There are many beautiful architectural wonders to visit in Portugal. The Pena Palace, or in Portuguese known as the Palácio da Pena, is a castle located in the municipality of Sintra, more specifically in São Pedro de Penaferrim. The castle was built in the Romaniticist style and is considered one of the more significant examples of 19th century Romanticism art style. In addition to holding the honor of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Palácio da Pena is one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.
Although designed in accordance with the Romanticism style of architecture, the palace incorporates a broad range of styles that gives it a beautiful, eclectic style. You can see hints of Neo-gothic, Neo-Islamic, Neo-Renaissance, and Neo-Manueline as well. The palace sits on the Sintra Mountains and is made up of several sections. There are the foundations, walls, gateways, and a drawbridge. There is an old convent, clock tower, and the Arches yard. There is a also the palace area with a bastion and cathédrale styled interiors.
The castles history begins in the Middle Ages. After an apparition of the Virgin Mary was seen on the hill above Sintra, a chapel was erected to honor Our Lady of Pena.
King Manuel I, King of Portugal and the Algarves from 1495-1521, was very fond of Our Lady of Pena and constructed a monastery for the Order of Saint Jerome. The site became a simple, quiet location where few monk s lived and spent their days in meditation.
Over the years, the monastery was damaged by lightening and other environmental factors but was reduced to rubble in the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755. The chapel however, which was mainly built of alabaster and marble emerged undamaged.
In 1838 king consort Ferdinand II took the initiative to restore the remains of the monastery and transform them into a royal summer palace, he acquired the monastery, surrounding estates, and a nearby castle to create his grand new residence. Ferdinand II appointed Baron Wilhelm Ludwig von Eschwege, a German architect to design the residence and construction was completed by 1852.
After possession of the palace was passed through several royal family members, it was purchased by the Portuguese state in 1889. It subsequently became a national monument and museum and in the end of the 20th century the palace was repainted. UNESCO named Pena Palace as a World Heritage Site in 1995.
Surrounding the palace is Pena Park, a large forested area that was created by King Ferdinand as well. The park is also designed in the Romantic style and includes exotic trees and plantlife such as Magnolia, Lawson’s Cypress, Chinese Ginko, North American Sequoias, and more. The path structure in the park is a maze network, or labyrinth of pathways connecting different park landmarks.
How to visit
Opening hours through October 29th:
9:30am-8:00pm (last ticket 7:00pm)
9:45am – 7:00pm (last ticket 6:15pm)
9:45am – 7:30pm (last ticket 6:45pm)