Palácio da Pena/ Pena National Palace

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São Pedro de Penaferrim, Sintra, Portugal
219 237 300

Palácio da Pena/ Pena National Palace Sintra Reviews

Vikram Vikram
248 reviews
It's like a Walt Disney Castle shooting straight out of the woods! Nov 01, 2014
Sintra is Lisboa's most popular daytrip, and Pena is the most visited amongst all of Sintra's attractions, aka, be ready for crowds!

Pena Palace is more than just a palace. There's a sprawling forest included in the ticket. You could easily spend a day here if you're not giving Sintra the usual daytrip treatment.

My biggest piece of advice (and something I've mentioned in the blog entry linked to this review) is do NOT attempt to walk to Pena Palace from the Sintra train station. It's a longwinded series of switchbacks up the hill and can easily take a few hours, not to mention that it's simply not worth it. Save your energy for the actual Park by taking a bus at the train station.

From the entrance desks, the Palace is about half a mile hike uphill. As the entire park is located at a higher altitude, it means you get sweeping views of Sintra townand the valleys from vantage points across the park. The day I went, it was quite misty so I didn't get to experience any of that unfortunately. And, I was running short on time!

The Palace architecture is amazing. It's, as expected, a UNESCO world heritage site, the Pena Palace is used even to this day for State events. The architecture is incredible - looks part fairy tale, part German, part Islamic, part Renaissance and part neo Gothic. The entire Palace is built on a rock. The colours are by far some of the boldest I've ever seen on a Palace!

The thing that struck me the most is the wonderful tile display. Everything that's remotely ceramic has a design, even the toilet! The courtyard in particular is brilliant. There's a wonderful display of items and jewellery throughout the Palace.

Sadly, the scaffolding kind of 'killed' some of the enthusiasm for me, particularly for entire Palace façade shots. There was also another particular view that one sees on all postcards (of the Palace atop a hill at a distance). I asked the lady where I could get that shot, apparently at a "Catherine of Heights" point, but she added "only on a sunny day". After taking pics in the courtyard, went into the castle itself and it was quite nice.

The canteen on the terrace is noisy and abuzz and small for the number of visitors who use it. I took some more pics and started walking towards this Catherine's Point as the fog had started to clear but thought it could take a while and was already 130p so headed back to the main entrance to catch the bus to visit other attractions. There's another café by the entrance but sandwiches are quite expensive and they accept credit cards only for purchases above 5 Euro.

Overall, I'd not only recommend this palace but please please please save at least 2-3 hours for a visit. Don't rush the way I did. It's truly enjoyable and offers something for people of all ages!
One of the postcard shots marred b…
The depiction of a newt, symbolisi…
Side view
The clock tower in garish red
9 / 9 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Travel2014 says:
Vikram will not part w/ his secret hidden cameras! ha. :D
Posted on: Jan 03, 2015
Vikram says:
actually no, I didn't have to hand in anything!
Posted on: Dec 31, 2014
Paulovic says:
Hehe, that bus we took! ;)
Did you also had to hand in your camera, because you're not allowed to take photo's inside the palace?
Posted on: Dec 30, 2014
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zoran79 zoran79
4 reviews
AMAZING!!!! May 14, 2011
A dream Fortress-Castle in the most beautiful part in Portugal. Dreamy colors made me enjoying and returning back through time.I was mesmerized with towers and view from it. one day will be back for sure!!!!!

I LOVE PORTUGAL!!!!!
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NasNuvens NasNuvens
3 reviews
Great views from Sintra Apr 02, 2011
If you are coming to Lisbon the Pena National Palace it´s a great place to visit.

It was built in the 16th century and still has the same breathtaking style.

The view over Sintra is incredible.

Hope you enjoy
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Liselore_Verschuren Liselore…
252 reviews
Most beautiful palace in Portugal Sep 16, 2010
The Pena Park is a forested area that completely surrounds the Pena Palace, it spreads over 200 hectares of uneven terrain. Like the palace, the park was created in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II, who applied the exotic taste of Romanticism just as much to the park as he had done to the palace. There are trees from diverse and distant countries, such as the North American Seqoia, the Chinese Ginkgo and the Japanese Cryptomeria.

