Top Ten Gardens to Visit in Europe
If your 2019 travel plans have you heading across the pond, then we’re green with envy! Europe is a fantastic place to travel, and it’s especially rewarding for garden lovers. From England to Italy, every country in Europe offers diverse, unique gardens that are truly worthy of your time and attention.
Here’s a list of our ten favorites!
- Kew Gardens
- Kylemore Abbey
- Monserrate Palace
- Jardin des Plantes
- Monet Garden
- Peterhof Palace Gardens
- Alexandrovsky Garden
- Gardens of Augustus
- Boboli Gardens
1. Kew Gardens
Source: Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is London’s premier botanical gardens, and it’s absolutely breathtaking. Showcasing the largest (30,000+ types!) and most diverse collection of plants in the world, Kew Gardens was founded in 1840. The World Heritage site is one of Londontown’s top tourist attractions, welcoming more than 1 million visitors per year!
Even if you’re only in London for a one-day layover, Kew Gardens is well worth your time. Full of themed plant houses, ornamental buildings, a palace, plant collections, galleries and museums, you likely won’t be able to see everything in just one afternoon. Like visiting the Louvre, you’ll get more out of taking your time and trying not to do too much.
2. Kylemore Abbey
Source: Kylemore Abbey
If you’re headed to Ireland, carve out a day to visit Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden. Located in Galway, the grounds opened nearly 100 years ago, in 1920. One of Ireland’s top tourist sites, the castle and its grounds are some of Northern Europe’s most enchanting attractions.
Once you’ve arrived, enjoy an old-fashioned nature walk and have a peek into the Abbey’s Cathedral!
3. Monserrate Palace
Source: Portugal Virtual
Located in Sintra, Portugal, Monserrate Palace is a palatial villa on the outrageously beautiful Portuguese Riviera. The romantic, Moorish-influenced estate and property is a World Heritage Cultural Landscape.
The restoration of the Park of Monserrate has garnered much attention, and is definitely worth a visit. There, you’ll enjoy a lake, lush and unique foliage and greenery and breathtaking landscapes. Plants from all over the world are featured, like regional strawberries, Mexican agaves and Japanese bamboos.
4. Jardin des Plantes
Source: Jardin des Plantes
Pastries and posh clothing aren’t the only reasons to travel to Paris! We also go there for the plants! Next time you’re in the City of Lights, consider spending a sunny afternoon outdoors at the Jardin des Plantes.
Located centrally in the 5th arrondissement, this French garden also includes libraries, archives and a zoo! And there’s even a maze!
5. Monet Garden
Source: Giverny Monet's Garden
Once you’ve seen the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, head to the Foundation Claude Monet in the Parisian suburb of Giverny. It’s only an hour drive, and it is worth the trip. The gorgeous grounds feature some of the pastoral, romantic landscapes depicted in Monet’s famous paintings.
But impressionists fans, beware. This inspiring, French countryside garden is closed for the winter. You’ll have to book a trip in the spring, summer or fall to see it.
6. Peterhof Palace Gardens
Saint Petersburg, Russia’s Peterhof Palace is actually several palaces and gardens on one massive parcel of land. While less famous than France’s Versailles, the estate was built in a bit of a Space Race with Louis XIV. Tourists call the Palace “The Russian Versailles”, and it is definitely worth a visit.
The Lower and Upper gardens are both breathtaking but quite different. The Lower Gardens have fountains and pools while the Upper Gardens are defined by strictly kept, geometric plants. Explore them both to get a feel for two completely different styles of greenery.
7. Alexandrovsky Garden
Another St. Petersburg gem, find the time to take in the Alexandrovsky Garden, also known as the Alexander Garden. The public, urban space is a marvel, and is comprised of three distinct garden areas. The Upper Garden includes the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and is loaded history.
While more of a park than a garden, it’s one of the city’s best tourist attractions, even in the bitter cold. If you love Madrid’s El Retiro or London’s Hyde Park, you’ll definitely enjoy this urban space.
8. Gardens of Augustus
Source: Capri Shore Excursions
If you’re lucky enough to travel to Capri, one of the world’s most beautiful and glamorous beach towns, you mustn’t miss the Gardens of Augustus. This botanical garden features panoramic, oceanfront views and gorgeous blooms.
Take a break from the pasta and pizza and enjoy this spectacular garden!
9. Boboli Gardens
Source: Visit Florence
Also in Italy, Boboli Gardens is one of Florence’s top attractions. The formal Italian gardens feature more than just plants and flowers, though: the grounds are filled with unbelievably detailed, truly unique sculptures.
The Fountain of Neptune is a must-see, but to us, nothing beats the fantastic view of Florence from the Gardens themselves.
If you’re in Spain, then clear an afternoon to spend at Generalife in Andalusia. And don’t let the humble, plain and simple architecture fool you--these gardens are breathtaking. Generalife is one of the oldest Moorish-inspired gardens you can visit, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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