The National Palace of Mafra is located about 30 minutes outside of Lisbon. Commissioned in the 18th C. by King João V, the large structure occupies over 4 hectares (10 acres) of land and consists of the Royal Palace and Royal Convent. It is considered the most important Baroque monument in Portugal, and in 2019 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The magnificent building is constructed of limestone and marble from the local region and has over 1,200 rooms, 156 stairways, 29 inner yards and courtyards, and a 232 meter gallery that links the north and south turrets, making it the longest palatial corridor in Europe. The palace was used as a secondary residence for the royal family, and it was visited frequently by royalty who enjoyed hunting in the nearby game preserve.
King João V funded the construction of the palace and his support of the arts with the gold coming in from the colonization of Brazil. The king filled the Royal Convent with sculptures and paintings by great Italian and Portuguese masters. One of the highlights of the palace is the Rococo library located on the 2nd floor. It is is considered one of the grandest libraries in Europe, with over 36,000 leather-bound volumes. The king’s son, José I, created the Mafra School of Sculpture that was responsible for the altarpieces in the basilica and the famous bust of King João V in the palace. The last king of Portugal, Manuel II, spent his last night in the palace before leaving for exile in England on October 5, 1910.
For more information on Mafra Palace, click here.
Book a private tour! You may want to consider booking a private tour with an English-speaking guide, if you want to visit Mafra as a day trip from Lisbon. Your personal guide can provide you with information on the city and its historic sites. For more information on our Lisbon Day Trip that includes Mafra Palace, click here, and for information on all of our Lisbon & Lisbon Day Trip tours, click here.
Photo credit: Joaquim Alves Gaspar (CC BY-SA 3.0) / Photo of National Palace of Mafra
For assistance with your travel plans, including hotel and private tour reservations, click here.