Quinta de Regaleira & Monserrate Palace, Sintra (Lisboa - Portugal)

As I mentioned in the earlier post, we spent 2 days in Sintra and unfortunately on Day 1 it was pouring cats & dogs! We began our day with Pena Palace on day 1 and when it stopped rain, we headed to Quinta de Regaleira, the most beautiful gardens in the whole of Sintra!

As soon as we entered, the first ever place we went was to the most important place, the most picturesque place in the whole of Sintra - the Initiatic Well! Infact, it being the most popular, there is a dedicated direction board from the entrance to the Initiatic Well! We reached it from the top. 


It is a 27m deep subterranean tower and its an allegorical representation of the passage between heaven & hell. The bottom of the inverted tower, has a underground tunnel that leads to waterfall. The depth of the lake of the waterfall is about 1m deep and it has a series of poles on which you have to walk to cross it! Ofcourse, taking the passage from up is safer and kid & elderly friendly.

Before reaching the well, on the way, we crossed the quarters of the employees of the estate. Further ahead is the Portal of the Guardians, an arch shaped pavilion with twin towers inside which is one of the 3rd passage to enter into the Initiatic Well. In front of it is the Terrace of the Celestial Worlds which has 2 levels of the tower on one side alone, still intact! The whole garden has the concept of Cosmos where paradise & mundus inferos (hell) coexists.

After getting out of the Initiatic Well through the bottom, via the waterfalls, we walked to the Regaleira Tower and Fountain. The Regaleira fountain was a pleasant surprise with some excellent mosaic work. 



From there our last 2 stops were the Chapel and the Palace. This is a smaller, less ornate and less complicated palace when compared to Pena or other palaces here. Its beginnings were in 1697 and by 1840, it was taken over by Baronness de Regaleira to use as summer residence and since then it was called Quinta da Torre da Regaleira. 
Our next stop was Monserrate Palace!!! We visited here because this has the most connection with India, in the whole of Sintra! Its construction began in 1540, that's a couple decades after Pena Palace as a chapel for Our Lady of Monserrate. By 1718, it was taken over by Caetano de Mello e Castro, who was the Viceroy of India then. 


By 1856, Francis Cook took over the place and began renovating it to use it as summer residence. Francis Cook was a textile millionaire and art collector from Britain and India was a British colony. He managed to bring 8 marble jaali windows from Jaipur and fix it here in the first floor of main atrium (central octagonal hall) as a parapet wall.

This is very wheelchair/stroller friendly. The main entrance is closed off and on either sides are the staircase & ramp as entrance for the visitors and the first room we get to access is the central octagonal atrium. Just the view of the corridor on either sides is exceptional. The arches and the jaali work are just wow! 


There are 4 small rooms followed by 4 large rooms and then a huge circular hall on either sides, one of which was the original entrance to the palace. On the rear-end one of the large rooms is called the Indian room where the 2 wooden sofas are from India. The wall everywhere is filled with plaster and stencil technique in Moorish patterns which was very prevalent in Britain then. This palace is a standing example of a Romantic Architecture with a beautiful mix of Portugal, English, Moorish and Indian elements....
The garden is quite exceptional too. Plants have been brought in here from world-over, including jasmine, cinnamon, persimmon, bamboo, camellias, swamp cypress, oak, pine, banyan & more... For the first ever time, Atyudarini got to see the hibiscus flower, something we grow back at home in India! 
There is also a chapel, an ornamental lake and an artificial waterfall as well. Just before the entrance of the palace is the arch called Indian arch and opposite to it is the roman arch with a water tank. The Indian arch does have a sad history - it was looted from India, as a spoil of war, after the British crushed the Indians who involved in the First War of Indian Independence in 1857 (mentioned as Sepoy Mutiny here)!


To Stay:
While it is possible to visit Sintra in one or more daytrips from Lisbon, it is an amazing experience to stay in Sintra, surrounded by all greenery with a stunning view from the window, of the Moorish Castle!
Airbnbs, hostels & hotels are available are various price points, esp., close to Sintra railway station.
Check out my review of the historic hotel, Sintra Marmoris Palace where we stayed.

