Palacio do Buçaco

Palace in Luso & Mata Nacional do Buçaco

Originally a royal summer retreat, this lavish palace, now home to the Palace Hotel do Buçaco, was built in 1907 on the site of a 17th-century Carmelite monastery. It's an extraordinary sight, over the top in every way. Its exterior of turrets and spires is surrounded by rose gardens and box hedges, while inside, neo-Manueline carvings and archways crown grand staircases and azulejos (hand-painted tiles) showing scenes from Os Lusiados (The Lusiads). These depict Portuguese armies winning sea battles as their stupefied opponents look on in dismay.

Note that access to the palace, which is 2km up from the Portas das Ameias, is limited to hotel and restaurant guests.