National Palace Of Queluz: Best Tips For Visiting In 2023

The National Palace of Queluz (in Portuguese, Palácio Nacional de Queluz) is one of the most important palaces in Portugal, as it served as the residence of three generations of the Portuguese Royal Family. On top of that, it’s the most luxurious Portuguese palace of all, with architectural, landscape, and decorative elements from the Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassicist periods!

In addition to dozens of magnificent halls, corridors, and rooms, the National Palace of Queluz is made up of numerous outdoor patios, lush gardens, and ornamental ponds. And if you’re planning a visit to Lisbon or Sintra, you can (and should) spend a whole morning/afternoon exploring this former royal palace!

So, do you want to know more about the National Palace Of Queluz: Best Tips For Visiting In 2023? Keep reading!

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National Palace of Queluz
National Palace of Queluz

Brief History of the National Palace of Queluz

The history of the National Palace of Queluz dates back to 1654, the year in which King João IV created the Casa do Infantado – a set of lands, properties, and income confiscated after the Restoration of Independence, which was administered by the second son of the King of Portugal (that is, the Infante).

One of these examples was the Queluz Country House (in Portuguese, Casa de Campo de Queluz), which was given to Infante Pedro (and future King Pedro II). But it was another Infante Pedro (the future consort King Pedro III) who decided to transform the Quinta de Queluz into a summer palace. The project was in charge of the architect Mateus Vicente de Oliveira and the works began in 1747.

In 1960, the marriage of Infante Pedro with the heir to the throne, Princess Maria (and future Queen Maria I), dictates that the Palace of Queluz be elevated to the status of a royal residence. For this, the French architect and sculptor Jean-Baptiste Robillon was hired, who added several staterooms.

Ceremonial Façade

The Royal Palace of Queluz became the official residence of Queen Maria I in 1794, after the fire that completely destroyed the Real Barraca da Ajuda. At that time, the regent princes João VI and Carlota Joaquina adapted the interior spaces and built new buildings – including the Dona Maria Pavilion.

In 1807, the Portuguese Royal Family fled to Brazil on the eve of the First French Invasion. The court would only return in 1821, in one of the most troubled periods in the country’s history, with the Independence of Brazil (1822), the Portuguese Civil War (1832-1834), and the death of King Pedro IV (1834).

At the beginning of the 20th century, in 1908, the Royal Palace of Queluz was donated to the National Treasury by King Manuel II. Two years later, it received its current name and its classification as a National Monument. And in 1957, the Dona Maria Pavilion was officialized as the residence of foreign Heads of State on visits to the country.

How to Get to the National Palace of Queluz

In my opinion, the fastest and most practical way to get to the National Palace of Queluz is by car. Mainly because the monument is located about 13 km from the center of Lisbon – which means that it’s the perfect destination for a day trip from the Portuguese capital!

Nonetheless, if you don’t have that possibility, you can travel by train on the Sintra Line. To do so, take the urban train at the Lisbon-Oriente, Lisboa-Entrecampos, or Lisbon-Sete Rios stations and get off at Queluz-Belas (1 km on foot) or Monte Abrãão (1.2 km on foot) stations.

TIP: This trip has a minimum cost of €1.65, but check all prices, timetables, lines, and services on the official website of CP – Comboios de Portugal.

Opening Hours & Ticket Prices

The Gardens and National Palace of Queluz are open every day, from 9:30 am to 6 pm (Palace) or from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm (Gardens), with the last entry being at 5:30 pm (the closing time of the ticket office).

The ticket costs €10 (from 18 to 64 years old) or €8.5 (from 6 to 17 years old, and for over 65s), and provide access to both the Palace and the Gardens. If you just want to visit the Gardens, the ticket costs €5 (from 18 to 64 years old) or €3.5 (from 6 to 17 years old, and for people over 65s).

TIP: If you already know the day and time you want to visit the National Palace of Queluz, I recommend that you buy the entrances through the Parques de Sintra online ticket office. This way, you have access to an automatic 5% discount!

