The Ultramar Garden

This large and gorgeous garden, located between the Belem Palace and the Monastery of the Hieronymites, is also known as the Tropical Botanical Garden and was created for the systematic study of the flora brought back from the Portuguese colonies.

The garden is situated on land formerly part of the Belem Palace and its includes a lake which was dug to commemorate the visit of the Spanish King, Alfonso XIII. Access to the garden is through an avenue of very tall Palm trees (Washingtonia robusta) which serves as the main entrance. Gently winding paths weave through the grounds and the tropical shrubs in the shade of a dense canopy of trees which include various species of the Ficus genus, a collection of Cycadaceae and very tall Giant White Bird of Paradise tree (Stetlitzia nicolai).

An exotic doorway, a replica from the oldest pagoda in Macao, leads into the oriental garden devoted to the flora of Portugal’s former colonies in Asia (Macao and Timor). Also noteworthy are the hothouses, the various constructions from the 1940s and the upper terrace of the Palácio dos Condes de Calheta (Palace of the Counts of Calheta) where the classic broderie parterre of boxwood has been preserved among London Plane trees (Platanus x hispanica).