Overview of Parques de Sintra, Lisbon, Portugal

Parques de Sintra on a fine summer day. One of Portugal's 'must-see' places.

Parques de Sintra on a fine summer day. One of Portugal’s ‘must-see’ places.

 

Situated upon the granite hills above Sintra are the intriguing Parques de Sintra where a plethora of incredible attractions await your visit. The views from the hills are spectacular, reaching hundreds of kilometres to the north and south along the Atlantic coast.

The parks can be reached by taking the 434 bus from outside the National Palace of Sintra, or if you’re feeling fit you can walk in an hour or cycle in around 30 minutes. There is also plenty of parking for those with their own vehicles.

The six main attractions (aside from the lovely walks and views) are as follows:

  • Parque e Palacio da Pena (the palace on the rock): Sits at the highest point overlooking Sintra and is a most inspiring piece of architecture that rises up out of the forest as a cocktail of domes, parapets, towers and walkways. It was built in the 1840s to the exact design set out by Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, husband of then Queen Maria II. Entry to the palace costs 11 euros or you can purchase a joint ticket which allows entry to the Moorish castle as well.
  • Chalet (The Royal Retreat): The chalet is in the grounds of the Palacio da Pena and is often overlooked by visitors who rush to the main palace, skipping the gardens as they go. It was built as a retreat for the royal couple and is a beautifully crafted building made to look as though it has grown out the very tree roots. It is generally quiet so you can enjoy exploring it in peace.
  • Abegoaria (Plant room): Built as a growing room in an ornamental building amid a lovely setting.
  • Capuchos (Abandoned convent): Oce declared the poorest convent in the land it is cut into the rock. Tiny cells lined with cork line the hallways and it is a simple building and terrific pilgrimage.
  • Monserrate (The Englishman’s Palace): Monserrate traces its history back to England and William Beckford, the richest untitled Englishman of his time. Beckford was forced to flee the UK in 1793 after a clinch with a 16-year-old boy. He set about the task of improving the area by adding a waterfall and cultivating the gardens, a job which was taken to a new level by his successor, Sir Francis Cook. Cook brought the head gardener from Kew to complete the job. Cook’s greatest legacy is the palace itself, based on Brighton Pavilion and Duomo of Florence.
  • Castelo dos Mouros (The Moorish Castle): The Moorish Castle was a siege proof structure in its day; a long sprawling walls with plenty of watchtowers and best of all a reservoir system that kept harvested rain water fresh, meaning that the occupants could endure long sieges without need of additional supplies. Views from the walls are fantastic and should not be missed.
Palacio de Pena as seen from Castelo dos Mouros, Parques de Sintra, Portugal

Palacio de Pena as seen from Castelo dos Mouros, Parques de Sintra, Portugal

For more information on any of these attractions visit: www.parquesdesintra.pt or www.facebook.com/parquesdesintra

Please leave comments or questions in the box below.

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Overview of Parques de Sintra, Lisbon, Portugal

Parques de Sintra on a fine summer day. One of Portugal's 'must-see' places.

Parques de Sintra on a fine summer day. One of Portugal’s ‘must-see’ places.

 

Situated upon the granite hills above Sintra are the intriguing Parques de Sintra where a plethora of incredible attractions await your visit. The views from the hills are spectacular, reaching hundreds of kilometres to the north and south along the Atlantic coast.

The parks can be reached by taking the 434 bus from outside the National Palace of Sintra, or if you’re feeling fit you can walk in an hour or cycle in around 30 minutes. There is also plenty of parking for those with their own vehicles.

The six main attractions (aside from the lovely walks and views) are as follows:

  • Parque e Palacio da Pena (the palace on the rock): Sits at the highest point overlooking Sintra and is a most inspiring piece of architecture that rises up out of the forest as a cocktail of domes, parapets, towers and walkways. It was built in the 1840s to the exact design set out by Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, husband of then Queen Maria II. Entry to the palace costs 11 euros or you can purchase a joint ticket which allows entry to the Moorish castle as well.
  • Chalet (The Royal Retreat): The chalet is in the grounds of the Palacio da Pena and is often overlooked by visitors who rush to the main palace, skipping the gardens as they go. It was built as a retreat for the royal couple and is a beautifully crafted building made to look as though it has grown out the very tree roots. It is generally quiet so you can enjoy exploring it in peace.
  • Abegoaria (Plant room): Built as a growing room in an ornamental building amid a lovely setting.
  • Capuchos (Abandoned convent): Oce declared the poorest convent in the land it is cut into the rock. Tiny cells lined with cork line the hallways and it is a simple building and terrific pilgrimage.
  • Monserrate (The Englishman’s Palace): Monserrate traces its history back to England and William Beckford, the richest untitled Englishman of his time. Beckford was forced to flee the UK in 1793 after a clinch with a 16-year-old boy. He set about the task of improving the area by adding a waterfall and cultivating the gardens, a job which was taken to a new level by his successor, Sir Francis Cook. Cook brought the head gardener from Kew to complete the job. Cook’s greatest legacy is the palace itself, based on Brighton Pavilion and Duomo of Florence.
  • Castelo dos Mouros (The Moorish Castle): The Moorish Castle was a siege proof structure in its day; a long sprawling walls with plenty of watchtowers and best of all a reservoir system that kept harvested rain water fresh, meaning that the occupants could endure long sieges without need of additional supplies. Views from the walls are fantastic and should not be missed.
Palacio de Pena as seen from Castelo dos Mouros, Parques de Sintra, Portugal

Palacio de Pena as seen from Castelo dos Mouros, Parques de Sintra, Portugal

For more information on any of these attractions visit: www.parquesdesintra.pt or www.facebook.com/parquesdesintra

Please leave comments or questions in the box below.

One thought on “Overview of Parques de Sintra, Lisbon, Portugal

  1. Pingback: Castelo dos Mouros, Sintra’s Castle on the Hill, Portugal | Portugal in a Campervan

Comments are closed.