Portugal is one of those outstanding countries that boasts untold attractions. Portugal may be one of Europe's smaller countries, but it just isn't possible to do it justice in a single trip. One of the lesser-known but eye-widening attractions is the palace Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra. It incorporates mysticism, tunnels, and wells that appear to be towers going into the earth into its design.

Portugal not only boasts incredible scenery, good food, ancient history, and impressive architecture but it has also been ranked as the friendliest country in the world. One can see extensive Roman ruins in Portugal - but these are comparatively "recent" for the country where one can even discover a largely unvisited Neolithic 'Stonehenge' older than England's.

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Quinta da Regaleria - Two Men's World Of Art

Quinta da Regaleria is a palace that's located near the historic center of Sintra and is part of Sintra's list of World Heritage places. Sintra was one of the first cradles of romantic architecture in Europe and is one of the most rewarding places in Portugal to visit. Sintra has not one but four palaces to visit - Quinta da Regaleria, Pena, Moserrate, and Seteais.

  • Sintra: World Heritage Listed (Explore The Historic Center)

The Quinta da Regarleira was built in the late 1800s and is considered to reflect the sensibility and cultural, philosophical, and scientific interests of António Augusto de Carvalho Monteiro (1848-1920) and the virtuosity of the Italian architect and scenographer Luigi Manini (1848-1936).

Monteiro sought to build a bewildering place and one where he could bring symbols that reflected his interests and ideologies. These two men produced a remarkable work with a focus on the Manueline, Renaissance, Medieval and Classical styles of Europe.

  • Designed: by The Italian Architect, Luigi Manini
  • Principle Owner: António Augusto de Carvalho Monteiro

The palace, Quinta da Regarleira, is a palace complex with its Romantic palace and chapel and an incredible park with lakes, grottoes, fountains, well, and many exquisite constructions.

  • Built: Between 1904 and 1910

Related: Alfama Is One Of Lisbon's Oldest Neighborhoods, And This Is Why It's Worth Exploring

The Regaleira Palace & Chapel

At the center of the complex is the Regaleira Palace (which also has the same name as the rest of the estate). The facade of the building is ornately decorated with gargoyles, capitals, Gothic pinnacles, and an eye-catching octagonal tower. The Regaleira Palace would have been a very opulent place to live and is very much worth exploring today.

  • Levels: Five Floors Including the Basement

The Palace boasts a total of five floors (including the basement) with a billiards room, a dressing room, an ironing room, balconies, and many other rooms and several stairways.

The female servant's bedrooms are on the third upper floor while the male servants' bedrooms are down in the basement.

In front of the Regaleira Palace is a Roman Catholic Chapel that's richly decorated with frescoes, stuccoes, and beautiful stained glass windows. There are several scenes depicted in the frescoes including the Portuguese discoveries. The estate also boasts a densely treed park with artificial lakes.

Tunnels And Inverted Towers

Some of the most unique and curious attractions at the Regaleria Palace are its enigmatic (and extensive) system of tunnels. There are several entry points to the tunnels including from the Waterfall Lake, the chapel, the grottoes, and "Leda's Cave."

  • Inverted Towers: Serve To Connect The Tunnels & Caves

The tunnels are connected to a series of underground walkways by the "Initiation Well." The palace has two Initiation Wells - otherwise called inverted towers that were used for ceremonial purposes. They have been described as underground towers lined with stairs and were never intended to be a source of water.

  • Larger Well: Has A 27-Meter Spiral Staircase
  • Mysticism: The Well Has References To Tarot Mysticism

The tunnels connect to the two "inverted towers" as well as various caves and monuments around the extensive park.

Related: Why Portugal's Richly Colored Palace of Pena Looks Like A Fairytale

Visiting Quinta da Regarleira

The estate was sold to different parties who variously used it as a residence and as an investment. In 1997 the Sintra Town Council purchased the property and extensively restored the premises. The property first opened to the public in 1998 and is open to the public today.

  • Opening Hours: Jan to March: 10.00 am to 6.30 pm

One can choose between a self-guided and guided visit. Tickets and tours can be purchased on the palace's website.

  • Self Guided Tour: 10.00€ ($11.00)
  • Guided Tour: Extra 9.00€ ($10.00)
  • Duration of Tour: 90 Minutes