If you are visiting Lisbon I would highly recommend a day trip tour of Sintra from Lisbon. This is where you will find the beautiful Pena Palace and many more beautiful tourist sights spread across Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. Pena Palace is located at the top of the Monte da Pena, the palace was built on the site of an old monastery belonging to the Order of St. Jerome. It was the fruit of the imagination of Dom Fernando of Saxe Coburg-Gotha, who married the queen Dona Maria II in 1836. After falling in love with Sintra, he decided to buy the convent and the surrounding land to build a summer palace for the royal family.
Pena Palace was built in a mix of neo-Islamic and neo-Renaissance style and surrounded by beautiful and exotic tree species. The interior is a lot more understated than I thought it would be but beautifully detailed with intricately designed pieces throughout the palace, some of which can be attributed to one of the architects of Mosteiro dos Jeronimos in Belem Lisbon.
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Pena Palace Entrance Fee
There are several ways to visit and explore Sintra. This can be via tours from Lisbon and other parts of Portugal. You can find Viator Tours or Get Your Guide Tours both of which offer a variety of tours most of which will have entrance fees for Pena Palace included. The entrance fee into the Pena Palace is €14.00/€12.50/€12.50/€49.00 (adult/child/senior/family), a cheaper ticket which provides access to the park and palace terraces (but not the state rooms) costs €7.50/€6.50/€6.50/€26.00 (adult/child/senior/family). If you have a Lisboa Card like we did you get 10% of entrance tickets in addition to having free entry to many of Lisbon’s many tourist sights.
Pena Palace opening hours
The Pena Palace is open from 09:30am during the summer (10am in winter months). We set from Lisbon really early and arrived at least 20 minutes before opening time. I would highly recommend you arrive as early in the day as possible. It is best to start your exploring with Pena Palace as it sits on the highest point of the national park. Starting with Pena Palace on your Sintra itinerary means that you can also avoid the mad rush of busloads of tourists that arrive around lunchtime and around 3pm. Also if you arrive before the opening time you can avoid the massive queues at the ticket office. It’s sometimes useful to buy your tickets online before coming, especially if you want to avoid the lines and save time.
Pena National Palace Interior
Below are some of the shots of Pena National Palace’s Interior.
Pena Palace Cafe and Facilities Available
There is a small restaurant in one of the wings of the palace, with a terrace that offers panoramic views over the Serra de Sintra and the coast. For a popular sight like Pena Palace, it is rather basic though so dont expect anything fancy.
How to get to Pena Palace from Lisbon
From Lisbon To Sintra By Train: The trains leave from Rossio train station which is right in the heart of Baixa district. There is a ticket office but you can also buy from machines if the station is busy. From Rossio station there are two train services; one to “Sintra” and one to “Mira Sintra – Meleças”, you need to take the service to Sintra; A single from Lisbon to Sintra costs €2.25/€1.15 (adult/child) and a return ticket costs €4.50.
From Sintra Station To Pena Palace: Pena Palace is located on the highest point of the Serra da Sintra and it is a very tough uphill hike from the historic centre of Sintra. I would highly recommend taking a taxi, a tuk-tuk or even that 434 bus outside the station that connects the train station, the town of Sintra and the Pena Palace.
Can you drive to Pena Palace?
Yes, but bear in mind that there is very little car parking around the Pena Palace and Sintra can be swamped in traffic during the summer season. The route from Lisbon to Sintra follows the IC19 highway which is west out of Lisbon. While researching the best way to get to Sintra, in the end, we decided to take the train. Once we got to Sintra I was so glad we took the train as parking in Sintra is scarce and the road can get very busy in rush hours as people commute in and out of Lisbon. The roads in Sintra are very narrow, especially the roads which climb the hill to the Pena Palace. Bear in mind that Pena Palace only has about 20 car spaces also not sure of parking time limits as you explore other tourist sights. From Pena Palace to Quinta da Regaleira, its a short walk down hill but bear in mind that there is not parking along the way and no room to park along the road as the roads are narrow and only enough room for traffic to move. Not to mention the roads have double yellow lines.
Can you park at Pena Palace?
There is very little car parking around the Pena Palace and Sintra with summer being swamped with traffic. I would seriously recommend you do not bring a car here or even attempt to drive here during peak periods of Summer months. There are only two car parks in the historic centre, one car park outside the Pena National Palace with only20 spaces and one near the Museu Anjos Teixeira with 30 spaces and another near the Pena-Moorish castle with only 20 spaces. I have also read there is another bigger cark park near the residential side of Sintra close to the terminus of the N249 but it still means you need to take the bus up and find your way to the Pena Palace. The simplest option to just use the train.
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The palace is amazing (both inside and out) and equally beautiful is the setting. I guess one can see for miles from the many viewing points!
Amazing place. I have been dying to find more pictures of Pena Palace interior. It looks very much understated. I also though the Pena Palace gardens would be bigger too. Oh well. I am returning for a second visit as a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra was definitely not enough.
I agree with you. A day in Sintra is simply not enough but have fun on your next visit. I hope you are staying longer this time.
Beautiful pictures and tips too as we have been on the lookout for a comprehensive post with amazing photography inspiration and tips on how to get to Pena Palace from Lisbon as well as details Pena Palace ticket price. Really great post.
Thank you! I am really glad you found that useful.
What an interesting and intelligent guide to the Pena Palace. Your interior photographs are very good, and a rare post. So far, yours interiors are the only ones I have found. Thanks very much.
I visited the palace many years ago, before its incarnation as a popular museum. It was during the coldest winter in Portugal decades, and the government set up smudge pots in the wonderful botanic gardens in Lisbon to keep the specimen plants from freezing.
The informal tour through Pena Palace (the Feather Palace) was remarkable; a little bit like a cross between Dr. Zhivago’s frozen dacha and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
One comment on your excellent and very useful notes: The palace is actually very large, though at present, only a portion is open to regular tours. Perhaps our tour was special because in that winter, we were some of the few who visited. Asking for a special tour ahead of time might allow entry into other not-normally-open-to-the-public rooms.
A final note. The castle’s exterior had faded to a polite gray when we visited. In the 1990’s restoration, it was repainted in its original colors, shocking everyone.
Again, thanks. With your notes, I’ll visit again.