When you are in Lisbon, there is a LOT to see and to do! This is a place where you can spend weeks and still stumble upon a new lovely street or a panoramic viewpoint out of no where! And just a drive or short train ride away from Lisbon is Belém - with the lovely Belem tower and the gorgeous Jerónimos Monastery.
I shall cover about Lisbon and Belém on a separate story, but the objective of this blog is to let everyone know that if you are visiting Portugal, or just Lisbon, you HAVE TO spare a day to visit the lovely city of Sintra and one of its most dreamy palace - National Palace of Pena. And whats the point in going all the way there and not going a bit further and hitting the westernmost tip of Europe? Yes, that's Cabo da Roca, a super windy location (even if there is no wind anywhere else in Portugal), and gorgeous views of the Atlantic ocean.
Park and National Palace of Pena, Sintra
Situated around 20 min drive away (40 mins by train) from Lisbon, the geographical location of the Sintra hills has been always important to all the several civilizations that have crossed Portugal.
It was a strategic location because of the elevation from the hills and views – one could control the surroundings, from the ocean until the city of Lisbon…if the weather allowed. The Sintra region has its own microclimate that provides all the elements necessary for the growth of several different species of flowers, plants and trees. Sintra hills suffer a lot of exposure to the winds coming from the ocean. So, the locals say that its is normal to visit Sintra on a summer day and encounter foggy or cloudy weather while in the surrounding areas it’s clear sky.
Its highly recommended to take a stroll around the park of Pena before or after visiting the Pena palace. Its an unique park where you can easily spend a day. When ordering the construction of the Pena Palace, King Ferdinand II also ordered the reforestation of the hilltop around the palace. And being aware of the microclimate nature of the region, he brought over five hundred different species of trees originating from the four corners of the earth which is all at your display in the park!
And, the park provides some great views of the Pena Palace from a distance, sitting on top of one the Sintra hills.
Its around 30 minutes walk from the entrance of the Pena Palace to the palace itself, through the park.
Palace of Pena is the result 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 that it is visible from any point in the park.