The Palace was the royal residence of of two generations of monarchs: Dom Pedro of Braganza who married his niece Queen Maria I, then João VI and his family until they fled to Brazil in 1807, after the French invasion.
Work began on this stunning building in 1747 and was one of the last Rococo buildings to be designed in Europe.
Queluz Palace then slowly fell from favour with the Portuguese rulers until the state acquired it in 1908. Serious damage was caused by a fire in 1934 which gutted the interior. It was extensively restored and has been open to the public as a museum since 1940.
In 2004, the World Monuments Fund began a programme to restore the lead sculptures and other garden features. Extensive work is also underway on the outside of the Palace buildings but it doesn’t impede visitor enjoyment of the interior.
While the Palace is stunning, do leave time to enjoy and explore the extensive gardens. The tiled canal is particularly impressive as is the Lake of the Medallions and Neptune, and the many lead statues and marble sculptures dotted throughout.
It’s deservedly a major tourist attraction now and is frequently referred to as the Portuguese Versailles.
During the summer it hosts classical music concerts and equestrian shows.
Bus 106 leaves from Carcavelos Beach (Estrada da Torre) every hour or so and takes you to within a 5 minute walk of the palace. Journey time 45minutes +/- Cost E4.10.
Alternatively, take the Sintra train from Rossio to Queluz-Belas.
Either way, don’t forget to have a good look at the Aqueduct by Campolide station. And the one that took water to the palace.