When summer arrives and temperatures rise, most people long for the beach, sand and sunny terraces. The search or desire for houses with sea views is also common. The truth is that global warming is making some areas of the world so hot that they will soon become uninhabitable. The city of Porto, in the north of Portugal, has a double advantage: on the one hand, it has such a special climate that it can be hot in the summer season without ever being uncomfortable. The average summer temperature is around 24 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, it has a rich heritage of gardens and extensive green parks, both in the city centre and by the sea and river, like no other region in the country.
And the present and future trend is precisely this: to buy houses near green parks, well cared for, full of shade and tranquility, where you can go every day, for free, cultivating a healthy lifestyle and immune to climate change. LUXIMOS Christie's International Real Estate has created a list with the ten best gardens in Porto, located in areas of the city where you can find villas and apartments to buy. That is, in these places, the green park may well be the garden of your home.
Until recently, Palacete Ramos Pinto, in Campanhã, was just an 18th-century property, abandoned, almost forgotten and one step away from falling into ruins. In 2019, after the latest rehabilitation - the first, still in the 19th century, fell to architect José Marques da Silva - the building, now named Casa de São Roque, reopened to the public as a cultural hub for contemporary art. But the main attraction for those who want to live in the eastern part of the city - in this case, just a 10-minute walk from the Estádio do Dragão metro station, in Antas - is the magnificent garden, which is accessible daily and free of charge and covers over four hectares.
This 19th century space, which was designed by the historic landscape gardener from Porto Jacinto de Matos, was meticulously thought out and sprinkled with small places, which stand out for their statues, minarets and exotic species. There is also a lake, a grotto, a bandstand and a pergola. In this green park, it is also possible to walk through the buxus sempervirens labyrinth (a shrub of European origin widely used for ornamentation), contemplate the collection of more than 200 camele trees or simply take a walk, spread a towel on the ground and have a picnic. See the villas for sale near this garden.
Also located in Campanhã, one of the parishes of Porto where great real estate opportunities are most easily found (see here new apartments), Quinta de Vilar d'Allen is one of the few living examples of what Romanticism was in the 18th and 19th centuries in the city. Both the House and the Quinta were classified as Property of Public Interest in 2010. Both were purchased in 1839 by João Allen (1781-1848), a wealthy merchant and former consul of England in Porto, to house his art collection and to function as a holiday home.
The House, which has retained its original features both outside and inside (many of the family's objects and furniture have been kept), represents six generations of the Allen clan. However, once again, it is the garden that makes a visit inevitable. Remember that the heir, Alfredo Allen, was a winemaker, farmer and gardener - and that's not an unimportant detail. In fact, it was this son who introduced a number of exotic plants to Portugal. In these five hectares, there is an important collection of more than 600 cameleers of 180 species and dozens of century-old trees that give the place absolute tranquillity. This paradise, located next to the Freixo Marina, combines with other elements, such as the lake, the waterfall, the woods, the greenhouse, the sculptures by Nicolau Nasoni and the fountain of the ancient Monchique Monastery.
Another suggestion within Campanhã: the baroque-decorated 18th-century gardens of Palácio do Freixo, a building classified as a National Monument in 1910. This property, which also bears the signature of the Italian Nicolau Nasoni, has no less than 10,000 m2 of green space and a unique view of the Douro River. In the past, these gardens, which are spread over two terraces, together with the woods, avenues and waterfalls, were given various names according to their location and function, which was a tradition of the so-called pleasure farms: the garden of the apparatus, because it is more ornate and is located in front of the large halls of the house; and the reserved garden, because it is autonomous and located to the west.
The Palace has since been converted into a luxury hotel, so it is also possible to benefit from the pool, spa, terrace and long balcony by the river, which, in 1909, was destroyed by the great flood that occurred at the time. To buy a house in the vicinity of this garden, look here.
The Garden of Feelings is one of several gardens designed by landscape architect Émile David in the 1860s to make up the eight hectares of green space in the Crystal Palace. And it is perhaps one of the most beautiful of this paradise located in the parish of Massarelos, two minutes from the river and Downtown Porto. Because of the privileged view over the riverfront and the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, but not only. There are, in this location, several dream homes and new developments where you can find your new home.
The garden is designed in the form of a labyrinth, where there are some lakes and various species of plants related to feelings, such as pain, love or jealousy. There is also a sculpture by Teixeira Lopes, named "Dor" (Pain). From this garden you can get a real sense of the size of the seven California palm trees, considered the ex-libris of this garden. The other gardens are the Émile David Garden, the Aromatic Plants Garden, the Avenida das Tílias, the Twin Cities Garden and the Rose Garden. A real paradise in the heart of the city.
This is the oldest municipal garden and is located in the parish of Bonfim, right next to the busy and cosmopolitan Praça dos Poveiros. It was commissioned by D. Pedro IV, after the Siege of Porto, to honour the women of the city. It was inaugurated in 1834. Some people know it as Jardim de S. Lázaro, but its real name is Jardim de Marques de Oliveira, a tribute to the Porto painter João Marques de Oliveira (1853-1927). The man who introduced the aesthetics of naturalism to the Academia Portuense de Belas-Artes also has a bust here by Soares dos Reis, one of the greatest Portuguese sculptors of the 19th century.
