Garden Tour – La Concepción Jardin Botanico, Malaga, Spain

La Concepción garden is situated approximately 20 mins from Malaga airport (on the Seville road). I must admit, I’m not usually a big fan of botanic gardens as most tend to be an endless collection of plants that have seen better days, with very little thought to the layout of the garden.

I was pleasantly surprised with La Concepción, though. They had definitely thought about the design layout first, then added the plants. As regular readers here will know, I’m a great believer in doing things that way round. For me, 60% of what makes a garden ‘work’ is down to the design layout and shapes used.

When you pass through the entrance gates, you’re greeted with what can only be described as a carefully controlled jungle! Enormous trees and shrubs tower over the pathways, creating lots of well needed shade. A refreshing water system runs through various parts of the terraces.

When you reach the mid section of terraces, there is a choice to walk higher or around the side. We chose the side route as it was so hot. As a result, we didn’t see the entire garden, saving it for a cooler time of year!

What we did see, however, was vastly different from the jungle we’d been enveloped in at the start of our tour. As the jungle vanished behind us, we found ourselves walking through arid areas with succulents and pines with spectacular views of the lower section of garden and the outskirts of Malaga.

A Garden on Many Different Levels

Eventually we wound our way down to pool at the bottom of the garden. At this point, I would have happily jumped in it but having seen a snake in the previous pool, decided against it!

Design Takeaways

Although the garden is enormous, there are still plenty of design details that work well in any sized garden. What stood out for me with this garden is the way they had a mix of enclosed and open areas. They worked with the natural landscape to make the most of the good views and blocked out the less attractive parts with very dense planting.

About La Concepción Garden

The garden has been open to the public since 1994 after being taken over by Malaga City Council in 1990. There are over 2,500 tropical and sub-tropical plant species. It was originally created in 1855 and then expanded by the Echevarria family, who acquired the estate in 1911.

It’s well worth a visit and is fairly easy to find as long as you follow the signs for La Concepción Jardin Botanico not ‘Cuidad Jardin’ (which is a housing estate). There’s also a lovely little cafe that serves wonderful homemade lunches.

Other Gardens to Visit – Suggestions Please!

I’ll be continuing with my garden tour as soon as it gets cooler. Do you have any suggestions for me? Can be anywhere in Spain or Portugal. Next on my list is the cliff-top gardens of La Mina in Ronda. I’ll report back if it’s worth a visit.

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About Rachel Mathews

Professional international garden designer for over 20 years. My mission is to de-mystify garden design and make it easy for people to successfully design their own garden - without needing to spend a fortune!


  1. iain kinrade says:

    A bit off your intended path, but come to Table Mountain, Cape Town , South Africa. Will blow your mind away.

    • Rachel Mathews says:

      Ooh I’d love to visit there. Back in the early days when I was a florist I used to dream of going there and see all the proteas growing. I will add it to my further afield list! Thanks for the suggestion Iain.

      • Bridget Ogle says:

        I hope you went to Cordoba with its lovely lovely gardens including the gardens at Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos and Palacio de Viano. I went to the Botanical gardens which I enjoyed at another level and at least I found the name of the shrub near the reservoir where we bathed at Andújar; )
        Granada is of course a must …

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