With this entrance ticket you can gain entry to the Pena Palace (Palácio da Pena) at your leisure. Buy online before you arrive to avoid queues and have the convenience of the e-ticket on your phone…
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• Kids under Five get in free, no ticket required
• If your plans change we have you covered with the option to cancel and get a full refund
Park, Daily: 09h00 – 19h00, (last admission 19h00)
Palace, Daily: 09h30 - 18h30, (last admission at 18h30)
Lisbon Card: 10% discount
Estrada da Pena, Sintra 2710-609, Portugal.
38° 47' 16"N | 09° 23' 15"W | +351 219 237 300
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The oldest parts of Pena Palace were originally a 12th-century chapel devoted to the Virgin Mary. It served as both a pilgrimage destination and a Monastery, housing 18 monks from the Order of Saint Jerome. The chapel was renowned for surviving several natural disasters, including earthquakes and lightning strikes, which enhanced its reputation. Pena remained a monastery until Portugal's religious orders were abolished in 1834.
The young German prince Ferdinand, the King consort of Portugal, heard stories of miraculous events taking place on Sintra mountain. During the 19th century, Europe was ensconced by Romanticism. Ferdinand was perhaps inspired by the mock-medieval castles of his homeland of Bavaria, such as the Schloss Neuschwanstein. In 1838 Ferdinand obtained the Monastery with plans of creating his fairy-tale castle and Royal residence.
Areas of the Monastery were restored, specifically the cloisters, outbuildings, chapel, sacristy, and living quarters. Newer extensions were designed in exaggerated Manueline, Gothic, and Arabesque styles, reflecting the Romanticism movement's fascination with pre-classicism and mysticism. As a result, Pena Palace is a mixture of self-indulgent designs consisting of vividly painted terraces, domes, towers, decorative battlements, a drawbridge that doesn't draw, and mythological statues.
The palace is intended to be visible from any point in the park surrounding it. The extensive Pena Park (Parque da Pena) had been landscaped to include exotic trees and plants, mysterious follies, lakes, and mythological statues. On the 7th of July 2007, Pena Palace was selected as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal and now awaits your discovery.
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If you take the ScottUrb #434 bus to Pena Palace you will alight at the entrance to the grounds. The ticket office is the former gatehouse. You can choose between two types of tickets: Palace & Park or Park only. If you have a skip-the-line e-ticket, simply display it on your mobile phone to a staff member. You can reach Pena Palace by taking a short walk uphill through the park or by using the electric mini-bus service.
To enter the Palace complex, you must pass through an Arabesque Arch called the Door of Alhambra. It was inspired by the Door of Justice located in Granada, Spain. The design prominently features Islamic styles, including ornate tiles. Be sure to notice the two crocodile-shaped gargoyles on the cornerstones facing the outside.
After passing through the Door of Alhambra, you will arrive at the Coach House Terrace. From there, you will come across the Monumental Gate, which is a blend of various styles and has a fortified portal that looks somewhat ridiculous. The diamond spikes on the gate remind one of the Casa dos Bicos in Lisbon. The gatehouse has two decorative cylindrical bartizans topped with cupolas that guard the top corners. The rounded archway, framed by dotted ropework and decorated with serpents, leads you over a fake drawbridge and into the entrance tunnel, which leads to the residential wings beyond.
The tunnel opens into the Terrace of the Triton, which allows access to both the original Monastery wing and the newer palace constructions. The terrace acquired its name from the elaborate gateway protected on both sides by two domed towers and the half-man, half-fish creature looming down from the entrance archway. This mythological Triton sits inside a giant oyster shell suspended from a window ledge. His hair morphs into vine decoration that frames the window. His menacing gaze stares down upon those who dare enter the gateway. Entitled the "Allegoric Gate to the Creation of the World", he is an allegory of the four worldly elements; earth, fire, water and air. The decoration on the arch itself is divided between the marine world below and the terrestrial world above. It is believed that the Triton was inspired by Damião de Góis' writing. In 1554, he wrote about observing a Triton singing while sitting on a shell on a beach west of Sintra.