What to See at the National Palace of Queluz

National Palace of Queluz

The National Palace of Queluz has more than three dozen spaces to visit. And I’m just talking about the interior spaces! These are the halls, rooms, pavilions, and apartments that you can discover in this guide:

  • Dona Maria Pavilion (Dona Maria Room, Pompeiana Room, and Hunting Room)
  • Throne Room
  • Music Room
  • Room of the Skylight
  • Chapel
  • Apartments of Princess Maria Francisca Benedita (Boudoir, Dona Maria Room, Empire Room, Oratory)
  • Sculpture Room
  • Smoking Room
  • Coffee Room
  • Dining Room
  • Room of the Porcelains of the Royal Collections
  • Tiled Room (or Corridor of Sleeves)
  • Torch Room
  • Archeiros Room
  • Private Room
  • Ambassadors’ Room
  • Robillion Pavilion (Dispatch Room, Ladies-in-Waiting Room, Picnic Room, Don Quixote Room, Queen’s Bedroom or Princess Carlota Joaquina’s Bedroom, Queen’s Dressing Room or Dressing Room)

Dona Maria Pavilion

The Dona Maria Pavilion (in Portuguese, Pavilhão D. Maria) is the most recent wing of the National Palace of Queluz. Originally, it was intended for the chambers of José, Prince of Brazil – the eldest son of Queen Maria I and King Consort Pedro III. But the premature death of the heir to the throne meant that it was his mother who enjoyed these halls and rooms.

The person responsible for the design of the Dona Maria Pavilion was Manuel Caetano de Sousa, the architect of the Portuguese Royal Family at the time. Unfortunately, the works were only completed in 1789, a year after the death of Prince José and when Queen Maria I’s dementia was already at an advanced stage.

Even so, the monarch occupied this space until the date of the departure of the Portuguese Royal Family to Brazil. And after being converted into the official residence of the Heads of State and having been excluded from tourist visits, the Dona Maria I Pavilion now has three rooms open to the public: the Dona Maria Room, the Pompeiana Room, and the Hunting Room (in Portuguese, Sala D. Maria, Sala Pompeiana, and Sala da Caça, respectively).

Throne Room

The Throne Room (in Portuguese, Sala do Trono) is the largest and main stateroom in the National Palace of Queluz. Its construction dates from 1768-70 when the Rococo style was very much in vogue. In fact, the Throne Room was one of several designed by Jean-Baptiste Robillon, as a result of the marriage of Infante Pedro with Princess Maria!

Interestingly, it was called the Ball Room in the time of Queen Maria I, being used for parties, receptions, and other social events of the Portuguese Court. It should also be noted that the decoration in gilded wood – including the Atlanteans that adorn the corners of the room – is by the master woodcarver Silvestre Faria Lobo.

Music Room

The Music Room or Serenades Room (in Portuguese, Sala da Música or Sala das Serenatas) was completed in 1759, according to a design by Mateus Vicente de Oliveira. For this reason, it’s one of the oldest rooms in the National Palace of Queluz – and one of the few that hasn’t undergone major changes to this day!

Once again, the wooden ornamentation was the responsibility of Silvestre Faria Lobo. If you look at the ceiling, you’ll notice several motifs alluding to the music theme, sculpted by the artist (such as musical instruments). Finally, it’s impossible not to mention the Clementi pianoforte, which occupies a central place on the dais.

Room of the Skylight

The Room of the Skylight at the National Palace of Queluz (in Portuguese, Sala do Lanternim) owes its name to the skylight – an opening in the ceiling for better ventilation and lighting of a structure or building. Ironically, it started by being called the Dark Room, since it was a mere connecting room to the Chapel!

And do you know who ordered the skylight to be installed? General Jean-Andoche Junot, as soon as he occupied Lisbon and Portugal in 1807! Legend has it that the commander of the First French Invasion dreamed of installing Napoleon Bonaparte himself in the National Palace of Queluz!

Chapel

The Chapel of the National Palace of Queluz was created by the architect Mateus Vicente de Oliveira, having been ready in 1752. This means that it was also one of the first spaces to take shape, as soon as Infante Pedro decided to make the Queluz Country House a summer palace!

