Welcome back to Expat in Lisbon and today we are going to look at photos from Part I of my trip to Sintra, Portugal. Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage site and well deserved. Sintra is home to a unique microclimate – due to its location up in the mountains – that is warm and sunny during the day but chilly and super windy at night! The air is crisp and clean and scented with the perfume of flowers and pine. There’s a certain natural, perhaps even mystic, vibe to Sintra. What’s for sure is that you can get some of the most breathtaking panoramas here!
I stayed in Nice Way Sintra Palace Hostel, which is an amazing location to stay, with very friendly staff and an excellent backyard to hang out in. Dinners there are also amazing and it is surprisingly clean and comfortable for an affordable hostel. For the dorms, its around 18 Euros a night.
If you ask most locals what is the one “must see tourist attraction” in Sintra, most of them would probably point you in the direction of Palácio da Pena. However, I’ve been there before and it is totally NOT worth the steep price of admission. Locals in the know would advise you to check out a much cooler attraction, namely, Quinta da Regaleira.
Quinta da Regaleira is an amazing place. You can really feel the energy and natural beauty of Sintra in this place. Once used for rituals and initiations, Quinta da Regaleira is rife with symbolism from the Freemasons and Alchemists. Sacred Geometry plays a key role in the designs of the entire property.
One of the coolest things about Quinta da Regaleira is the series of underground tunnels running throughout the property. There are rumors that these tunnels connect to Palácio da Pena and Castelo Mouros, but they are probably closed off. These tunnels were probably used in some initiatory purposes, leading the aspirant through a veritable “dark night of the soul”, until finally, the aspirant finds the incredible Initiatic Well.
After climbing halfway out of the Initiatic Well, you come to a hallway that leads to a nice little pond with a rock crossing. Be careful crossing it though, because the water is knee deep!
From here, we went on to explore the rest of the property to the Northwest of the Initiatic Well. There, we found all sorts of cool rock formations:
So, from the picture it doesn’t look very high, but from off the ground, it was a good 15 feet up. Just saying! After this, we wound back closer to the Palace and managed to stop and see a few sights along the way:
Ok, so this is what I call a cafe. I totally don’t mind paying 1.20 Euros for an espresso here. Now, onto the palace itself, designed by architect Luigi Manini. I won’t show you too many of the photos of the inside, because you should see it for yourself! But here’s a glimpse of the tower, the alchemical laboratory, and some plans for the Initiatic Well.
Well, thanks for checking out Expat in Lisbon again!
Stay tuned for Part 2, and so long from Sintra!