Once through the two small gatehouses guarding the main entrance, the path leads uphill towards the Pena Palace past Queen Amélia's Garden on the right-hand side. It's fair to say Pena Park was not only the brainchild of one man, but Queen Amélia II also played an important role. Where there were once allotments for the palace's staff, Queen Amélia created a French-style formal garden. During the 20th century, the design of this garden encountered many alterations. Recent restoration work endeavours to return the gardens to their original late 19th-century layout.
Close by in the Dovecote House is home to a multimedia 3D model of the Sintra landscape. Within this interactive centre, visitors can access information and activate the projection of geographic contents on the 3D model of the Cultural Landscape. A great way to familiarise yourself with the park before starting your adventure. | 10h00 to 13h00/14h00 to 17h30
After rejoining the route, the path forks at the Manège. This area of level-ground was once a riding school and a tennis court. The left-hand path is the recommended route around Pena Park, whilst the right-hand path leads to the Palace. If you take the anti-clockwise direction around the Temple of the Columns (see below), you'll come across the Table of the Queen, so-called because this was one of Queen Dona Amélia's favourite spots. Looming overhead, standing on a rocky pedestal, is the Statue of the Warrior (see below).
Beyond this point, you will encounter a crossroads. The first left path leads up a long walk to the Cruz Alta (high cross), the highest point of the Sintra hills. Astounding vistas will compensate for your aching limbs (more below). The other two paths will eventually lead you to the Camellia Garden. The first path takes you via a rocky outcrop and viewpoint known as Saint Catherine's Heights.
Opposite the Water Wheel once fed the water storage tanks of the Palace of Pena. Here is the Camellia Garden. A collection of camellias was planted on the site of an original 16th-century monastic estate in a series of terraces. They were imported from the very best growers in France, Belgium, Italy and Britain. Portuguese varieties primarily came from Porto and added to the collection later. From October until April, the park is in bloom with the Camellia flowers. Each year there are many competitions and exhibitions of the most beautiful. Seedlings are nurtured in the nearby Hot House whose original plumbing system is still functional.
The Queen's Fern Valley, adjoining the Camellia Garden, contains a collection of tree ferns originating from Australia and New Zealand. Planted after a period of acclimatisation in the Azores.
Downhill from the Queen's Fern Valley, you will come upon the Fountain of the Small Birds, an Arabesque pavilion whose spherical dome contains an Arabic inscription (see below). Following on from the Fountain of the Small Birds, the path leads down into the Valley of the Lakes (Vale dos Lagos). Five small bodies of water are famed for their unusual duck houses (see below). Close by, at the gatekeeper's house, there is a café where you can have a cuppa and rest for a while. West of the lakes is the Chalet of the Countess d'Edla and its gardens.
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There are cafeterias at the main entrance, gatekeepers house and in the Pena Palace, which also have a restaurant offering more substantial meals.
There are toilets in the cafés and various places around the park and palace.
The are some small car parks situated close to the main entrance to Pena Park and the Chalet of the Countess d'Edla but these will get full very quickly. Unless you have mobility issues it's advised to park in the old town and take the #434 bus from there.
You can book a private tour: firstname.lastname@example.org | +351 219 237 300.
There's a hop-on hop-off transfer service available between with-in the Pena Park with five stops along the route including the Pena Palace and the Chalet of the Countess d'Edla. Sign language trained staff, manual wheelchairs available on reservation, traction equipment for wheelchairs, ramps are implemented difficult parts of the park and in certain rooms of the Palace and Chalet. Here too you can find adapted WCs. NOTE: The second floor of the Chalet of the Countess d'Edla is not accessible to persons with mobility restrictions.
Park, Daily: 09h30 – 20h00, (last admission 19h00)
Palace, Daily: 09h30 - 19h00, (last admission at 18h30)
Also known as the House of Indulgence (Casa do Regalo), this small attractive chalet was constructed between 1864 and 1869. It was built as a retreat for King Ferdinand II and his second wife and opera singer Elise Hensler, the future Countess of Edla. The construction is deceptive. The external plasterwork has been textured and painted to imitate wooden planks and give the impression of an Alpine chalet. Over two floors its interior sees extensive cork decoration, covering doors and window frames, eaves and verandas. Also inside are many mural paintings, stucco work and glazed decorative tiles.
Following the end of the Monarchy in 1910 and the chalet suffered subsequent decades of neglect. Additional damage occurred following a fire in 1999 when the roof collapsed. In 2007, plans for a major project to salvage and fully resort to the chalet started by studying original building techniques and original photographs. The painstaking work began in 2010, bringing its original beauty back to life. Since 2011, it is once again open to the public.
The Countess followed the work started by King Ferdinand and Queen Amélia and continued to transform and develop Pena Park. The surrounding gardens have been planted with imported exotic plants and trees, some from as far away as Australia and New Zealand. The grounds features the Countess's Fernery, the Restharrow Garden, a Pergola, several lakes and the Chalet Stones (a collection of granite boulders).
The stunning scenery over the valley is accentuated by the views of the Moorish Castle, Pena Palace, Cruz Alta and the Atlantic Ocean in the far distance. Alongside the gardens are the various structures that make up the Pena Farm, including the stables, which also have been recently restored and now house the horse-drawn carriages used for rides around the park. In 1993, the Chalet of the Countess of Edla and its gardens were classified as a Property of Public Interest.
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Pena Palace, one of the most iconic buildings in Portugal, is truly a sight to behold up close. Everything about the palace is intended to impress. It's located just below the summit of the Sintra mountain and overlooks the landscape below for tens of miles. The exaggerated architecture, influenced by medieval and Moorish styles, reflects the obsession of the Romanticism movement of the late 19th century. Pena Palace is the brainchild of Ferdinand II of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, King consort and husband of Queen Maria II. The palace is a self-indulgent muddle of vividly painted terraces, domes, towers, decorative battlements, a drawbridge that doesn't draw, and mythological statues. Pena Palace was designed to be visible from any point within the park. On the 7th July 2007, Pena Palace was selected as one of the seven wonders of Portugal. [ More About ► ]