15 to 30 January: temporary closure under the current State of Emergency
This itinerary is designed so you can enjoy these wonderful places in a relaxed way. Parques de Sintra will accompany you from start to finish, welcoming you at Largo D. Fernando II in São Pedro de Sintra and providing transport to Pena and meals. The only thing you have to worry about is enjoying the walk, breathing in the fresh air and taking in the beauty of the countless nooks and crannies to be discovered.
Your experience at Park of Pena begins at the riding ring, a place surrounded by beautiful magnolias where young princes once learned to ride and where tennis was played for the first time in Portugal.
Here you will receive a small snack to keep you going through the first part of the walk.
Templo das Colunas / Guerreiro / Mesa da Rainha
Walking along the winding roads of the park, we are led to discover the Temple of Columns, whose yellow dome supported by twelve columns stands out among the treetops. The Warrior Statue can be seen nearby, including, at its feet, an octagonal table which has taken the name of the Queen's Table because it was one of Queen Amelia's favourite places.
Now we will climb to High Cross, the highest point of the Sintra Hills, situated at an altitude of 528 metres. From here and on the subsequent downwards slope you can enjoy some of the most amazing views over the green of the mountain on which the Palace of Pena is situated, and of the plains to the north, the Cascais coast to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
Fountain of the “Preta” / Tank of the Seven Pines
The descent from High Cross leads us back into the trees, among which we can discover secret retreats hidden among the moss such as the Fountain of the 'Preta' and the Tank of Seven Pines. Here you can also savour the magic and sounds of a beautiful beech forest punctuated by rhododendrons and camellias.
At the foot of a harmonious rocky outcrop on Tea Hill you will find scenery typical of ancient Japanese prints, in which specimens of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, can be found. This is one of the most recently recovered areas in the Park of Pena, a project which involved the reproduction of several hundred tea plants from the originals planted by King Ferdinand II at this site.
Chalet of the Countess of Edla
In the idyllic setting of the Garden of the Countess of Edla is one of the most beautiful and interesting buildings in the Park of Pena – the Chalet, also known as House of Indulgence (Casa do Regalo) was built as a place of refuge by King Ferdinand II and his second wife, the Countess of Edla. Inside, you can discover the monarchs' intimate spaces, finely decorated to their own personal taste.
In the Garden of the Chalet of the Countess of Edla you will be served a picnic, just as the Countess and King Ferdinand II used to enjoy. There is certainly no more beautiful scenery in which to restore your energy in communion with nature.
Garden of the Countess of Edla
Next we shall explore all corners of the garden, with its serpentine paths and exotic plant species. The Chalet Stones enclose a labyrinth among the rocks and offer stunning views of the surrounding area, accompanied by meticulously planned botanical collections such as the Countess’ Fernery, the oldest collection of arboreal ferns in the park, which is traversed by a water line which forms small lakes and waterfalls and a remarkable collection of camellias whose delicate flowers offer a counterpoint to the blooms of the azaleas and rhododendrons.
Pena Farm and Stables
Created by King Ferdinand II, this area of the park follows the concept of the Ferme Ornée (Ornamental Farm), a setting which provided the King with pleasant 'country walks' in the romantic setting of the Pena arboretum. The central, most distinctive part of Pena Farm is the Stables, a building that provided support functions to the farming activities, with stables for the animals. Enclosures with farm animals such as goats, sheep, horses and rabbits are found around the Stables, in addition to a meadow with rest and picnic areas and the complex of greenhouses, where some of the plant species indispensable to the maintenance of the gardens are produced.
Valley of the Lakes
This valley is the area with the lowest elevation in the park, the point at which all the park's water lines run together. The path follows five lakes connected by small waterfalls arranged in the shade of the pleasant leafy valley, always accompanied by the sound of running water. The lakes are also home to two Duck Houses for water birds. The architecture of these structures invokes the two most imposing constructions of King Ferdinand II's domains: the Moorish Castle and the Palace of Pena.
Little Birds Fountain and Queen’s Fern Valley
Walking through the lakes one arrives at the Little Birds Fountain, a small neo-Moresque pavilion that encloses a small spring of crystalline water, the sound of which is amplified by the building's efficient acoustics. On the edge of the lake near this pavilion you can see one of the most remarkable trees of the Park of Pena, the giant cedar tree. This amazing specimen keeps watch over the Queen's Fern Valley, a magnificent collection of ferns from Australia and New Zealand.
Camellia Garden, Manueline Chapel and Tank of the Friars
It is now time to visit the Camellia Garden, the most important collection of this plant species in the Park of Pena. Native to China and Japan, camellias were introduced here by King Ferdinand II in the 1840s and since then they have become a symbol of the Sintra winter, the time of the year when they bloom. In this garden you will also find the Manueline Chapel and the Tank of the Friars, remains of the ancient wall of the 15th century monastery around which King Ferdinand II designed the Palace of Pena, which you will soon discover.
On reaching the Palace of Pena, a reviving coffee break awaits you, with views of the park whose mysteries you have just unravelled.
Palace of Pena
Surrounded by an enchanting garden, the Palace of Pena is a materialisation of the archetypal castle of fantasy and wonder. It continues to fascinate all those who visit it. Inside the palace, the tour begins in the 16th century Cloister, which was adapted into several rooms, offices and the Dining Room. This was the most intimate area of the Palace, reserved only for the royal family and those close to it. We then continue through the so-called 'New Palace', a wing added to the original structure of the old monastery that encloses the largest and most representative rooms, such as the Great Hall. To the south, this new wing was finished with a circular tower next to the new kitchen. Outside, the two bodies can be distinguished by the dusky pink colour of the old monastery, or Old Palace, and the ochre of the New Palace.
In the immense green spaces that can be seen from the Palace terraces, we can recognise the secrets of the park discovered on this morning’s journey: the statue of the Warrior, the eternal guardian of the park; the intriguing Temple of Columns; the High Cross, which marks the highest point of the Sintra Hills; the Chalet Stones, which conceal an idyllic refuge; and Tea Hill, with its reminiscences of the East. Our experience of Pena is now complete and it is time to return. The itinerary takes us back into the trees, walking down to the transport that will return us to our starting point at 18h:00.
Entrance ticket to the National Park and Palace of Pena (including the Chalet of the Countess of Edla)Info
Return trip between São Pedro de Sintra and PenaInfo
Morning snack, picnic lunch and afternoon coffeeInfo
Accompanied by a guide throughoutInfo
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