As you might expect from a place called Buddha Eden, this garden in the Silver Coast area of Central Portugal contains several Buddha statues.
Portuguese art collector and businessman Joe Berardo was horrified when the Buddhas of Bamiyan were destroyed by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. He responded by buying a wide range of Buddha Statues, from the fat and happy variety to the scary-looking, and creating this 35-hectare sculpture garden just an hour away from Lisbon.
Not just Buddhas at Buddha Eden
His sculpture collections, especially those from Africa, are so vast that he has already filled other properties owned by the Berardo Foundation and the Bacalhôa wine group with them. I’ve seen some of the African statues and mineral collections in Monte Palace Gardens in Funchal, Madeira as well as the Aliança Underground Museum and Quinta da Bacalhôa.
The African sculptures in Buddha Eden are larger, taking full advantage of the outdoor setting. A wander along the path that winds between palm trees leads to encounters with stone storks, metal lions and other figures.
Swirly marble and other contemporary sculptures
One of the first sculpture areas is filled with silky smooth curvy statues in white and coloured marble. The swirls of the marble enhance the female form, a theme which is repeated over and over.
A gigantic metal sculpture dominates the centre of the park and you’ll find surprises throughout.
As a long-time fan of azulejos (painted ceramic tiles), I particularly liked this array of figures set into a wall around the amphitheatre.
History of wine at Quinta dos Loridos
The Buddha Eden gardens form part of Quinta dos Loridos, one of the wine estates within the Bacalhôa group. Two of my favourite things, ceramics and wine, kept me entertained on the way out of the gardens. The road alongside the vineyards is lined with ceramic panels depicting the history of wine production.
Speaking of wine, although you need to book ahead in order to visit the quinta for a proper wine tasting session, there is the opportunity to taste and buy wines before leaving. We were offered a glass of sangria in the wine shop and it’s pot luck as to what they’ll be promoting when you visit. I’d recommend grabbing a bottle of moscatel wine.
Practicalities for visiting Buddha Eden Garden
Its location just an hour north of Lisbon and within a 20-minute drive of the lovely town of Óbidos makes Buddha Eden an ideal place to break up a journey or for part of a day trip in the Silver Coast of Portugal.
See my 10-day central Portugal road trip itinerary for ideas about how to fit this in.
Open 9 am to 6 pm daily, except 1st January and 25th December.
Tickets cost €4 or €7 to include the tourist train that runs around the park.
While there are trees in the park, bear in mind that the area is vast and not much of it is in shade so wear a hat and sun cream if the weather demands.
There is a café and toilets in the centre of the park and a restaurant near the shop. Picnics are not allowed. Dogs must be kept on a lead.
If you decide to stay in this part of the Silver Coast to explore the area, check out my suggestions for where to stay in and around Óbidos.