On marrying his first wife Isabel, the king moved to the Palácio da Vila that he decorated to his own tastes. Fascinated with the Mudéjar style of southern Spain, he decided to redesign the complex thereby subsequently bequesting to modernity a full art gallery of the finest examples of 16th century tiling. The Sala dos Árabes (Arabian Room) is the best example. With a fountain at its centre, at meal times, people would lounge around on comfortable cushions.
After the death of Isabel, the king withdrew to a convent up in the hills. There, he impatiently awaited the return of the flotilla, led by Vasco da Gama, he had despatched in search of a sea route to India.
Later, in the 19th century, the king’s consort, Fernando de Saxe Coburgo-Gotha, fell for Sintra and ordered the building of the Pena Palace. Its Romantic spirit incorporated Manueline imagery to create spaces packed full of meaning combined with Masonic symbols, an order to which he belonged. Henceforth, Sintra took its place on the grand European Romanticist tour with its revivalist spirit entrancing visitors such as Lord Byron from all over the world. See what it can do for you.