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Sintra day trips from Lisbon

Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, a guide to visit this magical UNESCO site

Quinta da Regaleira is one of the most visited sights in Sintra, and this magical place is well worth a visit! It's a UNESCO site full of mystery and beauty, a place you won't easily forget!

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Quinta da Regaleira

No place in Sintra is more intriguing than Quinta da Regaleira. There are several sights to visit, and this guide will help you find them all! The four-hectare estate is classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, and you’ll feel the magic and mystery around you during your visit! Let’s explore the mysteries, symbolism and unique universe they left for us today! Its beauty is created by businessman António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro and scenographer-architect Luigi Manini.

Quinta da Regaleira

The Regaleira Palace

The main building contains neo-gothic elements and eccentric ornaments. The villa was once built in 1904 by Monteiro, who was fascinated by the Knights Templar and Freemasons. These details are visible everywhere and add to the magic and mystery of this place. It took six years to finish building the ‘Palace of the Monteiro Millionaire’.

Regaleira Palace is decorated with gargoyles and other beautiful Gothic ornaments. Sometimes the upper floors are open to the public during special exhibitions. You can always visit the main floor of Regaleira Palace; access is part of your ticket.

The Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira

One of the estate’s highlights is a visit to the Initiation Well or Poço Iniciático. A spiral staircase will lead you down the well, and in the middle, you’ll spot a compass over the Templar Cross on the floor. You’ll notice many symbols and links to masonry, alchemy, and tarot. If you’ve seen the Spanish fantasy movie Pan’s Labyrinth, you might feel like you’ve just entered the movie set!

The well is 27 meters (88 feet) deep and was never actually used as a well. It was built for secret ceremonial purposes, which makes the places even more mysterious! You’ll walk along nine platforms which link to the nine circles of Hell, the nine skies which constitute Paradise, and the nine sections of Purgatory. Counting the steps, you’ll notice you took 139 steps down the well. 1 + 3 + 9 equals 13, which symbolises death and rebirth.

Once down, you’ll enter a series of underground walkways and mystical tunnels that lead back into the gardens. The well and the tunnels remain a mystery, but the symbolism is probably linked to Mother Earth and the connection between heaven and earth.

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The gardens

The estate contains a beautiful garden where you can walk around for hours! It’s like a labyrinth of tunnels, grottos, statues and flower gardens, and you’ll spot the Waterfall Lake (Lago da Cascata), a chapel and Leda’s Cave underneath the Regaleira Tower. At the Gruta do Labyrint, you’ll discover more underground tunnels that overlook a small lake.

The Unfinished Well

Poço Imperfeito is an unfinished well that you’ll find close to the Gruta do Oriente and the Waterfall Lake. It’s a lot quieter here than the Initiation Well, and the site contains a number of caves hidden under the gardens.

When to visit

It’s no surprise that Quinta da Regaleira is a busy place to visit! Thousands of people visit the UNESCO site every day, and it’s a recommendation to come as early as possible or visit later in the day before closing time. The peak visiting times are between 11 am and 3 pm. The park opens at 10 am, so arriving early is worth it. From the train station in Sintra, it takes around 20 minutes to walk to Quinta da Regaleira. From the historic centre of Sintra, it takes only 10 minutes to walk.

The Initiation Well and the Palace queues can be long, and you might have to wait for some time. A visit usually takes anywhere from 1,5 to 2 hours or more. Please note the last entrance tickets are sold at 5.30 pm. The park closes at 7.30 pm in the summer and 6.30 pm in the winter.

Ticket prices for Quinta da Regaleira

The ticket price to visit Quinta da Regaleira is €10 per adult. Children under five can visit the estate for free, and children between 6-17 years of age pay €5. Seniors also pay a reduced fee of €5; if you’re over 80 years old, you can enter the park for free!

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Where to stay

A visit to Quinta da Regaleira can easily be combined with the other beautiful sites in Sintra. Visit Palácio da Pena, Palácio Nacional de Sintra, Castelo dos Mouros, Convento dos Capuchos or Parque e Palácio de Monserrate. It is a perfect day trip from Lisbon, but Sintra is also a fantastic place to stay the night! In the old centre are a number of lovely restaurants, and it’s a great place to walk around.

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You won’t regret visiting Quinta da Regaleira, and after Palácio da Pena, it’s the most visited sight in Sintra! It’s a fascinating place that lets your imagination run freely! It’s like spending a few hours in a real-life fairytale full of symbolism and magic. To read more about Sintra, and unforgettable day tours from Lisbon, check out this article

Written by Marga

Written by Marga

Content creator, travel writer and photographer

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I’m Marga, the blogger and photographer behind this site! I live in Lisbon, and I’m a cat-mum to 13-year-old Savage. I love coffee, cheese, a good book and exploring this beautiful country. I write about Lisbon and the rest of Portugal, and I hope this website will help as an inspiration for your holiday.

8 Responses

  1. This place certainly looks inviting, especially the well. I think this one goes in my itinerary.

    1. I’m sure you’ll love it! A fantastic day trip from Lisbon and you can combine it with Palacio da Pena, for example.

  2. You know we loved our visit to the Quinta da Regaleira. But we visited at the end of a long day so need to go back and discover it more slowly next time. But we were glad we did not have many line ups when we were there.

  3. This looks amazing! Imagine your own huge place with your own lake and waterfall. Too bad you can’t book a night here…I totally would stay here!

  4. When I went to Pena Palace, I didn’t have time to explore this area. When I return to Portugal, this is on my list. Fingers crossed I will get to see it. I’ve pinned your article just in case.

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