Feels special : Pena palace, Sintra, Portugal

It’s all palaces and castles on The Voyageur lately, must be the Christmas air…
Today we’re going up in the Sintra forest, like literally “up in the clouds”, to find the strangest castle, the eccentric Palácio Nacional da Pena. Remember that we’re only an hour away from Lisbon and its clear skies, pretty azulejos and seaside flair….so why is it suddenly looking like the set of Peau d’âne?
Well, that’s what you get when you’re having a royal palace built buy an amateur German architect in the middle of the Romantic period. The construction is said to be  Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance. In reality it’s quite chaotic and unbalanced, fascinating at times, pretty kitsch at other, but in the end it’s the amazing location, in the heights of a misty lush forest that makes it special. The outside is definitely the best part, but you can also go inside and try to imagine what life could have been like in those eclectic surroundings. I was surprised to discover a series of small rooms, offices and salons and not so much big fancy rooms of castle proportions. It felt very intimate and true to the Romantics state of mind…

 

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You can walk from Sintra to the castle, I would almost recommend it , BUT it’s quite a hike, like 1h30 going up. Otherwise, there’s a bus from Sintra, which might be the easy solution if it’s too hot and/or you don’t feel like mixing fairytale and trekking.

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