The oldest botanical garden in Portugal offers great views of the historic Tower of Belem and a peaceful place to rest away from the bustling city streets.
The Botanical Garden (Jardim Botanico) of Lisbon dates back to the late 1800s and was long regarded as the best botanical garden in southern Europe. Today the garden retains much of its old-world charm. Visit as part of a walking tour of the city and escape from the bustling streets for a short break or half a day. There are great views of the Belem area and the National Museum of Natural History is right next door.
This 10-acre (4.04-hectare) garden was originally planted through the efforts of two professors at the University of Lisbon and it is still a research facility and education center. School groups and conservationists come here to explore the various micro-environments of plants from all over the world.
The Botanical Garden has one of the most extensive assortments of subtropical vegetation in Europe. Wander paths among about 18,000 specimens of flora and fauna. Look out for the cycads, Australian trees with thick twisting trunks. You’ll also find feathery palm-ferns that have been around since the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
After a visit to the Botanical Garden, explore the surrounding Principe Real neighborhood. There are colorful 19th-century mansions crowned with elaborate domes and decorated in traditional Portuguese tiles and balconies. Just down the street, you’ll find a pleasant square shaded by a century-old cedar. Take a seat in the café here, where you can get a glass of port wine or an espresso and people-watch.
The Botanical Garden of Lisbon is located in the Principe Real district. The garden covers the hillside between Rua de Escola Politécnica and the Avenida da Liberdade. It is within easy reach of several bus and tram lines.
The garden is open daily, with extended opening hours in summer. Admission is free.