Parks and gardens in Europe are simply magical – here’s where you can see a riot of colours in bloom
From France to Italy, England to Netherlands, here are some of the most gorgeous gardens in Europe that are worth travelling to.
Claude Monet’s Garden, Giverny, France
There are two sections to impressionist painter Claude Monet’s garden. One is an entire flower garden in front the house, Clos Normand, while the other is a Japanese-inspired water garden. Monet and his family settled in Giverny in 1883 and the land where the flower garden rests. When Monet put the garden together, he mixed daisies and poppies with other rare flowers in different heights and volumes. You’ll find arches and a natural layout of these flowers because Monet let them grow freely.
On the other side is the Japanese-inspired water garden. Believe it or not, Monet’s neighbors believed that his flowers would poison the water. Monet avidly collected Japanese prints and that is how he was inspired to make the water garden that is present today. In this garden, you will find similar carnations and architectures that you can also find in Japan: wisteria, arched bridges, bamboo, and weeping willows. Together, these all create a realistic painting that will truly blow you away.
Giverny is located 80 km West from Paris, in Normandy.
This is the world’s largest flower garden and its name actually translates to “Kitchen Garden.” In English, it is known as the Garden of Europe. This garden was once a hunting ground during the 15th century and a great source of herbs. These herbs were usually used often by Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut’s Castle. That might explain why this garden is called “Kitchen Garden.”
The Keukenhof is only open for a short time, more specifically it opens in March and closes in late May. Over 7 million bulbs will bloom this spring, with a total of 800 varieties of tulips. There is a wonderful array of colors in this garden that are perfect for photos. You can definitely expand your photography here while also admiring the way this garden was designed!
Keukenhof is located between Amsterdam and The Hague. To save on public transport + entrance fee, consider the Combiticket.
Kew Gardens, London
Kew Gardens in London has so much to offer. Kew is London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage site, with plenty of areas in the garden to visit.
At the Kew’s arboretum, you’ll get to see a collection of over 14,000 trees that are rare and ancient. The landscape changes through the year and provides different ways to make the trees shine. Many of the trees here are arranged in groups according to genera, so trees that are related to each other are placed together for comparison, as well as making research easier.
One of the houses located in Kew Gardens is the Minka House. The bamboo garden located here and is actually the largest bamboo collection in the UK and surrounds the traditional Japanese farmhouse. The bamboo garden was created in 1891 and originally contained 40 species of bamboo, mainly from Japan. Today, there are now approximately 1,200 bamboo species from China, Japan, the Himalayas, and America. Within the bamboo garden is the Minka House. Minka means ‘houses of the people.’ It originally stood in Okazaki City in central Japan. The Yonezu family resided in this house after their main house was destroyed in 1945. After the last family member passed away, the house was donated to Kew by the Japan Minka reuse and Recycle Association.
Also, don’t miss the Princess of Wales Conservatory. You can see plants here from 10 different climate zones. There are dry tropics, which represents the warmer climates of the world. You can find agave, aloe, and cacti here. The wet tropics is the main zone in the northern end and represents ecosystems such as rainforests and mangrove swamps. The carnivorous plants, such as Venus flytraps, get two devoted zones. Ferns and Orchids are also located here. Ferns need tropical and temperate climates so you will find a mix of these two climates in this area. As for Orchids, it’s a hot steamy zone. There is a cooler zone for orchid species with their roots in the earth of tropical mountain regions.
Rose Garden, Spain
During the months of May and June, elegant roses bloom in this magnificent garden inside Western Park in Madrid. Designed in 1955 by Ramon Ortiz, Madrid City Council’s head gardener, the garden occupies a surface area of 32,000 sq meters. This garden won the “Garden Excellence Award” in 2006 and is recognized as one of the exceptional rose gardens worldwide.
Every year during the month of May, there is a celebration called the International Rose Villa New Madrid. Here a contest is held to select the most beautiful rose. It is recommended to come here during the Spring and Summer months since this is when the roses are in their prime.
Bodnant Garden, Wales
At the Bodnant Garden in its gorgeous hillside setting, there are intimate areas, grand terraces, and a place for everyone to enjoy. The garden was established in 1874 by a scientist, politician, and businessman, Henry Pochin. Bodnant Garden has been cared for by the National Trust since 1949 and is home to the earliest laburnum arch built in 1880, and also unique hybrids which were born and bred here from the 1920s.
This garden is home to all sorts of plants: Blue Poppy, Fire Bush, Magnolia, Embothrium, Eucryphia, and more! Bodnant Garden offers different plants for all seasons, but in Spring is when it is at its prime. During the springtime, you can witness daffodils, camellias, roses, and even lily ponds. No matter what time of the year you come to visit, there’s always something interesting to see!
Bodnant Garden is nestled in the Snowdonia foothills in North Wales, UK
Boboli Gardens, Italy
The Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy is like an ‘open-air museum.’ Hundreds of years were put into these gardens by Santa Felicita in the Oltarno by the Borgolo family, which is the name that Boboli is thought to derive from. There is more to the garden than just the lovely flowers. There is an ‘artichoke’ fountain which is crowned a bronze lily. From here there leads a pathway that has a series of terraces and tunnels formed by the trees. This pathway makes it seem like you’re walking in the garden of Eden.
In addition to all the fountains and pathways, what makes the Boboli Gardens so mystical is the stunning statues that are present within these areas. See highlights like the Amphitheatre, the “Viottolone”, the Garden of the Cavaliere, the Koffeehouse and the Grotta Grande. As you make your way through these gardens and fountains, you are greeted with a story of statues that make your venture all worthwhile.
Garden of Versailles, France
Creating the Garden of Versailles was a task. Large amounts of soil were used to shift level to the ground. Thousands of men took part in this immense project to bring thousands of trees in from different regions of France. To maintain the design, the garden had to be replanted once about every 100 years.
The Garden of Versailles is perhaps one of the most luxurious gardens in the world. There is The Orangery which is where Louis XIV gathered all the orange trees from the royal houses and from other regions of Europe. In addition, there are the parterres and paths. The Water parterre has two large rectangular pools which reflect the sun’s rays and light up the outside wall of The House of Mirrors. The North, South, and Latona’s Parterre are garden-based and each has its own unique design. It is a garden that will make you feel luxurious.
Isola Bella, Italy
This garden was made for a specific person. In 1632, Carlo III Borromeo decided to have a place built for his wife, Isabella d’Adda. What a gentleman! Bella is a beautiful villa that is English style. The garden contains ten overlapping terraces that are in the shape of a cut-off pyramid. There are statues, fountains, rare shrubs, exotic plants, and flowers to create the ambiance of this beautiful garden. Many people make sure that this garden is taken care of and are very intricate in their detail. What adds to the beauty of this garden is that it is actually on an island – (the island appears as a galleon floating on the blue waters of Lago Maggiore), so it makes it feel even more luxurious!
Chateau de Laeken Garden, Brussels
This garden is open from April 19 till May 10 in the Castle of Laeken. It is a wonderful opportunity to visit this beautiful garden, but do keep in mind that it is a limited time every year! Here lies the residence of the King of Belgium and his family. The plant collection that fills these greenhouses are based on the original collection that was planted in the age of King Leopold II and some of the original plants are still the original! There are plenty of rare carnations that fill this garden and it is an opportunity that you cannot miss when you think about the most beautiful gardens in Europe.
Spring is almost here, enjoy the new season by visiting these wonderful gardens in Europe!