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The Palace of Monserrate is a unique testimony to the nineteenth-century eclecticism and one of the most important examples of Romantic architecture in Portugal.
© PSML / EMIGUS

Park and Palace of Monserrate

Four kilometres from the historic centre of Sintra is the Park of Monserrate, which includes exuberant gardens and a Palace, a unique testimony to the eclecticism of the nineteenth century, where the exotic plant motifs of the interior extend harmoniously outside. The front lawn of the Palace offers the opportunity for a well-deserved rest, before or after your discovery of one of Portugal’s richest botanical gardens.

At the end of the eighteenth century, the Park of Monserrate was rented to Gerard de Visme, a rich English merchant who built a house there in the neo-gothic style. In 1794, De Visme sublet Monserrate to William Beckford, but by 1809, when Lord Byron visited and described it in the poem “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”, the house, being abandoned, was already in ruins.

However, Monserrate became an obligatory tourist stop for foreign travellers, especially the English, and was described in numerous travel accounts and engravings. One famous visitor was Francis Cook, another very rich English industrialist who was later honoured by King Luis with the title Viscount of Monserrate, who purchased the property and initiated, together with the architect James Knowles, the transformation of what remained of the De Visme house.

The Palace of Monserrate is delicately decorated in a style that combines Gothic and Indian influences with Moorish touches. – © PSML / EMIGUS
The Palace of Monserrate is delicately decorated in a style that combines Gothic and Indian influences with Moorish touches. – © PSML / EMIGUS

By 1866, Monserrate Palace was finished, in a style that combined Gothic and Indian influences with Moorish touches. Along with the Palace of Pena, it is one of the most important examples of Romantic architecture in Portugal. The surrounding gardens received species from all over the world and were organised according to their geographic areas, reflecting the diverse origins of the plants and forming landscapes along the paths between ruins, recesses, lakes and waterfalls. Of note are the garden of Mexico, the Rose Garden and the Ornamental Lakes, recently restored.

It is largely thanks to the intervention of landscaper William Stockdale, botanist William Neville, master gardener James Burt and, in particular, the romantic spirit of Francis Cook that today we find such contrasting scenes in the Park of Monserrate, which, along winding paths, side by side with spontaneous regional species, such as strawberry trees, very rare hollies, and imposing cork oaks, allow us contact with ancestral tree ferns and araucarias, agaves and palm trees that recreate a scene from Mexico, and camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons and bamboo evoking a garden in Japan.

Along Monserrate's winding paths, you find contrasting scenes, with local plant species growing alongside species from every continent. – © PSML / EMIGUS
Along Monserrate's winding paths, you find contrasting scenes, with local plant species growing alongside species from every continent. – © PSML / EMIGUS

The Portuguese government acquired the estate and the Palace in 1949, which were later entrusted to Parques de Sintra in 2000. Following the extensive rehabilitation of the roof and the façades, and the implementation of new infrastructure networks, the Palace reopened in the summer of 2010. The restoration of the interiors took place until 2016, in full view of the visitors, and the Palace is now fully restored.

Visit

Park and Palace of Monserrate

Hours

Open every day of the year, except December 25th and January 1st

Park:
10:00 – 18:00, last ticket and last admission 17:00

Palace:
10:00 – 18:00, last ticket 17:00, last admission 17:30

Pricing

Park en palace:
Ticket for adults (18 – 64 yrs): € 7,50
Ticket for youths (6 – 17 yrs): € 6
Ticket for seniors (over 65 yrs): € 6
Family ticket (2 adults + 2 youths): € 26

To benefit from a reduction on your visit to several sites, you can buy combined tickets for several sites.

Contact Information

Parques de Sintra - Monte da Lua, S.A.