The Sanctuary of Peninha, also known as the Chapel of Our Lady of Penha, is located at the western end of the Sintra Mountain, at 488 meters of altitude, and contemplates a view that goes from Cape Espichel, in the south, to Ericeira, in the north, when the days are completely clear. Some say 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 over Guincho, Cascais, and even Lisbon where you can identify the 25 de Abril Bridge with relative ease.
I have known and visited this place for over 15 years, still from the time of when I was a Boy Scout and later of when I made downhill to Abano beach. It is an excellent place for weekend walks where you can still do some hiking.
If you come from Malveira da Serra, you will find a space with several wooden tables where many visitors take the opportunity to have meals and socialize, especially on weekends. You will also find many cyclists in the vicinity, so it is advisable to take extra care on the access roads as they are narrow.
The Chapel of Our Lady of Penha was built by popular devotion, according to the legend with roots in the 16th century, following the apparition of Our Lady to a mute and very poor shepherdess of Amoinhas Velhas. From then on, the place was venerated by the people of the surrounding area.
Its present appearance seems to be due to the hermit St. Saturnino, Pedro da Conceição, who between 1673 and 1711, with the goodwill of the population and the support of the monarch D. Pedro II, rebuilt it several times after its structure was initially in very fragile dry stone.
Its interior, which unfortunately since I have been there I have never been able to see except through a window on the western side, stands out from the pulpit full of inscriptions left by successive generations of pilgrims and the magnificent tile panels from the 18th century that cover the entire nave and are illustrative of the life of the Virgin and Jesus.
The Ermida de S. Saturnino, a few meters 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 that is supposed to have been founded by Pero Pais, a companion of D. Afonso Henriques.
The history of the chapel of S. Saturnino is linked to the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Peninha since it was a place of worship of the nearby populations, intensely frequented until the end of the Middle Ages.
The Houses of the Romeiros, painted with a yellow color that it is impossible to go unnoticed, was built between 1751 and 1761 and served to house the caretakers and welcome the numerous pilgrims who came there every year.
The Sanctuary of Peninha and all its constructions belong to the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests, has been classified by IIP as a Public Interest Property since 1977.
From this place, of pure magic and contemplation, you can also observe Cabo da Roca, on the West Side, however, it is important to inform that taking into account the exposure to strong sea winds this place is often surrounded by fog or very strong winds, even in the middle of summer.
Even with clear skies, the probability of strong winds is eminent, so caution with the clothes is not totally misplaced, especially if the visit takes place at the end of the day to see the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.
Following the mountain line to the right of Cabo da Roca lighthouse you will be able to see the top of one of the rocks of Praia da Ursa which is undoubtedly another place to explore in this area of Sintra.
I’ll leave you a little video made by me to get a sense of the field of view that you can have from this place. It was my first film shot with a drone, so don’t expect a big video production but tell the intention.
Location of the Sanctuary of Peninha, Sintra
Google Maps Coordinates: 38.768540, -9.460510 | Santuário da Peninha on Google Maps
GPS Coordinates: 38°46’06.7″N 9°27’37.8″W
Go along a cobbled road and finally tar with a sharp curve to the right. A few meters further on, after a corner to the left, you will find another small junction also with the indication of Convento dos Capuchos. From there it is easier to reach the Sanctuary of Peninha, but the road to there is very narrow and to cross with another vehicle in front can be complicated, so all the care is little.
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