Where the Kids Roam

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Pena Palace

Perched atop a lush hillside in Sintra, Portugal, Pena Palace enchants visitors with its vibrant colors, eclectic architecture, and stunning views.

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Prepare to embark on a whimsical journey through the enchanting realms of Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal. Hold onto your hats (or tiaras) because we’re about to delve into the history, hours of operation, admission details, and the magical experience awaiting you at this stunning palace.

Getting There

Pena Palace – located in the UNESCO-heavy city of Sintra – is about an hour’s drive from Lisbon. But be forewarned, driving in Sintra can prove awfully difficult. It’s a series of one-way roads that wind, are confusing, sometimes force you into heavy traffic, and if you miss out on parking, you could spend an hour getting yourself back into the right place. Thus, you can opt for a tour leaving Lisbon, a train from Lisbon, a private driver from Lisbon (~180 Euros for the day), or staying directly in Sintra and walking. Personally, we’ve driven into the area twice and found parking, stay in the town once and hiked up the hill with toddlers (hard), and drove in once where we didn’t find parking and left in a heap of anger and frustration (very hard). And then once time where we hired a driver and relaxed all day (easy, but expensive). Choice is yours. 

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A Brief History

Let’s rewind the clock to the 19th century, a time when eccentricity was all the rage among royals. Pena Palace, perched high atop a hill in Sintra, was the brainchild of some seriously imaginative monarchs. Originally a humble, 16th-century monastery, it underwent a Cinderella-like transformation into the technicolor dream palace we know today, thanks to the whims of King Ferdinand II. Legend has it he was a big fan of kaleidoscopes and decided to turn his royal residence into one. The architectural style, a blend of Romanticism, Neo-Gothic, and Moorish influences, reflects the king’s eclectic taste and his desire to create a picturesque retreat amidst the natural beauty of Sintra.

Hours of Operation: Planning Your Visit

Pena Palace welcomes visitors throughout the week, with the exception of Mondays when it takes a well-deserved rest. The palace typically opens its doors in the morning and remains accessible until the early evening. However, it’s always wise to check the official website for the most accurate and up-to-date information on opening hours, especially if you’re planning a visit during peak tourist seasons. Here is the official website for tickets. Visitors have the option to purchase combined tickets that grant access to other attractions within the Pena Park, such as the Moorish Castle and the Chalet of the Countess of Edla. 

Exploring the Interior Splendor of Pena Palace

Step through the ornate doors of Pena Palace and prepare to be transported to a world of opulence and grandeur. As you wander through its lavishly decorated rooms, each corner reveals a new treasure, offering a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of Portuguese royalty.

The Royal Chambers: Opulent Furnishings and Intricate Details

Inside Pena Palace, visitors are treated to a visual feast of sumptuous furnishings, intricate tapestries, and ornate decorations that adorn every room. The interior design reflects the eclectic tastes of King Ferdinand II, with influences ranging from Moorish and Gothic to Renaissance and Romanticism. Marvel at the intricately carved furniture, gilded mirrors, and elaborately painted ceilings as you wander through the palace’s halls.

The State Rooms: A Taste of Royalty

Among the highlights of the interior are the state rooms, where royalty once entertained guests and held court. These grand chambers feature soaring ceilings, towering columns, and exquisite artwork that showcase the wealth and power of the Portuguese monarchy. Admire the majestic throne room, the elegant dining hall, and the opulent ballroom, each meticulously restored to its former glory.

The Clock Tower: A Symbol of Timeless Majesty

One of the most iconic features of Pena Palace is its clock tower, which rises majestically above the palace walls. Originally constructed as part of the 16th-century monastery that once stood on the site, the clock tower was later incorporated into King Ferdinand II’s romantic vision for the palace. Today, visitors can climb to the top of the tower to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and marvel at the intricate workings of the clock mechanism.

The Chapel: A Place of Serenity and Devotion

Nestled within the walls of Pena Palace is a charming chapel, where members of the royal family once worshipped in quiet contemplation. The chapel’s intimate interior features exquisite stained glass windows, ornate altars, and intricately carved wooden pews, creating a serene atmosphere that invites visitors to pause and reflect.

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Conclusion: A Journey Through Time and Luxury

In conclusion, a visit to the interior of Pena Palace offers a fascinating glimpse into the opulent world of Portuguese royalty. From the grandeur of the state rooms to the serenity of the chapel, every corner of the palace tells a story of wealth, power, and artistic splendor. So, take your time exploring its halls, and immerse yourself in the timeless majesty of this historic landmark.