After exploring Quinta da Regaleira and having sweets at Piriquita, we visited the crown jewel of Sintra – the Pena Palace. For our trip to Sintra I was most looking forward to visiting the beauitful palace at the top of the Sintra Mountains in Pena Park. Just a tip – wear sneakers to Sintra! I had no idea that to get to the palace you literally need to hike uphill and regretted my sandals! But it was worth it (even though super crowded)!
Located in the Sintra hills, the Park and Palace of Pena are the fruit of King Ferdinand II’s creative genius and the greatest expression of 19th-century romanticism in Portugal, denoting clear influences from the Manueline and Moorish styles of architecture. The palace was built in such a way as to be visible from any point in the park, which consists of a forest and luxuriant gardens with over five hundred different species of trees originating from the four corners of the earth.
After exploring the Pena Palace, we took some time to explore the other areas of Pena Park. If we had one more day, we could have spent the entire afternoon hiking to the different areas – so we did have to skip the Cruz Alta (highest point) and the Statue of the Warrior.
Hothouse: Located in an unassuming and walled terrace, the two entranceways are adorned with pilasters and stone capitals in copy of the geometric shapes decorating the main park entrance. The finely defined shapes of the flower beds and plantings convey all of the care and dedication of those who formerly worked there.
Little Birds Fountain: A Neo-Moorish pavilion with a hexagonal shape, vaulted cupola and capped by a stone pinnacle bearing a lunar crescent and finished in the same tiles as those applied on the Palace of Pena facade, the Hothouse and other of the park’s decorative features. Within, between the benches, there is a fountain with crystalline waters and over the cornice stand marble sculpted birds. In all likelihood, the pavilion was designed by Baron von Eschwege and built by master João Henriques.
Checking the map
Valley of Lakes: The Lake entrance was the first entrance to the Park of Pena, built at the beginning of the 1940s. The Valley of Lakes spans one of the lowest lying areas of the park and hence sheltered from the prevailing winds to create a microclimate appropriate to growing vegetation from humid and temperate environments. The succession of five large lakes with six decorative duck houses were occupied from the outset by various species of birds and according to the records from 1860 included: 9 mallards, 4 teals, 5 common ducks, 11 geese and 2 swans.