Romantic and peaceful gardens in Porto
I don’t know if it’s because of the colors, of the light games that pierce through the bushes, the balanced geometry or the sounds and smells… There may not be one main reason, but the truth is that these gardens simply have the power to make me contemplative on busy days or happy when I’m blue. The most approximate term to what I am trying to say here is: cathartic. The only way to understand this is going there.
Serralves‘ gardens welcome the visitor with the modern super sized “Garden Trowel”, conceived in 2001 by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen: literally, a trowel in tones of grey and red, buried on the ground. It is a favorite for touristic photos.
The gardens consist of 13ha to wander around, ideal to get lost, simply relax, or get acquainted with the amazing diversity of species. About 200 of them. The initial project, that remains mainly as we know it nowadays, was initiated after an order by Conde Vizela to the architect Jacques Gréber. The most impressive gardens are those in front of the beautiful rose art-deco style house. Obviously influenced by the design of French gardens, its geometry is stunning and so balanced that it seems an extension of the house itself.
Do not forget that Serralves Foundation also hosts a world class museum of Contemporary Art. There is also a tea house and a restaurant. Definitely you can spend a relaxed full day wandering around. There is also a pedagogic farm, which is an invaluable opportunity for young urban kids to understand how aliments are produced.
There are at Serralves park other gardens that stand out in terms of design and botanic, but my favorite one is the rose garden. I usually go there on the morning, I stare at the petals still with dew drops on them… and then I sit on the benches around.
Serralves, as locals call it, is a pink house, it’s gardens, the pedagogical farm and the contemporary art museum. On the gardens you can find a tea house where you can have a delicious meal or just a piece of cake and a cup of tea, read a book and relax. At the museum, you can see the exhibitions and observe the genius of it’s architect, Siza Vieira. The fee for the museum and park is €7. If you just want to walk around the park, that would be €3.
If you’re in Serralves and want to explore a little more, you can head down towards the seaside and enjoy Porto’s most famous promenade, at Foz. The Pergola on the promenade is totally worth the walk! If you want to grab something to eat, Tavi might be a good choice. If you’re more into exploring the city, you can visit Casa da Música.