Remember my last article about photographing the fairy forest of Sintra. There is another Fairy Tale place in Sintra, or rather a place like out of a fantasy book. The Quinta da Regaleira looks very much like Lothlórien from Lord of the Rings and it's a pleasure to explore.
I have now visited the Sintra area near Lisbon three times over the past 10 years, and each time a visit to the Quinta was part of my travels. My main focus when visiting the area is typically the dramatic coastline, which I love to photograph. But as usual with landscape photography, the best time to photograph at the coast is around sunrise and sunset.
This leaves a lot of time during the day, which, aside from scouting for photo spots, I also use to engage in some touristy activities. So what about the Quinta da Regaleira made me return twice? It's certainly not the entrance fee, which, with 10 Euro, is not very cheap. It's rather the magic of this place, which you can experience, if you manage to dodge the masses by either going very early or late in the afternoon.
For me what also helped was that I only visited Portugal in late autumn and winter so far. Even then the garden of the Quinta da Regaleira is full of colors. But I can only imagine how vibrant this place must look in spring and summer when the flowers are in full bloom.
In the park you also find a little palace, which contains some beautiful interior architecture that still preserves the look from when the Quinta was built more than 100 years ago by Carvalho Monteiro.
If you are into photography, this is certainly not a place where you can setup a tripod, which is why the photos below were only taken with my cellphone. Outside in the garden though, you can bring a tripod and take your time composing your photos.
One place where you'll certainly need a tripod is the spiral staircase leading down to the Initiation Wells, which is a little labyrinth of narrow pathways located beneath the garden. If you photograph upwards down from the center of the main, 27 meter high staircase, you can create photos with an interesting perspective, as I show below.
So all in all, despite the price, this is certainly a place to visit, if you are ever in the Sintra area.
What else can you do in the Sintra area?
Aside from the Quinta da Regaleira I can recommend two other places in Sintra. The first is the Castelo dos Mouros, from which you have fantastic views of Sintra and the Palacio da Pena.
And the second is the Monserrate Palace, which, same as the Quinta, features some beautiful architecture with Neo-Gothic elements as well as a beautiful garden.