Set upon a vantage point overlooking the river Douro and Gaia on the opposite bank, this piece of Eden was conceived as part of the International Exhibition of 1865. Named after the Crystal Palace that was the centrepiece exhibit. The gardens were designed by the German landscape architect Emílio David. Today the gardens offer a tranquil respite from the city and have some of the best views in Porto.
Palácio de Cristal
The Crystal Palace, where the park gets its name, was demolished and replaced by an arena in 1951. It was created for the International Exhibition (Exposição Internacional do Porto) of 1865. This world fair was a truly global event and drew over three thousand exhibitors from around the globe. The "Palácio de Crystal Portuense" was inspired by London's Crystal Palace, built for the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1851.
The replacement structure, the Pavilhão Rosa Mota, was built to host the Roller-Hockey World Cup in 1952. It still holds sporting and other cultural events throughout the year. It is also home to a permanent multimedia library, auditorium and restaurant. Since 2019, and after some extensive restructuring, it is officially called the Super Bock Arena.
Rua de Dom Manuel II, 4050-346 Porto, Portugal | 41° 08′ 48.8″ N | 08° 37′ 33.5″ W
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Surrounding the Pavilhão Rosa Mota are eight hectares of parkland which contain a lake, themed gardens, terraces, footpaths, exotic trees and flowerbeds. The park is well equipped for families with seating areas, cafés, playgrounds and picnic areas. There are also several fountains and statues spread throughout. The architect of the gardens, Émile Davide, was influenced by the English romantic style, which was popular during the second half of the 19th century. As you enter, you'll encounter the geometric layout of the garden immediately. To the left and right are a pair of fountains. A lawn in front is divided into four quadrants to represent the seasons.
The modern-looking building further to the right is the Biblioteca Municipal Almeida Garrett public library. Leading away from the library is the Avenida das Tílias (Linden Avenue) which leads to the Capela de Carlos (Charles) Alberto, a chapel dedicated to the King of Sardinia and Piemonte, who was in exile in Porto before he died in 1849. It was built on the request of his sister Augusta de Montleart to honour his memory and his struggle to free Northern Italy from the Austrian Empire.
Capela de Carlos Alberto
On the opposite side of the Pavilion, several terraces have breathtaking views over the Douro River below. The first terrace contains the rose garden (Jardim do Roseiral). The yellow building here is, although unoccupied, the official residence of Porto’s mayor.
There are also several themed gardens; a terraced garden dedicated to aromatic plants (Jardim das Plantas Aromaticas) and, on the western end, a 19th-century romanticism-styled mansion (Quinta da Macieirinha), which houses the Museu Romântico (Romantic Museum). | High Season: 08h00 - 21h00, Low Season: 08h00 - 19h00 | FREE
Also tucked away within the park are a couple of interesting chapels, one belonging to Charles Albert of Sardinia (Capela de Carlos Alberto da Sardenha).
São Bento Train Station | CP Website
Bus: 13M, 201, 208, 302, 501, 507 and 601 | Timetable | STCP Website
Metro: São Bento (Line D) | Timetable | Metro do Porto Website
18 - Circular Massarelos - Carmo (stop: Palácio) | Timetable | STCP Website
33-37 Rua da Reboleira, 4050-492, Porto, Portugal. | 41° 08′ 24.5″ N | 08° 36′ 54.4″ W
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