Perhaps Sintra’s most visited site is the National Palace; a magnificent building in the heart of the town’s historic centre. Its two conical chimneys are visible from anywhere in the area and are an iconic part of the landscape.
The National Palace was originally built as a residence for the Moorish governors of Lisbon but in 1147 it came under the control of D. Afonso Henriques as part of his conquest of Lisbon, when Sintra surrendered peacefully. It remained a dwelling for Lisbon’s Royalty for 800 years until 1910 when the monarchy was ousted.
In its original guise the National Palace was much smaller but successive monarchs added to it throughout the centuries.
It is now a tourist spectacle and a beautifully preserved example of Portugal’s decadent wealth, as well as its turbulent past, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1995.
A visit to the palace will take roughly an hour of your time as you explore its ornate and varied chambers, take in the views of the coast and surrounding countryside and soak up the atmosphere of a richly constructed royal retreat.
Be warned though, the National Palace is an absolute tourist trap and therefore you will have to exercise patience with other visitors as the narrow hallways can get very crowded, doorways blocked by camera-trigger-happy visitors and guided tours laying siege to the major rooms.
Attractions of note within the palace include:
- The Swan Room
- King Sebastiao’s Room
- The Arab Room
- Central Patio with its paintings of the creation of the world
- The Magpie’s Room
- Galley Room
- Prince’s Garden
- Coat-of-Arms Room
The National Palace is open everyday between 9:30am and 5:30 pm, apart from the following: Every Wednesday, January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st and December 15th.
Tickets cost around 5 euros per person apart from Sundays which are free between 10am and 2pm.
For more information about prices, times, offers or group trips visit:
Tel: +351-21 910 6840
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