On the walls and ceilings, the so-called “pintura de fingidos” stands out, a type of coating that consists of recreating noble materials (in this case marble and lapis lazuli). And everything you see in gilded carving was designed by Silvestre Faria Lobo. The painting of Our Lady of the Conception on the main altar is by André Gonçalves.

Apartments of Princess Maria Francisca Benedita

Boudoir

The next rooms that you’ll be able to visit in the National Palace of Queluz correspond to the Apartments of Princess Maria Francisca Benedita (or Maria Benedita de Bragança).

Princess Maria Francisca Benedita was the youngest daughter of King José I and Queen Mariana Vitória de Bourbon, that is, sister of the future Queen Maria I.

This first room is called Boudoir (in Portuguese, Saleta) and features pieces of furniture from the second half of the 18th century to the first half of the 19th century. The decoration of the space is inspired by Pompeian themes.

Dona Maria Room

The Boudoir is followed by the Dona Maria Room (in Portuguese, Quarto D. Maria), Princess Maria Francisca Benedita’s bedroom.

The decor is very similar to the previous space, as you can see from the details alluding to Pompeian themes. And the furniture is also from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century.

In fact, this style became known in Portugal as the Dona Maria I style. It’s a combination of styles created from Portuguese influences (King José’s Rococo style), French (Louis XV and Louis XVI’s styles), and English (in the furniture).

Empire Room

The Empire Room of the National Palace of Queluz (in Portuguese, Quarto Império) owes its name to the empire style – an architectural and decorative style that emerged in France in the early 19th century, with Napoleon Bonaparte. Still, the empire style integrates the neoclassical cultural movement.

The style of this bedroom is a direct consequence of the French Invasions that the country suffered in 1807, 1809, and 1810. During the Peninsular War (1807-1814), the French troops occupied the Iberian Peninsula and tried to impose their style of life and convictions on Portugal and Spain.

Oratory

The Oratory of the Apartments of Princess Maria Francisca Benedita (in Portuguese, Oratório) was designed in 1788, although it ended up being used mostly by Queen Carlota Joaquina de Bourbon.

Queen Carlota Joaquina was the wife of King João VI, the second son and successor of Maria I to the throne, after the death of her eldest brother Prince José.

As far as is known, Queen Carlota Joaquina attended Mass every day in this same Oratory, as she had a great devotion to Our Lady.

Sculpture Room

The Sculpture Room (in Portuguese, Sala da Escultura) got its name in the second half of the 19th century. And why? Because when the National Palace of Queluz was inhabited by King Luís I and Queen Maria Pia de Saboia, she converted the room into a sculpture studio!

However, it’s important to mention that the official residence of the Portuguese Royal Family in the reign of Luís I wasn’t the National Palace of Queluz, but the National Palace of Ajuda.

At that time, the National Palace of Queluz was just a summer residence, like the National Palace of Pena or the National Palace of Sintra.

Smoking Room

The Smoking Room (in Portuguese, Sala de Fumo) is one of several recreational rooms in the National Palace of Queluz and had a single function in the second half of the 19th century: the one that gives it its name.

The act of smoking became a current practice of the Portuguese court – and other European courts – shortly after tobacco began to be exported from America to Europe, at the beginning of the 16th century.

Even so, smoking at the end of a meal only became a hobby of the Portuguese Royal Family in the mid-19th century – hence the desire to adopt a room for this purpose.

Coffee Room

The Coffee Room (in Portuguese, Sala do Café) is another of the rooms at the National Palace of Queluz influenced by trends in other European courts.

In this case, the protagonist was coffee – a drink created in the Arabian Peninsula, but whose plant originates in the forests of Ethiopia.

Once again, it was King Luís I and Queen Maria Pia de Saboia who implemented the coffee drinking trend at the National Palace of Queluz.

For that reason, this room also dates from the second half of the 19th century.

Dining Room

The Dining Room of the National Palace of Queluz (in Portuguese, Sala de Jantar) only began to be used for this purpose in the 19th century, as the modern concept of “dining room” didn’t exist until then. Even in royal residences, where the lack of rooms and halls is not a problem, it was common not to have an assigned dining room!

