Lush Japanese gardens, brilliant tropical flowers and scenic river bridges may be part of what draws travelers to this botanical destination, but what makes a trip to Monte Palace Tropical Garden unique is its extensive collection of historic tiles that decorate the landscape. These handmade artifacts have traveled from palaces, chapels, homes and churches across Portugal, and some date as far back as the 18th century. More than 150 of these ceramic tiles tell the story of Portuguese visitors in Japan, and include details on the trade relationships and cultural ties between the two countries that inspired portions of this garden.
A three-floor museum is also tucked within the garden grounds. It displays more than 1,000 sculptures from countries such as Zambia, as well as a rare collection of minerals from every corner of the world.
The gardens are open daily from 9:30am until 6pm. Hilly passages throughout the garden grounds make for scenic walks and breathtaking views. But those with limited mobility may find it difficult to get around.