Quinta Da Regaleira (Sintra)
The Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra is an impressive residence built over five floors with a gothic façade yet the most attractive part of this place is its lovely gardens. The residence itself is fairly sparse and you are likely to spend far more time in those gardens than in the building itself. They were specially designed and incorporate hidden tunnels. The 20th Century house is just a short uphill walk from the center of Sintra so there is no need to hire a taxi unless you have mobility problems. It is open all year round and guided tours are available.
The Quinta da Regaleira was built in 1904 by Carvalho Monteiro. When you arrive, you will see gothic turrets, gargoyles and other ornate décors. When Monteiro died, the property was sold and then changed hands again; a Japanese family then bought the house and it stayed in the family until the late 1980s. It was finally bought by Sintra and opened to the public twenty years ago. The 4-hectare garden is filled with symbolic things that Monteiro wanted to create to support his ideas. They include references to the Masons and the Knights Templar. There is a hidden passage in the well at a depth of 27 meters and from there, a series of tunnels run underneath the gardens. The well somehow reflects the initiation ceremony that the Knights Templar underwent. Quinta da Regaleira is certainly quirky but should be included if you intend to spend some time in Sintra.