The park has an extensive system of paths and narrow roads, connecting the palace to the many points of interest throughout the park, and there are plenty of nice spots to have a picnic.

The castle could easily be the décor of an old-fashioned fairytale. The entire complex is a mixture of styles like Neo-Gothic, Islamic and Neo-Renaissance and together with the pink and yellow colours it makes it an excellent example of the kitschy Romanticism. The details, like heads of animals and a huge troll that decorates a gate, make it seem as if you have entered Narnia. It may all sound like a huge atrocity of tastelessness, but in truth it was the most amazingly beautiful building I have ever seen.

But the biggest attraction is the inside of the palace. In all other castles and palaces I have seen before, some furniture has been placed back to give an idea of what it looked like when people still lived there, but at the Pena Palace, it is as if nothing has been removed. Every single item, like reading glasses, a hair brush, tea cups and pillows are still there, as if the original habitants of the palace just stepped out.

Visiting central Portugal just isn’t complete without an afternoon at this fabulous palace!
The Pena Park (Sintra, Portugal)
The Pena Park (Sintra, Portugal)
The Pena Park (Sintra, Portugal)
The Pena Park (Sintra, Portugal)
6 / 6 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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flamingomaximus says:
Congrats on your featured travel reviews!
Posted on: Apr 16, 2011
monky says:
Congrats on your featured blog!
Posted on: Apr 16, 2011
nyprne says:
Great review! Congratulations, Liselore! Have a great weekend!
Posted on: Apr 16, 2011
jenniescharm jenniesc…
88 reviews
Brightly colored Pena Palace Jan 31, 2009
Pena National Palace is located in the mountains above Sintra about an hour outside of Lisbon. Originally a monastery, the Palace has been renovated and added on to over the years with each addition appearing in a different brillant color. Today's Palace features fabulous blue, bright yellow and a pinkish red! It is quite the sight to behold after traveling on narrow winding roads through a dense forest, almost like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

You can wander around the outside of the castle enjoying almost 360 degree views. The interior is open to the public as well, though after the expansiveness of the exterior it can feel a bit cramped in places. While the food in the cafe was nothing remarkable the day I was there, it was a farily good value and the outside eating area was fabulous.

Pena Palace is located close to the Moorish Castle. The tourist bus that takes you to the Castle continues on up the road to the Palace. It drops you off at the bottom of yet another hill that you can either walk up or purchase a ticket for the shuttle bus. If you're going to more than one attraction in Sintra, you can buy a combo ticket for entrance to more than one attraction. No car? You can reach Sintra by bus or train.
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Englishteacher26 Englisht…
7 reviews
Jan 03, 2008
We went out of Lisbon for one day and went to Sintra.

It's about 50 minutes by train (from Lisbon to Sintra). Sintra is situated in the hills.. and from the train station you need to take a bus, unless you like steep hills ;)

Wikipedia has a page on this palace > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pena_National_Palace

It is absolutely gorgeous en I would certainly recommend going here!
View from the Palace
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davidx davidx
564 reviews
A marvellous monstrosity Mar 10, 1999
The Pena Palace is set back from the public road but there is a small shuttle bus to the palace itself. The main bus route from Sintra station is a pretty remarkable journey in itself, rapidly gaining height and passing the Castle of the Moors (reviewed separately). My friend and I were prepared form reading the Rough Guide to see something pretty remarkable but it would be difficult to avoid being bowled over when you see the place itself.

In short, it's mad - quite mad. Architecturally it is known, with incredible politeness, as Romanticism. In fact try thinking of all the styles you can, jumble them together, count to 9 and shake - and BINGO - you've got it.

What neither of us guessed in advance was how much we should yearn to go in and explore. It was quite out of the question. There were steps everywhere. My motto is something like, ' grieve not for what thou canst not do but rejoice in what thou canst.' It has served me well but this was one place that really tested me to the limit.
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photo by: Vikram