016 - Sintra II - Regaleira - Portugal

Few places in Europe speak "magic" when referred to, as does Quinta da Regaleira. 

For me, this unique place was one of the main reasons to go to Sintra, not once but twice (and I think will go back a few times more). 

What makes this place so great? Why reading Dante's Divine Comedy is important? 

Well, just read this article then:

Click on the map to view it

First time we came to Sintra we did not visit Regaleira, but rather the more famous Pena Palace and the Moors Castle. The second time we stood more we made sure we get here first!

Regaleira Estate was the very first thing we visited early morning. In fact we did not even stop to drink a coffee or to eat, we went there before the busses, before most tourists really wake up (drank the coffee as we walked with backpack on the back). 

016.1 Depending when you come to Sintra, visiting the area, very early in the morning might be the only way to get some images without too many people, like here at Pisoes Waterfall – “engraved with love”

We cannot stress enough how important is to pack water with you while in Sintra. Even while taking the bus, that will get super crowded and during the summer, here is very hot and humid (which makes 25 degrees feel more like 35). 
Since we were early, we thought we will be alone, but actually no, quite a few tourists were thinking the same thing so it was lovely not to be alone on empty roads.

016.2 For those who saw Lord of the Rings, this image might speak very well to them - Pisoes Loggia. This tower it is actually part of Regaleira domain.

016.3 Pisoes Loggia

016.4 Quinta da Regaleira - palace and walls (to be honest, not the most beautiful facade...). In the same year of our visit, the headline news was that the singer Madonna (the one) has bought Quinta do Religio (Watch Tower Estate). It is actually on the right side of this road (seen in the image). We could not visit it in 2017/2018, but maybe you can, in the future. (read bellow why we say that)

016.5 As we were waiting for the park to open to tourists, this cat was looking at us with sleepy eyes. To enter the domain, we must pass the main gate and continue up on the road, to the left. 

016.6 From the entrance, Regaleira is filled with tons of details, so waiting for the park to open will not be boring at all actually, because there is much to see, even from the gate. Or you can read about the previous owner, also a celebrity (the previous owner was the CEO of Aoki Corporation, a former Japanese  construction company)

016.7 I took this shot because I loved how square are the tower and walls of Cisterna (this is the name of this building, as seen on the tourist map) and great it looks paired with the tree. 

From the moment we could walk inside the park, we (me and my wife) were in a rush to get a shot of the inverted tower also known as the Initiation Well, before the selfie sticks will be visible from every balcony. 

016.8 Images cannot do justice to how beautiful this is! I hope that you the viewer will use these images not to understand, but to have an idea, just like the book covers give a hint of what is inside its pages.

016.9 One might say that being among the first people in the morning to get here, will allow for plenty of time to setup and make photos. In fact no... Many were actually running (literally) from the gates to the well (even more aged people). Luckily, by the time we got to the bottom of the ninth level, we were alone for a good 2-3 minutes so we changed lenses, and on our knees we tried to take photos.

016.10 I made this image to give a sens of how big it is at the bottom of the well and how... dry it is this as well :) 

016.11 Another view of the Initiation Well and to the left we see the entrance to one of the tunnels at Regaleira Estate.

016.12 This cave, as well as much of all that we see in this estate, it is purposely built (with limestone from Peniche) but it looks great and it is a cool experience especially for children. There are LED lights on the ground (as it can be seen in the image) so with a phone's torch we can make quite good images. Since this place it is opened to tourists, there are no bats here.

016.13 There are many exits from the cave system, and this is the most dark looking. I used to play many adventure computer games and one of them, Diablo, came into my mind as I was putting myself into position to take this shot. 

016.4 There is another exit that get's you near to the Unfinished Well (actually this is the first well I saw at Regaleira Estate). As of 2017-18, it was not possible to go inside the well. There is a railing fence, and people can admire from there. 

016.15 The third and last exit (and the closest to the Initiation Well) it is the Guardian's Gate. I cannot say at every corner of Regaleira that it is incredibly beautiful, because that would be annoying when reading, but it is true. Every corner it is wow!  

016.16 When we came here, this gate was more like lovers gate, most couples are here and for good reason.

016.17 Regaleira Estate was built during the Romantic Era, so no wonder love is everywhere. 

016.18 Paths are easy to walk, no need for special shoes (as it might be the case for some who are walking to Pena Palace in a more adventure style)

016.19 Climbing the hills of Regaleira Estate will provide different vues of Sintra, in this case: The Moors Castle (wall) - next article.

