We had 2 days to explore Sintra in Portugal. We didn’t visit Sintra on a day trip from Lisbon, because I wanted to see as must as possible. High on my wish list was the Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra Portugal. I knew I wanted to see this mythical palace with her Gothic features, the underground grottoes and overgrown park. But I had no idea what it would be like. If you’re in doubt if you should visit the Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, then here are 7 reasons why you should!
Read more: 10 Day Road Trip around Portugal
Escape the crowds in Sintra Portugal
We visited Sintra in March. Definately not the high season and it was raining and a thick fog rolled in over the mountains. Not the ideal circumstances to visit one of Portugal’s most famous sights. But, as it turned out, the Pena Palace was crawling with people. We had to wait impatiently for people to move (and the clouds to clear for 2 seconds.)
In the village of Sintra, the sidewalks were full with tour groups, day trippers and people walking the wrong way. It was busy!
Once we arrived at the Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, we parked our car, walked inside and found ourselves inside an oasis of quiet and calm. Ok, there was a herd of school children coming our way, but we decided to walk to the far end of the park to be alone.
Nothing but trees, ferns, hidden paths and old vegetation, the park of Quinta da Regaleira is a great place to escape the herds of people who visit Sintra. Read more: Monserrate Palace and Gardens in Sintra.
As Sintra is becoming more and more a popular tourist attraction (rightly so!) the palaces and castles get busier and more crowded. I found the park of the Quinta da Regaleira a bit calmer and we took our time to take pictures and enjoy the park.
Read more: Fun Things to do in Porto
Instagram Photoshoot at the Quinta da Regaleira Palace
Did I say take pictures? We took a whole bunch of them. And we were not the only ones. The Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra is really an Instagrammers dream. Nothing but mysterious greenery, cute palace backgrounds and lush green garden to get that natural looking shot. How do you think I did?
Tick another Unesco World Heritage Site off your list
Now, I am not the person who keeps lists of things to do. It took me forever to make some sort of bucket list, which is more a travel wish list. You can find it here. And I don’t tick things off the list or keep track of how many countries I visited. But I do like to see what Unesco does to protect our world and cultural heritage. So when Unesco says it is on their list, I do like to see it.
The Quinta da Regaleira is on Unesco’s World Heritage list and for good reasons. After carefully executed restorations, it opened to the public in 1998. As a visitor, you can visit the 5 story palace and the grounds surrounding it.
At the time of our visit, a part of the Regaleira palace was closed due to maintanance. We still got to see the down stairs area and the kitchen part. I loved the outside walkway around the palace the most.
Another cute feature of Quinta da Regaleira is the little chapel in front of the palace. Although tiny, it has several floors and the rich decorations are worth to pop your head in for a short moment.
More Portuguese World Heritage Listings? Read about Alcobaça, Batalha and Tomar Monasteries in Portugal.
Connect with nature at Quinta da Regaleira Sintra
We first set out to explore the park of Regaleira Palace. We sat among thick vegetation, we walked underneath waterfalls and we spotted the first spring flowers in the park. As the little village of Sintra is crowded, being away from all the other tourists and just roam the grounds was a perfect idea. You entrance ticket to the Quinta da Regaleira is valid for the whole day. You do not need to rush and can enjoy it as long as you’d like (or until they kick you out).
Walk through the Underground Passageways
The estate of Regaleira palace was built between 1904 and 1910. The architect Manini plotted the lay-out of the grounds and palace. Can you see a resemblance with the Bussaço Palace in Portugal? Yup that is right, same Manini.
Anyways, in the park, you’ll not only find ponds and waterfalls but also a number of underground passageways that lead to the Initiation wells (more on that later). The underground routes cover a large area of the park and it astonished me that they were so long. You start to wonder: what were they used for and why were they needed?
The underground passageways at the Quinta da Regaleira have a path of lights guiding you around. Slowly, one foot before the other, we walked through the halls. To my surprise, one way lead to the waterfall and numerous exits. Where else can you find such quirky things?
Enjoy the view from the Regaleira Tower
As previously mentioned before, the Quinta da Regaleira palace and park is a dream for any Instagrammer or photographer. One of the key features is the Regaleira Tower. It makes for a nice shot but the view from the top of the Regaleira tower is amazing. You can see the ruins of the Moorish castle in Sintra. In the far distance you can see the colourful towers of the Pena Palaces and down below you see the village of old Sintra.
Everywhere around you, is the green vegetation of the Regaleira park. We visited the Quinta da Regaleira on a cloudy day, but even then, the view was amazing! Make sure to enjoy the view from the Regaleira tower!
Photograph the Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira
Last but definitely not least is the Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira. Probably this was the reason for me, and you, to visit Quinta da Regaleira.
This mythical well never really holds any water, but was used for initiations rites and passages. The spiral staircases lead you down below to the bottom of the well. The well feels like an inverted tower and the architecture is stunning. Add in a touch of moss that overgrows the brick walls and your eery picture is complete.
From the bottom of the well, you can follow the underground passageways to the waterfalls and explore more of the park. But looking down in the Initiation Well and descending to the bottom of it was a unique experience. Where do you see things like this?
Visit Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra Portugal
Do I need to say more? I found these 7 very good reasons why you should visit the Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra. Maybe even good reasons to go to Sintra in the first place. I found the Quinta da Regaleira an unique mythical palace with elements that I’ve never seen anywhere else before. The gardens and park are a great place to relax and enjoy the views of Sintra and the Quinta da Regaleira.
Read more: Visit Sintra for more than 1 day
Practical Tips to visit Quinta da Regaleira Sintra
As usually, I give some quick & practical tips to visit the place. I found the visit of the Quinta da Regaleira one of the most accessible ones (in terms of getting there) and the price was also good value for money. More on that below.
How to get to Quinta da Regaleira?
- Walk: The Quinta da Regaleira can be easily visited on foot. It is a short walk (uphill) from the town of Sintra. Just follow the signs to Quinta da Regaleira.
- By Car: once in Sintra village, follow the signs for Quinta da Regaleira. You can also type in your navigation: R. Barbosa do Bocage 5, 2710-567 Sintra. The entrance to the palace is around the corner. Drive through and you’ll find a few spots to park your car (if you’re lucky).
- By Bus: from Sintra railway station, you can catch the 435 Scotturn bus. For more information on prices and tickets, follow the link.
- TukTuk: TukTuks are booming in Sintra. You’ll find them at every major sight in Sintra and you can join a tour and charter a private tuktuk to drive you around. Make sure to negotiate prices before you get in!
- Join a tour: there are hundreds of tours from Lisbon that will bring you to Sintra and include a number of sights and options to see in Sintra. I found a few that include a tour of the Quinta da Regaleira Palace.
Costs to visit the Quinta da Regaleira
At the moment, the entrance fee is €6 for adults to visit and €3 for children. You can visit the palace and the park on your own but the Quinta da Regaleira also has guided tours. They are €12 but include the entrance price. Always check prices before you go. You can find all the discount options on the website of the Quinta de Regaleira, here.
The Quinta da Regaleira is open from 9.30 am until 6pm (winter) and 8pm (summer). Last entrance is an hour for closing time.
You’d need roughly 2 hours to visit the Quinta da Regaleira. Depending on how many pictures you’d like to take and how much time you spend in the gardens.
Have you been to Sintra? Did you visit the Quinta da Regaleira? What did you like best? Let me know in the comment section below!
This post does contain affiliate links. If you purchase goods or services via one of the links, I’ll earn a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you.