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Planning on a day trip from Lisbon?  With breathtaking views, a Unesco World Heritage Site,  Pena Palace in Sintra is one of the best places to visit in Portugal.  This whimsical castle is surrounded by lush green landscapes as far as the eye can see.  Ready to explore Sintra?  Here is your ultimate guide to Pena Palace!

Getting to Pena Palace

We started our drive in a small town close to Coimbra.  Once we arrived in Sintra it was necessary to follow Google Maps to find the exact roads to the Palace. Lots of streets are one way so it’s easy to get lost.

Once you arrive at the palace follow the signs for parking. We parked just below the main entrance where the ground was flat. Lots of people parked alongside the roadway but this can be quite steep.

Coming from Lisbon I recommend you take the train. It takes about 40 minutes from Rossio Train Station. You can check out the schedule here.

Getting Around 

Pena Palace castle entrance

At the main entrance is a ticket booth where you can purchase your passes. We purchased the Palace plus parking for 14 euros. 

There is a washroom to the left of the entrance.  However, I highly recommend waiting if you can because I found it very small and difficult to move around in.  Located near the Belvedere or just left of the Triton entrance are more washrooms.

Travel Tip: The weather can be quite unpredictable here up on the mountain top.  We had a bit of everything so bring a rain jacket or umbrella. I would also recommend arriving in the morning to avoid the clouds.  With a high altitude, the clouds often roll in in the afternoons.

mote with a drawbridge

Crossing the moat to enter the castle made me feel like the old medieval days in the movies where you rode your horse into the castle.

Our weather looked like it could rain, so as a precaution we decided to walk outside of the palace to get the best photos before entering the inside.

The wind played havoc with my hair on the rooftop in one section of the castle. You may want to bring headphones if you plan on doing a video here. The sound quality without it will be very difficult to hear due to the winds blowing. I’m glad I had mine!

With over 800,000 visitors a year, Pena Palace in Sintra is the most visited place in Portugal.

If you look closely in the distance on the highest hill is a High Cross, a 16th century cross carved in stone and a bronze statue of the warrior Ernesto Rusconi in another location amongst the forest trees. We could see and hope you can too!

triton above one of the entrances at Pena Palace

Located at one of the entrances is a carved figure half-man half-fish pictured above. On the outside walls surrounding this entrance is a blue tile façade applied to the exterior walls of the castle.

The Tunnel of the Triton was used for horse-drawn carriages to unload its passengers back in the day. Keeps the rainy weather off and provides quick access for its guests.

view from the queens balcony

Photo:  F Pinho [view from the balcony]

Located in the Queen’s terrace (Queen Maria II the first wife of Ferdinand II is a sun-dial that was used to sound at midday. With her premature death in 1853, King Ferdinand re-married an opera singer named Countess of Edla who help in designing the interior of the palace.

Travel tip:  There is a shuttle that drops you off at the top with a short walk to the entrance if you prefer not to walk.  

The price of the ticket was well worth the experience for my first time visiting Pena Palace. We could see a lot of the castle which included a tour of the Great Hall, kitchen, stag room, Queen Amelia & King Ferdinand II bedrooms, and much more.

Buy your skip-the-line tickets here.

Castle Tour

castle view Pena Palace Sintra

Photo:  F Pinho [view up to the castle]


Each room was decorated differently from ceiling to floor. When you visit the chapel note the beautiful stained-glass window. The colors are so vibrant. The images show the history of the Monastery of Pena dating back to 1840.

The only negative was not being able to take photos and videos on the tour through each room. Unfortunately, it’s forbidden. Uggh!  Buy your tickets here.

old sundial

Photo: F Pinho [old sundial at the corner of balcony wall]

Opening Hours:

Hours in high season: 9:30am – 8:00pm (park) last ticket purchase is 7:00pm

9:45am – 7:00pm (Palace interior) last ticket purchase is 6:15pm

9:45am – 7:30pm (Palace exterior) last ticket 6:45pm

Hours in low season: 10:00am – 6:00pm (park or Palace) last ticket 5:00pm

We hope you found our guide to Pena Palace, Sintra helpful.  Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions about Sintra!