This garden has undergone several interventions over the two centuries of its existence, but has never lost its romantic character. Today, it still has the four-gate railing, the central lake, the bandstand, the fountain designed in 1838 for the sacristy of the Convent of São Domingos, the huge magnolias and, of course, the collection of camellias. It is the ideal place for those who want to have one foot in one of the many terraces that exist there, and the other foot in the calm of a garden. For dozens of years, it was the place of choice for the upper social classes of Porto society, today it is mostly the younger population that is concentrated there - the same who also like to live there. See the properties available on the market.
The Serralves Park, an obligatory stop between Avenida da Boavista and Foz do Douro, is an 18-hectare green lung. In addition to the sculptures scattered around the gardens ("Plantoir" designed by Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen, "Walking is Measuring" by Richard Serra or "A catoptric garden (Teuseus)" by Ângelo de Sousa are just a few examples), and to the hundreds of trees designed to flourish all year round, this space also has other points of interest, such as a beautiful central lake, a mysterious cave and many unlikely animals, from horses, sheep, cows, to ducks and chickens.
It is the garden par excellence for families, but also for those seeking silence. Recently, in 2019, a "Treetop Walk" was built, a 260-metre long wooden walkway, elevated to treetop level, which allows you to observe the fauna and flora. The project was designed by the architects Carlos Castanheira and Álvaro Siza Vieira. No wonder this is one of the places in the city where demand for housing is highest. Here are some luxury apartments with balcony.
It is surely one of the most "instagrammable" places in Porto, but it is far from being one of the best known. It is worth making a preliminary point: Jardim das Virtudes and Miradouro das Virtudes are not the same thing, although they are in the same place, in the historic centre of Porto, behind the Palácio da Justiça. It is a vertical garden, almost in terraces, which offers a unique view over the Alfândega and the Douro River, the Port wine cellars and Vila Nova de Gaia, the Rabelo boats and the riverside area.
Here you will find the largest Ginkgo Balboa in Portugal, an ancient medicinal plant from China, also known as Japanese walnut, avocado tree or just ginkgo. It is 35 metres tall and is ranked among the largest trees in Europe. In 2005, it was classified as a tree of public interest by the General Directorate of Forests. In 2013, to mark its 50th anniversary, Cooperative Árvore invited three Portuguese artists to present works in granite that would complement the vertical landscape of this Garden. Thus, "A Roda", by Paulo Neves, "Árvore das Virtudes", by Vítor Ribeiro, and "A Meio Entre Isto e Aquilo, by Isaque Pinheiro" were born. If your idea is to live or invest Downtown Porto, these are your best opportunities.
The City Park, between Boavista and South Matosinhos, is the largest urban park in the country and the most popular garden in the city. The naturalized green area extends to the Atlantic Ocean, a rare feature to find in the world. It occupies a total of 83 hectares, with about 10 km of paths, and in 2022 it underwent a new expansion project, which included the planting of 2,800 more trees and bushes, new viewpoints and the rehabilitation of the lake. It means that the previous 6500 square metres of tarmac are now an immense new green space.
Sidónio Pardal, professor and landscape architect, who designed the City Park in 1991, was also responsible for the new intervention. This is the ideal place for walking and jogging, cycling, walking the dog, working out, picnicking or resting. And it is by far one of the best places in the city to buy a house.
It is a completely magical place, with the advantage of being located in Rua do Campo Alegre, in other words, two minutes away from the river, the beach and Boavista. It is one of those gardens where you can go every day without ever getting tired of looking. The German landscape-architect Franz Koepp is one of the main designers of the four hectares that make up the Porto Botanical Garden. He is responsible for several iconic places, such as the Schist Garden and the Fish Garden. But there are also the Cactus Garden, the Succulent Garden, various greenhouses, an enormous rose garden and, as is required in Porto, dozens of camellias.
The Botanical Garden is also home to dozens of exotic plants and rare species, which are duly documented and explained in the Biodiversity Gallery - Living Science Centre, which has been created there. This gallery is located inside the fabulous house that belonged to the Andresen family until 1949, when the property was sold to the Portuguese State. It is also worth mentioning that this was the garden where two important figures of Portuguese literature lived and made their memories: the poet Sophia de Mello Breyner and the novelist Ruben A. If you want to live near this garden, take a look here, from plots of land to houses and apartments.
Located by the Serra do Pilar, next to the upper deck of the Luís I Bridge in Vila Nova de Gaia, this is the most extraordinary viewpoint over the historic centre of Porto, the Ribeira and the Arrábida Bridge. The Morro garden, which is right next to the metro station, was built in 1927, requalified in 2016, having kept the lake and the bandstand, the geriatric park and the cafeteria, and increased its variety of plant species.
But its strong point, apart from the unique view, is the fact that it is the best place in the city to watch the sunset. Nobody is surprised at the number of towels that are spread out there in the late afternoon, as well as the young people that arrive with guitars and other instruments, to socialize there until nightfall. If you want to have this fabulous view from your own home, look here.