Last Updated on December 1, 2023
This Sintra guide covers why you should see this beautiful palace, and how to visit Quinta da Regaleira.
Many people head to Sintra, Portugal to see famous sites like Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle. But another site well worth seeing is Quinta da Regaleira.
There you’ll find a beautiful palace, gardens, and other buildings that show symbols related to alchemy, Masonry, the Knights Templar, and the Rosicrucians.
Close to the historic centre of Sintra, Quinta da Regaleira is easy to add to your Sintra itinerary, whether you’re spending just 24 hours in Sintra, or you’re in Sintra for a few nights. Here’s how to visit Quinta da Regaleira.
Disclosure: This article includes affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through one of those links, I earn a small commission. Affiliate links cost you nothing to use, and keep Pina Travels reader-supported. Thank you!
- Quinta da Regaleira History
- How to Visit Quinta da Regaleira
- Before You Go: Tips for Visiting Quinta da Regaleira
- Tours to Quinta da Regaleira From Lisbon
- What to See at Quinta da Regaleira
- My Experience Exploring Quinta da Regaleira
- Where to Stay Near Quinta da Regaleira
- Why You Should Visit Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra
Quinta da Regaleira History
Included under Sintra’s UNESCO World Heritage Site designation, this 4-hectare estate is absolutely magical.
Quinta da Regaleira had various owners over the years. In the early years, it belonged to the Viscountess of Regaleira, a family of wealthy merchants from Porto.
In 1892, the family sold it to the millionaire António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, who was a Portuguese philanthropist, lawyer, and entomologist. Monteiro had a vision for an estate that would reflect his ideologies and interests. He worked with Italian architect Luigi Manini to create that vision.
The architecture Manini designed, including the quinta’s beautiful palace, drew from Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, and Manueline styles. Work on the estate started in 1904 and was finished by 1910.
In the mid 1900s, the estate was sold to another private buyer, and it changed hands a couple times after that before eventually being sold to Sintra Town Council in 1997, and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site shortly after in 2002.
How to Visit Quinta da Regaleira
How to visit Quinta da Regaleira? You’ll first need to get to Sintra. Most visitors will connect to Sintra through Lisbon, which is one hour away. The trip from Libson to Sintra takes less than an hour, and can be done by train, bus, or by car.
If you’re connecting to Sintra from Porto, a city in northern Portugal, you’ll go first to Lisbon, and then connect from Lisbon to Sintra.
Lisbon to Sintra by train
The train from Lisbon to Sintra is affordable, efficient, and comfortable. It runs every 30 minutes on weekdays and weekends from Rossio Station, which is in the center of Lisbon, and goes to Sintra Train Station. The trip takes 40 minutes each way, and costs €4,40 return.
Lisbon to Sintra by bus
There is a direct bus that departs from Marquês de Pombal in Lisbon and arrives at Sintra Train Station station. The bus service runs hourly and every day. It takes about 27 minutes to get to Sintra from Lisbon on the bus. Tickets for the bus range in price from as low as €1 and up to €10.
Lisbon to Sintra by car
The drive from Lisbon to Sintra takes about 30 minutes. Parking in Sintra is somewhat limited to the outskirts of the city. There are parking lots near the Portela de Sintra train station and another below the Sintra village. Once you’ve parked, you can walk to Quinta da Regaleira, or take the local bus.
How to get to Quinta da Regaleira from Sintra?
To reach Quinta da Regaleira from the Sintra train station, take bus 434 to Largo Ferreira Castro. The entrance to the palace is an 8 minute walk up the road from there. Alternatively, you can walk to Quinta da Regaleira. From Sintra train station it’s a 22 minute walk, and from Sintra town it’s about 15 minutes. There’s also the option to take a cab. It will cost more than the bus, but is the quickest way to get to Quinta da Regaleira from Sintra Town.
Before You Go: Tips for Visiting Quinta da Regaleira
Before visiting Quinta da Regaleira there’s a couple things to know and keep in mind.