016.20 Regaleira Tower 

016.21 Of course, the iconic Pena Palace, as seen from Regaleira Estate (future article). Yes both Moors Castle and Pena Palace are visible from Regaleira - yet one more reason to visit this place.

016.22 It would not be Portugal, without great gardens, and Regaleira is no small feat. Like said in the beginning, all is calculated by the Italian architect. From the base of the hill (near the main gate) even the trees will be different as you climb to the other extremity. Anyway, the garden is well taken care of and here is a picture of a Fuchsia.

016.23 Hortensia

016.24 Fuzzy Deutzia

016.25 Seeing  the Regaleira Fountain in person is another of those wow moments. Each coloured stone, adds to the beauty and the depth of the mystery of this fountain. Most of the works of art that are at Regaleira, have more than one meaning and I wish Dan Brown would make a novel based on this place. The issue is that most websites (even from the country) speak of mysteries but not even one is told... 

016.26 A very gothic looking like image, with the Chapel's tower to the left an Regaleira to the right.

016.27 One could spend hours just admiring the many (many) statues that are at Regaleira Estate. Some even sit on the park benches and draw. 

016.28 A beautiful Azulejos is on display above the entrance to the Greenhouse. 

016.29 A peek inside the Greenhouse. I don't know if this can be visited, many doors were actually shut. The Aquarium was also empty... 

016.30 After many hours of walking in the park, we left the Palace to the end (so that we don't walk much in the heat). But before that, we enjoy a soup and coffee at the restaurant next to the Palace. 

016.31 While the park it is incredibly beautiful and provides lots of stories to tell to friends and family, the Palace is no less than memorable. Right from the entrance, we see this piano sitting in an almost 100% wood environment. I wonder how the acoustics of this chamber is...

016.32 The garden is so beautiful, that the palace walls depict scenes that happen in the garden!

016.33 King's Room with the Kings and the Queens of Portugal. 

016.34 Much more to see at the Palace, but we will not share over a hundred images just yet. Instead here are more flowers, this time, right in front of the Palace (Chinese Hibiscus).

016.35 I wonder why the design of the Palace is so... grey. 

016.36 Inside the Chapel. While not visible here in this photo, there are even more symbols thrown here, like the Illuminati, the Templars. On the stained glass we see a story that we know already -> Nazare (see article 011). (this picture looks way better in the editing software...)

016.37 A reflection within a reflection. 

016.38 This is a final image of the Regaleira Palace and the cloudy sky. 

016.39 With this image we close the circle, as we are back to the south western corner, and we sit down on one of the many benches and watch the ducks play in the shallow water. 

Regaleira Estate would require a good half day visit, but it is best actually to stay more, even you if you come like us, as the gates open. 

Also, during the late spring, early to mid summer is even better, as flowers are in bloom, most area is covered in vegetation (some trees do loose the leafs, even this far south in Europe). There are many tourists but not like at Louvre or Eiffel Tower. You can breathe and make great memories. It is true that for the Initiation Well, it is best to come early morning or late afternoon (just before closing) but at those hours, many more photographers will come to get that warm light. 

No need for special shoes, but we do recommend water, sunscreen and a hat. 

There isn't much walking (like Moors/Pena) so you can pack more gear to make photos, including tripod, flash, mirrors etc. However if you plan to do another area after, then consider the more walking part.

Always bring water with you in the parks of Sintra, as all is either via money or worse -> you can have all the money but for many minutes/even hours, there is no store so you can keep the money.

It is not expensive to visit Regaleira and unlike Versailles, the Palace here can be skipped if wished. The Initiation Well, the garden, the towers and the rest of the park are actually the main attraction. The restaurant is great and the soup is very tasty and Italian like. 

We hope you enjoyed this article, and we hope you learned something. 

Thank you,

Sources: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/articles/a-visitors-guide-to-dantes-nine-circles-of-hell/

and https://ncultura.pt/segredos-do-poco-iniciatico-quinta-da-regaleira-sintra/

The photos on this article were made in June 2017 

They were shot on Canon 80D

The photo lenses used in this article are:

Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 Canon EF-S Mount: 8-18, 29-33, 36-39

Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 Canon EF-S Mount:1-7,19-28, 34, 35

Most photos are shot at lowest ISO possible, for the highest aperture available, in order to obtain a good exposure time. 

All shot in manual mode.

No phone camera photos in this article. 

No HDR photos in this article.

No AI in any way, shape or form.

Popular Posts