When Is the Best Time
Monserrate Palace and Park are a unique and overwhelming place that is still not overrun. It is an excellent escape from Lisbon and is overlooked due to the nearby Pena Palace. It is a wonderful planned garden with plants from all over the world. It doesn't surprise that Monserrate Palace is a popular wedding location.
The palace is located close to the historic centre of Sintra. Sintra is popular and busy from late morning onwards. Monserrate is part of the “Three Palace Tour” but the quietest of all, even in the busy summer and holiday season.
The best time for your visit is in the morning in the peak season. I recommend the afternoon with the best sunlight for awesome shots outside and inside the castle in the low season.
You easily spend half a day here. Soak in the masterpieces of art with Gothic Arabian and Indian influences. We have visited Monserrate multiple times and never get bored of this palace and unique garden. The garden received the European Garden Award in 2013.
How Much Time Do You Need for Monserrate Palace?
If you wish to see as many palaces and ancient buildings in Sintra as possible in one day, you are already able to see most of the palace and garden in two hours. However, we visited the palace twice and always spent half of the day here to soak in the beauty and for a stroll through the beautiful garden.
How to Get To Sintra and Monserrate Palace
There is a Hop on Hop off bus called CitySightseeing Sintra operating every twenty-minute during the opening hours of Monserrate Palace. We always take a rental car at the airport.
Monserrate Palace Parking
Another advantage for Monserrate is the parking. You can park your car next to the palace, which is an exception in Sintra. Google Maps Parking
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
In July and August, Sintra is completely overrun. If you want to visit Monserrate in summer, you should go either early or late in the day. Weekends are even busier, and it might be very difficult to find a parking space—also, the Portuguese love Sintra with the cooler temps in summer. Winter is the best time to avoid masses of tourists coming by bus from Lisbon and swarming around.
My favourite months are May until mid-June and September, less hot and busy, mostly with a blue sky. However, our last two visits were in the winter. We experienced 16°C in Lisbon and 13°C in Sintra, and it was sunny with pleasant temps for weeks. None of the places gets crowded from November to February except during Christmas.
Opening Hours and Tickets Monserrate Palace & Park
- High Season (end of March until the end of October.)
Palace 9.30 am until 7 pm, last admission 6.15 pm and the park until 8 pm - Entrance fee: adult 8 €
- Low Season (end of October until the end of March)
Palace 10.00 am until 6 pm, last admission 5.30 pm and the park until 6 pm - Entrance fee: adult 6,50 € and family 22 € (2 adults and 2 under 18 years)
- Ticket Tip
You get a 5 % discount when buying tickets online, and to avoid lining up during the peak season: Buy tickets
Monserrate Palace History
Monserrate Palace is rich in history dating back to 1540. First, it was a chapel dedicated to “Our Lady of Monserrate” that belonged to Lisbon's All Saints Hospital. The chapel was destroyed by a terrible earthquake in 1755 and got rebuilt by three investors from England.
The last of the three, Francis Cook (1817-1901), a textile millionaire, took the palace's ruins to create the family summer residence. Monserrate Palace combined Arabic, Gothic and Indian architectural styles and was used as their summer house.
Is Monserrate Palace Worth a Visit?
Yes, definitely, for three reasons: First, the mixture of the Gothic and Arabic styles of this well-preserved palace is stunning. Second, this palace is one of the less known ones and not crowded like the Pena Palace in Sintra, and third, you are able to explore the palace self-guided. Soak in the beauty and admire this exceptional architecture.
We have visited the Lisbon area 20 times in 15 years - just once we experienced a few rainy days. Although Sintra has a different climate to Cascais and Lisbon because of the high elevation, the summer can be scorching, topping 30°C, but there is mostly a pleasant breeze in summer.
The winter is colder here and often foggy. The weather is more unpredictable from October to March, with more precipitation. However, it seldom rains for an entire week. Sintra looks mystic if it is misty and appears even more fascinating.
From mid to end of December, the weather is frequently fine from my experience, and my friends at PortugalWalkHike agree.
More about the breathtaking interiors and the garden below.
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Best Months to Visit
Location and Tips
The palace is surrounded by a breathtaking garden with plants and trees from around the world. Directly at the palace is a huge New Zealand Christmas Tree (Pohutukawa) covered with red flowers in early summer, in December in New Zealand, the reason for its tree name.
The palace is almost not furnished except for the library. It was emptied of furniture, carpets, paintings, and collections in the middle of the 20th century. Each room has a description and a picture of what the room looked like long ago.
A map at the entrance gives you an idea about the palace and the park. Our highlight was the gallery, the corridor connecting the three parts of the palace.
Also, the old chapel ruin covered with fig trees is a stunning place for incredible shots. It replaced the former chapel of “Our Lady of Monserrate”.
Sintra has been a unique Unesco World Heritage Site since 1995 and is famous for being the first centre of European Romantic architecture in the 19th century. The Palace of Monserrate was restored and reopened in 2010.
Plan at least two hours for the self-guided tour through the palace and the huge park. We always stay here half a day sitting on the lawn, enjoying the sun and the beautiful surroundings, walking through the park and admiring the old trees and the corridor is just beautiful to watch.
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