After having our fill of Portugese Tarts, we drove to Sintra where we were taken to the amazing gardens of Quinta da Regaleira.
This place is almost indescribable, Wikipedia tries to describe it as follows:
Quinta da Regaleira is an estate located near the historic centre of Sintra, Portugal. It is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO within the “Cultural Landscape of Sintra”. The property consists of a romantic palace and chapel, and a luxurious park that features lakes, grottoes, wells, benches, fountains, and a vast array of exquisite constructions. The palace is also known as “The Palace of Monteiro the Millionaire”, which is based on the nickname of its best known former owner, António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro. The land that is now Quinta da Regaleira had many owners over the years. It belonged to the Barons of Regaleira, a family of wealthy merchants from Porto, when it was sold in 1892 to Carvalho Monteiro for 25,000 réis. Monteiro was eager to build a bewildering place where he could collect symbols that reflected his interests and ideologies. With the assistance of the Italian architect Luigi Manini, he recreated the 4-hectare estate. In addition to other new features, he added enigmatic buildings that allegedly held symbols related to alchemy, Masonry, the Knights Templar, and the Rosicrucians. The architecture Manini designed evoked Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, and Manueline styles. The construction of the current estate commenced in 1904 and much of it was completed by 1910. The park also contains an extensive and enigmatic system of tunnels, which have multiple entry points that include: grottoes, the chapel, Waterfall Lake, and “Leda’s Cave,” which lies beneath the Regaleira Tower. The “Initiation Well” connects to other tunnels via a series of underground walkways.
I will try and describe it better with lots of photos.
This is how big it is:
This is how much the kids loved it:
This is the walk to the entry and the main palace:
This is one of the initiation wells, it was really awesome. Ari counted 123 steps inside and 142 in total.
This is the chapel:
The grottoes and tunnels were some of the coolest things but some were pitch black inside and hard to photograph:
And here are so many more photos:
Neither the description or the photos do it enough justice. This was one of the best places we have ever been.