Parque da Pena


Nearly topped by King Ferdinand II's whimsical Palácio Nacional da Pena (only Cruz Alta, at 529m, is higher), these romantic gardens are filled with tropical plants, huge redwoods and fern trees, camellias, rhododendrons and lakes (note the castle-shaped duck houses for web-footed royalty!).

While the crowds descend on the palace, another less-visited but fascinating site within the park is the Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs–evoking Chalet da Condessa d'Edla (adult/child €9.50/8.50), an alpine-inspired summer getaway cottage commissioned by King Ferdinand II and his future second wife, Elise Hensler (the Countess of Edla).

Buses to the park entrance leave from Sintra train station and near Palácio Nacional de Sintra, among other spots around town. A taxi costs around €10 oneway. The steep, zigzagging walk through pine and eucalyptus woods from Sintra-Vila is around 3km to 4km.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Sintra attractions

1. Palácio Nacional da Pena

0.11 MILES

Rising from a thickly wooded peak and often enshrouded in swirling mist, Palácio Nacional da Pena is a wacky confection of onion domes, Moorish keyhole…

2. Castelo dos Mouros

0.32 MILES

Soaring 412m above sea level, this mist-enshrouded ruined castle looms high above the surrounding forest. When the clouds peel away, the vistas over…

3. Museu Anjos Teixeira

0.64 MILES

Set in a former watermill, this small museum displays works by the father-and-son duo of Anjos Teixeira – two of Portugal’s greatest sculptors. Most of…

4. Palácio Nacional de Sintra


The star of Sintra-Vila is this palace, with its iconic twin conical chimneys and lavish, whimsical interior, which is a mix of Moorish and Manueline…

5. Quinta da Regaleira

0.74 MILES

This magical villa and gardens is a neo-Manueline extravaganza, dreamed up by Italian opera-set designer, Luigi Manini, under the orders of Brazilian…

6. Museu das Artes de Sintra

1.15 MILES

This museum features a small and manageable collection of contemporary and modern art, around 80% of which is dedicated to local works. The permanent…

7. Palácio & Parque de Monserrate

1.96 MILES

At the centre of a lush, 30-hectare park, a manicured lawn sweeps up to this whimsical, Moorish-Gothic-Indian palácio, the 19th-century romantic folly of…

8. Convento dos Capuchos

2.63 MILES

Hidden in the woods is this bewitchingly hobbit-hole-like convent, which was originally built in 1560 to house friars, who lived in incredibly cramped…