We’ve got a thing for botanical gardens when traveling. Whether you’re in a crowded city or in this case on a, green as it is, island like Madeira, a botanical garden always transports you into another world. An exotic world of serenity. We’d love to take you to the Monte Palace Jardim Tropical!
This botanical garden is something quite extraordinaire to say the least! For starters it’s located on the Funchal hillside, so the only easy way to get there is by cable car. The Monte Palace used to be one of the most luxurious hotels in Madeira in 1897. Today it’s still there in the garden, no longer in use, but as a reminder of it’s grander days. After the hotel owner passed away, the estate was bought by the entrepreneur José Manuel Rodrigues Berardo in 1987. A man with a passion for all things exotic, not only on the botanical front that is.
The colorful fellow collected plants from all decades, all over the world and brought them together in his garden with an abundance of oriental architectural elements, koi ponds, even Buddhas and an old Egyptian giant vase. All climaxing in a lake with water falls, swans, a turtle island and metal animal statues. Oh, and did I mention the kitschy tile-art telling the history of Portugal, the guinea fowls and peacocks running around trying to extort food from the visitors and the recently added golf carts driving tourists around the property? Told you it was extraordinaire! You’d think it would all end up being just a little too much, but that’s part of the charm of the Monte Palace Jardim Tropical.