Monserrate Palace in Sintra


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If you are into romantic ambience, this place will certainly win your hearts. I invite you to join me on an exciting journey to the fairy-tale kingdom of the Orient.

Monserrate Palace and the surrounding park are the underrated gems of Sintra. Its history began in 1540, when a chapel of the Mother of God was constructed in the place of today’s palace. The following years of its existence were marked by changes, as it constantly passed into the hands of successive owners. Numerous renovations were also carried out at that time, including the one that was necessary after the 1755 earthquake.

The Monserrate Palace flourished in 1846, when Francis Cook, a British trader and art collector, took possession of the residence. It was he who ordered the construction of the temple known today, combining Gothic and oriental motifs. He created an ideal place to spend holidays at with the family and organize large parties and banquets.

The palace was bought by the state in 1949, and since 1995 it has been an important part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sintra. Since 2000, the Monserrate Palace has been renovated and to this day its managers have been trying to diversify and enrich the palace collection. Thanks to these efforts, it delights visitors every day.

INTERESTING FACT: Another person enchanted by Monserrate Palace was Lord Byron, who proudly wrote about it in one of his poems.

Interior of the Monserrate Palace
Interior of the Monserrate Palace

Monserrate Palace architecture

The Monserrate Palace reveals its oriental ambiance from the outside. The dome crowning the building, arches decorated with oriental patterns, narrow windows and a pleasantly contrasting stone facade catch the visitor’s eye from afar. Its interior is worthy of an art collector. Apart from colorful stained glass windows, the chapel has a rich collection of sacral art. The said dome is impressive not only from the outside, but also from the inside, as the octagonal recess serves as the base for floral motifs through which the sunlight shines romantically.

Monserrate Palace, Sintra
Monserrate Palace, Sintra

Various parts of the Monserrate Palace are connected by corridors with columns. In the building you will discover, among other things, a gallery that is a must in the residence of any art lover. The living room was the main place in which the residents stayed and hosted their guests. The library was Cook’s office, but the paintings and ubiquitous marbles can be found there as well. In the Monserrate Palace you will also see the music hall with its fabulous, exotically decorated ceiling, inspired by music. Thanks to the unique acoustics, recitals and concerts were held in this hall. The climax of the tour will be a visit to the kitchen – the place where preparations for all feasts began.

Monserrate Park

Walking through the corridor of columns, you will reach the Monserrate park, which is not only a background for the palace, but also a perfect extension of its style and atmosphere. Together with other gardens and parks in Sintra, it is one of the main representatives of the romantic landscape in Portugal. Walking through the park you will feel as if you were traveling around the world, because the park is home to specimens brought from various corners of our globe. Exotic specimens are ordered according to their place of origin, thanks to which you will smoothly walk between landscapes that imitate different corners of the world.

Agaves, yuccas and palms evoke the warm and dry climate of Mexico, while bamboos and rhododendrons make you think of the climate of Japan. You will also pass through the rose garden. All these plants grow among species that are  typical of Portugal, including cork trees and echinacea. Fountains,ruins and stone arches emerge here and there from the rich and diverse vegetation.

Francis Cook is not the only person to be credited with creating the whole plant collection. It is also work of botanists, gardeners and landscape architects. The entire complex, both the Monserrate Palace and the surrounding park, is called a work of Romantic art.

Practical information

If you want to visit Monserrate Palace in Sintra it is best to buy your ticket in advance. You will then avoid standing in a long queue and avoid the risk that all admission tickets have been sold out. You will then avoid standing in a long queue and avoid the risk that all tickets have been sold out.

Monserrate Palace on a map

Other interesting places to visit in Portugal

Klaudia Komadowska
Klaudia Komadowska
It started with a few Spanish words and ended with an boundless love for the Spanish-speaking world. Just like that. The more I knew and discovered, the more happiness it brought me. And it still does. A vivid imagination and an artistic soul eventually allowed me to believe that there's a lot of Latin blood flowing within me.

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