Main photo: Marcelo Martins
Santos is home to the largest beach-front gardens in the world, as registered in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2002. Still the record holder, the gardens, which frame the seven kilometers of beaches, are one of the city’s main tourist attractions and stretch for 5.335km, varying in width between 45m and 50m, with a total area of 218,800m2 .
They are also an open-air art gallery, housing no fewer than 38 monuments and sculptures, highlighting characters from the Santos, national and international scenarios.
Plants and flowers
The beach gardens offer a variety of tonalities, textures and aromas in the 1,300 plant and flower beds and plant pots, displaying more than 70 ornamental species. Among these are peace lilies, canna lilies, dragon trees, golden dew-drops, sword ferns, white and yellow daisies, white swamp lilies and coleus.
These species are perennials, more resistant to the region’s damp, salty windy climatic conditions. There are also 1,800 trees of varying sizes), such as palms, sago palms and beach almonds.
This rich flora attracts several bird species, some endemic, which nest and live there, and others that use the garden to feed or as a resting place during their flights, including those to other continents.
Photo: Anderson Bianchi
A veritable open-air art gallery, the gardens boast 39 monuments, among which are statues, busts, commemorative plaques and sculptures, which depict characters and important pages in the history of the city, Brazil and the world.
From José Menino, the neighborhood that marks the boundary with São Vicente, to Ponta da Praia, visitors can learn about such important historical figures as Saturnino de Brito, a pioneer in Brazilian sanitation engineering; Alberto Santos Dumont, father of aviation; Jesuit priest José de Anchieta and Christopher Columbus.
Other sculptural works represent emblematic moments in local history or local characteristics, for example the monuments commemorating 90 and 100 years of Japanese immigration, The Immigrants, The Santos Swimming Athlete, João Octávio dos Santos and the Punctured Tyre.
Photo: Tadeu Nascimento
The proposal to create a beach garden was raised in 1914, the result of an urban planning study developed by local engineer, Saturnino de Brito. However, the project only became viable in 1936 and the first stretches were ready three years later, which put an end to the attempt at property speculation along the shoreline.
Between 1949 and 1959, the garden acquired fountains, lifeguard posts and the Municipal Aquarium. From the 1970s to the 1990s, the design was geometric. In 2003, with the inauguration of the cycle lane, it regained its curvilinear form.
Photo: Tadeu Nascimento