Quinta da Regaleira opening hours
Quinta da Regaleira opens daily at 10:00am. Closing times vary depending on the season, but the last entrance into the palace grounds is always at 5:30pm. It’s recommended to arrive at Quinta da Regaleira at opening time to beat the midday crowds.
How to get tickets for Quinta da Regaleira?
Tickets for visiting Quinta da Regaleira can be bought online, or at the entrance to the palace grounds. It’s best to buy your tickets online and in advance so that you don’t have to wait in line to purchase your ticket on the day you’re visiting.
Amenities at Quinta da Regaleira
Quinta da Regaleira has bathrooms, a gift shop, and a coffee shop with outdoor seating. The coffee shop offers snacks and light meals like sandwiches.
Most of the estate is wheelchair accessible. Parts of the gardens are hilly, and the terrain varies, but the paths are well maintained. The part of the estate that isn’t wheelchair accessible is the inside of the palace.
How long should you spend at Quinta da Regaleira?
You should budget to spend 2 to 3 hours exploring Quinta da Regaleira. It’s a 4-hectare estate, so there’s lots to see! If you have limited time visiting the estate, I recommend seeing the exterior and interior of the palace, Chapel of Holy Trinity, Promenade of the Gods, Portal of the Guardians, and the Initiation Well.
Can you visit Quinta da Regaleira as part of a day trip from Lisbon?
Yes, it’s possible to visit Quinta da Regaleira as part of a day trip to Sintra from Lisbon. As long as you get an early start to your day trip, you can fit Pena Palace, Castle of the Moors, and Quinta da Regaleira into one day.
Consider combining a visit to Quinta da Regaleira with Biester Palace
Biester Palace is a lesser-known Sintra point of interest, and it’s just a 5 minute walk from Quinta da Regaleira. This palace, also known as Chalet Biester or Parque Biester, was built at the end of the 19th century. It was designed by Portuguese architect José Luiz Monteiro, in a neoclassical style. If you plan to visit both palaces, it makes sense to visit them on the same day because of their proximity to each other.
Tours to Quinta da Regaleira From Lisbon
If you’re visiting Quinta da Regaleira independently, you can book this skip-the-line entry ticket with an audio tour in advance.
But it’s also possible to visit Quinta da Regaleira from Lisbon as part of a small group tour. This is a great option for seeing the quinta as part of a day trip. And joining a tour means no planning or organizing on your part, so it’s super convenient!
RATING: 4.9 / 5 Stars | TOUR LENGTH: 6 Hours
This Sintra and Quinta da Regaleira Tour includes a visit to the quinta’s romantic palace, garden, and caves. You’ll also have some free time to explore the historical center of Sintra. Then, you’ll go to Cabo da Roca for some gorgeous views, and visit Guincho beach near Sintra, as well as the bay of Cascais.
The best part of this tour is that it’s a small group tour. You’ll be part of a group no larger than 7 people, which means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to chat with your guide and ask questions.
The Sintra and Quinta da Regaleira Tour includes:
- Pick-up and drop-off at your hotel or apartment in central Lisbon.
- Transportation by air-conditioned minivan.
- A guide and the driver for a small group of max 7 people.
- Personalized guided tour of every site.
- Free time in the historical center of Sintra.
RATING: 4.7 / 5 Stars | TOUR LENGTH: 7 Hours
This private Sintra, Regaleira and Pena Palace Guided Tour includes a guided visit to Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira, and the historical center of Sintra. During the lunch break in Sintra’s old town, you will have free time to explore the town’s beautiful streets. You’ll also get to taste a delicious pastry that’s traditional to Sintra, travesseiros!
The private Sintra, Regaleira and Pena Palace Guided Tour includes:
- Guided tour of Pena Palace.
- Guided tour of Quinta da Regaleira.
- Quinta da Regaleira admission.
- Transport by air-conditioned vehicle.
