Pena Park, a natural wonder
Pena Park is an amazing natural park, surrounding Pena Palace, in Sintra, which overwhelms visitors with its exotic and lush beauty.
Pena Park is a natural environment of rare beauty and scientific importance surrounding Pena Palace. Planted and wooded under the artistic inspiration of Don Fernando, Queen Mary II’s husband, this Park depicts the Romantic style of the late XIX century.
The project, intended to cut with the classical formal gardens from the past, offers contrasting ambiences planned to create a magical and mysterious aura, enhanced by the famous mist usually surrounding Serra de Sintra. To achieve this goal lakes linked by waterfalls were designed, plants and trees from Europe, North America, Asia and even New Zealand were brought, pavilions of different architectonical styles were built as well as fountains, charming little corners and belvederes.
This amazing natural park goes from Feteira da Condessa, the lowest point of the park at 380 meters, up to Cruz Alta (High Cross), the highest summit of Serra de Sintra with 528 meters, recognizable at the distance by the stone cross erected by John III in the 16th century. From this point you will get an amazing view of the entire park, including the unique Pena Palace.
Not far from Cruz Alta there is Saint Catherine’s Height, the favorite belvedere of Queen Amelia, with the “Queen’s Throne” carved in the rock.
The statue of the Warrior rises imposing on the horizon. This bronze statue from Ernesto Rusconi is a possible representation of the King Fernando as a guardian of his work.
Along the Pena Park there are several lakes, fountains and water tanks, however the most emblematic are to be found on the area named as Valley of the Lakes, a set of five lakes, decorated with castellated duck-houses, into where all the water lines of the Park flow.
Photo by Sara Berger
The Chalet of the Countess stands out from the several pavilions existing on the Park. Situated near Arco do Mouco, on the Penedos Gordos hillside, it was built in 1870 by Don Fernando as a present to his second wife the opera singer Elisa Hensler, Countess of Edla. Fortunately the Chalet was recently renovated, regaining its original beauty and reopened to the public. The Countess followed the work of Don Fernand, having also contributed to transform and develop this magnificent Park.
Afterward Queen Amelia II also played an important role on the creation of the Pena Park. She left her mark on the Garden of Queen Dona Amelia, the vegetable garden and 16th century orchard of the previously existing Monastery she transformed into a garden, on the Queen’s Fern Valley as well as on the Camellias collection she started.
The freshness of the vegetation, the calming sound of the water running, the silence of the charming corners and the breathtaking landscape of the Park assure you a memorable day.