I finally could visit Quinta da Regaleira palace which I had pending in Sintra. And believe me, it was totally worth it. On my most recent trip to Sintra, this was the first palace we visited so that we don’t run out of time and have to put it on the waiting list again. I tell you about my experience as well as some tips in case you are planning to visit Quinta da Regaleira.
Pin it for later:
This post may contain affiliate links which means when you click on a link and then purchase any item on that site, there is no additional cost to you but I receive a small commission. I only recommend services and products that I personally use and like. Thank you for your support!
Quinta da Regaleira is a beautiful and mysterious palace. It’s one of the 3 sites in Sintra that you should not miss along with the Palacio da Pena and the Castelo dos Mouros. It’s also very close to downtown so it’s easy to get there. Without further ado, here are some tips and information to visit Quinta da Regaleira palace.
It might interests you: Recommendations to visit Sintra from Lisbon.
Tips to visit Quinta da Regaleira palace.
How to get there
Quinta da Regaleira is located very close to downtown. You can get there on foot from here. Take the N375 road behind the Café Paris restaurant and it will take you straight to Quinta da Regaleira. There are signposts and you will see many tourists, you can’t get lost.
The walk will take you about 15 minutes because it’s less than 1 km away. If you walk from the train station it’s like 25 minutes (1.5 km).
You can also take bus 435 at the Sintra train station if you don’t want to walk. One of its first stops is Quinta da Regaleira. You can buy the ticket directly on the bus and costs €3 for a single trip and €5 for the entire route.
Prices and Schedule
Quinta da Regaleira has 2 visiting schedules according to the season. From April 1 to September 30 the opening hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. From October 1 to March 31 the closing is at 18:00 hours. The last access is one hour before closing.
The price for adults is €8 euros to visit on your own. They give you a brochure with a map to guide yourself. You can also buy the ticket for the guided visit for €12 euros adults.
By the way, keep your ticket throughout the visit and do not throw it away as I did 😅. It turns out that the ticket was just a piece of paper and I threw it in the trash thinking it was the sale receipt. A guard requested the ticket and we didn’t have it, we had to go back to the box office. The ticket office staff kindly asked the guard to let us pass. How embarrassing! 🙈
On this link you can check other prices, discounts and the days that the Palace is closed.
A bit of history
Quinta da Regaleira is also known as Palácio do Monteiro dos Milhões (Palace of Monteiro the millionaire). This name alludes to its most famous owner António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro.
Regaleira was the title of the Baroness who acquired the property before Monteiro. However, it was Monteiro who, with the help of architect Luigi Manini, built the palace and buildings we now see.
The property had other owners until it was acquired by the Sintra Town Council in 1997 which restored it completely to open to the public.
It was completed almost in its entirety in 1910. It has an eclectic architecture so typical in Sintra. Among its styles are Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance and Manueline.
When you visit Quinta da Regaleira you’ll see many mystical elements related to alchemy, Freemasonry and Templars. Monteiro wanted to live surrounded by symbols reflecting his esoteric and Christian Gnostic ideologies.
Certainly, the results were a palace and gardens of impressive beauty and mystery that you will want to explore in depth
How long to stay in Quinta da Regaleira
It would be easy to spend a full day in Quinta da Regaleira without getting bored or stop marveling. The gardens are huge and there are many monuments, lakes, towers, caves, and attractions to see.
But of course, we know that it’s not always possible. Usually, we only have one day and we also want to see other palaces in Sintra. I recommend spending no less than 3 hours in Quinta da Regaleira. Walking from one place to another within the complex will take time too so you have to consider that.
You can also read A daytrip to Sintra from Lisbon, what to see in one day to know about the other palaces.
What not to miss in Quinta da Regaleira
That’s why it is important to highlight the attractions of the Quinta da Regaleira that you definitely must see.
The Initiatic Well, also known as the Inverted Tower, is probably the most popular attraction in Quinta da Regaleira. It has a spiral staircase that descends through 9 levels related to the 9 levels of Divine Comedy’s hell.
At the bottom, it has a compass rose on a Templar cross. It’s known as Initiatic Well because it was used to make Masonic initiation rituals.
