Shady, pleasantly shabby park in the centre of town.
Henry Miller once described it as ‘the quintessence of a park’. Hardly true today – the National Gardens are a little rundown. But this is still a welcome burst of shade and greenery in the city centre. Built as the private pleasure grounds of Queen Amalia – whose former palace is now the Parliament building – the park was originally off limits to the hoi polloi. The Queen imported more than 500 species of plants, as well as peacocks, ducks, and turtles. The Mediterranean heat killed off the more exotic plants; but there’s still a small (and depressingly neglected) zoo. Pistachio vendors, portrait painters, and stray cats provide company and entertainment.