I like nature, although usually the wilder and unkempt variety, but the garden of Quinta da Regaleira was breathtaking, bewitching and bizarre. At one point sign posts give you the opportunity to visit a Labyrinthic grotto, an Ibis fountain, the Threshold of the Gods or the Pisoes Gateway. It is not every day you get these options in life so choose wisely!
The pièce de résistance is the underground tunnels which lead to a well, but it’s no ordinary water well. I’m claustrophobic but bravely entered one of the tunnels without knowing where it led only to be greeted by the amazing view of a carved stone winding staircase descending down nine levels, 27 meters underground. Apparently it was used for symbolic and ceremonial rites, such as Tarot and was created to assist the relationship between heaven and earth. Like I said utterly bonkers.
The same designer, Lugi Manini, also designed the palace, so obviously this is pretty awesome too. His attention to detail is amazing and he has carefully considered and designed every minute detail right down to the door handles. Which, when you consider that it was originally designed and built just as a family’s summer house (so it was only used a couple of weeks a year) is even more impressive.