The Jardim da Estrela (Estrela Garden) is one of the loveliest parks in Lisbon. Located opposite the Basílica da Estrela in the Estrela district, a tram ride away from the commercial centre of Lisbon, it is a wonderful place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the more touristy parts of the city. We visited it early one afternoon after spending the morning in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga and were pleasantly surprised to find a café with outside tables overlooking one of the park’s ponds, where we had a very nice lunch. We also discovered an unusual kiosk, the Biblioteca Jardim (Garden Library), which acts as a small library in the park. What a lovely idea to encourage local people to come to the park and read a book or newspaper or magazine, all of which can be borrowed from the kiosk. Another charming structure in the centre of the park is the nineteenth-century bandstand, dating from 1884, made of wrought iron with a filigree decoration, which reminded me of an Edwardian lady’s hat. It is still used for summer concerts. Added to these reasons to visit are flower beds and shrubs planted around the paths and areas of lawn, benches under the shade of the trees, statues from different eras dotted around the park, plus ducks and fish in the ponds and young peacocks wandering around. The park is very popular with local families and groups of friends at the weekend and it is easy to see why. We found it hard to leave!
Jardim da Estrela, Praça da Estrela, Lisbon; Number 25 and 28 trams
Opening hours: 7am-midnight