In the late 1800s, wealthy Portuguese businessman António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro erected a strange, opulent estate devoted to his infatuation with butterflies, mysticism, and the occult. He’d long been fascinated
by nature and the universe’s mysteries, and he sought a place to contemplate them.
Across the lush property, covered in bougainvillea, paths lead to castles and chapels encrusted with symbolism evoking alchemy, Hermeticism, and Freemasonry. Quinta da Regaleira’s crown jewel, though, is its matrix of mossy pathways, grottoes, and wells that represent Carvalho Monteiro’s path to enlightenment. Enter a cave in the mountainside and find your way to the dark, ominous base of the “Initiation Well.” Climb its thin spiral stairway, though, and you’ll eventually reach the light.