Ajuda Botanical Gardens
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Ajuda Botanical Gardens (Jardim Botânico da Ajuda)

The beautiful botanical garden in Ajuda is the oldest in Portugal. They were laid down in 1768 following the devastating earthquake thirteen years earlier and the relocation of the royal family away from the city centre. The gardens sit on the opposite side of the road to the National Palace of Ajuda and are within easy reach of Belém. Bus and tram services stop just outside, making Ajuda Botanical Gardens a viable option to wind down after a busy day sightseeing the monuments close by. The gardens are family-friendly and are spread over two tiers. Trees, plants and flowers were sourced from all over Portugal's colonies. The grounds are beautifully landscaped in the Baroque style so fashionable in the 18th century. Interspersed between the greenery are alluring statues and a magnificent fountain decorated with sea creatures, both real and mythical. The garden's location high over the Tagus valley rewards visitors with amazing views over Belém, the Tejo River and the 25 de Abril Bridge. Let MADABOUTLISBON.COM be your essential guide to this wonderful hideaway piece of Eden.

A BRIEF HISTORY

Ajuda Botanical Gardens

Baroque staircase (Escadaria Centro)l

The origins of the Ajuda Botanical Gardens go back to the destruction of lower Lisbon in 1755 by a catastrophic earthquake and tidal wave. The Royal palace existed where the Praça do Comércio now stands. King Dom D. José I decided to build the new royal residence on higher ground and away from the city centre. The gardens were part of the construction plans. King José employed Domenico Vandelli (1735-1816), a naturalist from Padua to design the 3.8 hectares of grounds. When completed in 1768 the Ajuda Royal Botanical Garden was the first botanical garden in Portugal. Missions to Portugal's colonies collected over 5,000 specimens to enrich the gardens which cover two south-facing terraces.

During the peninsular wars, Napoleon's troops stripped much of the garden’s botanical specimens and taken to Paris. The garden was gradually replenished but at the time of the completion of the Escola Politécnica botanical garden, Ajuda's scientific function became redundant. The gardens remained a place of leisure for the royal family right up to the establishment of the Portuguese Republic in 1910. A programme of restoration was carried out under the management of the Instituto Superior de Agronomia (ISA) and was opened to the public. Further restoration has been possible thanks to EU funding.

ABOUT THE GARDEN

Laying on two terraces Ajuda Botanical Gardens face south and enjoys breathtaking views over Belém and the river Tejo. The two levels are connected by a monumental Baroque staircase, the Escadaria Central. The lower terrace has an Italian appearance with geometrically cut plant beds and hedges. In the centre of the lower garden is the 18th century Fountain of the Forty Spouts (Fonte das Quarenta Bicas). The spouts have a serpentine design with sea creatures as motifs. Statues of frogs, shells and waterfowl help decorate the fountain.

The upper level contains the botanical elements of the garden and is where you will find working greenhouses. There is a collection of rare species of trees such as a Ficus Microcarpa and a Ficus Macrophylla, a Schotia Afra and an Ocotea Foetens. A 400-year-old Dracaena draco from Madeira provides refreshing shaded seating with peacocks pecking at your feet.

The Jardim dos Aromas is a scented garden specially designed for the visually impaired. There are raised flowerbeds making it easy to smell and feel the plants and flowers. Braille descriptions accompany each plant. There is a restaurant in a former greenhouse near the Calçada do Galvão gate.

Ajuda Botanical Gardens

Ajuda Botanical Gardens

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Visitor Information

October to April Daily: 10h00 - 17h00, May to September: Daily: 10h00 - 20h00
Adult: €2.00, Concessionary: €1.00, Under 5: FREE,

Yellow Bus Tour

Getting To The Ajuda Botanical Gardens

Tram #18E Timetable
727, 729 & 732
Contact Details
Calçada da Ajuda, 1300-011 Lisboa, Portugal.
38° 42' 59.7"N | 09° 11' 45.6"W | +351 213 622 503
botanicoajuda@isa.ulisboa.pt | Website

Yellow Boat Tour

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