Once through the two small gatehouses which guard 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 was once allotments for the palace's staff, Queen Amélia created a French-style formal garden. During the 20th century, the design of this garden has encountered many alterations. Recent restoration work endeavours to return the gardens to their original late 19th century's 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 is an area of level-ground once used as a riding school and as a tennis court. The left-hand path is the recommended route around Pena Park whilst the right-hand path leads to the Pena Palace itself. 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. Your aching limbs will be compensated with astounding vistas (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 which once fed the water storage tanks of the Palace of Pena is the Camellia Garden. Planted on the site of an original 16th-century monastic estate in a series of terraces, a collection of camellias grow. They were imported from the very best growers in France, Belgium, Italy and Britain. Portuguese varieties primarily came from Porto and were added to the collection later. From October until April, the park is in bloom with the Camellia flowers. Each year there are numerous 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 that originate 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 famed for their unusual duck houses (see below). Close by, at the gatekeepers house, there is a café where you can have a cuppa and rest for a while. West of these lakes is the Chalet of the Countess d'Edla and its gardens.
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 built between 1864 and 1869 for King Ferdinand II and his second wife and opera singer Elise Hensler, the future Countess of Edla. The Chalet da Condessa d'Edla can be found at the western end of the Pena Park. The construction is deceptive, the external plasterwork has been textured and painted to imitate wooden planks and give the impression of an Alpine chalet. Its interior covering two floors 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. In 1999 additional damage was caused by a fire which caused the total collapse of the roof, floors, partition walls and balcony. In 2007 plans for a major project to salvage and fully resort to the chalet started with studying original building and decorating techniques and original photographs. The painstaking work began in 2010 bringing its original beauty back to life and 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 the 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 are 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 houses the horse-drawn carriages used for rides around the Pena 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 as seen on countless postcards and travel brochures, is truly a sight to behold up close. Everything about the palace was designed 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 surrounding it. The extensive palace grounds were landscaped to include exotic trees and plants, mysterious follies and lakes, and mythological statues. On the 7th July 2007, Pena Palace was selected as one of the seven wonders of Portugal. [ More About ► ]