Visit the Pena Palace in Sintra: tickets, prices, opening hours

Coucher de soleil au palais national de Pena, Sintra, Portugal

Planning a trip near Lisbon, Portugal? Head for Sintra to visit the Pena Palace, one of Portugal’s seven wonders.

The Palais de Pena in Sintra is an architectural marvel: nestling at the top of its hill, it boasts an incredible view of the surrounding area. A 360° view over an expanse of greenery and, on sunny days, Lisbon, the Portuguese capital. If you get the chance to stop by, admire its colors and details on a tour that can be enjoyed both inside and out. Set in the heart of the Parc de Pena, like a jewel in its green setting, the Palace is undoubtedly a must-see in the Portuguese landscape.

Find out how to visit Sintra’s Pena Palace, a historic and cultural getaway just a stone’s throw from the capital.

History of Pena Palace

Vue aérienne du Palais de Pena, Sintra

Photo credit: Shutterstock / iacomino FRiMAGES

The origins of the Palacio de Pena date back to the 12th century, when it was just a chapel built to pay homage to the Virgin Mary. In 1501, King Manuel I ordered that the chapel be converted into a monastery. At that time, far from the hustle and bustle of Lisbon, only eighteen monks occupied and maintained the site. High-profile visitors were few and far between. In the 18th century, lightning struck the building and an earthquake reduced it to rubble.

Long forgotten after this incident, it wasn’t until 1838 that King Ferdinand II took an interest, bought the land and decided to build a summer residence for the royal family. German architect Wilhelm Ludwig von Eschwege was responsible for the building’s construction and restoration, between 1842 and 1854. The influence of his many travels can be seen in the architecture of the palace, which blends numerous genres.

After a series of family events and the Republican Revolution of 1910, the Palacio de Pena was bought by the State. The building was then recognized as a national monument and opened to visitors.

Our tips for your visit to Pena Palace

When is the best time to visit the palace?

We strongly advise you to visit the Palacio de Pena as soon as it opens. Groups and other tourists tend to flock from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Also, outside the summer season, the crowds are less dense, and it’s easier to enjoy your visit to the palace.

Sintra tourist bus line 434

This special line is dedicated to the monuments of Sintra and the surrounding area. It will take you to all the town’s points of interest. Unlike a tourist coach, which simply passes by certain attractions or stops for a visit, route 434 takes you on a circuit.

This route has stops at which you can get off, visit the monument, then get back on board another line 434 bus. Tickets can be purchased directly on board from the driver.

What to do when you visit Pena Palace?

Cour intérieure du Palais de Pena, Sintra

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Travel Faery

A visit to Sintra’s Pena Palace starts from the outside. Admire its colorful facades and architectural mixes. The result is fascinating, and your eyes won’t know where to stop. The interior, of course, is just as hypnotic, with its breathtaking architecture and numerous « ceremonial rooms ».

But not to be forgotten, of course, is the

. A huge forested area at the foot of the Pena Palace, which we highly recommend. The paths you can take offer breathtaking views of the surrounding area, with the horizon stretching far into the distance.

Good to know: when you buy your ticket for the Palace, entrance to Pena Park is included!

How much does it cost to visit Pena Palace?

Entrée du palais de Pena, l'un des plus beaux palais d'Europa à Sintra

Photo credit: Shutterstock / leoks

The tickets you buy to visit Pena Palace automatically include admission to the surrounding park. While you can choose a ticket for the park only, you cannot buy a ticket for the palace only.

The establishment offers several prices:

  • Young people (6-17 years): €12.50
  • Adults (18-64): €14
  • Seniors (+65 years): €12.50
  • Family (2 adults + 2 young people): €49

Entrance to the park alone is around half the price. People with reduced mobility can also benefit from a 70% reduction on the price of their ticket. Whatever the visitor’s disability, the accompanying person receives a free ticket.

Lisboa Card

The Lisboa Card is a cultural asset offered by the city. It’s a discount card that can be used for a wide range of cultural visits in and around Lisbon. Also available online, from €18, it is valid for 24 to 72 hours and offers free public transport.

How do I book a ticket for the palace online?

