Getting Lost in a Magical Garden at the Quinta da Regaleira

During my second day at Lisbon, I figured I’d do a day trip to Sintra. Sintra is a town about a 40 minute train ride from the Lisbon city centre. It is a tourist hot spot with a number cultural significant highlights such as, the Pena Palace, Moor Castle, the Sintra Palace, and the one I visited, the Quinta da Regaleria. The Quinta de Regaleira, as it stands today, is the brain child of António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro and architect Luigi Manini. The estate is full of religious symbols, chapels and grottos.

Quinta da Regaleira

The Quinta de Regaleira can be divided into two parts – the outside and the inside. The inside is essentially the house itself, and the chapel. I wasn’t too impressed with either of these. Most of the house was just a mini museum about how it was built and the design.  You can walk through these in about 30 minutes. You can also check out the cafe near the chapel – the servings are cheap and small – but very delicious! The best part of the Quinta de Regaleira, by far, is its expansive gardens.

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The gardens, as I mentioned before, have a number of small grotto hideaways. There are also fantastic views of Sintra. One iconic site is the initiation well which was used by the Masons – seen as a link between heaven and earth. But besides the iconic sites, just wandering around the gardens can be such a delight. The little ponds and wells that you find, or even just some arches are honestly such a magical experience. I spent about 3 hours just walking around, not paying attention to the map I had.

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