Pena Palace is an iconic landmark in Sintra, just outside Lisbon. In this article, we will tell you more information before visiting the Pena Palace – entrance, entrance fees, where to buy tickets, what are the opening hours, how to get to the palace and how to avoid the queues that are very common here.
- Interesting Facts about Pena National Palace
- What is the entrance fee to Pena Palace?
- What are the opening hours of Pena Palace?
- How to get to Pena Palace?
- Entrance to Pena Park
- How to skip the queues for Pena Palace?
- Tips before visiting the Pena Palace in Sintra
- Pena Palace and the city of Sintra: MAP
- More information about Portugal
Interesting Facts about Pena National Palace
The National Palace of Pena (Palácio Nacional da Pena) is an iconic site that tourists from all over the world flock to see. It’s colourful, fabulous and completely against all the rules. And that is exactly why it is one of the best things to do in Sintra.
The rich yellow-red hues will literally light you up, as will the incredible views, which are abundant. The Pena National Palace is rightly one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal (the Jeronimos Monastery and the Tower of Belém in Lisbon are also among them).
How far can you see from Pena Palace? The surrounding forests of the Sierra da Sintra and the Atlantic Ocean beyond are in the palm of your hand. If you’re lucky enough to have clear skies, the views from here are endless.
The palace is a mixture of various styles from Neo-Gothic, Manueline style to Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Islamic. On first reading, it might seem that the mix of these styles must make the palace a real mishmash.
Surprisingly, all styles play together and the palace looks like a harmonious whole. Rarely in the world will you see such a good example of Romanticism 19th century like right here.
Pena Palace was built on the site of the original monastery, which was destroyed in the Great Portuguese Earthquake of 1755 (as was much of Lisbon). Its construction was taken under the wing of King Ferdinand II of Portugal, who was known as the king of artists.
Surrounded by greenery and forests, Pena Palace stands on a peak in the Sierra da Sintra. In good visibility you can see it from Lisbon.
Around Pena Palace is the vast 200-hectare Pena Park. The park is full of winding paths that connect all the attractions from the Countess’s cottage to ponds, waterfalls, swans and even a horse farm. The gardens are lush, exotic and include the most important arboretum in Portugal, where King Ferdinand II of Portugal commissioned the arboretum. to bring in trees from all over the world.
What is the entrance fee to Pena Palace?
Admission to Pena Palace varies depending on what you plan to visit:
- Admission to the palace and park: full admission for 18-64 years 14 €, reduced admission for children 6-17 years and seniors over 65 years 12,50 €, under 6 years free
- Admission to the park without the palace: full admission for 18-64 years old 7,50 €, reduced admission for children 6-17 years old and seniors over 65 years old 6,50 €, under 6 years old free
You can buy a ticket you can buy online or at the door. I recommend buying online to avoid the ticket line. Ticket prices are unchanged. Just show the ticket on your mobile phone when you enter.
Note: When booking a ticket you choose a specific time that you must keep or your ticket will be forfeited. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to the palace.
If you take a bus or taxi from the train station, expect 20-30 minutes (depending on traffic) and then a 15-minute walk from the entrance to the palace. It’s better to have time to spare. If you arrive early, you can explore the park or the exterior of the palace.
TIP: With the Lisbon Card you get a 10% discount . You can get an additional 5% discount with a combination ticket with the Moorish Castle, which is only a 10-minute walk away (or one stop on the 434 bus). More about The Lisbon Card in a separate article.
If you have a Lisbon Card, you will need to buy your tickets at the door. Ticket sales are located to the left of the entrance gate. Tickets can be bought at the box office or at the ticket machine. Please note: Vending machines do not always work, so you may want to take cash with you.
What are the opening hours of Pena Palace?
Pena National Palace is open daily from 9:30-18:30 (last entry at 18:00). The park is open a bit longer – 9:00-19:00 (last entry 18:00).
Allow at least 2 hours to explore the palace and Pena Park. The palace itself will take you one hour. If you plan to explore the adjacent park more thoroughly, expect to spend 3-4 hours.
How to get to Pena Palace?
Pena Palace is located right on top of the hill and is not easily accessible from the station. You have several options to get to the top:
You can start walking from the train station. You’ll be at the top in about 1.15 hours – from the station, take a left past the beautiful town hall along Volta do Duche street (the Santa Maria trail follows this).
Pena Palace can be reached by bus no. 434, which stops to the right of the station. The trip up takes about 20 minutes, but during the morning and midday, you should allow half an hour.
Tickets can be bought directly opposite the station at the Scotturb ticket office or at the ticket machine at the bus stop.
One ride costs 4,10 €. The other option is a sightseeing ticket for 7,60 € or a day ticket for 15 €, which gives you unlimited travel on all buses in Sintra. If you are also planning to visit the more distant Monserrate Palace, a day ticket will be cheaper.
I’ll stop by the sightseeing ticket, which works on the principle of hop-on hop-off, i.e. one ticket can be used both to Pena Palace and then back to the city.
From bus 434, get off at the third stop, Palácio da Pena, which is right in front of the entrance to Pena Park.
TIP: If you are also planning to visit the Moorish Castle, I recommend taking the bus to the Pena Palace and then going to the Moorish Castle. Moorish Castle is just a 10-minute walk from Pena Palace and the queues are generally much smaller, so you can come any time.