The designers of Pena Palace endeavoured to preserve the original Hieronymite monastery by keeping the most notable features intact, such as the cloisters, the dining room, the sacristy, and the Manueline-Renaissance chapel. In addition to these elements, they constructed a new terrace called the Queen's Terrace. The palace received a clock tower addition in 1843.
The cloisters served as the hub of the old monastery. The walls are ornately decorated with intricate azulejo tiles. The cloisters used to be brighter, but the windows were bricked out during the expanssion process. The two-story cloisters are open to the sky and provide access to the Royal Family Dining-Room and the Scullery. On the lower floor, you can find the King's apartments, while the Queen's apartments are situated on the upper floor.
The dining room used by the King was once the monastery refectory that underwent alterations for private use. Its vaulted ceiling is from the 16th century and features ribbing in the Manueline style. The walls are adorned with 19th-century tiles from the Roseira Factory, while the room's oak furniture was commissioned in 1866 by King Fernando from Casa Gaspar in Lisbon.
King Carlos utilised the former Chapter House and adjacent rooms for his private apartments in a somewhat modest accommodation compared to the Queen's quarters on the upper floor. The King's apartments include private living quarters of his Chamberlain and Valet, who were ever-present at his side.
The first chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pena has remained almost unchanged since the 16th century. Its small nave has a Gothic vaulted ceiling, and its walls still have the original 16th-century azulejo tiles. Directly accessible from Queen Amélia's private chambers on the southern end of the east wing lies the Queen's Terrace. The terrace boasts incredible views and a focal point in the form of a sundial and solar quadrant inscribed with the months of the year and hours of the day. A small cannon fires at noon each day.
To enter the New Palace, one would originally use the Calabash Stairs (Escada das Cabaças) and pass through a doorway located beneath the Triton Arch. These stairs lead up to the opulent Reception Room, finished in 1854. The room's design features Arabesque elements and was created by Italian scenographer Paolo Pizzi. The vaulted ceiling is decorated with plant motifs that use perspective techniques to give the illusion of a larger space. A large glass neo-rococo chandelier dates back to the mid-19th century and is shaped like a Morning Glory vine. Indian furniture was added to the room in 1940.
The Stag Room was first intended to be a Knights Room with medieval-style decor, including suits of armour, weapons on the wall, and heraldic stain glass windows. The plan included placing antlers around a central pillar shaped like a tree, but the only surviving item from that plan is the large round table. The room now features stags' heads on the walls instead of a domed ceiling. Another room, The Noble Hall, was intended as an ambassador reception hall but was later remodelled as a billiards room. The Kitchens, which are the largest room in the palace, was the place where meals for the great banquets held in the Stag Room were prepared. The walls are adorned with the palace's copper pots and pans, each marked with King Fernando's monogram. Only one of the original stoves remains, but their chimneys remain intact.
King Ferdinand created an extraordinary castle that was so fanciful and impressive he needed equally magical gardens to match. The design of the gardens took influences from the German Romanticism movement that also inspired the construction of the Pena Palace. The park landscape was transformed during its creation, utilising the tropical micro-climate and topology of Sintra to best effect. Visitors follow winding paths through over 85 hectares of exotic trees and plants collected from around the world. The park is divided into several gardens and landscaped areas, featuring pavilions, small decorative buildings, and water features such as waterfalls, ponds, lakes, and fountains. Even today, more than a century after King Ferdinand's vision was realised, visitors are still enchanted and touched by a little bit of magic. [ More About ► ]
There are hiking trails signposted between the historic centre and the National Palace of Pena:
• Santa Maria Trail (Centre to Moorish Castle/Pena; 1770 metres, 1 hour)
• Lapa Trail (Centre to Pena; 1450 metres, 45 minutes)
• Seteais Trail (Centre to Seteais, Pena/Moorish Castle; 2410 metres, 1½ hours)
• Vila Sassetti Trail (Centre - Pena/Moorish Castle; 1850 metres, 45 minutes).
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 it's best to leave the car and take the #434 bus to the Pena Park.
The Scotturb bus #434 leaves from Sintra Train station, stops in the Old Town centre next to the Tourist Office and takes you to the Pena Park.