chinese weeping cypress to dragon trees and Himalayan rhododendrons. Also there's the Mexican garden containing palms, yuccas and agaves. Also look out for the bamboo-fringed Japanese garden with it's camellias and azaleas. The resulting gardens remain one of the most beautiful romantic landscapes ever created in Portugal.

The Grounds, Daily: 09h30 - 20h00, (last admission at 19h00)
The Palace, Daily: 09h30 - 19h00, (last admission at 18h15)

Adult: €8.00, Concessionary Disabled, Student, Youth card & OAP: €6.50 Infant 0-3 FREE.

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AMENITIES

There's a café on site close to the main house.

In shop and café.

Two parking areas, at front entrance and another a few meters bellow on the left.

By prior booking only: info@parquesdeSintra.pt | +351 219 237 300

Two car parking spaces for persons with mobility restrictions, sign language trained staff, manual wheelchairs available on reservation, traction equipment for wheelchairs, designated easy mobility route map available at ticket office, adapted WC in café, 3D tactile models, Hop On Hop Off transport to the palace and dedicated seating. To book and for more information:  Website.

Booking.com
The Sintra Bus Route Map

Getting There

It's possible to walk from the historical centre of Sintra, a pleasent couple of miles along the forested road of Rua Barbosa do Bocage, past the Quinta Regaleira and the Palácio de Seteais hotel.

Take the IC19 from Lisbon, IC30 from Mafra or EN9 turning off the A5 motorway to Cascais. Once you have arrived in the town's historic centre, you'll see a vertical sign showing the way to Monserrate (2 miles or 3.5 km).

The Scotturb bus #435 leaves from Sintra Train station or outside the Tourist Information office in the centre of old town Sintra to The Palace of Monserrate.

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Contact Details
2710-405 Sintra, Portugal.
38° 47' 30.7"N | 09° 25' 09.1"W | +351 219 237 300
info@parquesdeSintra.pt |  Website