With at least a couple of hundred gorgeous palaces and castles all around Portugal, it is quite imperative you include some of them in your itinerary! Actually, touring these establishments can prove to be even more exciting and informative than museums.
With so much history, architectural development, and monumental artifacts, Portugal’s palaces rank among the highest ones in Europe. So, let’s see which you should definitely visit!
1. Pena Palace
Spreading out on the Portuguese Riviera, the Pena Palace is one of the most beautiful and stunning monuments in the country. It is also one of the most remarkable symbols of Sintra’s architecture and historical development!
Regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal and protected by UNESCO, Pena Palace represents 19th-century Romanticism and the colorful Mediterranean vibe. While it was ultimately finished in 1854, the construction began in the Middle Ages. Therefore, you can see clear signs of how the structure and architecture proceeded forward over the years!
Tour the gateways, clock tower, cylindric bastion, and main yard with Moorish arches. Remember to bring a camera with you – you will want to capture the moment!
2. Monserrate Palace
While Sintra is usually always a part of the top-rated tours to Portugal; you might want to spend some more time here! So, take your time and move on to enjoy the lands of the Monserrate Palace.
Its history started in the 16th century, and with some genius development, the palace has become one of the true masterpieces of Romanticism. The exotic grounds display refined tastes mixing together with rare plantations and soft romantic designs!
Start your tour with the Garden Entrance, the first captivating area of Monserrate Palace. Then, move on to Sacred Art Room and eventually Main Hall. This central atrium allows you insight into the rare decorations, 19th-century bedrooms, and still-active water fountain! Truly, Monserrate Palace is everything you would expect from a fairytale castle, and there is plenty more to see.
The palace is very well-known for its natural beauty, so take your time walking through the Gallery Room, which might surprise you! Instead of artwork and craftsmanship, you will see an elevated oasis of the most beautiful plant combinations, flower arrangements, and harmonic colors of the interior.
3. Mateus Palace
A little farther from the central cities, the municipality of Vila Real is one of the best-known wine regions in the country, and if there is one thing you should know about it, it is that they have the most gorgeous wineries. So, let’s start with Mateus Palace!
Actually, the palace is not all winery. It is divided into three parts, the manor, the chapel, and the winery. However, people usually visit for the latter, and for a good reason, too!
Its construction started in the 16th century, then was modified at the very beginning of the 19th. The winery part of it is an excellent way for tourists to enjoy the signature Portuguese architecture and learn about one of the most successful businesses in the country. If you have been in Portugal long enough, you might already be familiar with the Mateus Rose Wine Brand, and if not, here is your chance to try it!
Pay attention to the manor and the chapel, as well. Visit the central courtyard, an ornamental pond, precise gardening, and two statue guards in Baroque style. There are also plenty of 18th and 19th-century paintings and a vast library to explore!
4. Ajuda National Palace
Now, let’s get back to the capital city! Not only is Lisbon the beating heart of Portugal’s cultural and historical heritage, but it is also full of everything a traveler could wish for. So, once you are done with entertainment, museums, and cuisine, head to the Ajuda National Palace for the most beautiful views and architecture.
What used to be the official royal house is now a gorgeous museum allowing you to see authentic Portuguese interiors and art collections! The castle was established in the 19th century and perfectly represents the Neoclassical mind of the country.
With plenty of rare and original artifacts, Ajuda National Palace is a unique experience and one of the most fun ways to appreciate Portugal’s cultural heritage. Most country tour packages and tour guides guarantee that this is a must-see on your journey, so make sure to book a visitation before you arrive! We also suggest an audio guide if possible, as you will get much more rare information and exciting facts this way!
5. Bucaco Palace
Settled in central Portugal, the Bucaco Palace is one of the most mesmerizing and stunning palaces in the country. It is also one of the most unique ones, as you can actually lengthen your visitation here and have as much time as you want.
That is right! Bucaco Palace now operates as a luxurious hotel and one of the most desirable accommodations in Portugal. However, before setting off as a hotel, the castle used to be a convent. It was a part of the Discalced Carmelites and was an essential religious establishment in the 17th century. Because of that, you will recognize a lot of specific interior choices and even certain parts of the grounds that represent the Catholic Order. For example, you can visit the main church and its many Baroque-design altarpieces, as well as distinct sculptures and art pieces.
While some might find living in an old convent a bit unsettling, the Bucaco Palace is actually one of the loveliest places to spend your holiday in. After years of complex renovations, the palace was turned into a comfortable living space, yet still managed to maintain the romantic designs and Neo-Manueline style. So, consider spending a couple of nights here!
There you go! Five beautiful fortresses to visit of your choice. There is really no wrong way to turn – every single one of them displays the Portuguese culture and offers you the most unique and fun experiences while visiting. So, whip up an itinerary and get ready to learn all about Portugal’s palaces!