Photo of the ornate Romanticism ceiling and Busts in Monserrate Palace in Sintra Portugal
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A Visual Feast Of Romanticism – Monserrate Palace in Sintra, Portugal

Monserrate Palace—One Of The Least Visited Palaces In Sintra!?

When I was planning to travel to Portugal, visiting Sintra was easily the destination I was looking forward to most. Sintra is an outdoor lover’s feast, with hiking galore, and barely a space you can go (outside of the main streets of the city) that isn’t covered by shade trees. And the fact that two of the most beautiful, unique palaces in Portugal—Monserrate Palace and Pena Palace—are within miles of each other didn’t hurt. 

READ FIRST: The Prettiest F*cking Sintra, Portugal Travel Guide You’ve Ever Seen—AKA: Isn’t It Romanti…cism?

Photo of the Monserrate Palace in Sintra Portugal

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The crazy thing is that Monserrate Palace is one of the least visited palaces in Sintra!

I spent 8 days in Sintra, and an entire morning exploring Monserrate Palace and the amazing palace gardens. One of the things I heard from too many other travelers is that they wish they would have planned for more time in both Monserrate Palace and Pena Palace. I hope the photos of the palace and the grounds convince you to devote plenty of time when you’re planning to travel to Sintra!

Photo of the ornate Romanticism sculptures in Monserrate Palace in Sintra Portugal

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The History Of Monserrate Palace

Monserrate Palace is a “palatial villa” located in Sintra, the traditional summer resort of the Portuguese Court. It’s in the foothills overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, northwest of the capital of Portugal, Lisbon. Monserrate Palace dates back to the 11th-century chapel under the reign of King Alfonso Henriques. Damaged in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the estate passed into English hands. 

From Francis Cook’s passion and direction emerged this masterpiece of Romanticism—potentially one of the most beautiful palaces in all of Portugal.

Of the palaces in Portugal, Monserrate Palace is among the few considered part of the UNESCO World Heritage cultural landscape. 

Photo of the ornate Romanticism hallways in Monserrate Palace in Sintra Portugal
Photo of the ornate Romanticism hallways in Monserrate Palace in Sintra Portugal

The Gardens And Grounds Of Monserrate Palace

I had read about the gardens of both Monserrate Palace and Pena Palace when I was planning to travel to Sintra, but I had no idea what I was in for. Talk about visual overwhelm!

Because of the unique geography of Sintra, and Portugal in general, plants from all over the world and different regions thrive in Sintra. 

Photo of a Pathway in the gardens at Monserrate Palace in Sintra Portugal

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The back terrace of Monserrate Palace leads to a lake, several springs, fountains, and grottoes surrounded by lush greenery, native strawberries, holly bushes, cork oaks, palm trees, ferns, agaves, yuccas, camellias, azaleas, and bamboos from all over the world. 

Photo of the outdoor terrace stairway in Monserrate Palace
Photo of a Pathway in the gardens at Monserrate Palace in Sintra Portugal

Romanticism, Neo-Gothic, And Moorish Influences In Monserrate Palace

As you can see in these photos, Monserrate Palace is an amazing example of Romantic and Moorish revival with Neo-Gothic elements. You can see these influences throughout the Main Hall, Gallery, Library and Dining Room, Sacred Art Room, Sitting Room, and Music Room. 

The architecture is a mix of different styles including Romantic, Manueline, and Moorish. You’ll see a lot of Moorish influences in different palaces in Portugal.

Photo of the ornate Romanticism ceiling and Busts in Monserrate Palace in Sintra Portugal
Photo of the ornate central ceiling in Monserrate Palace in Sintra Portugal

Other areas like the library look like typical English country houses of the period with rich walnut doors and shelving. The “Sacred Art Room” with its stained glass windows is gorgeous.

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Monserrate Palace Is Completely Self-Sufficient And Uses 100% Renewable Energy!

I had no idea about this cool fact until reading some of the signs and info posted around Monserrate Palace. The farmyard covers an area of about 2 acres with various types of plants and livestock. The farmyard has a renewable energy system so it is entirely self-sufficient, with renewable energy produced through wind power, hydropower, and solar power.

I love it when heavily touristed places are doing their part to mitigate the footprint of all of those travelers! 

Photo of a Bird Of Paradise in the gardens at Monserrate Palace in Sintra Portugal
Photo of a fern gardens at Monserrate Palace in Sintra Portugal

Getting To Sintra And Monserrate Palace From Lisbon

Thinking about doing a day trip to visit Sintra? Well, it’s super easy from Lisbon. Trains leave almost every hour of every day, and the cost is only a few bucks. Just keep in mind that you’ll likely want to get to Sintra early and stay late, hoping to avoid the peak tourist hours in the middle of the day. 

