10 of Europe’s Most Beautiful Gardens

From the iconic water lilies of Giverny in France to the fragrant flowers of the Generalife in Granada, discover ten of the most beautiful gardens in Europe.

Did you know that April 13th is International Plant Appreciation Day? It’s a day dedicated to plants and gardening, celebrating and promoting all the benefits they bring to our health – both physical and mental. For many travellers, connecting with nature is an essential part of any trip, even when exploring city life. It’s a moment to relax, recharge, snap some photos, and make memories.

Luckily for us, Europe is filled with wonderful gardens, whether they’re tucked away in bustling city centres, or just a quick ride away by public transport. Keep reading to discover ten of Europe’s most beautiful gardens – each one a true natural haven you won’t want to miss.

1. Gardens of Giverny, France

If you want to dive headfirst into the world of Monet’s paintings, the Gardens of Giverny are your golden ticket. This impressionist genius – and gardening enthusiast – designed it himself after moving from Paris in 1883. With exotic flowers, aquatic plants, and a Japanese-inspired bridge – it’s like stepping into a fairytale. Monet’s famous series of paintings, The Water Lilies, perfectly capture the garden’s atmosphere. And if you’re planning a Parisian getaway, there are plenty of tours with transport included, that’ll whisk you out of the French capital to this countryside retreat.

This is undoubtedly the most famous garden in the Netherlands. You’ve probably got a glimpse of those endless fields of tulips in pictures – well, they’re from this very spot. Keukenhof Garden is only open during the spring months where you’ll get to see an explosion of seven million tulips burst into bloom. But it’s not just tulips on display here. As you wander through the pavilions, you’ll admire a variety of plant species, sculptures, and artworks. To make the most of your visit, we’ve got you covered with some useful tips on Keukenhof.

3. Mainau Island Gardens, Germany

On Lake Constance in southwestern Germany, is where you’ll find Mainau Island, affectionately known as ‘flower island’ – and for good reason. The island is a large flower park, boasting well-maintained vegetation, teeming with thousands of colourful blooms and bustling insect life. Although there’s an admission fee to enter the island, the experience is priceless. Plus, it’s a perfect outing for the whole family, with scenic walking paths around the island promising fun for both adults and children.

4. Gardens of Castel Gandolfo, Italy

The Papal Villas of Castel Gandolfo, near Rome, have been the summer residence of popes since the 17th century – and their papal gardens are now open to the public. Take a stroll through the Barberini Garden, the Magnolia Garden, and the Belvedere Garden. And that’s not all. This architectural complex features a picturesque lake with the image of the Madonna, the Avenue of the Nymphs, a Roman amphitheatre, mysterious underground galleries, and much more.

Let’s keep the Italian vibes going and head over to historic Florence’s Boboli Gardens. Among lush greenery, you’ll find sculptures dating back to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries – it’s like an open-air museum. Snap some pictures of the famous Paris and Helen by Vincenzo de Rossi and the Venus by Giambologna. There’s also a theatre, fountains, and even some caves to explore. And, before you go, swing by the Palazzo Pitti, home to several museums.

6. Gardens of Versailles, France

Putting aside the jaw-dropping Palace of Versailles for a moment – let’s talk about its gardens. Imagine this: 800 hectares of parkland with lakes, sculptures, and fountains that’ll whisk you back to the glory days of Louis XIV. Water plays an important part in the garden, with its soothing sound accompanying your every step. Don’t miss the Orangery, home to over 1,500 trees, as well as the Grand Canal – a standout feature of this epic complex.

Considered the world’s richest botanical garden, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, southwest of London, is a gem that gives you the unique opportunity to explore over 50,000 plant species. Originally home to an exotic garden featuring a Chinese pagoda, these gardens were transformed in 1840, resulting in the remarkable site we see today. It’s a treasure trove of flora, boasting an herbarium, a library, a palm house, and a glasshouse showcasing tropical species, among other delights.

The Alcázar of Seville, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, is one of the world’s oldest palaces still in use. The gardens steal the show, blending Moorish elements with Renaissance and modern touches – they’re simply spectacular. Highlights include the Gallery of the Grotesque and the Pavilion of Charles V – Game of Thrones fans might recognise these historic grounds as the kingdom of Dorne.

9. Generalife Gardens, Spain

Among Europe’s most beautiful gardens, the Generalife gardens in Granada are an absolute must-visit. Situated outside the walls of the Alhambra, on the Cerro del Sol hill, they boast a distinctive Moorish style, characteristic of ancient Al-Andalus. Standout features include the Patio de la Acequia, the Escalera del Agua, and the Patio del Ciprés de la Sultana.

10. Villandry Gardens, France

If you’re visiting the Loire Valley to check out some castles, we recommend adding Villandry Castle to your itinerary – and its neo-Renaissance gardens. The gardens were commissioned by Spaniard Joaquín Carvallo, who purchased and restored the complex in 1906 – and it’s a nature extravaganza. Stroll through the Ornamental Garden, Love Garden, Kitchen Garden, Garden of Crosses, Water Garden, Sun Garden and Herb Garden. And if that’s not enough, there’s a maze, woods, neoclassical pavilion and the cute village of Villandry to explore too.

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