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Portugal: Palace of Pena

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Palace of Pena | Portugal | Europe

[Visited: July 2006]

After arriving at the station of Sintra, I got some information about the area, and the suggestion to take a bus up to the National Palace of Pena, or Palácio Nacional da Pena, situated on top of the range of hills close to Sintra town, the Serra da Sintra. But the weather was nice, it was not very far, so I bought some water and peaches and headed off, walking uphill. I reached the entrance of the Moorish Castle first, but left it for later and walked on to the entrance of the Parque da Pena. Suddenly, I saw the Palace as a proud crown on top of the hill above me. From here, it was an easy walk up.

Picture of Palace of Pena (Portugal): National Palace of Pena in all its colours

When I got to the foot of the palace, the buildings towering high above me, I was even more impressed. While I walked up, I could not stop looking up, as the view of the palace changes every step you take. After going through an impressive gate, I was inside, and would spend several hours exploring this precious place. On this very spot, a monastery once stood, until the 1755 earthquake destroyed it. It was turned into the National Palace of Pena during in 1839, and designed according to the romantic dreams and imagination of the future king, Fernando of Saxe Coburg-Gotha. It was so successful, it now draws many visitors and has been turned into a World Heritage Site.

Picture of Palace of Pena (Portugal): View of the Palace of Pena from outside the gate

The Palace of Pena would serve as a summer residence for the royal family. They also turned the surrounding area into a park, in which it is easy to spend hours walking, exploring the exotic plants and trees, walking under enormous ferns, enjoying the tranquillity of several ponds, and climbing up to viewpoints of the Palace. Inside the complex, you can not only have a look at the palace from all sides by walking around it, you can of course also visit the palace inside and marvel at the luxury the royal family granted itself while passing their summertime on this pleasant spot.

Picture of Palace of Pena (Portugal): Palace of Pena: walking up to visit the palace
Picture of Palace of Pena (Portugal): Turrets at the National Palace of Pena
Picture of Palace of Pena (Portugal): Main gate of Palace of Pena and part of the palace in the background
Picture of Palace of Pena (Portugal): Arches and ferns: looking up towards the Palace of Pena
Picture of Palace of Pena (Portugal): Arches, turrets and towers: looking up the Palace of Pena
Picture of Palace of Pena (Portugal): Composition of yellow, red, grey and white at the Palace of Pena
Picture of Palace of Pena (Portugal): Palace of Pena, looking up at the gate and some of the towers
Picture of Palace of Pena (Portugal): Palace of Pena: turrets with views
Picture of Palace of Pena (Portugal): Palace of Pena viewed from a distance
Picture of Palace of Pena (Portugal): Arches with splendid view towards the ocean
Picture of Palace of Pena (Portugal): Tower, stairs and arches at the Palace of Pena
Picture of Palace of Pena (Portugal): Palace of Pena with cupolas and balconies
Picture of Palace of Pena (Portugal): Palace of Pena seen from one of the balconies

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