When we were staying at out 4th AirBnB in Lisboa discovery mode was near the Amoreiras shopping center, I knew the area was more on the business/residential side – which I was looking for after a 10-day stay in the very fun (but loud) Alfama neighborhood. As usual, I started researching for places to explore. Eu sou um walker, so I was excited to be near (15 minutes by foot) to Parque Eduardo VII. My hopes were soon dashed as I read what a disappointing park it was on Tripadvisor.
***Update – in 2016, this park underwent major renovations. It is prettier than ever and so worth the visit. It is so pretty that I actually ended up choosing the neighborhood for the park, Avenidas Novas when I decided to move to Lisbon.
Parque Eduardo VII
Eu tenho algo para lhe dizer, TripAdvisor was WRONG! Not just a little wrong – seriously wrong. This park is AWESOME! I could see this becoming my daily walking spot if I lived in Lisboa. Deixe-me quebrar por isso que eu amava Parque Eduardo VII tanto.
Marques de Pombal Square: ca 1934
Adães Bermudes and António Couto, Francisco Santos, Simões de Almeida, and Leopoldo de Almeida.
This 118 ft alto monumento fica no meio de uma praça no final da Avenida Liberdade, and right before the start of the park. É impressionante, to say the least. The first register of the sculpture is filled with turbulent, cenas tensas que descrevem o terremoto. A male nude figure struggles to hold up columns of a crumbling building. Um polvo invade a terra como ele é levado para lá por águas violentas. The next register shows scenes of order, growth, and commerce. A strong woman pulls along cattle as a man next to her carries the harvest. A man behind her plows the land, and a young man carries a cornucopia. A large figurehead in the front of the group holds the Portuguese shield. Above her, a female nude triumphantly draws the eye to the top of the monument, where a bronze sculpture of the Marques stands victorious with a lion. There is much more to the monument, so go and enjoy it, but make sure to bring sunscreen and a hat. There is no covering here. Também, be careful crossing the street to see it. É bastante importante cruzamento e os carros tendem a ir mais rápido ao redor da rotunda.
Geometric Gardens at Parque Eduardo VII
As you stare up from the Marques monument, your eyes are led up to the top of the park by way of a green strip of geometric gardens. I found them lovely, but I can see how people may find them dull. There is also no covering from the sun here, so walk up on the side where there is sporadic shade from trees. This is also where everyone brings their dogs to play on sunny afternoons.
My favorite spot at the park is the Estufa Fria. It’s an eight-hectare greenhouse that was erected around 1930 by architect Raul Carapinha. It is so big that there are actually three greenhouses here. Antes de chegar lá, you will note a lake with tons of fowl. Follow this into the building with the unremarkable facade. This is the entrance and largest part of the greenhouse; a estufa fria. One can easily get lost here. It can also be a workout if you want it to be and if you want to get to the Estufa quente que contém plantas tropicais do efeito estufa. Há também um é estufa doce, which houses cacti and succulents.
25 of April Monument: João Cutileiro
Se você é louco como eu sou e torná-lo ao topo da colina, you will reach a small esplanade with four large pillars and a fountain that commemorates the Revolution of 1974. This spot also has a gorgeous view of the Tagus river and the city. The fountain kinda looks like an ejaculating phallus…but maybe my mind is in the gutter today. You can judge for yourself. This is also where everyone goes to watch the fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
Jardim Amália Rodrigues
This garden, dedicated to the famous fadista Amalia. It’s also got a mother and child by Fernando Botero (I was born in Colombia – so I got a little excited at this). At this park, you will find some food trucks, an amphitheater of sorts and Eleven restaurant (1 Michelin Star).
Há um pequeno café bonito aqui com uma espécie de lago cheio de peixes. When I visited the Lisboetas brought their dogs here for a “swim”. I loved this! When the schools do their Praxes ceremonies (the equivalent of US college hazing…but not as serious (although the Portuguese think it is), this is where inductees are baptized. It’s just a cool place.