To buy an online ticket for the Pena Palace, visit the Sintra Park website or a website specializing in tours and activities. When you buy online, you’ll receive a 5% discount on your entire basket. Here are the tickets you’ll need to select from (discounted prices):

  • Park and palace: young people (€11.88), adults (€13.30), seniors (€11.88) and families (€46.55)
  • Single park for young people, adults, seniors and families
  • Transfer to Pena Palace (from historic center, €3)

Are there guided tours of Pena Palace?

Personnes visitant le Palais de Pena à Sintra

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Takashi Images

Guided tours of the Pena Palace are organized daily. It is not necessary to reserve your place. Tours are available in Portuguese, English and Spanish for €5 and take place at 2.30pm, lasting 90 minutes.

In April and between July and October, a morning tour is added, at 10:30 am. Please note that during this period, the tour concerns the park and the outside of the Palais. The interior tour can be taken at the end of the guided tour, and is free of charge. However, don’t worry, you can still book a guided tour for a minimum of 7 people at the time of your choice. To do so, please contact the Palace Office directly.

You can also find and book a guided tour from a specialized tour and activity platform that takes care of everything.

Are there combined tours with other Sintra monuments?

You can visit Sintra’s Pena Palace and other local monuments. The Castle of the Moors, for example, is just 350 meters away. The two buildings can be reached by a short walk.

It’s also common to find combined tours of the Palacio de Pena and the Palacio Nacional, which are two very distinct entities.

If not, consult a tour and activity specialist website, who will be able to offer you tailor-made tour combinations to suit your needs.

Opening hours

Pena Palace is open to visitors every day except December 25 and January 1, for obvious reasons. Opening times vary according to two seasons:

  • March 25 to October 28: 9:45 am – 7:00 pm (last entry at 6:15 pm)
  • October 29 to March 24: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm (last entry at 7:00 pm)

How to get to Pena Palace

Pena Palace is just 35 kilometers from Lisbon. There are many ways to get there, as Sintra is – almost – a Lisbon suburb.

By car

You can reach the Palace by rental car from Lisbon, for example, but you’ll need to be patient. Narrow streets and crowded tourist areas make Sintra a city where getting around by car is not always easy, depending on the time of day and year. We advise you to avoid the center and head straight for a parking lot, then walk the rest of the way.

By train

Sintra station is just three kilometers from the Palace. Trains run regularly from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., every 30 minutes (every hour on Sundays). When you get off the train, follow the well-marked route to the Palace!

Where can I park near the Palais de Pena in Sintra?

Tuk tuk devant le palais de Pena à Sintra

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Wila_Image

Traffic in Sintra is often described as hellish, as its palace attracts tourists. Whether it’s tour groups arriving by coach, or regular tourists with rental cars, the roads can sometimes be congested. However, there are two parking lots close to Pena Palace:

  • Estacionamento Calçada da Pena: 200 m away, pay parking.
  • Estacionamento Largo São Pedro Penaferrim: 1.2 km away, free parking that requires you to walk a little, in the still-green setting of the town of Sintra.

Alternatively, you can park in a parking lot close to the station, as local tourist bus route 434 drops you off at the Palais de Pena.

Please note: the historic city center is very popular, so we advise you not to enter it to look for parking. Prefer the parking areas.

Where to stay near the Pena Palace in Sintra?

The advantage of choosing to spend one or more nights in Sintra is that you can avoid the tourist crowds once they’ve left. Indeed, as Sintra is rather close to Lisbon, tourists often opt for a day visit only. This is perfectly feasible, given that Lisbon is only 40 minutes away by car or 45 minutes by train. But, in reality, once Sintra has regained its peace and quiet, it’s back to being a lovely, quiet, pleasant little town.

For accommodation, we can only recommend the historic center, which requires a certain budget. Alternatively, don’t hesitate to enquire at a local’s home via Airbnb, opt for one of the hotels in Sintra or turn to a campsite near Lisbon. The rates charged are not necessarily exorbitant and still allow you to stay close by. The San Martinho district offers the most accommodation. It has its advantages: it’s not far from the station or the Palais de Pena!

Now you’re all set to visit the Palais de Pena. Enjoy your visit to what is known as « Portugal’s garden »!