The Romantic Gardens of Palácio de Cristal occupy an area of 8 hectares in Porto’s centre and they were designed in the 19th century by the German landscape architect Émille David, in the context of constructing the building of Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace). Currently, the following still remain preserved in accordance with the original project: Jardim Émille David at the main entrance, Avenida das Tílias, the forest and the balconies’ design over the river Douro. We can also contemplate magnificent panoramic views over the river and the city that the viewpoints in strategic places offer to us. It is to be noted that these gardens, making a good use of the botanic heritage and of the ludic-cultural dynamics, is home to an Environmental Education Centre.
The Serralves Park, from the first half of the twentieth century, was the first private national garden built on the basis of an architectural landscape project. Completed in 1940, the garden fits the neoclassical profile of the art of French gardens, slightly modernized, moving away from the traditional concept of gardens in Porto. Whether by its historical and artistic characteristics, or by its size (18 hectares), diversified landscape and condition of conservation, the Serralves Park is a unique place on a national and international level. It includes many diverse landscapes: from the declined terraces to the leafy forests, the geometry of a labyrinth of gardens to the farmland, the rose garden to the romantic lake. Composed of remnants of a nineteenth century garden, by Quinta do Mata-Sete, the Serralves House and the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, whose gardens have been designed to seamlessly merge with the surrounding landscape and the built structure. Building designated public interest monument.
The City Park is the largest urban park in Portugal, with an area of 83 hectares that stretch out as far as the Atlantic Ocean, which is globally something of a rarity. It was designed by the landscape architect Sidónio Pardal and inaugurated in 1993 (1st phase) and finalized in 2002. The presence of stone takes on a preponderant characteristic of this park, where the construction of supporting walls for terrain, spots to stay and paving create a rural and bucolic idea. In 2000, it was selected by the Order of the Engineers as one of the `100 most remarkable works constructed in Portugal in the 20th century`. Among other installations, it lodges the Centre for Environmental Education.
More than a garden, it is a privileged viewpoint of the Rio Douro and the city of Porto. The Jardim do Morro, in Gaia, is a brilliant spot to watch the sunset or to appreciate a casual stroll and enjoy the view.
For those in Porto, the access to this garden on the other side of the Rio Douro, can be done by metro since there is a station right in front, or by foot through the top deck of the Ponte D. Luís.
The garden, which has been recently refurbished, lies within in the spot where a hill once stood but ended up being destroyed, so as to build an avenue that connected Gaia to the top deck of the bridge and Porto.
The garden was inaugurated in 1927 and has since then become a privileged viewpoint to Porto. A lake, a cave and, recently, some stone benches have been strategically placed to make it that much more charming. The recent construction work improved the green spaces within it, as well as adding in a bar and other supportive structures.
Created in 1951, the Botanical Garden a unit belonging to the University of Porto, bonding it to the community. The Botanic Garden currently comprises a historical garden, a garden of fleshy plants, an area of greenhouses with tropical, subtropical, orchids and fleshy plants, an area of lakes with aquatic plants, and a park area with a collection of gymnosperms, beeches oaks, magnolias and tulips, among others. The enormous garden is composed of distinct areas separated by large camellia hedges.