A half hour drive from Lisbon is Sintra, a place full of castles and palaces declared World Heritage Site and a setting worthy of a fairy tale. Its main attraction is the Pena Palace, the maximum exponent of romanticism in Portugal.
Visit the Pena Palace in Sintra without queues or waiting time
Discover this magnificent work of architecture, a true reflection of Portuguese romanticism. A palace full of styles both in its decoration and in its collections. Walk through its gardens and the mysterious villa of the Countess of Elda.
Surprise yourself with the originality of this palace that was a 16th century monastery and that Ferdinand II made his own. An eccentric mix of Romantic, Renaissance, Manueline and Arab styles make it one of the main attractions of Sintra.
Visit its 200 hectares of gardens where 500 species of trees from all over the world live together.
You can also visit the villa of the Countess of Elda that hides anecdotes and curious stories.
Recommended if... you want to ensure access to one of the most important monuments in Portugal, which receives hundreds of visitors every day. If you buy your tickets in advance, you won't have to queue or wait, just enjoy.
Book an organized tour from Lisbon
The Pena Palace is the main tourist attraction in Sintra, but it is not the only one. This town has many more palaces and corners that are well worth a complete visit. I leave you here a guide of all the options for excursions to Sintra from Lisbon.
You have different options and all prices; I recommend you to take a look and choose one that includes free time to visit at your leisure the historic center of Sintra and a specialized guide who can enlighten you about the history of places like the Pena Palace, the National Palace of Sintra, the Quinta da Regaleira or the Moorish Castle.
Day trip to Sintra and Cascais
Book your day tour to Sintra and Cascais from Lisbon. With this tour you will be able to visit the most important places of these emblematic cities. In addition to transportation, the activity includes a local guide and the entrance to the National Palace of Pena.
This option is one of the most complete and the most suitable if you are looking to see Sintra in depth without missing its main sites. The best thing, without a doubt, is to have the services of an expert guide that will make you discover the Pena Palace in a very different way than if you visit it on your own, as well as the cliffs of Cabo da Roca and the beaches of Cascais.
Excursion to Sintra, Cascais, Pena Palace, Cabo da Roca and Regaleira
With this tour you will visit the mythical cities of Sintra and Cascais, but you will also discover natural attractions such as the Cabo da Roca cliffs, Boca do Inferno or Praia do Guincho...
This activity does not include the entrance fees to the Pena Palace and the Quinta da Regaleira. However, you will explore both palaces on your own and the guide's explanations will focus on other tourist sites. This tour is ideal for small groups and for those travelers who do not have much time during their trip.
How to buy tickets online for the Pena Palace
You can buy tickets for the Pena Palace for adults, children, youth and senior citizens at different prices depending on the season. With these tickets you will not have to wait in line, but keep in mind that they include only access to the Palace, no guided tour.
Book a guided tour of the Pena Palace from Lisbon
If you are traveling to Sintra from Lisbon, it is best to book online an organized tour with a guided visit to the Pena Palace. These excursions include the transfer to and from Lisbon, the visit to the Pena Palace (sometimes with entrance and sometimes without entrance) and a tour of other emblematic points of the region that are also a must-see.
How to buy tickets at the ticket office for the Pena Palace
The Palace opens at 9:00 am, although the opening hours may change depending on the season. If it is high season I advise you to arrive in advance to avoid queues. The risk of going directly to the ticket office is that the queue you find is too long, so I do not recommend this option. Regarding the price, at the box office tickets cost 14 € per adult.
If you do not feel like visiting the Palace inside (which I consider a mistake, since you are there), you should know that there is the option to visit only the gardens, the Da Pena Park. In both cases there are discounts for seniors over 65 and under 18 and also a special price that combines tickets for two adults and two children for a reduced price.
Tips to organize your visit to the Pena Palace
How to get to Sintra from Lisbon
The Pena Palace is located in the town of Sintra, very close to Lisbon. If you are staying in the capital and want to get to Sintra there are two ways to do it: you can take the train from Rossio station in Lisbon and get to Sintra in 40 minutes for a price of five euros or you can hire an organized tour that besides showing you the Palacio da Pena will show you the highlights of Sintra. You should keep in mind that the Palacio da Pena is on top of a hill. From the center of Sintra you can get there by bus, but once there you will have to climb a steep hill (for two or three euros you can go up by transfer). Private vehicles are not allowed to go up, only tourist vehicles.
Duration of the visit
The visit to the Pena Palace includes the interior, the exterior and the gardens. The latter are immense, so if you want to see them well reserve about two and a half hours of your trip.
Normally the palace opens at 9:30 and the gardens at 9. The park closes at 20:00 and the palace at 18:30 but the last ticket for both sites will be sold one hour before closing. If you are going to buy tickets at the ticket office, I recommend going early enough so you don't run out of tickets or wait in long lines.
The Pena Palace with children
Children will have a great time touring the halls inside the Palace and will also be attracted by the bright colors of its facade. Don't hesitate to take them on this visit, but keep in mind that they may not be able to handle the climb up the hill from the entrance, although they can always take a transfer.
What to see in Sintra's Pena Palace
The Sintra Palace was ordered to be built by Ferdinand II of Portugal on the ruins of an old monastery devastated by the earthquake of 1755. During a trip with his wife Maria II of Portugal, the monarch fell in love with the town of Sintra, and created this marvel of which I recommend you not to miss the following:
The exterior architecture of the Pena Palace
It is something that will not go unnoticed for those who visit Sintra. To the fact that the palace is located on top of a cliff, something that in itself is already a visual attraction, add its striking and original colors. A spectacle for the eyes and a privilege for photographic lenses.
The Palace Gardens
It has more than 500 types of trees and plants from all over the world. Get a map of the gardens before starting the tour, because there are different fountains and buildings worth visiting. The most outstanding of all is the Chalet of the Countess or Casa do Regalo, a two-story wooden building commissioned by Ferdinand II for his second wife.
Interior of the Palace
As attractive as the exterior of the Palacio da Pena is, you can't miss the interior. If you go on an organized tour the guide will tell you everything you need to know for your tour, otherwise get a map at the entrance and hire the audio guide for a price of two euros.
Building of the old Hieronymite Monastery
This is the first thing you will see once you pass the central cloister. Before being a winter palace for the use of Portuguese monarchs, there was a monastery in what is now the Palacio da Pena and this is one of the few rooms that remains from that monastery.
One of the most outstanding rooms of the queen's quarters. Take all the time you need to contemplate its ceilings, and do not miss the Triton Window, designed as an allegory of the creation of the world. It is a kind of monster half man and half fish, and from the queen's terrace you will have a close view of it.
Ana's Traveller Tip
From the ticket office to the entrance of the palace there is a steep slope, you can climb it in a transfer for 2-3 euros. Private cars are not allowed to drive up.