The entrance to the palace
A stone staircase leading from the level of the palace into the valley below
Velvet groundsel (Roldana petasitis) flowering next to the visitor parking lot
Among the most striking features of the grounds are the artificial ruins of a small Gothic chapel, partially overgrown by a Moreton Bay fig (Ficus macrophylla) and planted with aspidistra (Aspidistra elatior), parlour palm (Chamaedorea elegans), and various bromeliads.
The still relatively young Moreton Bay fig (Ficus macrophylla) that is slowly overgrowing the chapel ruin
The chapel ruin as seen from the opposite side
One of the windows of the ruin, framed by the aerial roots of Ficus macrophylla
The plantings inside the ruin
Other features of the park include a large collection of palms and other trees from all over the world, small architectural decorative elements such as fountains, a fern valley and secluded walks through lush, misty woods full of gnarled, moss-covered cork oaks (Quercus suber).
A typical path in the Parque de Monserrate
A view uphill towards the main house through some of the collection of palm trees
Chilean wine palms (Jubaea chilensis)
A view uphill showing some more of the large collection of palms
A fountain ringed by a species of Aloe
A view through the parkland downhill from the mansion
The fern valley, with small terracotta rills for running water to insure sufficient humidity
Finally, while lush greenery and quirky architectural elements do tend to predominate in the Parque de Monserrate, there is also plenty of floral interest in the form of camellias, rhododendrons, calla lilies, and many flowering shrubs, perennials and annuals, both rare and common.
Large specimens of Camellia japonica
Light pink-flowered cultivar of Camellia japonica
Bright red cultivar of Camellia japonica
Pale yellow-flowered primrose (Primula vulgaris)
A large, purple-flowered, Abutilon-like shrub - Let me know if you can identify this plant!
Calla lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) which grow in abundance throughout the park
A small-flowered variety of Canna indica
On the whole, the park at Monserrate is lovely and worth a visit, even though ongoing restoration work inside the house and in various parts of the grounds means that visitors are currently unable to see the palatial interiors and some parts of the gardens. The entry price, too, is relatively steep but if you have time to visit some of the other estates in the Sintra area, there is a combination ticket which allows you to visit all of them at reduced cost. For more information, you can visit the website of the City of Sintra at Câmara Municipal de Sintra: Palácio de Monserrate.