- Hotel pickup and drop-off (if private option selected).
What to See at Quinta da Regaleira
There is a lot to see at Quinta da Regaleira! The key two areas are the interior and exterior of the palace of Regaleira, and the gardens of Regaleira.
When you arrive at Quinta da Regaleira you will have the option to take a paper map with you. It’s also available for download on the Quinta da Regaleira website for free. I recommend downloading it in advance to view on your phone – saves paper! This map is your best resource for navigating to all the different points of interest you’d like to see at Quinta da Regaleira.
Read on for a breakdown of all the notable sites at the estate so you can plan your visit.
Palace of Quinta da Regaleira
The Palace of Quinta da Regaleira was constructed in the early 20th century by Carvalho Monteiro, who commissioned the Italian designer Luigi Manini to build the palace in a neo-manueline style.
Inside the palace are 5 floors, but today you’re able to explore only the main floor and first floor. You’ll enter the palace through the porch, which leads first into the foyer. The entrance is carved in limestone, and in the foyer you’ll find mosaics and limestone accents.
The main floor is where you’ll find public rooms where the Monteiro family would have relaxed and entertained guests. This includes the Hunting Room, Renaissance Room, Music Room, Kings Room and Smoking Room.
Climb the staircase up to the palace’s first floor, where you can see the private bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as the playroom for children.
The Hunting Room was my favourite room in the palace. This decorated room would have served as a dining room. The highlight of the room is its massive, ornate fireplace.
The fireplace was created by sculptor Rodrigo de Castro. It depicts hunting scenes and features a huntsman at the very top. The huntsman, of course, is meant to be Monteiro, the owner who commissioned the building of the palace.
The Renaissance Room was a living room, where the palace’s family would have entertained guests. As a result, it’s also incredibly ornate.
This room is called the Renaissance Room because it was designed by Luigi Manini, in reference to the Italian Renaissance. Although it reference’s Italian art, the room includes paintings by various Portuguese artists as well.
The Music Room at Quinta Da Regaleira is where the women of Carvalho Monteiro’s family would have spent their time.
Monteiro’s wife would hang out there with her friends as well as other women of the family. I found the decor of this room very beautiful and cozy. It has a chestnut wood ceiling, and gorgeous frescoes on the walls.
The Smoking Room was exclusively for Monteiro, other men of the house, and their male friends. This is where they would go to of course, smoke and chat together. These days, the room is used to house special exhibitions.
The King’s Room was originally a billiards room. A large billiard table would have been at the center of the room for Monteiro and his companions to use. Today, the room is home to 24 portraits of the Kings and Queens of Portugal.
Gardens of Quinta da Regaleira
The gardens of the quinta are worth spending a good amount of time exploring. They’re beautifully designed and kept, with pathways that allow you to weave your way through.
While exploring the gardens, you’ll come across ponds, statues of gods and goddesses, sculptures of animals and mythical creatures, and ornate benches. Much of the imagery throughout the garden references Christianity, the Order of the Templars, Masonic, and mythological scenes.
As lovely as it is to simply wander the gardens, there are some points of interest you’ll want to make sure you see. Below is a curated list of some of those points of interest.
Chapel of Holy Trinity
This small chapel is just a short walk from the palace of Quinta da Regaleira, nestled within the quinta’s gardens. Similar to the palace, the chapel was built in neo-Manueline style. Inside you’ll find Roman Catholic references to the Virgin Mary and Jesus, frescoes, stained glass windows, and stuccoes.
Promenade of the Gods
Leading to the palace of Quinta da Regaleira is a wide path, known as the Promenade of the Gods. It earned its name thanks to the stone statues of Venus, Hermes, Dionysus, and other Greek gods and goddesses that line the promenade.
The Initiation Well is one of the most fascinating sites at Quinta da Regaleira. Despite its name, the well isn’t really a well in the traditional sense. This is why it’s also referred to as an “inverted tower.”
