Lisbon's attractions are great if you're looking for some sightseeing, and it's viewpoints are perfect for some Instagram worthy photos of your stay. But sometimes a low key day, with a picnic and a stroll is exactly what you need to take a break from the city.
Here's a list of the best of Lisbon's public gardens and parks to reconnect with nature. And if you're traveling with kids, check out the best outdoors activities in Lisbon for kids, as well.
Lisbon’s public gardens and parks
Who doesn’t like a public park like Central Park? Actually, we have a park that’s three times the size of that New York icon – yes, three times. Walking, running, riding a bike or skating, having a picnic, taking photographs, drawing or even flirting... There are plenty of things to do in this green field so large that you can’t keep track of where it begins and where it ends.
Start at Alameda Keil do Amaral, visit Mata de Benfica and get to know Moinho do Penedo. Open 24h.
For years it was forgotten, but now not only has it returned to the memory of every lisboner, it has become a part of their routine: families with kids, teenagers and couples all flock there for a few hours in this sort of natural solarium. And there’s also an architectural and historic bonus: the park has a circular forged iron greenhouse and the remains of a small zoo built for the royal family, with a cactus garden.
Calçada das Necessidades. Mon-Fri, 8am-7pm, Sat-Sun 10am-7pm.
Quinta das Conchas, the most commonly used name for a park that includes Quinta das Conchas, Mata (the woods) and Quinta dos Lilases (a 16th-century mansion) is 24 hectares, making it the third-biggest park in the country – Monsanto is the largest and Parque da Bela Vista the second-largest. Whether you feel like having a picnic, napping under a tree, reading Time Out in a café or letting the kids run loose to guarantee yourself a good night’s sleep, you can do it here. There are tables and benches under the eucalyptus, a playground for toddlers, a café and a restaurant.
Quinta das Conchas (Lumiar). Mon-Sat 6am-1am; Sun 6am-midnight.
It’s one of Lisbon’s best gardens for eating outside. There are trees everywhere and two picnic areas, one of which is equipped with a barbecue. In case you don’t feel like carrying a basket, there is also a kiosk with great “tostas mistas” (ham and cheese sandwiches) and tea. Sometimes DJs play music there. Kids usually have a blast at the park’s playground. This is also a good spot for exercise buffs: there’s a fitness circuit and a bike lane along the park.
Open 24 hours.
Built at the beginning of the 20th century, it started out as a study location for agronomy and veterinary students that went there to find tropical and subtropical species of Portuguese colonies. With over 500 species, the garden is also home to several freshwater turtles, herons and peach-fronted parakeets.
A tip: before going in, buy a little box of Pastéis de Belém (the famous house is only a 2-minute walk away).
Largo dos Jerónimos (Belém). Every day 9am-8pm. €2/€1 for children.
Ladies with parasols and elegant gentleman wearing top hats: it’s easy to picture them walking along this garden when it was created, at the city centre, 176 years ago. Romantic and bourgeois, Jardim da Estrela keeps that everlasting charm with its exotic species (Australian Banyans, Cook Araucarias or Cedrus of Lebanon), mallard ducks that inhabit the ponds, quiet kiosks and even a small library so you can take a book with you and lie on the grass – the best programme that that garden has to offer is only a blanket away.
Praça da Estrela. Every day 7am-midnight.
What do “lisboetas” do when afflicted by restlessness? They go to Gulbenkian for a walk to clear the mind. The green space around the art foundation is a labyrinth where we love to get lost: to find the ducks, the turtles, the birds, the sculptures, an outdoor café or even an artisanal ice cream parlour.
Avenida de Berna, 45 A. Everyday, from sunrise to sunset.
One hundred hectares of nature from where to admire Lisbon and its surroundings (there is a viewpoint on the Northern part of the park) or have the best barbecue ever (at Jardim da Parada). Tapada da Ajuda is part of the Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Lisbon’s university of agronomy, that celebrates 101 years in 2018. Animals are not allowed.
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm; Sat- Sun 9am-8pm. €2 (botanical garden).
The best of Lisbon's outdoors
Looking for ways to keep the kids occupied on your next trip to Lisbon? Whether it’s paying a visit to the animals at the zoo or going for a run through one of the city’s parks, here you’ll find our favourite outdoor activities in Lisbon for kids.
Lisbon is a city engineered for alfresco eating and drinking, and there are an abundance of places to do just that. So if you're looking for great food and freash air, look no further: these are the best places to eat outdoors in Lisbon.