The first time I saw pictures of Pena palace in Sintra (granted, this was quite a while back), I kinda didn’t believe it was a real place. It looks so grand yet so colourful that it seemed like something someone working in a Disney movie had drawn up. Of course, I very quickly found out that this place was a real place and ever since then, I’d wanted to visit it properly.
Seeing it in real-life is every bit as amazing as the photos led me to believe. It’s one colourful Portuguese masterpiece!
It kinda begs the question as to why all other European palaces and castles aren’t as colourful as this! (Fine, I know why but still… 😀 ).
We wasted no time in trudging up the inclined pathway to the palace – eager to explore it in full! By the way, when you arrive, you can either walk from the gates (which are a bit of a uphill walk to the palace) or you can take a dedicated bus, which gets you there in minutes. (I took the bus…)
As you stroll through the palace (which, by the way, is also a castle – palaces were typically built to display wealth, castles were more for defense and protection), you can easily see why this is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Speaking of palaces and castles, in most places in Europe, you’ll notice that castles tend to be much older than palaces. Well, this is because back in the olden days, the need for defense against intruders and attackers was pretty much something most places in Europe had to prepare for. Over time, there was a lot more peace brokered between different countries in Europe and people could just go ahead and chill. Said ‘chill’, led to Royal families being able to focus on building luxurious homes for themselves – ergo why we have palaces all over Europe now. 🙂
From up here, your view of Sintra is pretty spectacular! (Pretty sure this is what the original architects had in mind… 😉 ).
There are so many hidden little facets to explore and discover here (the ‘back’ is particularly special, especially when the sun finally decided to grace us with its presence).
The palace isn’t quite as colourful inside (not that it matters) but is still pretty special! (What did surprise me though was how small some of the rooms in here were – I just always assumed they would as big as the palace looked on the outside).
There are queues when you’re inside (and it moves slowly because everyone is checking out the rooms – same as you, as they go along) so if you’re a bit pushed for time, you might wanna start off inside rather than risk being stuck inside when you need to head off. (It’s a one-way system).
Eventually, we made our way back out, thoroughly impressed with Pena Palace and so grateful that it had totally lived up to the hype!