The Quinta da Regaleira is a decorative 20th century residence that is situated in the town of Sintra. The grand house is split over five floors and has an ornate gothic façade, but the real attraction is to the rear with the enchanting gardens. The gardens of the Quinta da Regaleira were styled to represent ancient secret orders, with hidden tunnels and concealed symbolism.
The Quinta da Regaleira is open between 9:30 - 20:00h (summer season) and 9:30 - 18:00h (winter season), with the last admission 1 hour before closing time. The entrance fee is €6.00/€4.00/€4.00/€18.00 (adult/child/senior/family), and this includes entrance to the house and the grounds. There are good guided tours that cost €10, and this price includes the entrance fee. A typical visit lasts 1.5 hours, with the majority of the time spent in the gardens.
The Quinta da Regaleira is suggested to be visited on a second day of exploring Sintra and should be combined with the Convento dos Capuchos and the Palacio de Monserrate. To visit all three attractions a hire car is required, although the Quinta da Regaleira can be easily reached on foot from Sintra. The walk, which climbs a couple of small hills, takes approximately 15 minutes (just under 2km), and due to the short distance there is no real need to hire a taxi.
Directions: from the tourist office, follow the road (Rua Consiglieri Pedroso) up the hill that’s past the small church (Igreja Paroquial). At the T-junction just outside of Sintra, turn right onto Rua Barbosa do Bocage (N375) and you’ll find the main entrance is 400 meters on the left.
The outside façade of the grand house is decorated with gothic turrets, carved gargoyles and other ornate features. Inside, the building spreads over five floors, but it’s very sparse in actual original details. The true wonder of the Quinta da Regaleira are the grounds, which cover 4 hectares and were inspired by the owner’s mystic ideologies.
There are references to the Knights Templar, the Masons and dark alchemy, all hidden within the grounds. The well is the strangest feature, and symbolises the initiation ceremony for the Knights Templar. In the well there is a concealed passage that after descending 27 meters connects to a series of tunnels that run the length of the gardens.
The house was constructed in 1904 by the wealthy Portuguese businessman Carvalho Monteiro, which gave rise to the residence’s local name of “Palace of the Monteiro Millionaire”. The house was in construction for over 6 years, but on the death of Carvalho Monteiro, the house was purchased by Waldemar d’Orey. It stayed within the family until 1987, when it was bought by a Japanese business for private functions. Sintra local government reclaimed this important national monument it 1997 and opened it to the public in 1998.