Quinta da Regaleira

This romantic UNESCO World Heritage Site displays the wealth and extravagance of the Portuguese elite.

TravelCurious Tip

The spookiness of the gardens are not something to share with a crowd. Get there early to avoid them and really feel the chill of the occult!

Match Made In Heaven

Commissioned by the Brazilian coffee tycoon António Carvalho Monteiro, who was also known as Monteiro dos Milhões (Moneybags Monteiro), and dreamed up by an Italian opera-set designer, the Quinta da Regaleira was always going to be special.

The palace itself stands five floors tall with an exuberantly gothic façade, replete with pinnacles, a foreboding octagonal tower and enough grimacing gargoyles to fill any child’s nightmares. It is more than just gothic though, as there are also Egyptian, Moorish and Manueline features. The result is truly unique and more than warrants the brief journey from Sintra.

Double, Double Toil and Trouble

However, as spectacular as the palace is, the real magic is in the garden, where the owner’s mystic ideologies reveal themselves in every nook and grotto. It is full of references to the occult: to the Knights Templar, the Masons and sinister alchemy.

The twin wells are undoubtedly the spookiest part. Never used for water, it is thought that they were instead part of an initiation ceremony for the Knights Templar. Within them, two winding staircases spiral down nine platforms and 27 metres. Each platform is said to represent one of the nine circles of Hell, the nine sections of purgatory and the nine skies of paradise. At the bottom there is a compass over a Knights Templar cross, which is said to have been Monteiro’s herald. Although their use is shrouded in mystery, the beauty and symbology of the wells is plain to see.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Lisbon
Sintra City Hall
An unusually flamboyant town hall, and one of the most prominent landmarks in the town of Sintra.
Castle of the Moors
Built between the 8th and 9th centuries, this military outpost in Sintra played a key role in the Reconquista against Arab rule.
Sintra National Palace
A striking and eclectic mix of architectural styles, this is most likely the best preserved medieval palace in all of Portugal.
Valley of the Lakes
Two unique castle-like duck houses add to the magical ambience of the place along with the soundtrack of trickling water and the odd plop of feeding fish.
Well of Initiation
This ceremonial well features a spiral staircase into a tunnel system that connects it to other monuments and caves around the park.
Portal of the Guardians
One of the main features is the Portal of the Guardians which stands at one end of a courtyard. This long curved structure is flanked by two towers with a central pavilion, hiding the entrance to a tunnel that leads to the Initiation Well.

Related Tours

All Inclusive Private Tour of Sintra, Pena Palace & Quinta da Regaleira
If you've not yet visited Sintra you're in for a cultural, historical and visual treat. Just 20 miles from the centre of Lisbon, Sintra is known for its spectacular setting and grand Mansions of the Portuguese Elite. On your private full day tour of Sintra, you will:

  • Enjoy an all-inclusive and fully guided tour with an Expert Licensed guide, with all tickets included
  • Travel leisurely by train from Lisbon to Sintra in just 40 minutes, with return tickets included
  • Be immersed in a fully guided tour of the Pena Palace, including the Palace interior and the Gardens 
  • Take some free time for lunch in the Sintra town.
  • Learn about the history of the town on a guided walking tour, where you’ll see spectacular Sintra National Palace from the outside. 
  • Step into the majesty of the Quinta da Regaleira Palace and Gardens, including the Well of Initiation, underground caves, the labyrinth and waterfall
  • Relax on a panoramic drive through Sintra Natural Park with an electric TukTuk, the fastest and most fun way to travel in Sintra! 
Your private tour of Sintra will start at Rossio Train station in central Lisbon, where an early departure means you’ll be one of the first to enter the Pena Palace and will guarantee you get to visit the interior rooms of the Palace.  Today Portugal's most famous attraction, the Pena Palace was built in the 19th century as a summer home for Portuguese royalty. It was built by King Ferdinand II who had a very flamboyant and larger than life taste. It is an adaptation of 16th-century monastery ruins and an imitation of a medieval fortress. The Palace boasts spectacular views over the natural park and Lisbon (on a clear day) as well as beautifully landscaped gardens. Enjoy a 30 minute walk through the gardens to see our favourite section: the valley of the lakes. 

After, travelling back to Sintra town with an electric TukTuk, enjoy free time for lunch after which your guide will take you on a walking tour through Sintra town and the Quinta da Regaleira, another incredible palace with even more spectacular gardens. The resplendent gardens are even classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO within the "Cultural Landscape of Sintra! Commissioned and owned by a well-known Freemason, Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, the four-hectare property is famous for its enigmatic buildings and underground tunnels. Monteiro filled the property with symbols linked to masonry, alchemy, Tarot mysticism and more. Your guide will expertly guide you through the extensive and puzzling system of tunnels, grottoes, caves, as well as a waterfall and a labyrinth carved into the bedrock! You will of course not miss the Well of Initiation, a spiral staircase composed of 9 levels of 15 steps, often thought to symbolise the nine levels of Hell from Dante's Inferno.

Your day will end with a tuktuk ride back to Sintra train station, where you will catch the train back to Lisbon. 


Join the fastest growing community of professional tour guides.


Use our easy to integrate toolset to include Tours & Attractions in your customer journey.