Hidden Gems – The Palacio Nacional Adjuda, Lisbon

Hey all. You know, some places you visit blow you away, and destination Lisbon has its share of them. But what you have to love as a tourist to a place is going somewhere which blows you away, yet it seems not that many people know about it. The Palacio Nacional Adjuda in Lisbon is just such a place. A huge and ornate, beautiful, neo-classical palace hidden up a hill between Belem and Lisbon, I would class this as a ‘not-to-be-missed’ sort of attraction in the Portuguese capital.

Unfortunately I only took this one very average photo of the exterior.

And yet, when my wife and I visited, we were almost the only non-staff in the building. We visited it after lunch after visiting the Belem Tower and the Saint Jerome Monastery. I don’t know if timing had anything to do with it, or if the big tour groups had visited already in the morning. But this massive place felt like it was almost ours for the hour we spent inside going from room to room with our jaws on the ground at the scale and design of the thing.

In fairness, it was where the royal family used to reside before revolution hit Portugal, and you would expect it to be pretty lavish. And Portugal is a country which has more than its fair share of lavish palaces. Heck, you can even stay in some of them. A night or two in the Palacio Nacional Adjuda would have been pretty awesome. Although sadly this is not on offer.

The current building was begun in 1796, and took until the late 1800s to be completed. In that time things like a French invasion sent the royal family scurrying down to Brazil for a time. Portugal’s history is nothing if not colourful and exciting! It began as a Baroque project but due to the influence of time and a number of architects and designers, and the neo-classical movement from Italy in that period, it changed and you can see that there are competing ideas in the design when you walk through it, although to me they seemed to work in partnership.

View from the palace.

A lot of the designs are down to Queen Maria Pia, who lived in the palace from 1862 until 1910 when revolution saw the end of the Portuguese Royalty more or less. So as a working palace and residence for the royals of Portugal, it had a short life.

As travel is opening up people may well be returning to Portugal and Lisbon as you read this, and if you are headed to Lisbon, it’s a great place to visit so don’t miss it! It can be reached by public (local) bus but you need to get your head around the bus routes and time tables, which isn’t necessarily easy. But the system is pretty good all in all. There’s like a small bus interchange right outside the palace, but we actually approached from a few streets away as we were coming Belem, and had to walk a little to get there in the end (we left from the interchange). If you are into architecture or design you will possibly love it, especially if neo-classical is your thing!

I don’t feel there’s much I can tell you about this palace that would be far better demonstrated in pictures. So I will let them do the talking.

Thanks for popping by today! Take care, and May the Journey Never End!

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