In my last post I talk about visiting the beautiful town of Sintra and Castelo Dos Mouros with the kids.
Once we had climbed down from the castle, we caught the 434 tourist bus to take us up to Pena Palace, the most popular tourist attraction in Sintra. It is possible to walk it but it is situated at the second highest point of the Serra da Sintra so not ideal for little legs.
Thankfully we jumped the queue for tickets as had bought a combined ticket for both attractions earlier in the day. Once inside you can walk up to the palace through the stunning gardens, or pay extra to catch another bus to the top of the hill.
The palace was built in 19th century in the Romanticism style of architecture and offers a real ‘WOW’ moment when it comes into view.
Not only is the palace painted with vibrant colours, which makes it visible from afar, much of it is also covered in tiles, with each one depicting a meaning of its location. The ones on this gate were soldiers.
The palace can only be described as magnificent and it is easy to see why it is very popular with tourists. Even on a dull and overcast day like our visit, it was packed.
Once you get through the tunnel and to the palace itself, the kids could not wait to explore the decorative battlements.
Like Castelo Dos Mouros, many of these battlements didn’t have safety railings so it is important to keep a close eye on the kids.
Once you get up close to the building, its many mythological statues are fascinating. Our favourite has to be Triton, which symbolises the creation of the world.
Walk underneath Triton, through the palace and you are treated to more spectacular views over the pine-covered hills of the Serra de Sintra.
We took the walled walk around the outside of the building which was surprisingly quiet and offered the kids the chance to let off some steam, using the battlements to hide and jump out on one another.
It also offered a wonderful view back over Castelo dos Mouros.
There are parts of Pena Palace that are quite run down, but the entrance price all goes towards restoring the building to its former glory and they were busy working a magnificent fountain whilst we were there. Once inside the building you are guided around a series of rooms where you can see how the Portuguese royal family once lived.
Many of the rooms were roped off, but you could clearly see huge beds made up, historical artefacts on display and large paintings on the wall. Thankfully the signage was written in Portuguese and English too, so you could understand what you were looking at.
The state room was simply stunning with huge chandeliers hanging from the ornate ceilings.
None of the rooms were disappointing and even the kitchen was impressive with its vaulted ceilings.
It was exploring the outside that we all preferred though.
I think the kids managed to find every single battlement and have a picture in each one.
It was then time to make the descent back down towards the bus.
The queue for the bus was huge and I have to admit that our hearts sank a little as by this point everyone’s feet were starting to hurt. The bus was packed full when it arrived, but we were the only people with children in the queue and the bus driver kindly let us on first which I thought was very kind.
Once we were back in the main town, we gave our hotel, Martinahal Resorts in Cacais, a call and they kindly arrange for a taxi to pick us up again.
Realistically you need a minimum of 2 days to explore Sintra and all the palaces and monuments it has to offer, but I am so glad we visited and it gives us an incentive to go back again!!