O Segredo: ca 1961 Lagoa Henriques
I could not help but think of the LGBT struggle while looking at this sculptural group. Eu realmente não estou certo se o artista quis dizer para que isso aconteça, but it did. Eu fiz alguma leitura, and the sculptor was quoted as saying “It is not a piece made to order. Did it for me, was made to play a daze”. O segredo pode ser qualquer coisa, and I think it is up to the viewer to figure it out. Make sure to peek into these gorgeous ladies.
Carlos Lopes Pavilion: ca 1923
Guilherme e Carlos Rebello de Andrade e Alfredo Assunção Santos
This is one of those places that used to break your heart, but was recently preserved and now looks gorgeous. It’s a sign of Portugal’s progress. This white and ochre building was erected for the 1923 Rio de Janeiro Expo and was brought back and rebuilt at the park in 1932 for the Portuguese Industrial Exhibition. It became a meeting place, concert, and a sports hall. It had fallen into disrepair. Outside of the building are some of the prettiest tile paintings in the city. The azulejo Os painéis foram feitos por Jorge Colaço, and the sculptures by Raul Xavier. I am leaving the old picture up so that when you get to visit Parque Eduardo VII, you can see just how much work was done. The building is now used for conferences, festas, and pop-ups.
Female Nude: ca 1958: Vasco Pereira da Conceição
This piece broke my heart when I first saw it. I cannot understand why people decide to vandalize art. I understand the anger at the government, but I cannot understand why people feel the need to deface art. I wonder if this was disenfranchised youth or a stupid tourist. It is not ok to deface art. My hopes that people continue to visit Lisbon and spend more money there so that at some point, once the country bounces back financially, there would enough money to pay this young lady some well-deserved attention came true. She is now grafitti free and looks divine. She reminds me of early Etruscan sculptures and some of Picasso’s work from the early 1920’s. Adoro que ela é corpulento e grossa e bonita Se você está no parque, stop by, take some pics and give her some love so you can bring this lovely lady some more attention. She deserves it.
Tips for Visiting Parque Eduardo VII
1. Sun Protection: A menos que você está andando sobre os lados do parque, you will need massive sun protection. This means high-grade sunscreen and a hat.
2. Comfortable Shoes: O parque está em uma das colinas de Lisboa. Wear comfortable shoes to make the climb more comfortable.
3. Explore: You will find this park boring if you just stay in the center of the park. Go off route and check out all its hidden gems.
Onde Comer no Parque Eduardo VII
You can certainly picnic at the park, mas se você não sente como arrastar sua cesta de piquenique para cima, there are plenty of options for you:
1. Pizza Kiosk: Se você é em direção ao fundo do parque, there is a kiosk that sells pizzas (€8), salads (€7), soups (€2) and toasts (€4). There are tables with umbrellas.
2. Food Trucks: At the top of the hill, right behind the 25th of April monument, by the amphitheater of Amalia Rodrigues, there are food trucks selling burgers, Japanese food, etc.. Não há cobertura aqui, so this is more your grab and go place.
3. Linha d’Agua: This is all the way at the top of the park at the Amalia Rodrigues garden. Ele tem uma boa lista de cocktails e vende lanches e doces. Great spot. This would be my pick.
4. Eleven: Você não pode simplesmente entrar nesse conjunta. Ele tem uma estrela Michelin, so if you want to go here, make reservations. I didn’t go during my first trip, mas finalmente eu tenho que visitar em 2016. Eles têm uma grande almoço no € 35. The meal did not disappoint.
5. Praia No Parque: has replaced the old Restaurante Botequim Do Rei. I haven’t made it there yet, but look forward to trying it out.
6. El Corte Ingles: não tecnicamente in o Parque, mas cerca de uma quadra. The supermarket downstairs has tons of places to eat and the upstairs area now has a gourmet food court showcasing some of Portugal’s best chefs (who all happen to be male – but don’t get me started there).