Monte Palace Tropical Garden

194 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

5/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Date of travel

October, 2018

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Adult family

Reasons for trip

During our stay in Madeira we booked a tour with out TUI rep to Monte Palace Tropical Gardens high above Fundcal city with stunning views of the azure Atlantic Ocean. The sub-tropical climate makes it perfect for exotic plants and flowers. As we strolled around the landscaped gardens our guide recounted the story of Monte Palace. There was a magnificent set of panels made up of Hispano-Moorish tiles from the 15th century onwards telling the history of Portugal and Madeira island itself. I think the information presented on your first day of exploring gives a wonderful insight of a country. We also discovered that for centuries the island was completely uninhabited and the only indigenous animals were small harmless lizards. Madeira was first settled in 1429, but because of the clearing of lands for habitation many endemic forest shrubs became rare. These gardens contain many of these alongside specimens from all over the world. One of the most beautiful of these original tree species is the Dragon Tree with its splendid red blooms. There was also a lovely display and range of orchids The whole area of the gardens is classified as a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site.

As well as plants the owners of the land imported fauna such peacocks, chickens, swans, ducks, heron and fish. In order for these species to flourish no stagnant water is allowed and a special filtering system purifies the water without the need of chemicals. Koi fish with their brilliant colours live on lettuce, prawns plus wholemeal bread and lay their eggs on cedar-wood branches. (Useful information for those of you who have a garden pond!)

We were also taken around the museum containing over 1000 Zimbabwean sculptures and a fine mineral collection with precious gems from around the world. The owner Jose Berado travelled to the Far East and was fascinated with oriental gardens and created his own with pagodas and waterfalls.This was an attempt to recreate the culture of Buddhism with its respect for nature. There is marble, bronze and bamboo sculptures representing good luck, fertility and peace. Throughout the gardens there is an impressive collection of artworks from various parts of the world some dating back as far as the 2nd century. There are characteristic Portuguese stone arches, doorways, windows including two rare Manueline pieces daing back to 1495.

The whole place possesses a feeling of serenity with that wonderful combination of nature, culture and art. I would recommend this visit if you are staying in Madeirs.

Therese.Irving

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