Exotic Palace cactus garden Lisbon ‘Tapada das Necessidades’: free access, juicy gossip & a candy-pink birthday cake

Exotic garden Tapada das Necessidades in Lisbon is a guarded secret even the most Lisboetas don’t know about. Beautiful grounds and palace peeling pink paint, with an incredible cactus garden and a setting for a picnic you usually only see in films. Since a few years it’s open to the public/tourists and it’s free!

Tapada das Necessidades garden Lisbon: birthday picnic party June 2012

Between the famous Prazeres cemetery (also really worth a visit!) and the river Tagus (Tejo) you can find this large (about 10 ha) exotical park, including a wonderful picnic area, a network of walkways, historical buildings, a garden and lakes. The grounds of the palace contain a remarkable collection of exotic plants known as “Tapada das Necessidades”.

Tapada das Necessidades Lisbon: Lilja & the candy-pink birthday cake, June 2012

Surprise birthday picnic & special birthday cake

Our lovely friend Lilja (70) from England, born in Iceland, was invited for a surprise birthday picnic. This beautiful lady likes shopping, like handbags, hats and shoes, and she loves to try on every pair of shoes before deciding whether to buy anything at all 😉  . That’s why this special birthday cake: a pink ‘hat’ decorated with elegant ladies shoes and a small handbag on top.

Exotic garden ‘Tapada das Necessidades’ Lisbon: prime location for a picnic or a lazy afternoon

The Palace (Palácio) das Necessidades was built in the 18th century in gratitude for prayers answered by Nossa Senhora das Necessidades (Our Lady of the Needs, a title dedicated to the Virgin Mary), whose first devotional chapel stood on this site.

Nowadays this palace is a Portuguese National Monument

Garden ‘Tapada das Necessidades’ Lisbon: walk through the immense, amazing garden

The ‘Tapada das Necessidades’ has been the stage for some important events in Portuguese history, as exemplified in the famous case of the box that king Dom Pedro V installed at the door, in wich everyone could leave their messages and complaints to the sovereign.

From 1910, the palace remained unoccupied for almost 40 years. In around 1950 it became the headquarters of the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Garden Tapada das Necessidades Lisbon: Rob and Felipe, June 2012

Sanitairy facilities & trees

It is really wonderful to walk in this garden, you have the feeling that it’s all yours, because there are almost no other people around… In the park are no sanitairy facilities, the guardians at the entrance cried: ” enough trees here”!…. 😉  😉

There are three lakes surrounded by exotic vegetation, sculptures, a waterfall, a fountain and a pool. Really beautiful but faded elegance….

“Hello? Thank you! I’m currently in Lisbon.. Yes! Celebrating my 70th birthday”

Small pink-washed cottages & gossip

Besides: officially the few small pink-washed cottages in this park were once the little prince’s playhouses. But there are rumors that young women lived in those little pink houses, being the mistresses of the king …  😉

One of the little pink-painted houses in the garden: playhouse for the little prince?

The abandoned buildings create a mysterious atmosphere…..and inside there’ s a lot of trash…….   More pictures of this park, the historical buildings and the exotic plants and flowers: Beautiful garden pictures getportugal.com

Tapada das Necessidades garden Lisbon: entrance/exit near the Palace

How to get there? Take the 28 tram to Prazeres. The main entrance of the park Tapada das Necessidades is through the Largo das Necessidades. This park is open to the public every day of the week – including Saturdays and Sundays, the entrance is guarded but entry is free.

The Palace (Palácio) das Necessidades, June 2012

Open: wintertime 8h – 18h (from Monday u/i Friday), from 10h – 18h (Saturday and Sunday). Summertine 8h – 19h (from Monday u/i Friday), from 10h – 19h (Saturday/Sunday)

Kiosk cafe ‘Clara Clara’ Lisbon, wonderful garden at fleamarket Feira da Ladra, children playground & Tagus river views

The ‘Clara Clara’ Cafe in Alfama Lisbon is a kiosk in the garden-terrace of Boto Machado (or Santa Clara), overlooking the Tagus (Tejo) River and the National Pantheon (Church of Santa Engracia) in the heart of Lisbon’s legendary flea market, Feira da Ladra.

‘Clara Clara’ kiosk cafe in the heart of fleamarket Feira da Ladra, Lisbon

This wonderful small and quiet garden is a nice place to sit down and relax after browsing the legendary Feira da Ladra, Lisbon (a must see when you visit Lisbon) or after visiting the National Pantheon (on the background), in which important Portuguese personalities are buried, like for example Amalia Rodrigues, the famous fado singer.

Clara Clara terrace & view on the Tagus river, Lisbon

This garden was built in 1862. It provides a panoramic view of the Tagus River. Clara Clara Cafe presents complementary activities such as music or entertainment for kids . A little further down, there is a playground.

Playground and game tables for children – kiosk cafe Clara Clara Lisbon

As for the menu, the cafe offers coffee, (bica), tea (chá) and Portuguese wines such as Vinho Verde (green wine), beer (imperial) and lemonade, fresh fruit shakes or a sandwich.

Clara Clara terrace in summertime

An inviting terrace in summertime: you can cool off under the trees of the garden. The kiosk cafe offers food and drinks – fresh seasonal products – with a careful selection of cheeses and wines, at tables under the trees in sumertime.

