Palácio Nacional da Pena
Parque da Pena
Nearly topped by King Ferdinand II's whimsical Palácio Nacional da Pena (only Cruz Alta, at 528m, is higher), these romantic gardens are...
Castelo dos Mouros
Soaring 412m above sea level, this mist-enshrouded ruined castle looms high above the surrounding forest. When the clouds peel away, the...
This adventure outfitter has a regular schedule of organised activities, including mountain-biking, rappelling, jeep tours, trekking and...
Taverna dos Trovadores
This atmospheric restaurant and bar features live music (folk and acoustic) on Friday and Saturday nights – an institution that’s been...
This busy cafe is a popular destination for inexpensive bites as well as Sintra's famous queijadas (sweet cheesecakes) and travesseiros...
Palácio Nacional da Pena information
Rising from a thickly wooded peak and often enshrouded in swirling mist, Palácio Nacional da Pena is a wacky confection of onion domes, Moorish keyhole gates, writhing stone snakes and crenellated towers in pinks and lemons. It is considered the greatest expression of 19th-century romanticism in Portugal.
Ferdinand of Saxe Coburg-Gotha, the artist-husband of Queen Maria II, and later Dom Ferdinand II, commissioned Prussian architect Ludwig von Eschwege in 1840 to build the Mouresque-Manueline epic (and as a final flourish added an armoured statue representing a medieval knight overlooking the palace from a nearby peak). Inspired by Stolzenfels and Rheinstein castles and Potsdam's Babelsberg Palace, a flourish of imagination and colour commenced.
The eclectic, extravagant interior is equally unusual, brimming with precious Meissen porcelain, Portuguese-style furniture, trompe l’oeil murals and Dom Carlos’ unfinished nudes of buxom nymphs.
There are daily guided tours at 2.30pm. Buses depart from the entrance to the palace every 15 minutes (€3); otherwise it's a 10- to 15-minute walk uphill.