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Quinta da Regaleira – A Place of Mystery in Sintra

Are you ready to dive into the magical world of Quinta da Regaleira?

For my 20th birthday, I went to Portugal with a friend of mine. We spent most of our time in Lisbon, however, we decided to also take a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra – one of the best cities in Portugal.

As soon as we arrived, we were fascinated by the lovely atmosphere there and liked it a lot. Not far from the main center of the town is a very exceptional and unique place called Quinta da Regaleira.

Do you want to know, why it’s that special?

Well, then you should continue reading! 😉

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a certain percentage of a sale if you purchase after clicking.)

What is Quinta da Regaleira?

Quinta da Regaleira is basically a huge residence in Sintra that was built in the 20th century. It is also one of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Portugal.

In the beginning, the property belonged to the Viscondessa da Regaleira but was acquired and enlarged by António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro years later.

With the help of Luigi Manini, an Italian designer and architect, he created this mysterious place.

Although the grand house with more than five floors is already an attraction, the most awesome thing about the entire place is the enchanting gardens surrounding the main building.

It’s full of hidden tunnels and concealed symbolism and includes an Initiation well too. You can truly say it’s a magical place that needs to be discovered and thus one of the top places to visit in Sintra!

Opening Hours and Prices

Quinta da Regaleira is open all year long from 9:30 am – 8:00 pm (summer season) and 9:30 am – 6:00 pm (winter season).

The entrance fee for the grand house and the gardens is €6 for adults and €4 for children. Usually, a visit lasts around 1.5 – 2 hours to see everything.

My Day at Quinta da Regaleira

As I already mentioned above, we took a day trip to Sintra and Quinta da Regaleira from Lisbon. Thus we booked a tour with a local host via Airbnb Experiences.

First Stop: Sintra

On the day we took the tour, our tour guide picked us up from Lisbon quite early in the morning.

Together with six other people, we made our way to Quinta da Regaleira on a small bus. During the journey, our guide told us a lot about the history of Sintra and the magical property in particular.

After a short 30-minute ride, we finally arrived in the lovely town of Sintra where we exited the bus and explored the place a bit more.

Sintra is a real fairytale city because, besides Quinta de Regaleira, you can also find many other castles there, for example, Pena Palace.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to go there as well and thus only saw it from a distance.

Narrow Streets of Sintra
Narrow streets of Sintra

When we all finished walking through Sintra, we hopped on the bus again and continued our way to the actual destination!

Arriving at Quinta da Regaleira

Even though we arrived shortly after the palace opened, quite many tourists were there already. We went straight to the cash desk where all of us received the entrance tickets and a map of the entire place in addition.

Our tour guide pointed at the major sights pictured on the map and told us the approximate route we were going.

At this point, I have to say I was super excited and stoked to explore the place since I’d heard so many cool stories about it before.

Honestly, I’m a real sucker for all kinds of exciting “adventures” and exploring this mystical place was exactly what I enjoyed the most!

Exploring The Enchanting Gardens

After we all got our entrance tickets, the real fun began!

The first really cool place we discovered was the following one: A bilious green lake with a tiny waterfall, a bridge connecting both sides and some small rocks placed in the water so you can cross it there too.

Of course, I was super curious and wanted to know where the rocks would lead me, however, our tour guide said we’re going to find it out later! Thus we continued our way by taking the stone bridge that was built above it.

Enchanting Gardens Quinta da Regaleira
Bilious green lake
Quinta da Regaleira

We continued our way through the enchanting gardens – passing impressive statues, beautiful flower beds, and creative rock formations. After a while, we arrived at another magical spot where I had a real Rapunzel moment.

Tower Quinta da Regaleira
My “Rapunzel moment”

I mean let’s be honest, the tower was built to offer that perfect opportunity! 😉

The tower was only part of something that looked like a defense wall to me.

Defense wall
Defense wall

The moment I entered the door (that you can see in the picture above), I found something really awesome. There was an underground tunnel hidden in the wall! I bet you can imagine how excited I was!

Filled with curiosity, I asked our tour guide where the tunnel leads to but he didn’t want to tell me the answer. He simply said it’s another secret that we’re going to find out a bit later as well.

At this point, my excitement level was steadily increasing the more things we discovered. The only question I asked myself was, “Where the hell does the underground tunnel lead to?!”

Fortunately, around 10 minutes later the waiting to reveal the big secret was finally over! Our tour guide took us to a place where the path suddenly ended in front of a stone wall.

The Inverted Tower

However … it wasn’t just a normal stone wall! There was a huge rock our tour guide pushed aside and we climbed the narrow hole to discover what was behind it.

Lo and behold, a few steps further and we all looked down at an inverted tower!

Inverted Tower Quinta da Regaleira

We climbed down the spiral staircase which led to – surprise, surprise – an underground tunnel! There, our tour guide finally revealed the mysterious secret about the entire place.

Can you remember when I told you about the green lake with the stone path and the “defense wall” with the hidden tunnel in it? Well, all of those places are connected by a wide tunnel system!

Of course, we followed both ways: The one which led us to the green lake and the other one which ended at the defense wall.

Even though it was a really thrilling experience, I was super relieved when I saw daylight again. It’s no doubt that the entire system is not made for people that suffer from claustrophobia or similar.

And after that turbulent exploration, we all needed a little break.

Coffee Break & The Grand House

We decided to have coffee and drinks at the cafè that’s located right next to the grand house. Moreover, we had some cake and learned more about Quinta da Regaleira from our tour guide.

Our last stop at Quinta da Regaleira was the palace itself. The building contains five floors in total and shows exactly how Carvalho Monteiro lived many years ago.

It was very interesting to learn about that man, who created such a unique and magical place.

Quinta da Regaleira Grand House
The palace

After spending half a day at Quinta da Regaleira, I can honestly say I’ve never seen a place like this before. Without any proper research done before, I had no idea what to expect from this place.

What should I say?

It exceeded my expectations by far and thus I highly recommend including it in your Portugal itinerary!

And now there’s just one last question still in my mind: “What was the main purpose for Monteiro to create a place full of concealed symbolism and hidden tunnels?”

… We’ll never know …

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Do you want to travel like me?
Here are some of my favorite travel tips and resources:

Flights: I prefer using CheapOair or Skyscanner to book flights. The destination everywhere feature is perfect for finding some cheap deals!

Accommodation: Booking.com is my favorite site to find some great hotel deals. I do love staying at a local place as well, thus I book an Airbnb every now and then.

Travel Insurance: There are many reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without one. I use the simple and flexible one from SafetyWing that protects me against unforeseen events.

Tours: I love taking tours to explore destinations like a local. My favorite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Camera Gear: I use a Nikon D5300 camera with an 18-105 mm and a 10-20 mm wide-angle lens to take my photos.

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  1. We haven’t heard about this place yet, but it looks so beautiful in your photos! And such a great itinerary! Now it’s on our bucketlist! :))

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