The eccentric Pena Palace

The eccentric Pena Palace

[Dec. 2021] The Pena Palace on the mountaintop in the suburbs of Sintra, Portugal, is characterised by its flashy colours of red and yellow and its decorative appearance.

the hazy Pena Palace near Sintra
the top of the palace was in the fog

The day we visited was supposed to be relatively sunny and we came without an umbrella, but when we got here it was raining.

It is a type of rain that you get soaked without noticing.

Thanks to this, the flashy colours looked dull and the top was hazy in the fog.

In a way, this was nice and mysterious.

When I looked at the guidebook, it says, “It’s often covered in fog,” so it may have been a typical scene.

The palace was built on the site of a monastery by Ferdinand II, the husband of Queen Maria II of Portugal, in the first half of the 19th century.

The story that this person was eccentric and artistic and he made Sintra a social gathering place for aristocrats was learned from a guide the last time we visited this town.

Ferdinand II was from Germany and he commissioned the Prussian architect Ludwig von Eschewege to build the palace.

the entrance of Pena Palace near Sintra in Portugal
the decorative entrance of the palace

Maybe that’s why the first thing I remembered, seeing this Pena Palace, was the famous Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.

That’s also pretty eccentric.

The story goes back and forth, but before we entered here, we lined up in front of the admission ticket vending machine.

There are several types of admission tickets, and we bought a ticket for the Pena Palace and its garden, and the Sintra Palace in the town for € 45.60 for two people.

When you enter the premises, there was a bus that goes around the vast park, and it costs € 3 per person.

in the garden of Pena Palace near Sintra in Portugal
a part of the garden

At first, we joined the queue to get on this bus, but the door closed just in front of us and we were told to wait for the next one.

There seemed to be some highlights in the garden, and I was attracted to it, but we didn’t want to wait in the drizzle, so we went up to the palace instead.

So, it was a shame, but we hardly saw the garden.

Now we reached a palace building, and the appropriate word to describe it was ‘eccentric’.

the patio of Pena Palace near Sintra in Portugal
looking down on the patio

I think that the word eccentric has a meaning of a bit of  “bad taste” in addition to the meaning of “unusual”, and it was exactly that.

My husband said, “Fairy tale castle or Disneyland?”

And, “It looks like a fort, but it’s too hilarious and far from the battle.”

In fact, it was the royal family’s summer residence, so probably some playful decoration was allowed.

It’s a famous tourist destination, so there were great many tourists.

the ceiling with the chandelier in Pena Palace near Sintra in Portugal
elaborate ceiling and chandelier in the palace

Many Asian people such as Japanese and Chinese were also seen.

It’s still in the midst of the Covid-19, and travelling from Asia is almost impossible, so I think everyone is probably living in Europe.

With the impression that I had seen something strange and bizarre, we took the bus number 434 again, and this time we went down to the centre of Sintra town.