A badge reads “Museum of Vizcaya: What You Need to Know” with the subtitle “Miami, Florida.” The three photographs in the background are coloured yellow, green, and reddish-orange. There is a red, orange, and yellow fountain in the top left corner, a similar fountain in the top right corner, and a yellow architectural feature with greenery pictured below.
Why visit the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens?
If you’re anything like me (a budget traveller who’s seen a lot of quaint houses/estates/castles), you’re wondering if Biscay Museum and Gardens should be added to your Miami itinerary.
It’s like a hidden paradise. It’s also a good step into a different culture/country because it draws on many other places and styles.
A tall tree with moss slightly shadows the old building. In the foreground, there is a path leading to a yellow structure. There is a round door with a gate blocking the entrance on the right side. Across the road to the access to Biscay is the village there.
Timing of the museum?
Opening hours: Thursday to Monday from 9:30; last entrance at 16:30. Visitors can visit certain areas on the ground floor of the main house until 17:00. And gardens until 17:30. There are also various discounts and promotions that you can view.
Availability: They have a variety of accommodation options.
Notes: Vizcaya Village is another beautiful historic area that visitors can experience across the road. Vizcaya Manor is visible in the distance, but its flat, empty and tree-covered area is its main feature. The ground is stone and looks old. You have to climb stairs to get to this great covered area, but there is a covered structure with lots of art, and you can see the expanse of gardens from above.
Whenever you leave, you have to deal with others. Luckily it won’t be too bad if you go early, especially if you want to take pictures. I started indoors and just had to wait for a photo/walk twice to a specific location. Then I went out with expectations soaring, but it still wasn’t terrible. However, when I left a few hours later, three more professional photographers (what I saw), plus at least twice as many – I can’t imagine (well, I don’t want to) there would be a wait (or face), and that’s it. Even outside.
I went back inside before I left, and it wasn’t too busy, yet so you might want to start outside in the gardens when you first arrive – unfortunately, this is not the order the tour comes in, but it depends on your priority / there is a preference. The hole in the ground became something like the interior of a room with yellow walls and no ceiling. It is decorated with tons of greenery, trees peeking out from behind the back fence, grass in the centre and branches on the walls. An “excavated” garden that is easy to escape from.
Behind me is a small cave/alcove where many people take pictures. The 90-minute audio tour that I have mentioned several times is temporarily free for visitors upon arrival. It is available in English and Spanish and includes many attractions, from the main house to the gardens, bay and pool. I recommend this because you get backstory and context for things you see when you explore – it enriches the experience, not just seeing “cool stuff”.
Another positive is walking, taking pictures, and just looking around the room/area while chatting with the tour until you get on a one-person guided tour. I want to note: I did not take headphones with me, but no one had any problems because I had to play them to myself without sound. In any case, I would like to bring headphones with me for comfort, so keep that in mind. If a 90-minute tour isn’t of interest, Vizcaya offers a general sightseeing guide for $3 in English.
The ladder climbs up through the trees. Everywhere you can see reddish stones and intricate patterns that convey the atmosphere of an Italian garden. Two models also have a bust. Some furniture you can expect to see.
Can I do a photoshoot there?
Be aware that Vizcaya has strict photography regulations, so you will need a permit if you plan to bring a change of clothes or any of the above. I didn’t apply for permission despite my obvious camera as I didn’t get a tripod to photograph myself.
View of the Vizcaya estate from the top of the fountain. A fountain is framed on both sides by a stone in the centre. Close-up of one of the many fountains you will see.