Palácio Nacional de Sintra, Sintra
The Palácio Nacional de Sintra, or Paço Real, is the ancestral seat of the House of Avis. It appears that there was definitely a Moorish castle on this site in the 10th C., and its walls served as the foundations for the summer palace built there by King Joao I (1385 to 1433). This was extended and altered during the reign of Manuel I (1495-1521). Its most characteristic, and prominent, features are the two tall conical chimneys added in the 18th C. Completely restored and refurnished under Maria II, the palace was then chosen by Luís I as his favorite residence, and it became the dower house of his widow Maria Pia.
Palacio Nacional de Sintra Map
Address: Largo Rainha D. Amélia, 2710-616 Sintra, Portugal
Opening hours: 10am-1pm, 2pm-5:30pm; Closed: Wed
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €3.00, Concession or reduced rate €1.50
Useful tips: Last admission half hour before closing.
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
Palacio Nacional de Sintra Highlights
Palacio Nacional de Sintra - Hall of the Arabs
The tour of the Palácio Nacional de Sintra usually begins in the Guardroom, then passes through the enormous kitchen into the Hall of the Arabs, furnished like an old Moorish palace.
Palacio Nacional de Sintra - Hall of the Stags
After the Hall of the Arabs comes the Hall of the Stags, or Armorial Hall, which has an octagonal wooden domed ceiling embellished with the coats of arms and heraldic devices of 72 Portuguese noble families; that of King Manuel, who had the room built, is in the center of the dome, and those of his eight children are grouped around it. The walls of the room are covered with azulejo murals of hunting scenes.
Palacio Nacional de Sintra - Hall of the Magpies
The Hall of the Magpies owes its name to the 136 magpies painted on the ceiling, each one holding in its beak the motto of King Joao I, "por bem", i.e. for the best. The story goes that Joao I's Queen caught him kissing a lady in waiting, and his cool response was "Foi por bem", i.e. "I did it for the best". Since the ladies in waiting delighted in repeating this ever afterwards on every possible occasion, their chatter goaded Joao I into commissioning the ceiling. The 16th C. Carrara marble fireplace is by Nicolas Chanterène.
Palacio Nacional de Sintra - Hall of Swans
Through a courtyard is the Hall of Swans, the largest room in the palace, its doors and windows embellished in the 16th C. in a sumptuous Moorish-Manueline style. This former banqueting hall is still used today on festive occasions.
Palacio Nacional de Sintra - Afonso VI Room
Another of the palace rooms was where Afonso VI was imprisoned for nine years until his death in 1683, following his exclusion from affairs of state by his brother, Pedro II, who had him declared insane.
Map - Palacio Nacional de Sintra
Palacio Nacional de Sintra Pictures
Map of Sintra Attractions