Do you want to do an amazing day trip outside of Lisbon?
I discovered the perfect attraction for you to visit – the Pena Palace of Sintra!
King Ferdinand II built this fairy-tale palace that used to be a monastery for his wife Queen Maria II, promising her the most beautiful house in Portugal. The construction was completed in 1854 but unfortunately, the queen died before she could admire its full beauty. However, it was worth all the trouble because now we can admire this unique UNESCO world heritage site on our holidays!
I explored the palace on a layover, so the crew and I got on a lovely tour with Joao, a guide with experience, historical background knowledge and a good sense of humor. On our way to Sintra, we tasted some authentic Portuguese snacks. After that, we had a quick look at some sights on the way and took pictures at places with nice views. We never got tired of listening to Joao’s stories and jokes!
Prepare yourself for a nice walk through gardens and ponds up to the palace, which will take you about 15min from the entrance. You will be able to walk all around this colorful building while exploring its diversity and beauty. The palace looks different from every perspective as the king was influenced by a lot of different ideas and cultures while constructing it. For example, Ferdinand incorporated the old monastery in its construction instead of destroying it. Another part represents India to honor Vasco Da Gamas discovery of the country. You will discover Islamic and Medieval architecture all around the building.
Enjoy a breath-taking view over green forests, a nearby castle and spot the Atlantic Ocean on the horizon. I would have loved to go inside, but unfortunately, we did not have enough time on the layover.
I would recommend you to choose a clear, warm and sunny day to visit the site since the Atlantic Ocean creates a micro climate on this hill. It is usually a few degrees cooler than in Lisbon and according to Joao it can get quite cold, and therefore he is always carrying jackets for unprepared tourists. We were lucky and blessed with clear skies and warm sun rays that day!
Joao is super flexible and will take you wherever you want to go. He is open to your ideas, can change plans spontaneously and will definitely make you great recommendations. You will laugh a lot while learning interesting facts about Portugal’s history.
If you would like to go on a tour with Joao you can contact him:
If you would prefer to go by yourself, this is how you get to Sintra:
Train: Takes about 40minutes, costs around 5€ (round trip). From there you can take the bus 434 to Sintra castle.