When to visit the Pena Palace in Sintra
About half an hour from Lisbon by train lies the magical city of Sintra. To get there, you take the train from Rossio´s train station and for less than 3€ you get to a most magnificent little city. Once there, you´ll discover a world of chalets and palaces. It can be daunting to visit them all in one day so my recommendation is that you stick to two per day. I also recommend you bring a jacket - Sintra has a rather odd microclimate which makes it usually chillier than Lisbon.
We´ve already talked about Monserrate, one of my favourite palaces in Sintra so today we´ll talk about the Pena Palace, one of the most iconic Portuguese landmarks that rules on top of the Sintra mountain just like Sleeping Beauty in her tower. It is perhaps the most colourful castle you´ll ever see and it transposes you straight to the Aladdin tale. The architectural style combines the Romanesque Revival with the Neo-Manueline (the Jeronimos Monastary in Belem - though super different - is build in a Manueline style, as is Quinta da Regaleira). Constructions for the palace began in the 15th century although it started out as a small place of meditation for monks of the order Saint Jerome. It definitely escalated quickly and in 1854 the Pena Palace was finalised.
Pena is definitely popular. We barely have any guests over who don´t have it on their to see list. In the last two years it has however become way too overcrowded for us to want to accompany our friends in their explorations of it. I did however give it another chance a couple of days ago, and by sheer luck, we ended up at the palace´s ticket office around 17:30. With the park closing at 20:00 and the last entry to the palace being around 17:45 or 18:00, we ended up in an extremely privileged situation: one of being amongst the only guests there. Even the terraces of the palace were almost empty and as the sun was setting over Sintra´s hills we had the most magical time. So if you´ll take anything from this post, let it be this: visit Pena at sunset, go there after 17:00 and thank me later! Book the tickets online and get a 5% discount bringing the price of a ticket for an adult to 13,30€ (for both the park and the palace). Enjoy!