If you’re looking for a little oasis of calm in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Porto’s city centre then the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal could be the place for you. Situated on a hill overlooking the city and providing some incredible views over Porto, there are 8 hectares of beautifully landscaped gardens for you to immerse yourself in.
These gardens were designed towards the end of the 19th century by the German landscape gardener Emille David.
The gardens are separated into smaller areas by pathways or architectural structures such as fountains. You’ll also find as you wander through these gardens, that each separate area is of significance. For example, you will find a beautiful rose garden in one area and then a demonstration of medicinal plants in another. There is also a dedicated playground for children!
There are seats dotted around the gardens at regular intervals, so always the opportunity to stop for a breather for anyone who may need to. Most people spend an average of 2 or 3 hours within the gardens but it wouldn’t be impossible to spend a full day here if you really wanted to!
Housed within the gardens you can also find the Rosa Mota Pavilion which is actually not the original ‘Crystal Palace’ but rather, one that was built to replace the original building and now hosts a variety of sporting events throughout the year.
There is also a library housed within the gardens, opened in 2001, it’s a beautiful building providing space for both adults and children to browse books freely. There are also reading spaces for both children and adults, as well as a multimedia room and an auditorium.
There is also the nearby Romantic Museum, part of a stunning mansion that has been dedicated to Charles Albert of Sardinia who died of tuberculosis there in 1843. It is free to enter this museum at the weekends and adults only have to pay a couple of euros to enter during the week and there are guides in English if you do not speak Portuguese.
There are also facilities within the gardens such as restrooms and a coffee shop, that has a lovely outdoor area, so you can still enjoy the beautiful views of the gardens while giving your feet a little break. The gardens do also make a perfect location for picnics!
It’s a little nature haven, in the middle of a bustling city. There are lots of opportunities to see some wildlife while in the gardens too. From the stunning peacocks to the little ducks on the lake and perhaps even the odd chicken!
The best thing about the gardens, however, is that they are completely free and open for all to browse. They are open from 8 am to 9 pm from April to September and from October to March, they are open from 8 am to 7 pm. Many people have recommended going later in the day if you can as seeing the sunset over the city is the most incredible experience!
With its fantastic location, the gardens are within easy walking distance for many. However, the walk to the gardens is all uphill – a bit annoying yes – but that is what gives you the incredible views over Porto! If you do choose to walk, the location is easily found on google maps if you may need a little navigational support. For those that may not manage the uphill walk to the gardens, several bus routes stop near the gardens, including lines 3, 20, 35, 37, 52, and 78.
A great thing about the gardens is that they are suitable for everyone. Whether you’re looking to go on your own for a mid-day break, or you want to go for a family outing. You can go and enjoy the views over the city, enjoy the beauty of the gardens, whether that’s while walking through them, or sitting with a coffee. You can take children and make it educational, teach them the names of different plants, which seasons these plants are at their best. It truly is a place for everyone!
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