Laid back and chill are the right words to describe this park, Jardim da Estrela. You will run into many Lisboetas having a picnic or meet up (they are the ones who are in the shade) in this large city garden.
So you’ll be sharing the place with locals mostly, and not with tourists. Which is a relief after a few days of walking around in the busy city centre.
Park next to Basílica da Estrela
The park is right next to another attraction in the Estrela neighbourhood: Basílica da Estrela. Relatively few tourists come to this beautiful church, and the same goes for Jardim da Estrela.
In all the times we were there we never saw tourists with their travel guides here. Well, maybe a few who wanted to go from A to B and used the park to take a short cut.
Jardim da Estrela: for young and old
As said, you’ll find mainly locals here. Most people are just strolling around the paths, chatting quietly about this and that. A couple of them (especially the older gray Portuguese men) will be sitting in the shade of a big tree on a bench to animatedly discuss the latest results of SL Benfica, Sporting Lisboa or the state of affairs in national politics.
On the lush green fields between the paths you will see young families, with children running around laughing with a ball, and teenagers flirting with each other. The lawns between the paths are generally very well maintained and that invites you to lie down on a blanket with a bottle of wine, basking in the sun!
On the east side of the park is a spacious and well-kept playground. All playgrounds are very solid and offer enough fun for all children. The ground cover is gravel. That may sound strange, but it works very well. First, it keeps the dogs outside the (lockable) gate. And second, gravel provides a relatively soft landing if a child does fall down.
Our then 2 year old daughter had a great time in the playground of the Jardim da Estrela, we had to do our best to convince her that we really wanted to walk further.
A lot of variety
The park is exceptionally green in both winter and in summer. The Jardim da Estrela is full of tropical trees, plants and flowers. You will find a number of water features, which fit naturally within the complete construction of the park. And despite the fact that the Estrela district is not built on the highest hill in Lisbon, you will find that there are quite a few differences in altitude when you walk around.
Despite that, the paths in the park are never too steep for a comfortable walk. During construction they have clearly tried to create a romantic atmosphere by applying some height differences, but nowhere at the expense of accessibility. The park is well-organized and the paths are smooth enough for everyone.
If you are lucky and you visit Jardim da Estrela at the right time (especially in summer), you can be treated to a free performance by one of the many bands and ensembles that come to play in the bandstand.
If you’ve forgotten your own picnic basket, it is possible to buy some snacks at the small café in the park. Every first weekend of the month there is an art and design market in the garden.
How to get to Jardim da Estrela
Address: Praça da Estrela, Estrela
Opening hours daily 7:00 a.m. – 0:00