Lisbon is a perfect combination of viewpoints (miradouros), seven hills, the Tagus River, colorful buildings, narrow streets and lively neighbourhoods, and the sunny weather is inviting to enjoy the outdoors when in the city - hence gardens and parks are a must not only in Summer, but also for the rest of the year. Autumn, gardens are the right place to see the leafs falling; in Winter, for those crispy winter sunny days, to get some late sun rays and to long for hot Summer days; Spring, the gardens and everything just blossom, and in the Summer, gardens are true oasis in town to get some cool air and fresh breeze, and you might even catch a first glimpse of the purple jacarandas.
We selected the top 5 gardens in town. See the list below.
The official name is Parque Santa Gertrudes but everyone knows it as the “Gulbenkian gardens.” Gulbenkian gardens are home of the premium Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Museum. The gardens were designed by Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles and António Viana Barreto.
As the building, by the architects Alberto Pessoa, Pedro Cid e Ruy Athouguia, sets the scenario for Art and culture, so do the gardens. These comprise different spaces and atmospheres: from lakes, to water streams, outdoor amphitheaters to meadow areas and grove. And of course the resident ducks which charm the little ones.
The spacious gardens were conceived in the 1950's as a homage to the founder Calouste Gulbenkian, and are nowadays home for cultural events organized by the foundation and for locals and tourists alike. A place for spring picnics, daily walks, drawing and botanical classes (since it includes a wide flora collection), family' walks on any given Sunday, etc. Many locals had their first kiss on its lawns, and it’s still one of the city’s favorite oasis.
When the sun is shining, the garden gets populated all around, but for sure you will still find a nice spot to get some sun among greenery.
Tip - Grab a picnic basket or prepare your own and spend some leisure time in this urban oasis.
Opens: 8 am - 6 pm
Located on top of Eduardo VII Park, Amália Garden marks the beginning of the green belt to Monsanto Park. The design of this garden was by landscape architect Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles, the same architect who designed Gulbenkian Garden, which is indeed one of the most beloved gardens in town.
If you're walking there, you won't resist a picture from the top of Eduardo VII Park, and you'll also find a statue entitled "Maternity" by acclaimed Colombian artist Fernando Botero, as well and "The Secret" by renowned Portuguese artist Lagoa Henriques.
Centrally located, in the dense residential area around S.Sebastião parish, Lisbonners use this garden a lot, either for morning jogging, afternoon strolls or to hang out with friends. It is undoubtedly a social garden, that has a water mirror and an amphitheater, placed in front of a cafeteria. When the sun is shining, it will be hard to find a place to sit there, since locals flock there.
Opens: 24h daily
Designed in 1842, on behalf of Marquis of Tomar, in front of Basílica da Estrela, the garden keeps its original romantic atmosphere, inspired by the typical English Park. Especially crowded on weekends by families and children playing around the ponds, others reading, doing yoga or having a ballroom dancing class in the green gazebo which dates back to the 1800's and is one of the garden's main attractions. This is a garden for all ages.
During Summer, Estrela Garden is also home of several cultural events such as outdoor concerts, cinema or plays, and you can enjoy the seasonal Açaí ice-cream. Besides that, Estrela Garden often hosts arts&crafts fairs and markets.
Opens: 7 am - 12 pm
Príncipe Real Garden is located at the heart of one of the trendiest and most fashionable districts in town. The design of the garden was inspired in the English romantic fashion. The monumental, centuries-old Buçaco cedar, which has more than 20 meters diameter, is the pride and joy of the garden. The garden and the surrounding palatial buildings are both testimonies to the Romantic Lisbon of the 19th century. The property of Museu da Água da EPAL (EPAL Water Museum), the Reservatório da Patriarcal (Patriarchal Reservoire) lies beneath the park and was built at the same time.
There are various statues here, including one by Lagoa Henriques commemorating the 1st centenary of the death of Antero de Quental, as well as the cutest pink refreshment kiosk (Quiosque do Refresco), a lake, a children´s playground with various swings and rest areas with games tables.
If this is too zen for you, just pop across the street to the snazzy concept stores; Embaixada and Entre Tanto.
Opens: 24h daily
Jardim Botânico da Ajuda
This garden was created in 1768, under the command of Marquis of Pombal, as the Royal Botanical Garden of Ajuda. It was the first botanical garden in Portugal specifically created to act as a museum and nursery for botanical species collected from all over the world.
Nowadays, the garden is managed by Instituto Superior de Agronomia (Superior Agronomy Institute), which was responsible for the garden's restoration during 1994-97, aiming to preserve the garden's botanical origins, by conserving and displaying the plants in a collection, recording the spirit of scientific inquiry of the Portuguese explorers, and making it a unique place for leisure and relaxation.
From this re-qualification it is important to note the restoration of the 40-spout fountain in the center of the garden, at its lower level; and the recreation of the botanical collection from seeds collected from several botanical gardens around the world. These new plants are arranged by phyto-geographical region - Brazil and South America, Australia and New Zealand, Macronesia, Central and Atlantic Europe, China and Japan, North and Central America, the Mediterranean Region and Africa - reflecting the history of their introduction into Portugal and their connection with the Portuguese Discoveries.
Another highlight is the Scent Garden for the visually impaired with tags in Braille and the plants displayed in raised beds to allow visitors to smell and touch them.
The garden has a stunning view over the river and bridge, and is also populated by many birds, such as peacocks that give the space a unique royal atmosphere.
Opens: 10 am - 6 pm