Top 5 Gardens and Parks to Visit in Lisbon
Lisbon is a both a city and a natural wonder. The architecture exists in harmony with the many parks and gardens that accentuate these rolling hills.
When it comes to city parks, I’m not one to be easily impressed. I find there is a delicate balance between natural foliage and manicured lawns that is too often neglected, so when I find a green space that has perfectly embodied both I tend to encourage everyone to visit.
1. Jardim da Estrela in Lisbon
This one is that the top of most lists of best gardens and parks in Lisbon, and rightfully so.
The Jardim da Estrela is a public park in a pleasant family-oriented neighborhood just outside of the city center. The local families love to bring their children here, as there is a well equipped play area as well as a duck pond.
Don’t let the thought of screaming kids deter you; the Jardim da Estrela is big enough for one to find solace in other secluded grass patches and reading nooks. Lots of Tinder dates seem to take place on these grounds, as the park boasts hundreds of exotic plants, and sculptures by noteworthy Portuguese artists.
On any given day, you’ll observe exercise classes taking place on the lawns, a person or two mediating under the trees, couples picnicking in the sun, even a business man catching some shuteye between meetings. There is a lot of life in this park.
Near the duck pond there is a small cafe where one can enjoy tea and cake whilst overlooking the water. I love doing this and then walking through the cacti garden.
Hours: Monday TO Sunday — 7am to 12am
ADDRESS: Praça da Estrela n°12, 1200-694 Lisboa, Portugal
Metro STATION: Rato
2. Parque Florestal de Monsanto in Lisbon
If I told you Lisbon has a green space that is three times the size of New York’s Central Park, would you believe me?
You’ll have to, because it’s true. The Parque Florestal de Monsanto is a municipal protected forest that envelopes the city of Lisbon. It starts in the northwestern region just outside of Lisbon, and works its way into the city over the course of 1000 hectares.
It’s green; very green! And it’s nearly impossible to keep track of where the park starts and ends. In the center, there is an abandoned building that was once a rooftop restaurant. It’s covered in graffiti nowadays, but you can still climb your way to the top for an all encompassing view of the park through to the city center. It’s quite the sight to behold.
Since the Parque Floresta de Monsanto is open 24 hours a day, a lot of people come here by night to enjoy some star gazing away from the light pollution in the center of Lisbon. By day, expect running, biking, photography, drawing and picnicking.
Hours: Open 24 Hours
Metro STATION: Alto dos Moinhos
3. Parque Eduardo VII in Lisbon
Not nearly comparable to the aforementioned park, the Parque Eduardo VII is technically the biggest public park in central Lisbon.
This green space was named after the British King, who visited Lisbon in 1903 with intent to strengthen Anglo-Portuguese relations. There is some astoundingly well manicured greenery in this park, including an actual hedge-cut maze.
The walkways through the Parque Eduardo VII are made from mosaic patterns. It creates a dreamlike ambiance; sort of like a park from a fairytale.
In the heart of the park you’ll find a hothouse and a greenhouse, both filled with tropical plants and cacti that were shipped in decades ago.
This is another great spot for stargazing, or dinner picnics, as the space is never closed to the public.
Hours: Open 24 Hours
ADDRESS: Parque Eduardo VII, 1070-051 Lisboa, Portugal
Metro STATION: Parque
4. Park of Necessidades in Lisbon
The Park of Necessidades was a forgotten piece of land for years before being reclaimed by the locals in Lisbon. Families began frequenting the space and demanded that the city restore the grounds to more acceptable standards.
The Park of Necessidades is situated on the Lisbon coast, between the city center and the LX Factory.
Centuries ago, these grounds held a small private zoo that belonged to the royal family. The remains of which are still observable should you visit the park today. There is also a fantastic cactus garden that one can walk through.
As far as parks in Lisbon go, this one is probably the most calm. Bring a book!
ADDRESS: Calçada Necessidades, Lisboa, Portugal
Metro STATION: Alcantara-Terra
5. The Gulbenkian Gardens in Lisbon
The Gulbenkian Gardens actually made me cry upon my first visit. I finished up my exploration of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, and made my way into the adjacent gardens.
These garden is designed as a walkway that flows from one installation to the next. Every few meters, you’re presented with an informative plaque explaining the scientific discoveries of masterminds from around the world, and how they are working to make Earth a better place to live.
It’s a deeply moving green space, and I would encourage any newcomers to Lisbon to visit both the museum and the garden.