The fairy-tale appearance of Pena Palace and the two hundred hectare park that surrounds it made it a must see on my trip to Portugal in early April 2013, and it really didn’t let me down. The Palace was built on the site of an old monastery that was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, the only surviving part being the 15th century chapel which still stands to this day. In 1838 Ferdinand II acquired the ruins of the monastery and decided to build a summer residence for the Portuguese Royals. The Palace took quite some time to be completed as King Ferdinand and Queen Maria were quite specific in their desire for the design of the palace to include a variety of Islamic and Medieval elements. After the Republican Revolution of 1910 the Palace was turned into a museum, Queen Amélia spent her last night in Portugal at the palace before fleeing the country in exile. The surrounding park contains a variety of ornate buildings and walkways, King Ferdinand ordered trees and plants from around the world to be planted in the park, North American Sequoias, Chinese Ginkgo and Japanese Cryptomeria being just a few examples.
GPS: 38.78755, -9.39048