Hidden Lisbon: Tapada das Necessidades

Portuguese royalty always had privileged access to Tapada das Necessidades, and while the park is open to all now, it remains one of Lisbon’s best-kept secrets.

It’s just a few steps away from Cemitério dos Prazeres, the last stop of tram 28, but only a handful of tourists make it to Tapada das Necessidades.

We love its quiet atmosphere, the cactus garden and most of all, the incredible views it boasts over the Tagus river.

With such a picturesque setting, it’s hard to imagine this hidden Lisbon park was once a hunting ground for the Royals.

Discover a hidden Lisbon gem: the Tapada das Necessidades park! Here's what you need to know.

Photo Credit: cityodes, Text Overlay: Devour Lisbon Food Tours

Finding the Entrance to the Park: North vs South

Whichever way you enter the Tapada, you’ll always spot a pink building.

At one end, an abandoned mill, at the other, a renovated palace, contrasting the North and the South entrance of the park.

Coming from the North side feels like sneaking into private property. There are no signs stopping you from entering at Rua do Borja, yet you proceed with caution.

As you head downhill, you’ll see the 25 de Abril bridge at a distance, perfectly framed by a row of cacti and exotic trees. Had it not been for the bridge, you would have never guessed you were in Lisbon.

Arriving from the South entry near Calçada das Necessidades has its perks too. There’s a guard by the entrance, so you don’t feel as intrusive. And, if you’re lucky, the peacocks might be there to welcome you in, along with some friendly stray cats.

If you're looking for a hidden Lisbon gem, visit Tapada das Necessidades, one of the few Lisbon parks where you can spot peacocks!
If you enter the park through the South side you might spot some peacocks! Photo credit: cityodes

The Pink Palace – Palácio das Necessidades

Beside the park, there’s a striking pink building known as Palácio das Necessidades.

For years, this palace was the country’s official royal residence. It was here that the last Portuguese king was staying when the monarchy ended in 1910.

Today the building is home to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which sadly means it’s not open to visitors.

Right next to Tapada das Necessidades is this pink palace known as Palácio das Necessidades, currently the home to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
While you can’t go inside Palácio das Necessidades you can still admire it from the outside. Photo credit: cityodes

The Picnics at Tapada das Necessidades

The picnics at Tapada das Necessidades are a long-standing tradition. The Royals loved it, and so did Édouard Manet who visited the park in 1859.

It’s said that this visit inspired him to create Le déjeuner sur l’herbe, which you can see today at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

Most recently, the Tapada became one of the locations for Out Jazz, a free music festival that occupies Lisbon’s parks every summer.

The last edition at Tapada was in 2016, but we’re hoping it returns soon, so others can discover this hidden Lisbon gem.

In the meantime, you’re free to wander on your own, plan a picnic with friends, or just say hi to the peacocks.

Looking for a place to do picnics in Lisbon? Tapada das Necessidades has the perfect setting for it!
The circular greenhouse is one of the most prominent buildings you’ll find inside Tapada das Necessidades. Photo credit: cityodes

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