‘Tapada das Necessidades’ Lisbon: remarkable cactus garden, Palace gossip, free access & setting for a picnic usually seen in films

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

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

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”

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)

2 Responses to “‘Tapada das Necessidades’ Lisbon: remarkable cactus garden, Palace gossip, free access & setting for a picnic usually seen in films”

  1. Hey Julie,

    Fabulous article! :)

  2. Hi julie.
    Thank you.wery well done.
    I like it.I have not gone shopping yeat.
    Can you belive that?
    Miss not seeing you.Hope to see you next time.
    Lots of love.
    Lilja.

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