The place where Indiana Jones and a fairy tale meet. We wrote about Sintra before, that it looks as if you’re in a fairy tale; the woods, the castles and palaces and the romantic atmosphere. If you want to combine this experience with a bit of adventure, then you are definitely traveling to Quinta da Regaleira!
Originally Quinta da Regaleira was the home of a Brazilian trader (Antonio Carvalho Monteiro dos Milhões), who had this place built to show off his wealth. Besides the dramatic-looking quinta (house), the estate has an impressive and mysterious garden. The garden is nothing short of fantastic, you can walk around here for hours, looking for hidden paths, caves and tunnels. There are many fountains and ponds that you can cross over the stones in the pond.
Well, “garden”, we could call it a proper park! There are quite a few highlights to visit in the garden – in fact the whole place is one big highlight! At each level in the garden, subterranean corridors are connected, which run through a labyrinth of corridors to other hidden places and entrances to the estate. This is definitely where your inner Indiana Jones comes alive!
Poço Iniciático – the spiral staircase to the well, or “Initiation pit”. Actually this is not a real well, it was built for ceremonial purposes. In more than 100 steps (nine floors, 27 meters) you descend to the bottom of the well, from where you can enter different underground corridors that are connected with other places in the estate.
The steps are often somewhat damp and there is moss on the wall, which makes this climb up or descent into the well even more mysterious. Don’t forget to take a photo of the well, both from above at the edge of the well and downwards from the bottom of the well.
Capela da Santíssima Trindade, the chapel near the house. Just before the chapel there’s a bright red Templar cross made out of mosaic, which makes the white walls of the chapel appear even whiter. In the chapel there is a staircase that leads to a crypt.
Portal of the guardians a kind of defensive wall in the middle of the garden. It is absolutely worth it to climb the towers and enjoy the views from here. It also provides access to the underground wells.
Largo Cascate is a lake near a waterfall. The nice thing about the lake is that there are stones in it. Be careful, those stones are not all stable!
Before you go:
When you visit Quinta da Regaleira, be sure to take the time to discover the gardens. THe house is great but the real prize is the gardens. So start your visit by viewing the house and then start unleash your inner Lara Croft or Indiana Jones and start discovering this spectacular garden.
To visit the gardens you can choose to take a guide. This guide can tell you every little details about the garden. But even without a guide, the garden is one great voyage to discovery! We didn’t use a guide on the two times we visited, so we were free to discover all the hidden paths ourselves.
If you plan a day in Sintra and also visit Quinta da Regaleira, keep in mind that you’ll spend at least 3 to 3.5 hours going to the Quinta da Regaleira. As I mentioned earlier: there is so much to see in and around Sintra that a day trip is not really enough. Be sensible and book a hotel for 1-2 nights in or near Sintra.
Suitable for children?
The quinta is certainly suitable to visit with children. If you have a child that is still in the buggy and / or can’t walk well by itself, make sure you have a child carrier with you to be able to get along. If you do not have that with you, you can of course walk around in the garden with the stroller, but discovering the underground paths and many little towers will be a challenge (that’s code for “almost impossible”). You’ll spend more time lugging and getting the buggy up the steep hills than you are enjoying the garden.
How to get to Quinta da Regaleira
Adresse: Rua Barbosa do Bocage 5, Sintra
Openinghours: daily 09:30 a.m.- 7:00 p.m.
Car: take the A37 (from Lisbon), direction Sintra. The fastest way is to navigate to Sintra Center. Parking near Quinta da Regaleira is not available. Advice is to park the car in the center of Sintra, in one of the designated parking areas, and walk the last bit. Be advised that the road in front of the Quinta is one way, with traffic leading out of Sintra.
Train: From Rossio station in Lisbon, take the train towards Sintra. From the station in Sintra you can take bus 434 to visit various sights in National Parques de Sintra Quinta da Regaleira is about a 15-minute walk from the historic center.