Bacalhôa Buddha Eden: Why You Need To Visit This Garden

Estimated read time 10 min read

Bacalhôa Buddha Eden is a Portugal must-see. Add it to your to-do list as a possible day trip from Lisbon or while road-tripping across Portugal. While it does house the largest collection of Buddhist statues in Europe, it is meant to be a garden of peace and meditation with all welcome. 

The Bacalhôa Buddha Garden is a beautiful respite of calm and tranquility with a rolling backdrop of hills and greenery. The collection of statues stretch out over 35 hectares (86 acres) of carefully manicured gardens.  If you would enjoy a few hours of mindful relaxation surrounded by art and nature, then this is the place to go.

Not only will you be surrounded by nature but an immense art collection as Bacalhôa  Wines of Portugal brings you a combination of wine and art.  The garden was created in reaction to the destruction of the Buddhas of Banyan, a great loss of cultural masterpieces from the late Grandhara period. It sits on one of the Bacalhôa  wine estates as the owner, Comendador Jose (Joe) Berardo, a businessman and investor is also an avid art collector.  

This garden started in 2001 and continues to grow. I even noticed (with my prying eyes) an entire flock of giraffes waiting to be added to the gardens.  I promise you will be transported across continents within this garden.

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1. Entrance to the Gardens and the Tourist Train

You’ll enter and pay through the winery and continue into the gardens down a beautiful ramp by the restaurant. The grand entry gate has Pagoda styling and sets the tone for the journey into these spectacular gardens.

This is also where you can catch the main train stop and begin your exploration on the tourist train.  It isn’t a bad idea to include this when you purchase because the gardens are very large, this way you’ll definitely get to see more of it than on foot without getting too tired.  

The train will take you past the vineyard and the 13 Buddhas of the Dead as you circle Pagoda Lake.  Then, you will pass the Staircase of the Golden Buddhas and the Xian Terracotta Warriors before winding through the upper hills past the Giant Buddha and the Pagoda Towers. 

You can get off at 2 additional stops around the gardens including the central stop by the cafe and restrooms.  It also provides great coverage for sudden rains that appear and disappear just as quickly.

view of pagoda lake

2. Staircase of the Golden Buddhas

It is estimated that 6,000 tons of marble and granite were used to create these works of art.  The central staircase is adorned with Golden Buddhas welcoming you into the garden.  As you climb the staircase, a different vantage point of the scenery around you reveals itself.  The large buddha lying at the top is not the end as an even taller Giant Buddha rises at the end of the next walkway. All set across from the central lake (Pagoda Lake) where Koi fish reside and dragons rise from the water.

While in this area, be sure to head through the Lakes of Tranquility to the Miradouro Do Fogo (Fireplace View Point) for a majestic view of the gardens and beyond.

If you cross the Pagoda Lake (great spot for pictures), you can enjoy the views near the Lake Walk Fountain as well.  

Visiting the Bacalhao Buddha Garden is a unique experience and unlike many others.

3. Xian Terracotta Warriors

Styled similar to China’s ancient terracotta warriors, an army of Blue soldiers guard the gardens.

There are 2 special areas where you will see the massive Blue TerraCotta army.  The first is in the hills around Pagoda lake, nestled under the cork trees keeping a careful watch over the land.  The second is in a low field ready to surprise all who cross their bridge.

4. Modern and Contemporary Sculpture Art in the Garden

When you are in the Asian gardens, you can clearly see across the lake and will start to notice a theme of modern and contemporary art towering over the hills as well.  When you make your way across one of the bridges, there’s also an amphitheater carved out of the landscaping beneath some of the most breathtaking sculptures.  

The row behind it feels like a walk in Tuscany with the towering Italian Cypress trees lining the view.

5. African Sculpture Garden

Just when you think you have seen all that the Bacalhao Buddha Garden has to give, you wind uphill behind the modern and contemporary art to a welcoming African paradise filled with life size people and giants, as well as many of the animals found on the African continent.  

If Wakanda was an outdoor art gallery, you just entered it.  The wooden boardwalk is a maze and treasure trove of sculptures everywhere you turn with bamboo and palm trees lining this stimulating upward adventure.  This area is a do not miss part that is worthy of the walk, just be careful as the uphill boardwalk can be slippery when wet.  Across from the boardwalk are rows and rows of elevated steps lined with an entire village of artworks.  

As you reach the top, you come to a winding path covered in shade from the tall bamboo trees with more to find hidden along the way (the Bamboo Maze).   

