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

Katerinne Mederas (3 months ago)
One of my favorite places in Portugal, you get the feeling of being in a fairy tale. The flowers, the views. All the hidden details. Walking through the tunnels to find beautiful surprises in the end. The entrance is quite cheap considering the week preserve the place is. You also have WC facilities and a small cafe. The map you get in the entrance is a good help.
Nikolaj Noval Klemse (4 months ago)
Very beautiful park and palace. Incredible what human hands have created. Very good place to let your imagination run. Worth the trip there. But also hard to understand the amount of wealth people have had at that time. But entire area is like that.
Clare Baker (4 months ago)
Reasonable entrance fee. You could spend a day here exploring. Would recommend a visit but expect to do a lot of walking. Cafe prices a bit pricey
Marlene Mortensen (5 months ago)
Really unique place to go. Lots of walking and exploring, never know whats around the corner, lots of paths to walk through. You could spend a good amount of time here. We took a bus right from the train station, you can get a map right across the street from the train station on the Hop-On-Hop Off bus which shows all the sites to see, but we paid minimal and just hopped on the City bus, there are really own two that take you to two different regions, with this being one of the stops. The drive itself is pretty cool. We were starving so we hit the cafe right inside the gates, path to the left just ask someone. It was surprisingly good and not that expensive. I had quiche and a glass of house red and would recommend both. Quinta da Regaleira was worth seeing for sure, the upside down or reversed tower was fun to go down, a bit of a line up but it goes fast. Enjoy!
Guillermo Aguiar Esteban (6 months ago)
Such a beautiful and unexpected place. It's just amazing and it makes you feel like if you were in a romantic fairy tale. You can get lost in the gardens, finding yourself under maze caves or stunning stones stairs. High recommended. The price is 6 € and they have lockers if you want to leave you bags and enjoy the place with no bothers.
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