The Initiation Well goes nearly 90 feet deep into the earth. It’s a wide circular staircase made up of 9 levels. You can walk the 139 step staircase all the way down to the bottom of the well (or tower), where you’ll find a compass rose printed on the bottom.
To leave the well, there’s a tunnel that guides you from the bottom of the well and back out into the garden.
Portal of the Guardians
The Portal of the Guardians is an ornate stone wall that features two spiral staircases which lead up to two circular turrets above the wall. There’s also a circular gazebo at the center of the wall, which makes a beautiful open air amphitheater.
My Experience Exploring Quinta da Regaleira
I spent two nights in Sintra Town so that I could see as much of the region as possible. Quinta da Regaleira was high up on my list of palaces to see, and so I set out to visit it first thing in the morning.
I walked up to the quinta from my hostel in town, grabbing breakfast on the way. I arrived at the entrance gate and ticket office right at opening time.
It wasn’t busy at all – in part because it was morning, but also because it was late November, which is the low season for tourism in Portugal.
After showing the ticket I’d bought online at the gate, I started wandering the estate. I wasn’t pressed for time, so I followed the pathways around Quinta da Regaleira without much of a plan.
I immediately fell in love with the quinta’s beautiful gardens. Even in November, which is cooler than most of the year in Portugal, the gardens were incredibly lush. It was relaxing to walk the paths, coming across buildings and ornate garden decorations.
In my 3 hours of exploring, I of course stopped by the famous sites within the estate, like the Initiation Well and palace. These highlights were all impressive, but what I enjoyed most about Quinta da Regaleira was the gardens.
Where to Stay Near Quinta da Regaleira
Sintra is a popular day trip from Lisbon, but if you have time to spend a night (or a couple!) in Sintra, it’s well worth it. Staying in Sintra overnight will give you a more in-depth experience of this beautiful Portuguese region.
Here are 4 hotels near Quinta da Regaleira:
$ MouraLua is a cozy budget option for your stay in Sintra. It’s a little further out from Sintra’s main sites, but if you don’t mind walking or taking the local bus, this isn’t an issue. This guesthouse has a social common room and kitchen.
$$ Casa da Pendoa is budget friendly, and well located in the historic center. Rooms in this guesthouse are simple, but comfortable, with views of the Sintra Mountains.
$$$ Sintra Bliss Hotel is a pricier option, in part because it’s conveniently located in the historic center. This hotel is just 100 meters from Sintra train station. All rooms include a TV, AC, and an ensuite bathroom.
$$$ Sintra 1012 Boutique Guest House is a charming B&B in a restored 15th-century building in the historic center of Sintra, a 13-minute walk from Sintra station. The rooms are homey and comfortable, and breakfast is included every morning.
Why You Should Visit Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra
Close to the historic centre of Sintra, Quinta da Regaleira is easy to add to your Sintra itinerary, whether you’re spending just 24 hours in Sintra, or you’re in Sintra for a few nights.
Quinta da Regaleira was one of my favourite places to visit in Sintra. It tends to be a bit less busy than Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle, and the quinta’s gardens are truly spectacular. Spending a morning relaxing as I explored the gardens was a great start to a busy day visiting Sintra.
I hope this guide on how to visit Quinta da Regaleira has inspired you to visit this beautiful Sintra quinta yourself! Questions? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.
More on travel in Portugal:
- Your Essential 3 Days in Lisbon Itinerary
- Your Comprehensive Sintra, Portugal Guide (2023)
- How to Visit Biester Palace in Sintra
- Weekend in Porto: 16 Things to Do
- 10 Reasons To Visit Portugal In Winter
Erin has been traveling for over a decade, both solo, and with her partner. She’s now traveled to countries across 6 continents, and has lived in 2 countries abroad. Erin also hosts the travel podcast, Curious Tourism, where she interviews travel industry thought leaders and experts about responsible tourism. Learn more about Erin, and get in touch with her, here.