Don't Miss: A Surreal Mansion & Gardens
Exploring the Quinta da Regaleira is like delving into another world. This neo-Manueline extravaganza was dreamed up by Italian opera-set designer Luigi Manini under the orders of Brazilian coffee tycoon, António Carvalho Monteiro, aka 'Monteiro dos Milhões' ('Moneybags Monteiro'). Enter the villa to begin the surreal journey, with ferociously carved fireplaces, frescos and Venetian-glass mosaics. Keep an eye out for mythological and Knights Templar symbols.
The playful gardens are fun to explore – footpaths wriggle through the dense foliage to follies, fountains, grottoes, lakes and underground caverns. All routes seem to eventually end at the revolving stone door leading to the initiation well, Poço Iniciático, plunging some 27m. You walk down the nine-tiered spiral (three by three – three being the magic number) to mysterious hollowed-out underground galleries, lit by fairy lights.