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…
Book with confidence with the FREE CANCELLATION option.
• 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: 09h30 – 20h00, (last admission 19h00)
Palace, Daily: 09h30 - 19h00, (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 sections of Pena Palace were once parts of a 12th-century chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It was both a site of pilgrimage and a Monastery, home to 18 monks from the Order of Saint Jerome. The monastery miraculously defined a number of natural disasters such as earthquakes and multiple lightning strikes, strengthening its notoriety. Pena continued functioning as a monastery right up to the abolition of religious orders in Portugal in 1834.
Tales of miracles on the mountains reached the young German prince Ferdinand, the King consort of Portugal. In 1838 Ferdinand acquired the monastery and plans were drawn up to expand the site. During this period of the 19th century Europe was in the grip of Romanticism. Possibly inspired by the mock-medieval castles of Ludwig of Bavaria, such as the Schloss Neuschwanstein, Ferdinand set about creating his own fairy-tale castle and Royal residence.
The sections of the former Monastery which fell into his plan were restored, including the cloisters, outbuildings, the chapel, the sacristy, and living quarters. Reflecting the obsession the Romanticism movement had with pre-classicism and mysticism, the newer extensions were designed with exaggerated Manueline, Gothic and Arabesque styles. The result is a self-indulgent muddle of vividly painted terraces, domes, towers, decorative battlements, a drawbridge that doesn’t draw and mythological statues.
The palace was designed to be visible from any point in the park which surrounds it. The extensive Pena Park (Parque da Pena) had been landscaped to include exotic trees and plants, mysterious follies and lakes, and mythological statues. On the 7th of July 2007, it was selected as one of the seven wonders of Portugal.
If you arrive by the ScottUrb #434 bus or a CitySightseeing Bus you'll be dropped off at the entrance to the grounds of Pena Palace. The former gatehouse now serves as the ticket office. There's a choice of tickets: Palace & Gardens, or Gardens only. If you've purchased a skip-the-line ticket just display your ticket on your mobile phone to a member of staff. Here too is a small café, information centre and public convieneces. Pena Palace is a short up-hill stroll through the park. There's an electric mini-bus service between the ticket office and palace entrance.
Entrance into the Palace complex is through the Door of Alhambra. Its design was inspired by the Alhambra Door of Justice in Granada, Spain. The use of Islamic styles is strikingly evident. The Arabesque Arch is used repeatedly, as is the use of Moorish styled tiles. Keep an eye out for the two gargoyles in the guise of crocodiles on the external-facing cornerstones.
Once through the Door of Alhambra, you'll end up in the Coach House Terrace which then leads you to the Monumental Gate which is a mishmash of styles and a somewhat ridiculous looking fortified portal. The diamond spikes are reminiscent of the Casa dos Bicos in Lisbon. Two decorative cylindrical bartizans topped with cupolas guard the top corners of the gatehouse with five coat of arms in-between. The rounded archway, framed by dotted ropework, eerily decorated with serpents, leads you over a fake drawbridge into the entrance tunnel and onto the residential wings beyond.
The tunnel leads to the Terrace of the Triton that allows access to both the original Monastery wing and the newer palace constructions. From this open space, it's possible to catch sight of both the Cruz Alta cross and the Statue of the Warrior perched on their peaks in the Pena Park. The terrace is named after 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. The inspiration for the Triton is thought to have come from the writing of Damião de Góis. In 1554 he wrote about a Triton seen singing whilst sat on a shell on a beach near Colares.
It was important for the designers of Pena Palace to preserve as much of the original Hieronymite monastery as possible, including the cloisters, the dining room, the sacristy, and the Manueline-Renaissance chapel. Surrounding these elements the new terrace (Queens Terrace) was built. The clock tower was later added in 1843.
The cloisters were the central hub in the old monastery. The walls are lined with ancient azulejo tiles. Originally the cloisters would have been brighter, but since it was embedded inside the new construction, the windows were removed. The two-story cloister is open to the sky and serves as the access point to the Royal Family Dining-Room and the Scullery. Here too is the King's apartments on the lower floor and Queen's apartments located on the upper floor.
The former monastery refectory was modified for private royal use. The King's dining room contains a 16th century vaulted ceiling with Manueline style ribbing. The walls are lined with 19th-century tiles from the Roseira Factory. The room's oak furniture was commissioned by King Fernando from Casa Gaspar in Lisbon in 1866.
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 original chapel of Our Lady of Pena remains relatively unscathed and looks fairly much the same as it had in the 16th Century. The chapel's small nave is topped with a Gothic vaulted ceiling. The walls retain their 16th-century azulejo tiles.
On the southern end of the east wing, the Queens Terrace was added and is directly accessed from Queen Amélia's private chambers. The focal point on the terrace (if you can avert your eyes from the incredible views) is the sundial and solar quadrant. It is rigged to a small cannon that fires at noon each day. Inscribed on the dial are the months of the year and the hours of the day. From the terrace, one can get an overall picture of the architecture of the palace.
The original entrance to the New Palace was via the Calabash Stairs (Escada das Cabaças) though a doorway found beneath the Triton Arch decorated with calabashes (the symbol of the pilgrim). The staircase ascends to the richly decorated Reception Room was completed in 1854. The design of the room is Arabesque and is the work of the Italian scenographer Paolo Pizzi. Above the vaulted ceiling decorated with plant, motifs use tricks of perspective to create the illusion of a larger space. The large glass neo-rococo chandelier dates from the mid-19th century. It is a representation of a Morning Glory climbing plant with bunches of grapes. The Indian furniture was acquired in 1940.
Originally the Stag Room was intended to be a medieval-style Knights Room decorated with old suits of armour, weapons on the wall and heraldic stain glass windows. The antlers were supposed to have been placed around a central pillar shaped like a tree. The only item which survived these original plans is the large round table. The stags' heads adorn the walls instead of under a domed ceiling. Another room that never achieved its initial design is the The Noble Hall. It was intended to be a hall where ambassadors were received however it was remodelled as a billiards room.
Usually, the last room on a visit the The Kitchens are in fact the largest room in the whole palace. Meals prepared here would have served great banquets held in the Stag Room. Only one of the three original stoves however remain although their chimneys remain. The palace's copper pots and pans of varying sizes, each marked with King Fernando's monogram, adorn the walls.
King Ferdinand had built his extraordinary castle that was so exuberant and fantastical he now needed fair-tale surroundings to suit. The design of the gardens follows the same exaggerated ideals influenced by the German Romanticism movement Pena Palace was built upon. During the creation of the park, the landscape was totally remodelled. Sintra's tropical micro-climate and topology were used to full effect. The visitor is guided along winding paths that traverse over 85 hectares of exotic trees and plants gathered from all four corners of the globe. Divided into several gardens and landscaped areas passing pavilions, small decorative buildings, water features such as waterfalls, ponds, lakes and fountains along the way. Today the visitor is still filled with a sense of wonderment and touched by a little bit of magic more than a century since King Ferdinand's vision was realised. [ 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.