Quinta Da Regaleira
I'm from England, so when I think of 'stately home', I think of nicely-ordered ornamental gardens, topiary - perhaps a maze, if you're lucky.

My past experiences in no way prepared me for the crazy, over-the-top wackiness of Quinta da Regaleira's gardens.

This place is amazing - like an adult's version of Disneyland that a mild conspiracy theorist with a love of luxury dreamt up.

A symphony in stone and secrets
The gardens are designed to represent the cosmos, which is revealed through a series of magic, mysterious features laden with symbolism.

Your walk through the gardens is meant to mirror an initiate's quest for paradise - a state that also coexists with hell.

As you explore the gardens, you will see various scenes from the initiate's journey - which is also packed with references to the worlds of mythology, the Knights Templar, and canonical literature such as Dante, Vergil and Milton.

OK, so the gardens are full of interesting mystic symbolism and philosophy - but they're also a lot of fun to explore.

You will be given a map when you first arrive so you won't miss anything - but here are some of my personal highlights.
The Initiatic Well
This subterranean tower is 27m deep, and you can climb all the way to the top, via the monumental spiral staircase. This is apparently designed to highlight the relation between heaven and earth. Oh, and you will get dripped on as you walk up - but it's definitely wort it.
The Lake of the Waterfall
This watery oasis has a set of stepping stones which lead to a secret system of...
Underground tunnels
Long stretches of subterranean tunnels link to different features. Lit by candles, these secret passages are really fun ways of getting around the gardens - you never know where you'll emerge.
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