It’s known that meals were held wherever and whenever the Portuguese Royal Family wanted. This being so, this could depend on the importance of the occasion, the distance between the private apartments and the common rooms, or even the disposition of the monarchs at that moment!

Room of the Porcelains of the Royal Collections

The Room of the Porcelains of the Royal Collections (in Portuguesa, Sala das Porcelanas das Coleções Reais) is a sample of a decorative arts museum inside the National Palace of Queluz. Here, you can admire dozens of pieces that decorated both the Royal Table and the numerous rooms of the palace!

This royal collection of porcelain, faience, and glass covers an extensive period, from the mid-17th century to the first quarter of the 19th century. The oldest objects were produced in China, but you can also find examples of Portuguese and European faience.

Tiled Room (or Corridor of Sleeves)

The Tiled Room of Corridor of Sleeves (in Portuguese, Sala dos Azulejos or Corredor das Mangas) is one of the most beautiful interior spaces in the National Palace of Queluz. Interestingly, it’s a simple connecting room between the Old Palace and the New Palace, which served as a warehouse for the glass candle sleeves!

The blue and white tile panels were conceived in 1764 and represent hunting scenes and everyday episodes. The polychrome tile panels date from 1784 and depict the four seasons of the year, the four continents, scenes from classical mythology, “singeries”, and “chinoiseries”.

Torch Room

The Torch Room (in Portuguese, Sala da Tocha) is one of the three rooms facing the Hanging Garden (or Neptune Garden) and that integrates the Ceremonial Façade.

Even though it still retains the name alluding to its original function, this small quadrangular room has been completely modified.

The decoration of the space includes more than a dozen pieces of furniture, almost all from the second half of the 18th century. These evoke the so-called José I style, a style developed from English Rococo and with slight French Rococo influences.

Archeiros Room

The Archeiros Room (in Portuguese, Sala dos Archeiros) is another of the three rooms facing the Hanging Garden (or Neptune Garden) and that integrates the Ceremonial Façade.

Also known as Palace Guard House (in Portuguese, Sala do Corpo da Guarda), it was the noble entrance to the National Palace of Queluz – hence its central position between the Torch Room and the Private Room.

The portraits you see on the wall are of King Consort Pedro III and Queen D. Maria. In fact, the Archeiros Room is nowadays furnished in the Dona Maria I style!

Private Room

The Private Room (in Portuguese, Sala dos Particulares) is the third of the three rooms facing the Hanging Garden (or Neptune Garden) and that integrates the Ceremonial Façade.

Throughout its existence, this room assumed different functions: at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, it was the waiting room for Prince João’s chamberlains; and in the reigns of Luís I and Carlos I, it was converted into a meeting room and library!

These days, it’s possible to appreciate empire-style furniture pieces, as well as a series of portraits and paintings.

Ambassadors’ Room

The Ambassadors’ Room (in Portuguese, Sala dos Embaixadores) is the most imposing room in the National Palace of Queluz. First of all, it’s impossible not to notice the two daises with thrones, destined for the monarchs and the Princes of Brazil (the title given to the Crown Princes)!

The Ambassadors’ Room was one of Jean-Baptiste Robillon’s greatest works in the National Palace of Queluz. Built between 1754 and 1762, it has had numerous names: the Barraca Rica, the Room of Columns, the Evening Music Room (alluding to the painting of the Portuguese Royal Family on the ceiling), and the Vases’ Room (due to the large porcelain vases from China).

Robillion Pavilion

Dispatch Room

The Robillion Pavilion corresponds to the west wing of the National Palace of Queluz, adjacent to the Ambassadors’ Room.

Here, it’s possible to visit half a dozen rooms, the first being the Dispatch Room (in Portuguese, Sala do Despacho).

Initially the waiting room for the chamberlains of King Consort Pedro III, it was reused as a meeting, audience, and office room by the Prince Regent and future King João VI (hence the name).

Along the way, it also hosted banquets and suppers for summer religious festivals, such as Saint John’s Day and Saint Peter’s Day.

