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 National Palace
A striking and eclectic mix of architectural styles, this is most likely the best preserved medieval palace in all of Portugal.
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.
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.
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.

Related Tours

Explore The Best of Sintra: Private Day Trip From Lisbon by Train
Just 20 miles from the centre of Lisbon, you will discover Sintra, one of the most popular day trips from Lisbon, known for its spectacular setting and grand Mansions of the Portuguese Elite. 

On your private day trip to Sintra, you will:

  • Travel leisurely with your tour guide by train from Lisbon's Rossio Train station to Sintra in just 40 minutes;
  • Visit the colourful 19th-century Pena Palace,  once the summer residence of the Portuguese King and situated atop a hill overlooking Sintra Natural ParkSintra town and, on a clear day Lisbon;
  • Explore the interior of the Pena Palace, richly decorated with 'azulejo' tiles representing what it was like to live like royalty between the 1800s and 1900s;
  • Enjoy the amazing views from the Palace's vast terraces, as well as its colourful exterior that gives it the nickname of "fairytale castle";
  • Enjoy a 30-minute walk through the lavish gardens to see the valley of the lakes, where one can enjoy the peaceful and suggestive atmosphere created by the five small lakes surrounded by exotic vegetation;
  • Relax on a panoramic drive through Sintra Natural Park on an electric TukTuk, the fastest and most fun way to travel in Sintra!; 
  • Take a stroll through the charming old town of Sintra, home to many summer palaces of the Portuguese aristocracy and the perfect spot for a delicious Portuguese lunch;
  • Learn about the history of the town on a guided walking tour, where you’ll see the spectacular Sintra National Palace from the outside;
  • Discover Quinta da Regaleira Palace which boasts a magnificent Renaissance-style manor and lush gardens, where you can explore underground caves, waterfall, a labyrinth and the famed Well of Initiation;
  • End your tour by returning with your tour guide back to Lisbon by train.

Set high up in the Sintra Natural Park, this palace boasts vast terraces with spectacular views as well as beautifully landscaped gardens. 

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 tunnelsgrottoes, and 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.

Walk with your guide to Sintra train station for your return train to Lisbon.


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