A luxurious 18th century palace with marble and golden stucco, perfectly manicured gardens, ornamental lakes where the water flows from statues featuring mythological characters. This is not Versailles, this is the Palácio Nacional de Queluz, located 5 kilometers from Lisbon.
This palace was the home of queen Maria I who suffered from a mental condition (in Brazil she is still reminded as Maria the Insane). Other eccentric noble characters lived in the palace, such as Carlota Joaquina, daughter-in-law of Maria I, and her English guest William Beckford.
Discover the intriguing stories of these bizzarre characters as you admire the splendor of Palácio Real de Queluz and its Italian style gardens.
There are several amazing things that you will see during your visit to the national palace of Queluz. Among the most interesting rooms there are:
After visiting the interior of the palace, spend some time strolling around its exteriors. The gardens of the national palace of Queluz are some of the most representative ornamental gardens of Portugal and they surely deserve a visit. These Italian-style gardens are adorned with hedges, statues, lakes, waterfalls, and fountains.
Take a look at the Neptune Fountain, a beautiful group of statues sculpted by a scolar of Bernini, as well as at the collection of statues made by the Londoner artist John Cheere.
In these 16 hectares long gardens the royal Portuguese kept in cages exotic animals like lions, tigers, and monkeys; they sailed a channel covered with azulejos and attended outdoor music concerts.
These elegant and eccentric gardens will surprise you; in order to visit them you can choose to join a guided tour or to stroll around by yourself following the suggested itinerary.
Queluz is located just 5 km from Lisbon and it can be easily reached by a direct train. The journey lasts about 20 minutes. From Queluz-Belas station it takes about 15 minutes walk to reach the palace.
Originally used as a hunting lodge, the national palace of Queluz was transformed into the summer residence for the Portuguese royal family members. Prince Dom Pedro III, husband of queen Maria I, ordered the construction of the new palace. The project was undertook by the Portuguese architect Mateus Vicente de Oliveira, and the French artist Jean-Baptiste Robillon. The construction of the palace took about 10 years, from 1750 to 1760.
The Portuguese royal family used the palace for entertainment purposes throwing parties, concerts, hunting, and pyrotechnic shows.
Today the palace is used to host important personalities and heads of state traveling on official visits; concerts and shows are organized inside the palace and its gardens.
Expect from queen Maria I, the Portuguese royal family never lived inside this palace. It was used for recreative purposes only.
Today the palace of Queluz is still home to the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art, which has collected the legacy of the ancient equestrian academy of the Portuguese court. The school organizes shows and trainings open to public at the Picadeiro Henrique Calado, located in the Calçada da Ajuda in Belém.
Inside the palace there is a five star restaurant located inside the big kitchen galls, as well as an elegant pousada where it is possible to spend the night. Don’t expect low cost prices, though; we are still talking about a royal residence!
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.