In many travel guides and on various travel blogs we read that Palácio de Monserrate is not as spectacular as the other sights in Sintra. We respectfully disagree with that.
The atmosphere in this palace is indeed very special. On the ground floor there are Arab influences that definitely recreates a thousand-and-one-nights atmosphere.
Our tip: buy your ticket here to skip the line. You have direct access to Parque e Palácio de Monserrate.
Unlike the other sights in Parque de Sintra, this palace has no Moorish influences, it was built in the late 18th century by an English businessman called Mr. Cook. The exterior of the palace is stunningly beautiful, and the inside is no less pretty. If you look closely at the interior you can see all kinds of building styles. The contrasting green lawns in front of the palace make the colours of the palace even more intense.
For a long time the palace was not open to the public. It was only in 2010 a radical restoration was carried out, after which the palace opened to the public. Perhaps that is why the masses of tourists have not yet discovered this place. And that’s very pleasant if you consider the crowds at the other sights around Sintra.
Around the palace are beautiful botanical gardens, which are certainly worth a visit. When you enter the palace you can turn right on the path to the palace, but you can also turn left to first visit the gardens.
In order to create these beautiful gardens, that businessman Cook we mentioned earlier, brought plants and shrubs from all over the world. The garden is divided into different gardens with various themes. Every few meters there are ponds, waterfalls and hidden stone paths. There is a fountain made entirely of mosaic. There is also a ruin that is very photogenic. In 2013 the garden won a European Garden Award.
There is a restaurant in the old stable house. The food here is nothing special but certainly not bad.
Visiting Palácio de Monserrate with children
Bringing children to this Palace is certainly a great idea. The palace itself is not all too big, but certainly interesting to walk through. Even the smallest ones can enjoy themselves here, for instance to try out the acoustics.
The garden is great for walking around with children. The large grass meadow in front of the palace is very inviting to roll down or run up from the slope. But beware, walking on the lawn is not always appreciated.
In addition, many different types of gardens have been laid out, each with a different theme. Walking up to the ferns provides a real jungle feeling. Certainly loads of fun for the little ones.
Palácio de Monserrate can be visited with a buggy, when you enter you take the path on the right. It is useful to know that Palácio de Monserrate is built on a hill. To visit the palace and the garden with a wheelchair or a stroller, some push work is sometimes needed.
How to get to Parque e Palácio de Monserrate
Address: Estrada de Monserrate, Sintra
Opening hours daily (except December 25 and January 1) from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (last tickets are sold at 5 p.m.).
Parking: There is a parking space right in front of the palace. It’s not a big parking area but because it is usually not too crowded.
Car: take the IC19 (from Lisbon), IC30 (from Mafra) and take the A5 to Cascais.
Public transport: take bus 435 from trainstation Sintra, Scotturb and get off at the Monserrate stop.