Ladies-in-Waiting Room

The Ladies-in-Waiting Room (in Portuguese, Sala das Açafatas) is a small room installed between the Dispatch Room, the Queen’s Dressing Room, and the Picnic Room.

Basically, it was a waiting room for the ladies-in-waiting and handmaids at the service of Queen Maria I and, later, Queen Carlota Joaquina.

The decor includes furniture and objects spanning the second half of the 18th century to the first quarter of the 19th century. Among them, it’s worth highlighting the terracotta nativity scene, sculpted by António Ferreira and Silvestre de Faria Lobo.

Picnic Room

The Picnic Room (in Portuguese, Sala das Merendas) was the private dining room of the king and queen’s chambers. And even without consulting the floor plan of the National Palace of Queluz or the information boards, it’s possible to understand its function just by looking at the decoration of the space!

From the start, the ceiling seems to be made of honeycombs! And on the doors, six still lifes were painted with birds and pieces of fruit. Finally, four large canvases depicting hunting lunches stand out, which are at the same time allegories of the four seasons of the year.

Don Quixote Room

The Don Quixote Room (in Portuguese, Quarto D. Quixote) is the most important room of the Robillion Pavilion, as it consisted of the king’s room. In reality, it was here that almost all the children of King João VI were born. One of them was King Pedro IV (the first Emperor of Brazil as Pedro I), who also died here!

Although it has a rectangular floor plan, the Don Quixote Room actually looks like a circular room. This illusion is created by the eight columns that support the dome of the ceiling – a dome that is imperceptible from the outside! And the paintings you see address scenes from Don Quixote de La Mancha, by Miguel de Cervantes.

Queen’s Bedroom (or Princess Carlota Joaquina’s Bedroom)

Did you know that the Queen’s Bedroom or Princess Carlota Joaquina’s Bedroom was the bedroom of the king consort Pedro III, the prince regent (and future king) João VI, and his wife, the princess consort (and future queen) Carlota Joaquina?

Today, the Queen’s Bedroom or Princess Carlota Joaquina’s Bedroom is much smaller than initially. It’s also known that King Miguel I used this space as an office during the period in which he ruled the country.

Queen’s Dressing Room (or Dressing Room)

The Queen’s Dressing Room or Dressing Room (in Portuguese, Toucador da Rainha or Sala do Toucador) was the room where the Queen did her personal hygiene, got dressed, and received her most intimate and private visits.

For that reason, it’s right in front of the Ladies-in-Waiting Room, where they waited for the Queen to call them.

The eleven paintings spread over the mirrored walls and doors refer to typical 18th-century children’s toilette activities. And the decoration of the ceiling (in paper-mâché) and the floor (in wood) represent two large baskets of flowers.

Gardens

The successive kings and queens who inhabited the National Palace of Queluz for more than three centuries sought to build outdoor nooks, where they could walk, socialize, and relax. And these are the gardens, waterfalls, lakes, fountains, and kitchen gardens that you can discover in this guide:

  • Shells Cascade
  • Robillion Staircase
  • Garden of the Rich Tent
  • New Garden (Medallions Lake, Fountain of Neptune or Lake of Neptune)
  • Lower Garden (Tiles Canal, Old Maze Garden, Jeu de Paume)
  • Botanical Garden
  • Grove (Grand Waterfall, Princes’ Kitchen Garden)
  • Upper Gardens or Parterres (Hanging Garden or Garden of Neptune, Malta Garden)

Shells Waterfall

The Shells Waterfall (in Portuguese, Cascata das Conchas) is probably the first structure you’ll be able to see, as you descend from the National Palace of Queluz to the gardens. Designed by Jean-Baptiste Robillion at the time of the creation of the Robillion Pavilion and the Robillion Staircase, it’s made from a type of limestone called lioz.

The Shells Waterfall is, in its essence, an ornamental fountain. What gives it the waterfall effect are the four stone basins you see in the photo. Another curious detail is that, next to it, there were the so-called Cages of Beasts, used to house exotic animals such as lions and tigers!

Robillion Staircase

The Robillion Staircase (in Portuguese, Escadaria Robillion) is a monumental stone staircase, which connects the Robillion Pavilion to the Lower Garden. Designed between 1758 and 1760 by Jean-Baptiste Robillion, it’s a masterpiece of architecture and the most famous royal staircase in Portugal.

