The Palacio de Monserrate (Monserrate Palace), is one of the most stunning and visually striking palaces of Sintra. It located only 3.5 km from the historic center but many tourists simply overlook this terrific palace. Monserrate Palace is inherently blended Arabic, Gothic and Indian architectural styles to develop a wonderful summer house that is encircled by beautiful gardens; if you are going to visit Sintra make sure that you do not miss out on this hidden pearl.
According to legend, there was a chapel dedicated to Virgin Mary built by Afonso Henriques after the reconquest of Sintra (circa 1093). On its ruins, another chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Monserrate was constructed on the top of the hill in 1540. The estate was then owned by Hospital Real de Todos os Santos, Lisbon. In the 17th century possession of the property was taken by the Mello e Castro family but after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the farmhouse became unlivable. An English merchant named Gerard de Visme rented the farm in 1789 and built a neo-Gothic house over the ruins of the chapel. In 1793-1794 the estate was subleased by William Thomas Beckford who started to design a landscaped garden. After that, the property attracted foreign travellers’ attention.
There’s a rose garden, Mexican and Japanese gardens, and a great lawn across from the palace, which is accessed through an octagonal hall with a series of Gothic arches and marble columns. From there, visitors head to the library, the chapel, the music and billiard rooms, with their fine details on the walls and ceilings.
De facto palace was established by Sir Francis Cook, English, who determined to make a summer residence from the ruins of a pre-existent neo-Gothic palace around 1860. The gorgeous Monserrate Park and Palace continue the nineteenth century Romanticism style of architecture found throughout the Sintra. While passing the park, one will imagine travelling around the world whereas look the various exotic species, solely to be stunned afterwards by the marvellous palace, that includes Indian, Gothic and Moorish influences, which emerges at the top of the typical British lawn.
A regular tour around Monserrate will take between 1-2 hours, counting on the exploration of the places and knowledge.
There are several remarkable spots on the approach, such as an amazing waterfall, a ruined chapel or a Mexican garden. We suggest you be careful on the way down since the most picturesque way is also the toughest. The garden is interesting throughout the whole year since the various species have different blossoming times. In the afternoon the sunlight has a particular shine, but in Sintra, one never knows if the typical fog won’t appear unexpectedly, so always bring warm clothes with you!
The palace itself is not very big, but the rooms themselves are worth exploring. One of the highlights of the palace is the Music Hall, still used nowadays for cultural events. Surrounded by inspirational muses, this Hall has impressive acoustics. Another inside spot one should not miss is the Kitchen with its technological wood burning stove, which provided hot water for the boiler, thus integrating the heating system of the house. This was considered very modern at the time.
The price to go to the Park associated Palace of Monserrate for an adult is between €6.50 (low season) and €8.00 (high season). There area unit discounts for kids (under 18) and seniors (over 65). There also are combined tickets with different monuments in Sintra. The gap hours area unit between 10:00 – 18:00, last ticket at 17:00, last entrance 17:30, counting on the season for the Palace and 10:00 – 18:00, last ticket and entrance at 17:00 for the Park. Last price tag is half-hour (palace) to one hour (park) before the hour. Monserrate Palace is open seven days every week (except for some key holidays), in contrast to several of Lisbon’s monuments that area unit closed on Mondays.
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