Quinta da Regaleira, an eclectic, almost spooky palace in Sintra, Portugal, was nothing short of amazing. most visitors to Sintra, however, will probably end up passing it over for the more popular palaces. If we weren’t staying within walking distance from it at the historic, luxurious Hotel Tivoli Palácio de Seteais then we probably would have missed it too.
I can’t say that it’s better than Pena, the most famous and lavish Sintra palace, because alas we didn’t make it there. We’re probably the only people who visited Quinta da Regaleira instead of Pena! We didn’t intend for that happen. We were excited that Quinta da Regaleira was so close, so we went there first. We spent over two hours there, which was a large percentage of the sightseeing time we had in Sintra (one real day). Not only is there the main palace building to tour, but the grounds are quite extensive. We had so much fun exploring the sculpture gardens, the chapel, lookout towers, grottoes, fountains and even a waterfall. There are supposedly underground passageways, but we were too timid to try them out. And we had our son, who was 11 months old at the time, in a Bjorn carrier, so that also made us less adventurous.
The palace was completed in 1910 (after 6 years of construction), so it’s practically new compared to other Portuguese monuments — especially because it didn’t even open to the public until 1998. The architecture is a mix of Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Manueline styles. At times it’s beautiful, at times it’s gaudy (and almost Gaudi-esque), and at times it’s just eerie. There’s plenty to see and it really sparks the imagination. Plus, the views are outstanding.
One of the reasons why we spent so long at Quinta da Regaleira was because I was taking so many photos. Enjoy the slideshow below!