The Robillion Staircase was known as Lions Staircase, because of the Cages of Beasts that were added in 1822. The Portuguese Royal Family was so interested in zoology that Kings Fernando II and Luís I supported the foundation of the Lisbon Zoological Garden!

Garden of the Rich Tent

The Rich Tent (in Portuguese, Barraca Rica) was a seven-room wooden pavilion that was completed in 1757 and occupied a central position in the Garden of the Rich Tent (in Portuguese, Jardim da Barraca Rica). Currently, the recreational structure no longer exists, but the garden still retains its name.

Cain and Abel
The Rape of Persephone (or The Rape of Proserpina)

The Garden of the Rich Tent is also the place where you can find three of the most important sculptural groups in the National Palace of Queluz: Cain and Abel, Aeneas and Anchises, and The Rape of Persephone. They were created by the atelier of John Cheere, a renowned English sculptor of lead statues!

New Garden

The New Garden (in Portuguese, Jardim Novo) is the work of royal gardener Luís Simões Ressurgido. With trees and other plants imported from the Netherlands in 1765, it took a decade to complete and consisted of two areas: one with an ornamental garden (with ponds, flower beds, and orchards) and the other with a small forest.

Medallions Lake

The Medallions Lake (in Portuguese, Lago das Medalhas) was another one of Jean-Baptiste Robillion’s numerous contributions to the National Palace of Queluz. Installed on the central axis of the New Garden, it consists of a large octagonal basin made of lioz stone and with a water jet in the center.

Conceived in 1764, this ornamental lake features plant and mythological motifs in its ornamentation. For example, the stone and lead sculptural group include dolphins, dragons, mascarons, and even a phoenix (at the top) – each serving as a water fountain!

Fountain of Neptune (or Lake of Neptune)

The Fountain of Neptune or Lake of Neptune (in Portuguese, Fonte de Neptuno or Lake of Neptune) became part of the central axis of the New Garden in 1945. Unlike the Medallions Lake, this ornamental lake has a circular shape and a sculptural set in Carrara marble – even though the contour of the basin is in lioz stone.

The central figure of the Greek god Neptune is supported by a group of four dolphins and surrounded by the figures of four tritons. Its author was the Italian sculptor Ercole Ferrata, a disciple of Gian Lorenzo Bernini and one of the exponents of Roman Baroque.

Lower Garden

The Lower Garden (in Portuguese, Jardim Baixo) was one of the favorite outdoor spaces of the Portuguese Royal Family in the National Palace of Queluz. Along the course of the Jamor river, the kings and queens of Portugal celebrated special occasions with recreational games, serenades, and even fireworks shows!

Tiles Canal

The Tiles Canal (in Portuguese, Canal dos Azulejos) was started in 1752 by Mateus Vicente de Oliveira and took four years to complete. With a length of 115 meters, it crosses the gardens of the National Palace of Queluz from north to south.

When the weather allowed it, the Portuguese Royal Family took a stroll along this canal by boat or gondola. And on festive days, the court chamber musicians played in an old wooden pavilion: the House of Music (or Lake House).

Finally, the tile panels lining the walls depict hunting scenes and bucolic landscapes.

Old Maze Garden

The Old Maze Garden (in Portuguese, Antigo Jardim do Labirinto) took shape in 1764, through a complex network of boxwoods, yews, and cypresses. Furthermore, this “living maze” was decorated with ornamental ponds, colorful statues, and fruit trees (especially lemon and orange trees).

Unfortunately, the Maze Garden that we can walk through today in the National Palace of Queluz is no longer the original. What you see in the photographs was designed by the architect Raul Lino in 1939, although it has the famous boxwood hedges and several fruit trees.

Jeu de Paume

The Jeu de Paume (in Portuguese, Jogo da Pela) was a very popular pastime among European royalty and nobility, and its origins date back to the 17th century.

In fact, “Jeu de Paume” is the name given in Portugal to this open-air venue, where traditional games took place – like an old version of billiards.

