Quinta da Regaleira

Sintra, Portugal

Quinta da Regaleira is an estate located near the historic center of Sintra. It is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO within the 'Cultural Landscape of Sintra'. Along with the other palaces in the area such as the Quinta do Relógio, Pena, Monserrate and Seteais palaces, it is considered one of the principal tourist attractions of Sintra. The property consists of a romantic palace and chapel, and a luxurious park that features lakes, grottoes, wells, benches, fountains, and a vast array of exquisite constructions. The palace is also known as 'The Palace of Monteiro the Millionaire', which is based on the nickname of its best known former owner, António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro.

The land was sold in 1892 to Carvalho Monteiro. Monteiro was eager to build a bewildering place where he could collect symbols that reflected his interests and ideologies. With the assistance of the Italian architect Luigi Manini, he recreated the 4-hectare estate. In addition to other new features, he added enigmatic buildings that allegedly held symbols related to alchemy, Masonry, the Knights Templar, and the Rosicrucians. The architecture Manini designed evoked Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, and Manueline styles. The construction of the current estate commenced in 1904 and much of it was completed by 1910.

The estate was later sold in 1942 to Waldemar d'Orey, who used it as private residence for his extensive family. He ordered repairs and restoration work for the property. In 1987, the estate was sold, once again, to the Japanese Aoki Corporation and ceased to serve as a residence. The corporation kept the estate closed to the public for ten years, until it was acquired by the Sintra Town Hall in 1997. Extensive restoration efforts were promptly initiated throughout the estate. It finally opened to the public in June 1998 and began hosting cultural events.

The Regaleira Palace bears the same name as the entire estate. The structure's façade is characterized by exuberantly Gothic pinnacles, gargoyles, capitals, and an impressive octagonal tower.

The palace contains five floors. The ground floor consists of a series of hallways that all connect the living room, dining room, billiards room, balcony, some smaller rooms, and several stairways. In turn, the first upper floor contains bedrooms and a dressing room. The second upper floor contains Carvalho Monteiro's office, and the bedrooms of female servants. The third upper floor contains the ironing room and a smaller room with access to a terrace. Finally, the basement contains the male servants' bedrooms, the kitchen (which featured an elevator for lifting food to the ground floor), and storage rooms.

The Regaleira Chapel is a Roman Catholic Chapel, and stands in front of the palace's main façade. Its architecture is akin to the palace's. The interior of the chapel is richly decorated with frescoes, stained glass windows and lavish stuccoes. The frescoes contain representations of Teresa of Ávila and Saint Anthony, as well as other religious depictions. Meanwhile, the floor itself offers depictions of the armillary sphere of the Portuguese discoveries and the Order of Christ Cross, surrounded by pentagrams. Despite its relatively small size, the chapel has several floors.

Much of the four hectares of land in the surrounding estate consists of a densely treed park lined with myriad roads and footpaths. The woods are neatly arranged in the lower parts of the estate, but are left wild and disorganized in the upper parts, reflecting Carvalho Monteiro's belief in primitivism. Decorative, symbolic, and lively structures can be found throughout the park.

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Details

Founded: 1904
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Portugal

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Terra Scott (10 months ago)
This was the best place to visit in Sintra! Definitely go to the well first, as that gets a long line during the day! And don’t just go to the well and the castle definitely go to the gardens where there’s a labyrinth and a grotto that’s fun to explore. There’s also a church, a fountain, another hidden well, Greek statues, and all sorts of things to find. This was definitely my favorite out of my whole Portugal trip! So do not miss this spot! Plus, the people at this location were really nice and helpful! Unlike some of the other places in Sintra! Such a Cole Castle! It reminds me of the Addams family for some reason… also look at all of the statues. Some are gargoyles that look like they’re eating themselves. Interesting.
Fernando Marcos (10 months ago)
A truly magical place. I loved every moment we were there. From the massive gardens, to the mysterious pathways, passing through the well of initiation... It was amazing. I cannot recommend this enough. We booked in advance and the entrance was a breeze, no hassle whatsoever. Then you just wander the place and just get amazed at the amount of things you discover by just walking around. Best visit in Sintra in my opinion
Alessandro Balocco (10 months ago)
Quinta da Regaleira is definitely one of my top picks in Sintra. It is mainly known for the mysterious Initiation Well but the whole park and the mansion are beautiful attractions. We bought our tickets online to avoid queueing at the entrance and it was a good idea I would really recommend. This attraction tends to be very busy and we arrived there before it opened at 10 am so that we could benefit from a less crowded well. After walking down the well and the tunnels we spent around an hour walking around the park which is really beautiful with many interesting spots!
Gediminas Lipnickas (11 months ago)
This is an amazing place to visit when coming to Sintra. A castle with lush grounds and many nooks with walking trails, caves, a massive, gorgeous well that leads into a cave system. Situated on a side of the hill, this place has everything. Amazing old world vibe and a glimpse into it. Go for a walk-up hill, explore, and then take the stairs down in the well to reach other attractions. Must see!
Rachel (2 years ago)
In March 2022, I took an Airbnb experience trip to Sintra. Our day included a visit to one of the palaces, Quinta da Regaleira. Fascinating architecture, very picturesque too. We went on a Friday morning (10:30-12pm) there was no queue and it wasn’t too busy once we got in! So lucky to have beautiful weather too! We took a look inside one the rooms that had beautiful paintings, walked down the well and through the caves, posed by the fountains. A wonderful day and I’d recommend to any visiting Lisbon/Sintra!
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