Quinta da Regaleira
Our last visit in Sintra was to the Quinta da Regaleira. This was outside of the park system that the Mouros and Pena were a part of. It is though considered part of the UNESCO heritage site.
Parking here proved to be the most challenging aspect of this visit. There was a small parking lot close to the entrance that was full – otherwise, it was one way streets with very limited street parking. We had to do a loop twice to end up finding a spot – and had a bit of walk to the entrance (which was fine). We bought tickets to this when we arrived around 1 pm. I think we looked to buy tickets in advance, but could not find how to do it. The gardens were busy, but definitely not over-crowded. We were able to get tickets right away.
Then into the gardens to try to figure out where to go first. I do wish they had given more of a path or guided route. The signage was not great, so it was hard to make sure we hit the high notes.
The gardens/land invoke gothic, Roman, Renaissance styles. It somewhat reminded me of some of the Japanese gardens we have seen, not that they were similar in style at all, BUT the Japanese gardens emphasize that every time you turn a corner, you get a new view. This garden had those elements. It felt a little disorganized, but somehow all fit together. Per Wikipedia, “the woods are neatly arranged in the lower parts of the estate, but are left wild and disorganized in the upper parts, reflecting Moneiro’s belief in primitivism.” So, seems like I am not the only one with that impression.
We spent most of our time walking through the gardens with no time spent in the palace and chapel. The Initiation Well was really cool. They were never used for actually storing water, but had some ceremonial rituals occur in them. They were rather beautiful and you could tell were very thoughtfully designed. Based on our reading, they were likely linked to Tarot mysticism! From the bottom of the well, it flowed directly into another part of the estate (which is why I wished there had been more of a guided path – you sometimes popped out in places that you did not expect).
We ended up getting lunch here, two sandwiches and some chips. It was surprisingly quick and delicious. it might have also been delicious because we were starving. I should have gotten a second sandwich.
I wish we had more time to fully explore this. I think it was enchanting and mystical.
Times visited: 1
Time in gardens: 1 hr