A garden to be in love in Porto
Palácio de Cristal’s (Crystal Palace) gardens are the most beautiful gardens in Porto. That’s how I would like to start. I cannot assure, though, that this opinion is not biased for my childhood memories of the walks in these gardens. But, and this I can assure, no one will stay indifferent to their location and harmony.
Wander around with no rush and pay attention to every detail. These gardens are a great place to be contemplative or to be in love… Every mood fits their balanced textures, colors and sounds.
The Crystal Palace Gardens are part of the park that also includes the Porto Romantic Museum and the Port Wine Museum. Not only the different gardens and spaces are a remarkable example of the gardens during the Romantic period, but they also are a terrific belvedere with views over the Douro river, Atlantic Ocean and the city itself.
The gardens result from a project by the architect Émile David, in the 19th century. The name “Crystal Palace” refers to a Palace that was built in the area where nowadays you can see the Rosa Mota pavilion, an oddly shaped building projected in 1956, where events and concerts take place all year.
As you enter you will see a central fountain and on the sides four statues that symbolize the four seasons: a great way to teach kids the differences between Summer, Spring, Winter and Autumn. Go further to find the relaxing “avenue of lime trees”: around here everyone seems to slow the pace, either to enter the library on the right side (Almeida Garret Library) or the coffee shop with the outdoor seating near the lake full of funny ducks. You will notice a kind of stage at your right: my grandmother always told me used to be the stage for a handmade calico dresses contest that girls were pride to show on parade.
Do not miss the Romantic Museum. That’s my favorite in Porto! From November to March the gardens are open from 8am to 7pm and from 8am to 9pm from April to October.
At Palácio de Cristal you’ll be in a walking distance from the Art District. Actually, you’ll be right on the border! Take a walk down Miguel Bombarda street and enjoy the countless art galeries or go and grab a gourmet burguer at Bugo Art Burgers.
If you’re looking for a fashion souvenir, take a lot at MUUDA Porto. There are also plenty of designer stores in the area.