Pena Palace Architecture: A Masterpiece of Romanticism

Pena Palace is situated on a hill about 480 meters high and looms over Sintra due to its unusual height. 

Apart from its notable tallness, its unique architecture is also what the palace is known for. 

It represents eclecticism and is an excellent example of Portuguese Romantic architecture.

The neo-Islamic architecture of Pena Palace is also one of the features that make it one of the most important monuments in Portugal.

Pena Palace’s history reflects Gothic, Mujedar, and Mauline architectural combinations.

As you enter the palace, you will be greeted by an original gate with spatial balls and cones that connect you to the drawbridge.

The Vibrant Colors of Pena Palace

Vibrant Colors of Pena Palace
Image: Parquesdesintra.pt

One of the most celebrated additions everyone adores is the palace’s colors and forms.

The cheerful blend of this vibrant yellow and red color with a dash of gray may transport you to a fairytale world.

Although these explosive colors don’t go together in the real world, they form a perfect harmony for the palace.

Decorations Adoring the Walls of Pena Palace

Adoring the Walls of Pena Palace
Photo by Thomas Peham on Unsplash

Apart from the colors, one thing that catches your eye is the stunning decorations on the wall. 

Here are some examples of Pena Palace architecture styles with classic yet stunning beauty:

  • The Portuguese tiling matches the Arabic ornaments and arches on the wall.
  • The domes and turrets in the background create a perfect layer for the stone figures that guard the palace.
  • The stone figures depict mythological or dragon creatures, like the famous sculpture of Triton. 
  • You can also find small balconies on the palace walls beside the sculptures.
  • Also, a sentry walk surrounds the palace, which depicts traditional depictions of the medieval period. 

It also leads you to one of the most photographed places in the palace, the Courtyard of Arches.

So, make sure to grab your camera when you follow this path.

If you want to know more about the points of interest inside and outside the castle, check out our What to See Inside Pena Palace article!

Architecture Inside the Palace

Architecture inside pena palace
Photo by Andrei Daniel Petrica on Unsplash

Although the exteriors of the Pena Palace architecture are noteworthy, its interiors are stunning.

Until 1910, the paths leading to the insides of the palace were accessed only by the royal family.

But today, its visitors can now admire and observe the beautiful interiors. Buy tickets.

And the first thing you will notice as you enter the chambers are the beautiful wall paintings and decorated vaults. 

That will leave you in awe and give you a taste of the art culture of the 17th and 18th centuries. 

The route further leads to the private dining room, where the monarchs would enjoy a quiet dinner every other day.

You will also find:

  • Bedrooms with patterned walls and classic golden fabrics 
  • The kitchen, which enables the enormous and delectable royal feasts
  • Or the queen’s private dressing room is open to you 

You can never get enough of Pena Palace’s history when you tour all the royal apartments. 

Besides, you can view the cloisters embellished with geometric azulejos, the last remnants of the ancient monastery.

Royal Park

royal park pena palace
Image: Parquesdesintra.pt

Its Royal Park is another element that stands out from the Pena Palace architecture. 

This park is not limited to various species of trees, flowers, and bushes.

But you can also find more sites to admire, like temples, fountains, turrets, and the Palace’s viewpoints. 

Each place can be reached by winding through the paths in a parapet arrangement, often leading to feelings of wilderness and romanticism.

But through the journey, one thing is common: realizing how good of a collector Ferdinand II was. 

The 500-acre Pena Garden exists due to his excellent taste and decision to plant trees along the path to the palace.

You can buy a Pena Park ticket to admire the fantastic, lush garden.

Pena National Palace today

Pena National Palace
Image: Katia De Juan on Unsplash

One of the most essential and notable sites in Portugal, Pena Palace, enjoys the attention of over a million tourists annually. 

Whether it is the fairytale features or the architecture, Pena Palace is a treat for the eye. 

And if the palace is not enough to draw attention, its beautiful and lush green gardens do the job.

The palace is a wonderland for tourists, from grottoes and ponds to a fountain with statues and sculptures. 

Today, no doubt, the architecture of Pena Palace and its history make it one of the most important monuments in the country.


How long did it take to build the Pena Palace?

The construction of the Pena Palace in Sintra took place between 1842 and 1854.

Although the work was almost finished in 1847, King Ferdinand and Queen Maria II intervened in the construction process.

They wanted some changes in the decoration and symbolism of the palace.

What is the significance of Pena Palace?

Pena Palace was classified as the National Monument of Portugal in 1910.

It also ranked first as the most important cultural landscape of Sintra and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995.

Pena Palace attracts 800,000 visitors annually and is a significant tourist spot in the country.

What is the style of architecture in Sintra?

In the 19th century, Sintra became the first center in the country to adopt European romantic architecture.

King Ferdinand II turned a monastery into a palace, where the style adopted had elements of Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish, and Renaissance.

The park was created by blending exotic and local plant species.

Why is the Pena Palace red and yellow?

Under the orders of King Ferdinand II, the old monastery was painted red, while the new building was colored yellow.

In 1994, the original colors disappeared or faded over time and were replaced with red and yellow paint.

Who was Pena Palace built for?

King Ferdinand, the younger German consort of Queen Maria II, built Pena Palace for her.

The palace was a pure symbol of the king’s love and duty towards his queen.

Baron Wilhelm Ludwig von Eschwege led this architectural masterstroke, known today as Pena Palace, under the king’s orders.

What was the Pena Palace built for?

It was originally planned to restore the building as a summer residence for the royal family.

However, King Ferdinand’s enthusiasm led him to decide to construct an entire palace under the supervision of Baron Wilhelm Ludwig von Eschwege.

Featured Image: Portugalvirtual.pt

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