Lisbon’s top outdoor spaces range from miradouros, to green parks and gardens, and yes, cemeteries.
The plethora of green spaces, from opulent semi-private courtyards to the public praças and parks demand a picnic or two.
It’s not hard to find shade in this town, and most of the public green areas will have free water fountains, cheap coffee, beer, and wine (like, 1€ to 2€ for a glass or so), and bathrooms (not always open!), so they serve as wonderful stops on your adventures through the cobblestone jungle. Here are some of the best:
Miradouro das Portas do Sol – Alfama
This is the postcard shot of Lisbon – they don’t call it the gates of the sun for nothing. Churches, the rio, the terra cotta roofs, the whole nine. You’ll also most likely find Lisbon’s most charming busker playing his guitar here on a sunny afternoons. DIRECTIONS
Miradouro de Santa Luzia – Alfama
Just down the hill is a more intimate terrace overlooking in the same direction, with a bit of shade. This little park has also one of the most intricate tile landscapes in the
Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara – Bairro Alto
If you’re on your way to Barrio Alto via “the stairs” or the Funicular da Glória, swing by this garden with a sweeping view of downtown and St. George’s Castle. If someone approaches
you selling hashish, trust me, just say no thanks. DIRECTIONS
Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte – Graça
The highest viewpoint in the city, with a spectacular close-up view of the castle. If you haven’t fallen in love with the city yet, then you will here. DIRECTIONS
Estufa Fria website
A hidden gem, which is laughable when you realize just how large it is inside: it feels like Jurassic Park. €3.10 for adults, less for kids and pensioners and students. 10-19h in the summer, 9-17h in the winter. DIRECTIONS
Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Lisboa website
This botanical garden has it all: a large selection of native and foreign species, nice long walkways for strolling with your hands behind your back, and even a butterfly garden. €2 for adults, less for children. DIRECTIONS
Palace Garden behind Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga
Fancy sitting among statuary while sipping on a drink served in a glass, away from people with large cameras wearing shorts? Gain access through the museum’s café (which has great food, and the coffee is cheap) to this hidden garden with an expansive view of the river. DIRECTIONS
Jardim da Estrela
A large, free urban garden popular with families (excellent playground), with a small cafe at its center and wide alleyways if you’re sick of dodging pedestrians. It also has a little library kiosk and hosts antique markets on the weekends. And if you want to cool off, you’re right in front of Basílica da Estrela. DIRECTIONS
Parque das Nações
This park spans 5km alongside the Tagus, and is situated well outside of the city center. The riverfront is made up of green spaces filled with little surprises, the city side is dotted
all modernity: built for the ’98 Expo, this area is a far cry from the terra cotta roofs of historic Lisbon. Start at the Ocenarium, home to the world’s cutest pair of otters and the world’s ugliest fish (the sunfish, a great misnomer), who shares the giant salt-water tank with a bunch of devilish sharks and majestic stingrays; there’s also glowing jelly fish, alien-looking sea dragons, and more. Get out of the park for a peak at the Estacão Oriente, the beautiful
ultra-modern train station designed by Santiago Calatrava. Along the river-walk, there’s plenty to eat, see, and do. Ride the sky-lift, rent a bike, learn to windsurf, or just read a book. The park is a network of smaller gardens and activity spaces, and leads you toward the Vasco da Gama Bridge.
Parque da Bela Vista
Some of the highest vistas in Lisbon are in this park, which is never crowded, has plenty of grass for horsing around, and a great network of paved walkways that are insanely fun on a
Parque Eduardo VII
A short jaunt up Ave. Liberdade will get you to the largest city park in Lisbon. Two broad cobblestoned and shaded alleys bring you to the peak of the hill and one of the best views in the city. Across the road is a Fernando Botero sculpture in a section of the park named for the most famous fadista of all time, Amália Rodrigues. Further in, there’s a great little cafe with slightly overpriced (for Lisbon anyway) snacks and drinks (and the best chocolate cake you’ll find just about anywhere) overlooking a pleasant manmade pond, while still further back is the very expensive Michelin-rated Restaurante Eleven. DIRECTIONS
Events in Parque Eduardo VII
Winter: During Christmas time, it hosts the Christmas Village, where kids can meet Santa, ride tiny trains, and generally go nutty. Adults can stock up on artesinal gifts from the rows of local vendors while they chow down farturas (deep-fried dough sticks).
Summer: This park holds many festivals like the Lisbon Book Fair which takes place in mid May. You can browse through old and new books (mostly in Portuguese, but more and more vendors are bringing books in English, Spanish and French) and sample “street” food from carts selling leitão, mussles, beer and wine, and ice cream. Local Portuguese authors give readings from their latest books and musicians play free shows. Best news of all? It’s usually open until 11pm – and even has a book “happy hour.”
Year Round: There are plenty of concerts and performances that happen throughout the park. Check here for upcoming events run by the Câmara Municipal, or check out our calendar to see curated options at a glance.
Cemitério dos Prazeres
Not as creepy as it sounds: this cemetery, one of the oldest in Lisbon, is a delight to walk through because of the varied architecture of its mausoleums and the varied past of their inhabitants, dating back hundreds of years. To get here, plug this in: 38.71402, -9.16989
Get away from it all: Parque Florestal de Monsanto
Rest assured that Monsanto is not owned by the chemical conglomerate of the same name: it’s a man-made park created to be the city’s lung. Located on the west side of Lisbon, starting around Alcântara, it’s wonderful to get lost in. At 10 square km, it makes you forget you are in a city capital and not in complete wilderness. There are kilometers and kilometers of mountain biking trails, really cool playgrounds, a climbing wall, an adventure park, an education center, ponds, an animal farm, and grills and picnic tables for the lazy. There’s even a campground if you want to make this your temporary home (camping is not allowed outside the camping area). Check out the map of activities here. DIRECTIONS