„Que luz!“ („What a light!“) allegedly praised the palace Queen Mary I. being astonished by its brightness. Well, at least according to my guide book… :)
Why to go: When the sky is clear and the bright facades of the palace reflect the sunlight all around, you can imagine this area must have been a really charming place to stay.
The site of the National Palace of Queluz includes not only the nice royal residence building, but also large park consisting of several different gardens inviting you to spend even about two hours just walking around and enjoying all the sculptures, fountains and a beautiful tiles channel.
What to see there: You can decide whether you want to see both the residence building and the gardens, or just enter the gardens with a discounted ticket.
I would say when you’re there, it’s worth to see both – even though I was not totally astonished by the interiors of the palace (some call it „the Portuguese Versailles“ which I guess is a bit exaggerated), I must admit it was nice and there is also interesting story about the royal family in one of the rooms, so I didnt regret buing the complete ticket. Just don’t expect too much – its a nice small chateau, that’s it.
Maybe it would be a good idea to pay a bit more for guided tour, since I kind of lacked more detailed information about the history of the place and the exponates (mostly, there are just their names) – so if you would like to know more, ask for a guide.
Anyway, take the free illustrated map at the ticket office, it is very nice and tells you the basic info you might be interested into. It will be also very useful outeside, letting you you know which places you shouldn’t miss in the gardens.
Talking about the gardens, there is definitely one place you can’t miss – the coloruful tiles channel in the middle of the park. The royal family used to have a small river there, so they could even ride in a small boat in the channel. From there,
I would suggest you take the „recommended route“ from the visitors map (the red dotted line in the map) since it will take you almost all around the park. A good advice: Enjoying a coffee at the palace’s terrace before visiting a garden might be a good idea, since the visit of the gardens will take you a while.
When you are walking through the gardens, you can also try to see if there are horses, since there is a building of a training school and arenas in one of the corners of the park. At the completely other side of the gardens, take a look at the“Grand Cascade“ – a big decorated rock wall with waterfall. Finishing your walk in the garden close to the palace, you can take nice pictures of the residence buildings with all the pretty fountains and sculptures.
How to get there: Queluz is a village in Lisbon suburbs, easily accessible in 20 minutes by train from Rossio station in the center of Lisbon – just take any train in the direction to Sintra. The cheapest way to buy the ticket is to use zapping (if you don’t know how it works, check the article here).
In Queluz, you will have to walk just about 15 minutes through the city center – there is not much to see, but on your way back you can go through the urban park of Felício Loureiro so you don’t have take the same way twice.