April 8, 2019

A Guide to Visiting Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal

Pena Palace in Sintra is an absolute must-see if you’re visiting Portugal. This fairytale-like Romanticist castle features colorful walls, carved stone, and gorgeous views of the Portuguese Riviera.

I actually flew into the country on a whim after I had spent a few days exploring Barcelona and Ibiza in Spain, and kept receiving the same recommendation from locals to see the palace – and it did not disappoint.

When to Visit

Off-seasons: Spring & early Autumn (more crowded during the busy tourist months of July-August)

Weather

Spring: mid- to low-60° F and | Autumn: mid-60° to high 70° F (rainy season, most rain in October)

*The temperatures at Pena Palace can vary from the rest of Sintra – It gets chilly at the top of the hill


Location

Pena Palace is located in Sintra, on the tallest hills overlooking the Portuguese Riviera.

Getting There

Sintra can easily be visited in a day trip if you are staying in Lisbon or Cascais. I took an Uber from Cascais, and it took me all the way up to the top of the hill. You do not want to drive there yourself – Parking is sparse, and it’s a long steep hike up the hill if you do not have transportation.

Keep in mind that getting an Uber back down the hill can be challenging, especially during the busier months when the demand is high. In that case, you can take a tuk tuk down the hill to the train station. I was able to call a ride from my phone, but I did spend some time waiting.


What to Expect

Pena Palace is a very popular tourist attraction in Sintra – Expect for it to be super crowded and for there to be lots of unloading tour busses, regardless of what time of year you are visiting.

As you explore the various palace rooms, expect to wait in lines to get in and move with the flow of traffic.

I recommend trying to get there as soon as the palace opens in order to beat the crowds and to take photos with less people in the background. Just be patient, and take in all the gorgeous architecture and views of Sintra that Pena Palace has to offer!


What to Bring

Comfortable walking shoes

Even once you reach the front entrance gate to the national park, there is a bit of a walk to get to Pena Palace. And you will be climbing the palace stairs once you get there as well.

Light jacket

Depending on what time of year you are visiting, it may rain! It’s also colder up at the top of the hill than it is compared to the rest of Sintra, so bringing layers is a good idea.


Tickets

Tickets can be bought ahead of time so you don’t have to spend time waiting in line on arrival.

You can purchase tickets on The Pena Palace website here.


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