The Peninha Sanctuary, also known as the Nossa Senhora da Penha Chapel, is located at the extreme west of the Serra de Sintra, at 488 meters of altitude, and contemplates a view from Cape Espichel to the south to Ericeira, to the North, when the days are completely clean. Some say that you can see the Berlengas but probably only using auxiliary equipment like binoculars.
The most incredible thing is that few people know this fantastic viewpoint with a privileged view on Guincho, Cascais and even Lisbon where you can identify the 25th April Bridge with relative ease.
I have known and visited this place for over 15 years, still from the time I was a scout and later on a downhill bike to Abano beach. It is a great place for a weekend trip where you can also take some walks.
If you are from Malveira da Serra, you will find a space with several wooden tables where many visitors enjoy to eat and socialize, mainly at the weekends. In the immediate vicinity you will also find many cyclists, so we advise you to double-use the access roads as they are narrow.
The Nossa Senhora da Penha Chapel was erected by popular devotion, according to the legend with roots of the sixteenth century, following the apparition of Our Lady to a mute and very poor shepherdess of Amoinhas Velhas. From then on the place was revered by the surrounding populations.
Its present appearance seems to be due to the hermit S. Saturnino, Pedro da Conceição, who between 1673 and 1711 who, with goodwill of the population and the support of the monarch D. Pedro II, rebuilt the time after the same had been rebuilt several times since its structure was initially in a very fragile dry stone.
Its interior, which unfortunately I have never seen except through a window in the western slope, is distinguished by the pulpit filled with inscriptions left by successive generations of pilgrims and the magnificent panels of tiles of the eighteenth century that cover all the nave and are illustrative of the life of the Virgin and Jesus.
“In times of hunger in the reign of King John III, Our Lady appeared to a little old shepherdess from Almoinhas Velhas, poor and mute, who from that moment began to speak and announced to her mother, incredulous, the existence of bread in the ark of the family. The image of Holy Mother that the people found in the place of the apparition was three times placed in the Hermitage of S. Saturnino, and other times they were to meet again on the top of the cliff of difficult access.”
in Institute of Conservation of Nature and Forests
The Hermitage of S. Saturnino, a few meters to the southwest, was built in the middle of the sixteenth century in a place of worship dating back to the time of the Visigoths and it is still possible to see evidence of the foundations of the first construction of medieval origin which is supposed to have been founded by Pero Pais, companion of D. Afonso Henriques.
The history of the hermitage of S. Saturnino is linked to the Nossa Senhora da Penha Chapel since it was a place of worship of the nearby populations, intensely frequented until the end of the Middle Ages.
The Casa dos Romeiros, painted with a yellow color that is impossible to go unnoticed, were built between 1751 and 1761 and served to house the janitors and welcome the numerous pilgrims who travel there annually.
The Sanctuary of Peninha and all its construction group belongs to the Institute of Nature Conservation and Forests, has been classified in IIP as Property of Public Interest since 1977.
From this place, of pure magic and contemplation, you can also observe Cabo da Roca, in the West slope, however, it should be reported that given the exposure to strong sea winds this place is often enveloped in fog or with very strong winds, even in the middle of summer.
Even with a clear sky, the probability of strong winds is eminent so caution with clothes is not totally out of the question, especially if the visit is made later in the day to see the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.
Sintra: Peninha Sanctuary Location
Google Maps Coordinates: 38.768482, -9.460390 | Google Maps
GPS Coordinates: 38°46’06.5″N 9°27’37.4″W