The royal botanical garden of Ajuda, Jardim Botánico de Ajuda, just across from the Royal Palácio Ajuda, was created in 1768 as the first botanical garden in Portugal.
Originally this garden had a remarkable collection of about 5000 species of plants, but many species were lost during the invasion of Napoleon in 1808 and by natural influences over the years.
Oasis of tranquility
The botanical garden is a short walk from Belém, a short walk to get away from the many tourists. When you enter the Jardim Botánico de Ajuda you will experience an oasis of peace. After you bought a ticket in the park house at the entrance you are ready to discover the garden.
The botanical garden is divided into two levels, with the higher terrace offering you a beautiful view over the river Tagus and Ponte 25 de Abril.
Furnishing of the garden
Seen from the upper part it is clear that the garden is fully symmetrical, with the 18th century fountain called Fonte das 40 Bicas (fountain of the 40 pipes) in the middle, decorated with snakes, fish, seahorses and mythological figures. Exotic aquatic plants inhabit the waters.
On the higher terrace is a 400 year old dragon tree from Madeira, which provides some lovely seating during summer. You’ll also find peacocks running around among the visitors. This area also houses various flowers and plants from every former colony of Portugal.
On the west side of the garden is Jardim dos Aromas, a scented garden especially designed for the blind. The raised beds make it easy to smell and feel the plants and flowers. The braille signs next to each plant allow you to read about the plant species in question.
Refurbishing the botanical garden
Restoration of the garden started in 1994. The work took three years. The garden has a special collection of plants from all over the world. Nowadays, the garden is maintained by the Instituto Superior de Agronomia, the agricultural college of Lisbon.
Where to find Jardim Botánico de Ajuda
Address: Calçada da Ajuda, Ajuda
Opening hours: every day from 10 a.m. – 17 p.m. | on weekends the garden is open from 10 a.m. – 18 p.m.