Tuktuk is another option to get to Pena Palace. It is more expensive (5-7 € per person), but the ride is more fun. You can find out all sorts of interesting things from the driver and he will also take your picture along the way if you ask him.
Several tuk tuks stop right at the station or then at other locations around the city and near the palace. You won’t see many of them early in the morning, but by the morning there are many of them around town.
Taxi or Uber
Taxi or Uber are the last resort to get to the palace. They are slightly more expensive than a bus, but on the other hand they are the most reliable.
You can’t always count on buses to arrive on time. Plus, they don’t start running until after 9am, so if you want to be at the palace as soon as possible, a taxi or Uber is the best option.
You can board directly at Sintra Station.
You can’t get to Pena Palace by car. The roads here are narrow, winding and there are hardly any parking areas. Parking in the centre of Sintra is reserved for residents only. You can park around the station, where there are several paid parking lots .
From the station, you can reach the palace by one of the above mentioned options.
Day trip with a guide
Would you like to take a day trip to Sintra and the surrounding area? In the framework of organized trip with a friendly guide you’ll visit Pena Palace, the beautiful cliffs of Cabo da Roca and the seaside town of Cascais.
A simple and fun way to enjoy the Lisbon area.
An air-conditioned car will pick you up at the hotel in the morning and drop you off again in the evening. You don’t have to worry about transport or a ticket to the palace.
Choose among the best rated day trips from Lisbon:
Entrance to Pena Park
We walked, took a bus, tuk tuk or taxi to the entrance gate of Pena Park. We have bought the tickets and you can go to the entrance of the park with the Pena Palace. Depending on the time of year and day, there may be another queue for entry (the first queue is usually for tickets).
From the entrance gate, it is another 15 minutes uphill on a paved path to the palace. If you don’t want to walk, there are shuttle buses just past the entrance that will take you to the palace for 3 €.
You buy the shuttle bus when you buy your ticket to the Pena Palace (not payable at the driver).
In high season, there can be queues for the bus, or waiting until the bus fills up. It may be that you will walk to the palace faster than taking the bus. If you don’t have mobility limitations, I recommend walking – the path is easy and leads through Pena Park.
You will come to the palace, which you can see up close. If you have a ticket for the interior of the palace, you can proceed to the tour itself (in high season or around midday, there can be a queue again). Do you have a park-only ticket? Directly from the palace, trails lead across the entire park.
How to skip the queues for Pena Palace?
Long queues are something that can ruin a palace tour for many people. Long queues usually form from April to September/October. It is usual to spend 1-2 hours waiting. You wait for tickets, you wait to enter the palace grounds and thirdly, you wait for a tour of the palace.
But the queues are not something that should deter you from visiting Pena Palace. You just need to prepare better to avoid the queues. Now let’s talk about how to do it.
I recommend planning a visit to Pena Palace in the off-season from mid-October to March, when there are no crowds. Preferably during the working week.
As for the time of day, the biggest crowds start to flock around 10 o’clock, but there can be queues as early as half past 10 in high season or on weekends. It’s getting a bit confusing and a lot of people don’t know where to stand, where to go, etc. It’s best to come after 9:00. the hour the park opens.
The first bus to the palace doesn’t leave until 9:15, so you’ll need to take a taxi or Uber. Show your ticket and you can enter the premises. From the gate to the palace is still at least 15 minutes walk. The palace opens at 9:30, so you will still have time to see it from the outside without people.
Or come here in the late afternoon, when the biggest crowds have left.
TIP: Whatever day you choose, I recommend buy your ticket in advance so you don’t have to wait in line for tickets. The price is the same as if you buy the ticket on the spot. Just show the tickets on your mobile phone on the spot.
Tips before visiting the Pena Palace in Sintra
- If you have purchased a Lisboa Card, you have a free train to Sintra . Plus you get 10 % discount on tickets (tickets must be purchased at the door to qualify for the discount). Include the Moorish Castle in the combined ticket and you will get an additional 5% discount. Moorish Castle is just 10 minutes from Pena Palace. Learn more about the Lisbon Card in our detailed review.
- To the left of the entrance to the palace grounds, you can take a map for easy orientation in the park and around the palace.
- In high season: arrive early in the morning (max. before 10 am) or late in the afternoon to avoid the biggest queues. Pena Palace is well visited all year round, but the queues are much smaller in November and winter than in summer.
- Book your tickets in advance so you don’t have to wait in line for tickets.
- Take an extra layer. Even though the weather app reports blue skies all day. Thanks to the palace’s location in the Sierra da Sintra, the surrounding peaks can be shrouded in dense fog and the temperature can drop by a few degrees Celsius within 5 minutes. Then it can clear up again just as quickly.
- Take plenty of water and snacks during busy times, weekends and high season. There are refreshments, but the queues can be long.
- Do not drive to the palace. Parking here is impossible. Drivers then wander around and unnecessarily block the narrow one-way road that leads to the palace. They are also blocking the 434 bus, which runs from the station and the centre of Sintra.
Pena Palace and the city of Sintra: MAP
HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you will find a detailed map of Sintra. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places mentioned in the Sintra guide. If you want to save the map, star it. It will then be saved to your Google Maps and can be retrieved at any time on your mobile phone or computer. For a larger version of the map, click on the icon in the top right corner.
If you have a question about travelling to Sintra, let us know in the comments below. Have a safe journey!