In the Jeu de Paume of the National Palace of Queluz, the open field is delimited by a wall with several entrances. And in that same wall, stone benches were excavated, so that the guests could watch the games.

Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden (in Portuguese, Jardim Botânico) may be the farthest garden from the National Palace of Queluz, but it’s still one of the most interesting. Designed between 1769 and 1776, this space is centered on four greenhouses, each of which housed plants from the four continents explored by Portugal: Europe, Africa, Asia, and America.

In the center, an ornamental marble lake steals all the attention, along with the four limestone hound statues that surround it. At that time, there would have been more stone and lead sculptures scattered around the Botanical Garden.

In one of the greenhouses, it’s still possible to observe a pineapple plantation – a delicacy much appreciated by King Pedro III. Since its conception, the Botanical Garden has had a plant labeling system, which followed the taxonomy of the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus.

Grove

The Grove (in Portuguese, Bosquete) is, basically, the “wildest” area of the National Palace of Queluz. Of considerable dimensions, it consists of dozens of paths punctuated by ornamental ponds, decorative statues, and garden benches. And the trees were ordered from the Netherlands from 1754 onwards – as happened later in the planning of the New Garden.

Grand Waterfall

Did you know that the Grand Waterfall (in Portuguese, Cascata Grande) of the National Palace of Queluz was the first artificial waterfall to be built on the outskirts of Lisbon? It all happened between 1772 and 1778 when Jean-Baptiste decided to incorporate this imposing Rococo-style stone structure.

The water is stored in a hidden reservoir at the top and springs from both the marble frown (in the center) and the two phoenixes (on the sides). The remaining adornments of the Grand Waterfall evoke plant and marine motifs.

Princes’ Kitchen Garden

The Princes’ Kitchen Garden (in Portuguese, Horta dos Príncipes) is a fenced area in the Grove, where vegetables, aromatic plants, and flowers were grown.

Its name is due to the pedagogical character that the Princes’ Kitchen Garden had, as it offered a space for gardening, botany, horticulture, and natural history classes to young princes and princesses.

The Portuguese Royal Family had a very particular interest and fascination for the study of Nature. Proof of this is the various outdoor spaces that the monarchs ordered to be built so that it could be investigated or simply contemplated!

Upper Gardens (or Parterres)

Inspired by the formal gardens that André Le Nôtre created for the Palace of the Tuileries, the Palace of Vaux-le-Vicomte, the Palace of Versailles, the Palace of Fontainebleau, and the Palace of Chantilly, Jean-Baptiste Robillion developed two large parterres in front of the National Palace of Queluz: the Hanging Garden (or Garden of Neptune) and the Malta Garden.

Hanging Garden (or Garden of Neptune)

The Hanging Garden or Garden of Neptune (in Portuguese, Jardim Pênsil or Jardim de Neptuno) was planned over twelve years – between 1760 and 1772 – and its central axis starts from the Ceremonial Façade, crossing Neptune’s Lake (which gives it its name) and Nereids’ Lake.

The lead statues that complement this garden came from John Cheere’s atelier, as is the case of Spring, Summer, Autumn, Mars, and Minerva (among others). On the other hand, marble sculptures were produced in Italy.

Malta Garden

The last point of interest in this detailed guide about the National Palace of Queluz is the Malta Garden (in Portuguese, Jardim de Malta), designed between 1758 and 1765. Its name is a reference to the Order of Malta, of which the King Consort Pedro III was its Grand Master.

The Malta Garden is much smaller than the Hanging Garden (or Garden of Neptune) and features a single ornamental lake on its central axis: the Lake of Malta (or Lake of the Malta Garden). But the four ends of the garden are endowed with small decorative fountains.

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8 thoughts on “National Palace Of Queluz: Best Tips For Visiting In 2023”

  1. So beautiful! Thanks for going over the history behind this palace. I visited Sintra and if I had known this was on the same line, I would have added this to the itinerary as well.

    1. You’re welcome! I wish more people knew about this royal palace, everyone seems to visit the Pena Palace and/or the Sintra Palace, and kind of forget about this pearl!

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