Lisbon’s Secret Gardens

Tapada das Necessidades, Lisbon

Not only is this garden (which is more like a park) a secret to even most locals, it is also found by one of the least-known viewpoints in the city. That’s the terrace in front of the Necessidades Palace (now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) which has the most photogenic view of 25 de Abril Bridge. After taking your photos there, enter this secret garden next to the palace. There are more views of the bridge from there, but this time framed by greenery. It is known for its large collection of cacti which are said to be the oldest in Europe. You’ll likely find it deserted and have the green water pond, lawns, and the exotic trees all for yourself.

Jardim Botanico, Lisbon

Years of neglect have turned this botanical garden into an enchanted forest. Once one of Europe’s most important botanical collections, it’s still a noteworthy attraction in the city and does come recommended in some guidebooks, yet it doesn’t receive that many visitors. There are plans for a major renovation, so see it as a forest before it’s turned into an immaculate garden (which will certainly raise its profile in the city’s tourist itinerary).

Jardim Tropical, Lisbon

Beautiful and romantic, this garden is usually overlooked by the thousands of tourists who walk past its gate every year. Found between the popular Coaches Museum and the must-see Jeronimos Monastery, it still manages to be a secret and a place that’s perhaps better left undiscovered. That’s so that the flock of peacocks and geese are not disturbed as they travel around their ponds surrounded by towering palm trees.