Tips For Planning To Travel To Monserrate Palace And Sintra

Portugal is such a beautiful country to visit any time of the year, since the temperatures are moderate, giving that “eternal spring” kind of feel. But you’re going to be a little more comfortable in the spring and fall, which will also help you avoid the heavy tourist crowds typical in summer. The temperatures are still warm and the vegetation and blooms are at their most beautiful.

Summer can be quite hot and winter can be cooler, damp, and very windy.

Sintra is a small place, and Monserrate Palace, while expansive, can fill up with tourists in the middle of the day. Yes, even though it’s one of the least visited palaces in Portugal.

Photo of a red hot poker plant in the gardens at Monserrate Palace in Sintra Portugal
Photo of a huge fern gardens at Monserrate Palace in Sintra Portugal

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I visited Monserrate Palace in November, and I made sure I went early in the morning—literally at opening. That’s how I got all of these photos of Monserrate Palace without very many tourists around!

Monserrate Palace is about 2 miles west of the historic center (old town) of Sintra. I hiked there, but it’s probably easiest just to take a bus, rideshare, tuk-tuk or taxi. And the tourist service bus #435 departs from the Sintra train station, passes through the historic center, and ends at the entrance of Monserrate Palace.

Opening Hours And Entrance Costs For Monserrate Palace

While these details are accurate as of this writing, always check current conditions! Also, these costs include both the gardens and the palace.

When you visit Pena Palace, you’ll have the chance to buy either/or, or a combined ticket. Not at Monserrate Palace—your ticket includes both the palace and gardens!

Tickets can be purchased on-site, or you can do it online here. Keep in mind that the last entry time is one hour before closing, but hopefully you’re planning on visiting for much longer than that!

Oh, and maybe check out Monserrate Palace from March to October…when the palace offers a full-day picnic program.

Entrance Fees / Ticket Costs

  • Adults – €8.00 
  • Children – €6.50
  • Seniors – €6.50 

Opening Hours

9:00/9:30 am – 6:30 pm

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Photo of the outdoor terrace stairway in Monserrate Palace in Sintra Portugal

Typical Spending Costs, Travel Styles and Budgets for Travel In Sintra And Throughout Portugal

I was able to average about $50-60 a day in Portugal, and smaller places like Sintra tend to be a little cheaper than the bigger cities of Porto or Lisbon. Especially in accommodations, since I got an amazing hostel bed in a B&B/Hostel with prepared breakfast and an amazing fireplace for less than €20/night. 

Beds in a 4-6 bed hostel dorm run typically run about €15-25. Fantastic sit-down meals at most non-bougie restaurants run €7-15+. And I had some pretty fancy meals for less than €20. And a glass of good port, table wine, or draft beer at those restaurants usually starts at about €2. Credit cards are widely accepted, but carry some cash for the smaller joints. ATMs are readily available, but make sure they’re attached to a reputable bank and not a Euronet ATM. 

Glass of cheap wine or beer while out in Sintra€2-3
Hostel bed in 3-6 person dorm€15-25+/night
Tuk-Tuk or rideshare around Sintra€3-5
Simple sit-down dinner with wine/beer €7-16
Church or Museum entries fees€3-5 (or free)

Where I Stayed In Sintra, Portugal

I stayed at the cutest hostel/B&B while I was in Sintra. The owners literally make a continental breakfast every day and the folks staying there convene around a small fireplace in the living area and chat. Oh, and the “hostel” bedrooms only have three beds, so it’s pretty quiet and chill! You can check it out here—literally hundreds of reviews and almost a 10/10 rating! Highly recommend!

If you’re planning to travel to Portugal, know that there are hundreds of hostels throughout the country. You can filter by rating, location, amenities, cost, etc., here.

Photo of the garden ruins at Monserrate Palace in Sintra Portugal

Planning To Visit Sintra And Monserrate Gardens? Already Been?

Reach out and let me know what you think! Do you think it’s one of the most beautiful palaces in Portugal? I can’t wait to get back, and spending only eight days exploring Sintra (while working of course) just wasn’t enough for me! Please leave a comment below if you’ve already been! What was your favorite part of visiting Monserrate Palace?

Cheers!
– Jason

Travel Planning Tips

Figure out where you are going & how are you getting there…
I suggest using at least 2 to 3 different travel search sites. Start with Skyscanner or Orbitz or Booking …or whatever aggregator site you prefer. Then when you see what airlines to use, check their respective sites for better deals or rewards flights.

Figure out where you’re going to stay…
If you’re interested in hostels, search Hostelworld or Hostelling International. For longer-term or more private digs, look at Airbnb, VRBO, or you can look for hotel rooms in the links from the search engines listed above. 

Get comprehensive travel insurance, or in the least, travel medical insurance if internationally…
Especially with Covid not going anywhere, get covered. Start with an insurance aggregator like Insure My Trip, or with SafetyWing, World Nomads, or another. Then decide what is important to you; trip cancellation, baggage coverage, medical, or all of the above. And get a yearly evacuation plan, since you’ll have to get home after your emergency! 

Need more resources? Click here!

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