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Monserrate Palace

The traditional summer resort of the Portuguese Royal Family.

TravelCurious Tip

The Monserrate Palace lies a few kilometres west of Sintra. To make a day of it, combine a trip to the palace with visits to the Convento dos Capuchos and the Quinta da Regaleira.

A Brit Abroad

Built in the 19th century, the palace was commissioned by Francis Cook, an English textile baron, who used it as a summer retreat. Inspired by the cultures of the many countries he had dealings with, he wanted a little bit of everything in his palace, and that’s what he got. In a town not short on extravagance, the Monserrate Palace stands out for its wild eclecticism, blending Gothic, Indian, Moorish and Manueline influences in an architectural orgy.


The eclecticism extends to the garden as well, which has species from all corners of the world planted according to their geographical origin. Clever design was used to embrace the unique microclimates of the region, creating niches for thousands of exotic species. The result is one of Portugal’s richest botanical gardens. Set in the cool, blue-skied clime of Sintra, it is divine. Wander among the scents, colours, and exotic latin species names that read like incantations.

Out Of Chaos, Order

Lord Byron was among the famous literary figures to be enchanted by palace, and when you step inside you can see why. The interior mixes all these stylistic influences, and manages to emerge as harmonious, rather than chaotic. It is breathtaking: exuberant, but not over-the-top. Although it is relatively small among the palaces of Sintra, its exquisite stonework and luminous domed ceilings could hold you there for hours.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Lisbon
This municipality is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its vast 19th century Romanic monuments.
Pena Palace
Standing boldly atop a hill above Sintra, this beautiful palace can be seen all the way from Lisbon on a clear day.
Sintra City Hall
An unusually flamboyant town hall, and one of the most prominent landmarks in the town of Sintra.
Castle of the Moors
Built between the 8th and 9th centuries, this military outpost in Sintra played a key role in the Reconquista against Arab rule.
Sintra National Palace
A striking and eclectic mix of architectural styles, this is most likely the best preserved medieval palace in all of Portugal.
Quinta da Regaleira
This romantic UNESCO World Heritage Site displays the wealth and extravagance of the Portuguese elite.

Related Tours

Discover the Wonders of Sintra with skip the line tickets from Lisbon
Visit Sintra, one of Portugal’s most magical UNESCO World Heritage Sites, for hilltop castles and fairytale palaces set in the forested hills near Lisbon.
  • Tour the turreted, Romanticist Pena Palace, perched on a dramatic hilltop
  • Visit a Moorish castle which served as a military outpost in the 9th century Reconquista
  • Stroll around the lake-dotted secret gardens at the Quinta da Regaleira Palace
  • Explore Queluz National Palace, the last official residence of the Portuguese Royal Family
  • Take in spectacular sea views from Cabo da Roca (Cape Rock), the westernmost point of mainland Europe
Fairytale Sintra
The ancient city of Sintra may lie just half an hour from Lisbon, but its forest-covered mountains feel a world away from the frenetic capital. A cooler climate and lush landscapes have drawn Portugal’s rich and powerful here for over a thousand years and it even served as a summer retreat for the Royal Family. Hence, the hills are dotted with extravagant Moorish castles, fortresses and Romanticist palaces, which you’ll explore the very best of on this guided tour.
Royal Pleasure and Military Might
Take guided tours of some of Sintra’s most famous monuments. You’ll start at Pena Palace, a yellow and orange Romanticist wonder complete with domes and turrets, watchtowers and drawbridge. The Castle of the Moors, a 9th century military outpost, was a key site during the Reconquista and today, you can wander the remains of its walls for incredible views of the region and Pena Palace.
Tour the Regaleira Ranch, a grand house built by a wealthy resident in 1892, which is most famous for its quirky garden structures, from fountains to sculptures and the inverted tower. This spirals down 27 metres to spectacular underground tunnels. You’ll also get the chance to visit the Queluz National Palace, which presents one of Europe’s finest examples of Rococo architecture and was the last official residence of the Portuguese Royal Family before the French invasion of 1807, when they fled to Brazil.
To marvel at one of Sintra’s most spectacular viewpoints, you’ll visitCape Rock, the westernmost point of both Portugal and continental Europe. From this dramatic cape, you’ll get panoramic sea views from windswept cliffs. Before leaving the magical hills of Sintra, you’ll make final photo stops at both Monserrate Palace.

You could spend weeks exploring Sintra’s hilltop treasures but if you haven’t got time for that, this tour showcases the best of its castles, viewpoints and decorative palaces. 


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