Clara Clara cafe in June, the kiosk is decorated with garlands (Feast Days of the Popular Saints)

This beautiful garden was named after Pedro Amaral Boto Machado, a Portuguese Republican politician and governor (from May 1913 till May 1915) of the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, discovered and claimed by Portugal in the 1470s. Independence was granted on July 1975.

Clara Clara Cafe is open daily from 10:00 AM to midnight. Easy to reach by old tram 28.

Clara Clara Cafe in wintertime (december)

In winter season the cafe offers heaters and blankets. Nothing better than a tea, hot chocolate or a Vinho Quente (hot red mulled wine) on a cold afternoon. The scones and hot croissants already have enough fans, as well as the chocolate muffins.

In Lisbon you can still find a lot of nostalgic Moorish kiosks cafes

The garden is surrounded by the flea market

Fleamarket Feira da Ladra, Lisbon (every Tuesday and Saturday from dusk till dawn)

Excellent Restaurant ‘Casa da Comida’ Lisbon & the heavenly garden of Sacred Art São Roque Museum

Restaurant ‘Casa da Comida’ in Lisbon is an international well-known restaurant, very famous for its Portuguese gastronomy.

Restaurant Cafetaria Casa da Comida garden Sao Roque Museum20

In January 2009 ‘Casa da Comida’ (‘ the house of food’) opened a new cafetaria/ restaurant in the wonderful new bamboo garden of Museum São Roque, just a few steps away from Bairro Alto (a legendary old neighborhood in Lisbon’s historical center). This museum and church is home to Italian art from the 16th and 17th centuries.

Restaurant Museum Sao Roque Casa da Comida 2 garden 1

The new restaurant/cafetaria is located near one of Lisbon’s most interesting churches: Igreja São Roque (Church of Saint Roch), the earliest Jesuit church in the Portuguese world with its magnificent baroque interior and the Museum São Roque : Museum de Arte Sacra (Sacred Art), one of the oldest art museums in Portugal, housed in the former ‘Misericórdia’ old people’s home and orphanage. After (or before) your visit to the church and the Museum (€ 2,50), it’s a good idea to enjoy a coffee, a light lunch or an afternoon tea in this wonderful and quiet inner-garden.

New restaurant Casa da Comida garden Museum Sao Roque girls

At the entrance of the Museum the receptionist will open the door for you, but it’s not necessary to buy a ticket. There’s a varied menu, and in winter you can also sit inside the restaurant to eat or relax.

Restaurant Casa da Comida Museum Sao Roque 2 lunch

The atmosphere is perfect for a leisury lunch. We ordered Carpaccio de carne (meat €  8.00), salade de atum (tunny € 6.00), a salad with goat-cheese (cabra € 8.00), agua (water € 1.50) and 2 glasses of (delicious) Planalto Douro wine (€ 5.00, bottle € 10.00). Coffee € 0,90.

Restaurant Casa da Comida Museum Sao Roque garden waiter Manuel Silva

Thanks to manager sr. Manuel Silva, muito obrigada for your perfect service!

Largo Trindade Coelho Museum Sao Roque Lisbon

Largo Trindade Coelho

Restaurant/Cafetaria ‘Casa da Comida’, Lisbon cafetariasaoroque@casadacomida.pt (00351) 21 323 54 46. Open: Tuesday – Sunday from 10:00 – 18:00.  (On Sundays a lot of restaurants are closed in Lisbon). Thursday 14:00 – 21:00.

Restaurant Casa da Comida Museum Sao Roque Lisbon garden 11

Rob Plews’ (teacher and writer) favorite places in Lisbon: Botanical garden & Tapada das Necessidades

Rob-plews-lisbon-writer-teacherI set foot in Lisbon back in 2001 after 9/11, and how refreshing not to understand a word as I went from café to café drinking galão, with TVs blaring in the background. I overheard an eager tourist trying to sum up this city as he scrunched his eyes under the vivid Atlantic light and scanned his vocabulary for words that fit. Faded elegance, he said.

I worked as an English teacher, moved to the Bairro Alto, opened a café, wrote two books, closed the café, and now I’m writing a third and learning to surf. For me, Lisbon is a living city. She’s female, she’s choosey, she’s testing, but if she likes you she’ll open up and share her secrets. Best thing to do is leave the guide book at home and take to the streets with an open mind. It still amazes me how people here so easily strike up conversations, and they’ll happily tell you their life story in a nutshell before giving you directions.
Lisbon is a small city, but so rich in nooks and crannies that, after almost seven years, I’m still upturning new stones. Here are two of my favourites:

Lisbon botanical Garden 3 Bairro Alto

Botanical gardens

Rua da Escola Politecnica 58 in Principe Real. Trees from all over the world, a family of squawking parrots, tiny terrapins, leafy shade, abandoned observatory and boundless inspiration.

Tapada das Necessidades.

Guarded secret even the Lisboetas don’t know about. Beautiful grounds and palace peeling pink paint, with an incredible cactus garden and a setting for a picnic you usually only see in films. Take the 28 tram to Prazeres.

tapada-das-necessidades-lisbon

Pink painted Palace  &Tapada das Necessidades