The Palace of Sintra (Palácio Nacional de Sintra), in Sintra, west of the capital Lisbon, is one of the town's main attractions.
Sintra was previously a Moorish town before it was retaken by Christian forces in 1147 and the site of the Palácio Nacional de Sintra is thought to have been a Moorish fortress. Nothing, however, remains of the early Moorish and Christian buildings on the site.
The structures we see today were built from the 14th and 15th century on starting with work by King Dinis I and King John I. Some of the famous rooms in the Palácio Nacional de Sintra include: the Swan Room (Sala dos Cisnes), the Magpie Room (Sala das Pegas) and the Arab Room (Sala dos Árabes).
The Swan Room (Sala dos Cisnes) and the Magpie Room (Sala das Pegas) are named after the paintings of the two birds on the respective ceilings of the palace. The Magpie Room (Sala das Pegas) was a meeting room where the monarch received notable visitors.
Further expansion of the Palácio Nacional de Sintra was undertaken by King Manuel I from 1497 to 1530, financed by the wealth generated by the so-called Age of Discoveries, as Portuguese explorers such as Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco da Gama expanded Portugal's trade routes with South America and Asia.
Features of this new "Manueline" style include azulejos tiles, harking back to the Moorish period, and decorative motifs referencing the new maritime explorations.
Palácio Nacional de Sintra
Hours: 9.30am-7pm (summer)