To Get There:
On Google Maps: Quinta de Regaleira, Monserrate Palace

The public bus service in Sintra, Scotturb, has 2 loops connecting the various monuments of Sintra to the Historic Centre (railway station). 
Uber also functions well here. However since several roads are one-way it can take a longtime to reach!!! If its close-by to walk, sometimes its quicker to walk. 
In either cases, be prepared to wait! Buses don't really come on time and Uber can cancel even if you're nearby, if reaching you needs a long one-way route!

Entrance Tickets & Timings:
Monserrate Palace: €8 (under Parques de Sintra); 10:00AM to 6:00PM
Quinta de Regaleira: €8 (under CulturSintra); 9:30AM to 6:00/8:00PM (in winters/summers respectively)
Can be bought online on the official website of  Parques de Sintra and Quinta de Regaleira
5-10% discount available if combined tickets are purchased for 2 or more Parques de Sintra monuments. But this can only be bought at the ticket counter and Quinta de Regaleira doesn't come under this.
The best thing is that both these sites are available to hire for weddings and other events. Just the whole idea of getting married in a a Jaipur style Palace, but in Portugal or to get married and walk with your spouse hand in hand from hell to heaven in the initiation well is quite an experience. Here are your perfect destination wedding venues!!!!

P.S: I was invited by Parques de Sintra & CulturSintra to experience the region and hosted by Sintra Marmoris Palace, for review purposes, however the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

10 comments:

  1. Ah! This brings back such great memories. I loved Sintra so much, and this place was such an interesting wonderland - especially with the underground spaces. I didn't realize that they brought in plants from all over - hibiscus is so pretty. Thanks for taking me back to a lovely place!

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  2. I remember doing this palace and how remarkable beautiful the place is. This sure did bring back many great memories. I love all of the other areas of Sintra but I remember doing all the palaces and castles in this area. I spent quite a bit of time here and these should all be visited on anyone's list if they are visiting Lisboa.

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  3. I loved Sintra when I was there. Absolutely loved it. I am sorry it was raining on your first day, but I think the beauty of this town, or the palace, makes up for it! I normally don't like re-visiting museums or palaces, but this one I totally would!

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  4. Sintra is on my bucket list. I was only in Lisbon for several days. But I'm going to visit all Portugal with Sintra of course. I plan to spend about two weeks in Portugal. I hope this is enough to visit this beautiful country. I love your photos. Sintra looks like from fairytale. It is fabulous. And can't wait to see this 27m deep tower and this paradise garden, and Monserrate Palace, too.

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  5. Oh usually when I'm reading your site, I've never been to that place, but in this case, I have! You did a great job of reminding me of what made that experience so special. I just loved Sintra in general!

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  6. Sorry to hear it was raining so much on your trip. That definitely can be disappointing when all you want to do, is explore new places. Portugal looks so interesting with all the historical and absolutely beautiful buildings. I have not been there yet, but I really want to visit. Sintra looks like a great place to start. Monserrate Palace look amazing!

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  7. Sintra is somewhere I've read about so much. I've been to Lisbon and Porto but I really need to see more of Portugal. Your pictures of Monserrate Palace are amazing, I'll have to visit!

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  8. Sintra looks delightful. Initiatic Well definitely stands as my favorite. Monserrate Palace has made me curious. Terrace of the Celestial Worlds looks interesting too. I will keep these places in mind whenever I will visit Portugal.

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  9. I can't believe I missed this when I went to Sintra! I definitely needed to spend at least a night there. I've seen pictures of the Initiatic Well but had no idea it had so much meaning behind it regarding heaven and hell. Walking across the lake on those poles must be quite an exciting experience!

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  10. I like the way it looks. There are so many details in interior. I am already kinda done with palaces in Europe, they look the same to me. I would be glad to take a look at Quinta...

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