Pena Palace in Sintra, near Lisbon in Portugal, is every princess' dream: romantic, impressive, colourful...but mysterious at the same time.
It is indeed an extraordinary place with a surreal mixture of history and fantasy, protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Its fairytale palaces, incredible vistas, and notable museum collections make it a destination you should make the effort to see, especially if you visit Lisbon.
Built in the 1840s, it is one of Europe's most fantastic palaces, often compared to Neuschwanstein and the other mock-medieval castles of Ludwig of Bavaria in Germany, although it was actually built more than two decades before those.
Sintra was declared a World Heritage Site because:
"In the 19th century Sintra became the first center of European Romantic architecture. Ferdinand II turned a ruined monastery into a castle where this new sensitivity was displayed in the use of Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish and Renaissance elements and in the creation of a park blending local and exotic species of trees. Other fine dwellings, built along the same lines in the surrounding serra, created a unique combination of parks and gardens which influenced the development of landscape architecture throughout Europe."