Nearby is the Unfinished Well, be careful not to confuse it with the Initiation Well. I confess that I got confused, well, of course, it does look different but I got confused with the signaling. 😥
We went down to the bottom of the Unfinished Well and I said to myself: “this is not ‘the one’.” Then we went to the caves, and since there were still many spots to see, I didn’t seek for it anymore. That’s the bad thing about having little time in such a big park, my friends 😞
Entering the caves is quite an experience, unless you’re claustrophobic, of course 😅 . The underground passages connect the Initiatic Well, the Unfinished Well, the lake of the waterfall, the Eastern Grotto and the Portal of the Guardians.
Of course, I didn’t know this before, otherwise, I would have gone through the caves to the Initiatic Well. Although, the truth is that the caves are dark and there is no way of knowing where each tunnel takes you. The only way is to explore them.
Beware that the ground may be slippery because some parts are wet. Also, the ceiling is low so you have to bend down a little if you are tall. I hit my head 😣 among the many things that happened to me haha!
You can download a map of the park showing part of tunnels route on this link.
The Palace is another must see when you visit Quinta da Regaleira. Don’t spend all your time in the gardens and forget to see the Palace. No, it didn’t happen to me 😅, this time I did see the Palace.
The facade is in Manueline style with many fantasy details in its decoration. The sculptor José da Fonseca was in charge of making the different motifs that decorate the rooms and balconies. From these balconies, you will enjoy the views of La Quinta and Sintra.
The tour of the Palace begins in the splendid Hall of the Hunt. It features a big, highly embellished white fireplace and mosaics on the floor illustrating nature scenes. Upon entering you can see the portrait of Mr. António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro.
On the ground floor, there’s also the Renaissance Room decorated in Italian Renaissance style. It functioned as the drawing room.
The Kings Room is named like that due to the display of the portraits of 20 Portuguese kings and 4 queens. This room was once the billiard room. Next is the Music Room with romantic murals on its walls and a piano.
These were the only accessible areas in my visit, apparently, the second floor was under restoration. We also were able to enjoy the beautiful balconies and appreciate the decorations on the facade.
The Chapel of the Holy Trinity is located right next to the Palace. You can see inside but you can not enter (at least, on my visit, it was not possible).
It is built in Manueline style. There’re some sculptures of saints and paintings of the Virgin Mary with Christ. It has also some Templar and Masonic symbols. In the Chapel, there is a secret passage that connects it with the palace.
Other monuments to see
In the Quinta da Regaleira there are many worth seeing corners. For example, the Portal of the Guardians is a structure with two towers on the sides and a viewpoint in the center. This is one of the entrances to the caves and the guardians are 2 figures of tritons clinging to a sea snail.
In front of this structure is the Ziggurat, a tower made in Mesopotamian style. It stands on a platform with a cistern below. From this tower, you can also admire the landscape. On the same terrace, there’s also a small structure known as the Tower of the Celestial Worlds.
Further away from this point is the Torre da Regaleira and Leda’s Grotto. Leda is a mythological character of whom the god Zeus fell in love. He later took the shape of a swan to seduced her. This park is full of these mythological beings.
Promenade of the gods is a road that connects the main palace with one of the buildings called Loggia. By the sides, you’ll see sculptures of some classic gods like Venus, Hermes, and Dionysus.
Other recommendations to consider.
Another thing to keep in mind when you visit Quinta da Regaleira is to bring comfortable shoes for walking. And if you are going to enter the caves it’s better if they are slip-resistant.
By the way, it’s advisable to take the tour with a guide or rent the audioguides if you have time to go through the whole place and listen to the information.
Each building, fountain, grotto, tower, sculpture, etc. has a meaning. Monteiro and his architect took care of every detail, and it’s interesting to know more about his ideology embodied in his property.
In short, spend enough time and grasp every detail of this palace and park, you’ll not regret it.
What do you think about this site? Are you planning to visit Quinta da Regaleira? Do you like mysterious palaces? I do love them!
I hope you have enjoyed this publication, if it was useful for you, share it on your social media sites. And remember to subscribe to the blog to receive notifications of new posts.
Until next post. Bon voyage!