Some of the artwork resembles the Shona sculptures from Zimbabwe ( the modern movement of stone carved sculptures created in Zimbabwe).

6. How to Get to Buddha Eden Garden

The Bacalhao Buddha Garden is a stunning place that is definitely worth a visit if you are in Portugal.  Put it on the MUST-DO list for any traveler to Portugal. Situated in the municipality of Bombarral, about an hour north of Lisbon, the garden is a peaceful oasis surrounded by rolling hills in the distance. Visitors can stroll through the gardens, meditate by the pond, enjoy the incredible views, taste Portuguese pastries, sample delicious wines, and have a good cup of coffee or tea.

Driving to Bacalhôa Buddha Eden: 

Quinta dos Loridos, 2540-420, Portugal

  • Take exit 12 of the A8 (Carvalhal / Delgada)
  • Turn left at the exit (For those coming from North or South)
  • Take the second exit from the roundabout
  • Follow the indications of the Buddha Eden tablets/signs
  • Bacalhôa Buddha Eden is about 3 km from the A8 exit.

Prefer to book a tour?

You can book a guided private tour with pickup from your hotel in Lisbon to take you to Bacalhôa Buddha Eden and Óbidos (for its beautiful medieval architecture) starting at $382.11 for a group of up to 6 people. 

Bacalhôa Buddha Eden Hours

  • January/February/March/April/October/November/December: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm (last entry at 5:30 pm);
  • May/June/July/August/September: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm (last entry at 6:30 pm);
  • Garden, shop, restaurant and snack bar open every day. (Closed January 1st and December 25th)

There are no guided tours provided inside the park, it is a self-guided experience.  Reservation is not necessary.

Bacalhôa Buddha Eden - side buddha closeup

Bacalhôa Buddha Eden Admission

  • Garden Entry  – 6
  • Train Ride – 6
  • Children up to age 12 can enter the garden for free.  Ages 3 and under can ride the train for free.
  • Credit cards accepted. (Visa & Mastercard)

7. Buddha Eden Garden Dining and Shopping

There are 2 places to eat inside the gardens so it shouldn’t surprise you that picnics are not allowed.  There is a buffet restaurant by the entrance and a snack bar in the center by Pagoda Lake.

You will exit the gardens through the winery store and if you like wine, this is a perfect time to grab a few bottles at great prices. 

While the whole family was surprised with the vast size and collection in the gardens, the children enjoyed the train ride and walking the landscape the most, from climbing the staircases to sliding a little on the wooden boardwalk.  I loved being able to stop and enjoy a treat while taking in the views and scenery all around us.  The blue wine cocktail served in the snack shop was as pretty as it was delicious.  It would probably be best to allow 2 – 3 hours in order to really explore and absorb it all.

Add This Portugal Garden to Your Itinerary

Let’s recap why this should be on your Portugal Itinerary so you don’t miss out on one of the most expansive examples of landscaped gardens offering peace and tranquility for all.  

  • Largest Asian garden in Europe.
  • Part of a winery with Bacalhôa wines available for purchase.
  • A variety of outdoor art throughout the gardens.
  • Rolling hills and meadows in the distance.
  • Low admission prices with kids entry for free.
  • Only an hour from Lisbon.
  • Close to other historical monuments and villages such as Óbidos, Fatima, and Nazare.
  • You’ll get to see lifesize blue terracotta soldiers.
  • It’ll be one of the most peaceful and relaxing parts of your trip.

Places to Stay near Bacalhôa Buddha Eden

Using the nearby towns of Óbidos, Fatima, or Nazare as a base, you can spend a few days exploring the historical attractions in the area.

In Óbidos, you can visit Castelo de Óbidos and even stay inside the castle or the Casa do Castelo.  Pousada Castelo Obidos is considered one of the 7 wonders of Portugal with its medieval features from the 9th century. You’ll also be in the heart of the Obidos village to easily walk and explore.

In Fatima, a unique experience in the cute and cozy Luz Houses provides a meditative environment with natural walking paths, yoga classes, free parking, and free breakfast.

In Nazare, you’ll find great budget and family friendly options with beach views including Ohai Nazare Outdoor Resort with prices as low as $35/night for caravan parking or apartments, bungalows, and even glamping tent options.  The resort features a kids club and a heated swimming pool made from recycled boat containers making up 6 pools and water park slides.

Photo Courtey of Ohai Nazare

What a way to Wander! – Bacalhôa Buddha Eden

If you’ve added this wonderful stop to your Portugal plans, be sure to comment below and tell us your thoughts!

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