Standing on one of Serra de Sintra's peaks, at the heart of a 200 hectares park, Palácio da Pena (Portugal's former royal palace) charms its visitors by an interesting architectural eclecticism and bright colors (mainly yellow and red).
This imposing building that looks like a Bavarian castle was erected in the 19th century upon King Ferdinand II's orders. In 1839, after buying the ruins of a 15th century Jeronymite monastery, this king of Prussian origin entrusted the building of his summer palace of Baron Ludwig von Eschwege. The baron mix different architectural styles - Moorish, Gothic, Renaissance and Manueline – creating an exuberant and colorful building. Construction works began in the mid-nineteenth century and ended in 1885, the very year of the king's death.
In 1910, after the proclamation of the Portuguese Republic, the building became the property of the State, kept as was and opened to the public. The first palace of romantic inspiration in Europe, Palacio da Pena is one of Portugal's top tourist attractions.
Those who want to visit Palacio da Pena in Sintra have first to cross the park, then pass through the Moorish door leading to a courtyard where you can admire the arc of newt, decorated with neo-Manueline details.
Inside, the palace is divided into different rooms, featuring a unique style. The Arab room, as its name suggests it, has frescoes and other ornaments of oriental inspiration. The ballroom mixes oriental details with Prussian windows. The cloister and the chapel feature a Manueline style.
Don't hesitate to stop by the palace's balconies and enjoy the panoramic views over the Atlantic coast and the Tagus River.