Monserrate Palace is a palatial villa, an eclectic and charming construction, designed with rotundas and towers, arabesque cut-outs and Moorish-influenced plaster work.
National Palace of Sintra
Palácio Nacional de SintraElyn Aviva
The oldest national palace in Portugal
“It’s a place of power—political power that is. If you like palaces it’s a good one—not too big, not too small, with interesting and varied architecture, including numerous design styles and multi-leveled gardens. The well-placed windows provide excellent views of the Moorish Castle on the hillside and the twisting spires of nearby Quinta da Regaleira. Every room is different. Geometric-patterned and blue-and-white narrative azulejos (tiles), a rare Mudejar wood-coffered ceiling, a room topped with an elaborately decorated heraldic cupola, a 17th-century, silver ‘bed of state’—all make the visit worthwhile.” —Elyn
The National Palace of Sintra is not our usual kind of powerful place—it doesn’t give us chills or shivers; it doesn’t fill us with awe. However, it is definitely a place of power: its occupation spans 800 years, nearly the entire history of the nation we call Portugal. This makes it the oldest national palace in Portugal, and nearly every Portuguese king and queen spent time here. The palace’s development and use over the centuries enables us to see the how architecture reflects history and political power.