The National Palace of Queluz is beautiful and well worth a visit. Located about 16 kilometres from all the popular palace sites of Sintra but close to Lisbon, it is often overlooked by many visitors to Portugal. If you want to explore a gorgeous Baroque palace without the crowds, then head here, you won’t be disappointed.
A Little History of Queluz National Palace (Palacio de Queluz)
Queluz Palace was built in 1747 and was the royal residence for Queen D. Maria I and Dom Pedro III. Despite the 17 year age gap and the fact that Dom Pedro III was Queen Maria’s Uncle, the marriage was a happy one.
They say that when Dom Pedro died in 1786, poor Queen Maria started to show signs of madness which escalated when her eldest sign José died from smallpox two years later. She was then confined to ‘Maria’s Pavilion’, away from public view but her crazed screams were heard throughout the Palace. Eventually, her younger son Joao took her to Brazil in 1807 when the French invaded Portugal.
The palace interior is pretty impressive – an interesting mix of Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical styles. My neck hurt from admiring the artwork on the ceilings.
One of the first rooms you enter is the rather impressive Throne Room where Queen Maria I and Dom Pedro would receive their guests. The room is decorated with mirrors, gold carvings and paintings.
It was fascinating walking through the palace. After seeing the bedrooms, I can’t believe how small the beds are, but then when we were looking to rent a house in Portugal, we noticed that too.
The Tiles Corridor Hallway was gorgeous. The panels represented the four seasons and scenes from classical mythology and hunting scenes.
The chapel at Palacio Queluz was one of the first rooms to be completed at the palace and was consecrated in 1752. Both Queen Maria I and Dom Pedro were very religious and would attend mass several times per day. The upper level of the chapel had galleries where the royal family would sit, out of view of the congregation.
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After exploring the interior of the palace, you can take a stroll through the garden. It’s lovely to walk around but we were there in the middle of a heatwave, and even though there’s a lot of shade, it was a bit too hard to walk for too long. But don’t miss the Canal dos Azulejos where the royal family used to ride a small boat during the summer months. The tiles are gorgeous, decorated with scenes from the 18th century.
But now we were hungry and thirsty; we headed for lunch at the Cozinha Velha which was once the palace kitchen and still retains the vaulted ceiling, arches and an old stone chimney. The restaurant is famous for its desserts, but I have to say, I have had better creme brûlées elsewhere!
Opening Hours and Entrance Fees to the Queluz Palace
The entrance fee for both Palacio de Queluz and the Gardens is:
Adult €10 .00
Child/ Senior €8.50
If you just want to explore the gardens, then it’s
Child/ Senior €3.50
Palacio Queluz Opening Hours:
From April to end of October, Queluz Palace is open from 09:00 – 19:00.
From November to May, 09:00 – 18:00.
Last admission, one hour before closing.
For up to date information about opening hours and entrance fees, please check the Parques de Sintra website:
How to get to the Queluz Palace
We drove, the National Palace of Queluz is well signposted and easy to reach from the A9.
For those wishing to use public transport, Queluz Palace is roughly 16 kilometres from both Lisbon and Sintra. From Lisbon, take the train towards Sintra and get off at Monte Abraão train station. If you are coming from Sintra, get off at the Queluz-Belas station. From both stations, it’s about a 15-minute walk to Queluz Palace.