Some places are just magical and this is one of them. Overlooking the Atlantic and the city of Funchal in the Islands of Portugal, the Monte Palace and its Tropical Garden are a must-see. This is partly thanks to the original visionary of this little piece of paradise, the 18th century English Consul Charles Murray, who bought property up the hill in Funchal, which he called Quinta do Praza (The Pleasure Estate). At the end of the 19th century it was acquired by Alfredo Guilherme Rodrigues who built a house inspired by palaces he’d seen along the Rhine River.
This house became the Monte Palace Hotel and until Rodrigues’ death in the mid-20th century it was a favorite of international guests who came for the ambiance and the views. In 1987 another wealthy man bought Monte Palace, the Madeira-born self-made millionaire Joe Berardo. He donated the property to his foundation and then set about creating an incredible garden aimed at showcasing plants of the world and relocating 1000 year old olive trees threatened by the flooding of Alqueva Dam.
Photo courtesy of Glen Bowman via Flickr.