Quinta da Regaleira palace in Sintra, Portugal

The Quinta da Regaleira palace, just an hour from Lisbon / Wikimedia commons
The Quinta da Regaleira palace, just an hour from Lisbon / Wikimedia commons
13 May 2019, Tom Beck

Portugal has many palaces architectural wonders to discover, and there are few more curious than the Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra. If you’ve already visited the Pena Palace and the Monserrate Palace and you’re looking for something different to do in Sintra, why not take a trip to this stunning 20th-century nobleman’s estate that feels like something out of a fairy tale?

Built by an Italian architect on the whim of an eccentric Portuguese occultist at the turn of the last century, this traditional Portuguese quinta building seems to blend seamlessly with the landscape of the rocky hillside surrounding it, while at the same time providing some incredibly beautiful examples of outlandish architecture. The estate features a mausoleum replete with mystical symbolism and a winding labyrinth of tunnels under the park that are accessed through various grottoes and caves. It is even a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The most striking part of the Quinta da Regaleira must surely be the Initiation Wells, which are not actually wells, but two inverted towers that reach down into the ground with spiral staircases winding around the outside. With their moss-covered stones and intricate decorations, visiting the Initiation Wells at Quinta da Regaleira is like stepping into a storybook.

One of the Initiation Wells at Quinta da Regaleira / Pixabay
One of the Initiation Wells at Quinta da Regaleira / Pixabay

Quinta da Regaleira is a great place to visit in Portugal with children. They’ll have a great time exploring the many hidden nooks and crannies of the grounds, and there is even an aquarium. Meanwhile, their parents can marvel at the strange and exotic gargoyles, statues and general wacky nature of the design of the quinta. There are even special function rooms in the palace which can be rented out, and some people choose to celebrate their wedding at Quinta da Regaleira.

Practical information about Quinta da Regaleira

To get to Quinta da Regaleira from the Pena Palace, it’s just an 8-minute drive along the N375. It’s just a half-hour walk from Sintra train station and takes just over an hour from Lisbon, so you could even visit for a daytrip from the capital. Parking is tight in the area, though, so your best option is to park a little way away from the site and walk up there.

Tickets to visit Quinta da Regaleira can be purchased in person on the door, or booked in advance on the website. If you wish to take a guided tour of the palace, you’re advised to buy tickets online ahead of time by sending and email to reservas@cultursintra.pt. Adult tickets cost 8 euro without a tour and 12 euro with a tour. There are various discounts available on the entrance fee for children, OAPs and more, which can be consulted on the Quinta da Regaleira website.

  • Opening hours: from April to September, 09:30-20:00; from October to March, 09:30-18:00
  • Ticket prices: adults, 8 euro; adults with guided tour, 12 euro
  • Website: www.regaleira.pt
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