Lisbon Parks and Gardens

As one of Europe's most picturesque capitals, the ancient city of Lisbon knows how to make the most of its stunning location. Built on a series of hills on the edge of a spacious natural harbour, Lisbon is renowned for its spectacular views and fairy-tale setting. The city's romantic atmosphere is enhanced by its beautiful architecture, mournful Fado music and historic status as the launching point for many great explorers bound for new worlds.

The Portuguese capital also boasts ample green space, with parks and gardens scattered throughout its charming streets. Many of these host open-air performances and festivals throughout the year, while others are designed to make the most of the impressive views. Lisbon is a compact, walkable city, so you can easily explore several of its lovely green spaces during your visit to the city.

Must-see parks for visitors to Lisbon
Many of Lisbon's parks and gardens are tourist attractions in their own right. First on this list for many is Parque des Nações (Nations Park), the city district transformed for the Expo'98 World Exhibition hosted in the city. Centred on the Tagus Estuary, one of the largest in Europe and home to numerous species of birds, it's the perfect place for nature lovers to stroll, hire a bike and cycle.

Another prime destination for tourists and culture-loving locals is the Calouste Gulbenkian Garden, which is home to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Museum and the Centre of Modern Art. Designed by several leading architects specifically as a setting for these cultural institutions, the garden hosts a number of art-related events in its open-air theatre.

The petite Garden of San Pedro de Alcantara may be easy to overlook due to its small size, but it is certainly worth visiting for its panoramic views of the city, which take in such architectural highlights as the Castle of Saint George, Lisbon Cathedral and the Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora. Try to visit at sunset, when the city lights make the view particularly romantic.

Formerly known as the Franca Borges Garden, the Principe Real Garden is another relatively small space that's big on charm. Attractions include a weekly organic produce market and a massive Portuguese cedar, whose crown has grown to over 20 metres in diameter over the last several hundred years.

Best Lisbon green spaces for kids
Lisbon is a family-friendly city, and many of its green spaces are ideal for letting your little ones burn off some energy. One of the most popular is the English-style Estrela Garden, one of the city's oldest public parks. Located near the impressive Estrela Basilica, the garden is filled with lush greenery, pretty duck ponds, fountains and leisure facilities.

For a true escape from the bustle of the city, spend a night or two in the Monsanto Municipal Camping Park, which aside from its natural beauty is equipped with a swimming pool, mini golf, tennis courts, shops and other facilities. Or spend some time at the nearby Alto da Serafina Park, which has picnic areas, playgrounds and spectacular views of the city.

If you fancy a bit of time on the water, rent a boat on the lake in the Campo Grande Garden, located not far from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Lisbon, or take time out to enjoy the park's picnic, play and sporting facilities.

Gardens for nature lovers
If you're interested in plants and flowers, Lisbon offers a host of world-class botanical gardens. For instance, Lisbon's largest public garden, the Eduardo VII Park, is famed for its three greenhouses, which house a huge array of exotic plants from hot and cold climates, while the renowned Botanical Garden of the University of Lisbon shelters over 18,000 species of plants, many of which are extremely rare and only exist in captivity.

Similarly, the Tropical Agricultural Garden is home to over 4,000 varieties of rare plants from Portugal's former colonies, while the Ajuda Botanical Garden, the oldest in the city, boasts colourful flowerbeds, ancient trees and an ornate 18th century fountain among its many attractions.