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Spend a day exploring the historic town of Sintra on a private tour from Lisbon that includes visiting the Quinta da Regaleira, a sumptuous palace that is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy the flexibility of a private guide as you follow winding, cobblestone streets to palaces, fountains, and religious landmarks with sweeping views of the Portuguese countryside. This 8-hour tour also includes a stop at Cabo da Roca and time in Cascais, with pickup and drop-off at Lisbon hotels.
The Quinta da Regaleira is a decorative 20th century residence that is situated in the town of Sintra. The grand house is split over five floors and has an ornate gothic façade, but the real attraction is to the rear with the enchanting gardens. The gardens of the Quinta da Regaleira were styled to represent ancient secret orders, with hidden tunnels and concealed symbolism.
The outside façade of the grand house is decorated with gothic turrets, carved gargoyles and other ornate features. Inside, the building spreads over five floors, but it’s very sparse in actual original details. The true wonder of the Quinta da Regaleira are the grounds, which cover 4 hectares and were inspired by the owner’s mystic ideologies.
There are references to the Knights Templar, the Masons and dark alchemy, all hidden within the grounds. The well is the strangest feature, and symbolises the initiation ceremony for the Knights Templar. In the well there is a concealed passage that after descending 27 meters connects to a series of tunnels that run the length of the gardens.
The house was constructed in 1904 by the wealthy Portuguese businessman Carvalho Monteiro, which gave rise to the residence’s local name of “Palace of the Monteiro Millionaire”. The house was in construction for over 6 years, but on the death of Carvalho Monteiro, the house was purchased by Waldemar d’Orey. It stayed within the family until 1987, when it was bought by a Japanese business for private functions. Sintra local government reclaimed this important national monument it 1997 and opened it to the public in 1998.
The Initiation Wells (also called initiatic wells or inverted towers) are two wells on the property that better resemble underground towers lined with stairs. These wells never served as water sources. Instead, they were used for ceremonial purposes that included Tarot initiation rites. The tunnels described above connect these wells to one another, in addition to various caves and other monuments located around the park.
Of the two wells, the larger one contains a 27-meter spiral staircase with several small landings. The spacing of these landings, combined with the number of steps in the stairs, are linked to Tarot mysticism. Other references may be to Freemasonry or Knights Templar rituals. The smaller well contains straight stairs that connect a series of ring-shaped floors to one another. This well is also called the 'Unfinished Well'.
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" (see next section) connects to other tunnels via a series of underground walkways.
Bodies of water can be found in several places in the park. Two artificial lakes and several fountains were added by Monteiro. One of the most interesting and extravagant among them is the Aquarium, built as if it were naturally embedded in a large boulder. It was once considered the most important naturalist property in Regaleira. However, the Aquarium is no longer used and is poorly maintained.
Marvel at Pena Palace, one of the most magnificent and recognisable tourist attractions of Portugal. The palace exemplifies the 19th century Romanticism style of architecture and stands atop a rocky peak, which is the second highest point in Sintra Hills. The Pena Palace richly decorated with Moorish and Manueline motifs. Enjoy panoramic views of the peaceful forests and lush gardens covered by exotic plants and flowers.
The Palace of Pena was designated a National Monument in 1910 and forms part of the Cultural Landscape of Sintra, which has been classified by UNESCO as World Heritage since 1995.
One of the most marvelous views in whole Portugal – the westernmost point of Continental Europe “Cabo da Roca”. We will pass through the wonderful Sintra National Park until arriving at Cabo da Roca, the most western point of continental Europe that was mentioned by our acclaimed Luís de Camões as the place "Where the earth ends and the sea begins." It is a place of natural beauty, with imposing cliffs of 150 meters high.
A few centuries ago, there was a fort that played an important role in the defense of Lisbon and the third oldest lighthouse on the Portuguese coast is still here in operation. Here the landscape is breathtaking and absolute bliss for photography lovers.
The next stop is absolutely beautiful rock wall with a very dramatic name – Mouth of Hell (Boca do Inferno). This breathtaking chasm located on a cliff seashore close to Cascais will engage you with crashing waves.
It is believed this place used to be a cave that over time and by the force of the sea relented and gave rise to the scenario as it is known today. Currently, Boca do Inferno is an open cavity, with a sort of arch where it enters the seawater.
In days of rough waters it is possible to hear the sound of water hitting the rocks, such a unique sound that makes an analogy to the location´s name. Arriving at Boca do Inferno is possible to contemplate the beauty of the place from the top, however, there is also a path that leads to the other side of the “arc” of the cavity, where the water enters.
After viewing the landscape of Mouth of Hell we will stop at the fishing village –Cascais with its lovely harbor full of small fishing boats. This town in the 19th century became a favorite summer destination of the European aristocracy and noble families for its idyllic location and a pleasant climate. Stop in the elegant resort town of Cascais, a once quiet fishing village that was discovered by the European nobility for its idyllic setting, and became a favorite destination for the international jet set thereafter. Stroll along the harbor, before transferring back to Lisbon.