Looking for amazing places to relax and admire greenery, when you’re out on summer vacation or a city break in Europe? Here’s a Dreams & Design curated list of the most beautiful gardens of the Old Continent, which includes must-see botanical gems and historical landmarks in Italy, Spain, France, Denmark, Poland, Bulgaria and England. Visit them this summer or in the early autumn, before the weather becomes too cold and gloomy.
1. Jardin Botanique d’Èze
Perched on a cliff above the Mediterranean sea, the exotic garden of Èze is a not-to-be-missed tourist attraction on Côte d’Azur. The mountain top location offers stunning views over the coast and the historical architecture of Èze, which are totally worth a day trip from either Nice or Monaco. Recommended for all cactus and succulent lovers.
2. Jardin des Plantes
Paris is a city of art and culture, but it also offers special treats for nature lovers. The local botanical garden is among the oldest in Europe, established in 1635 as a medicinal herb garden for King Louis XIII. Today it’s one of the most idyllic spots in the French capital with four greenhouses containing rare exotic plants and a curated rose garden. In close proximity to the left-bank landmarks such as Panthéon.
3. Parc del Laberint d’Horta
Wondering what to see in Barcelona? Venture farther away from the tourist zones to discover one of the city’s hidden treasures. Named after a cypress hedge labyrinth from 1792, the park is located on a slope overlooking the Catalan capital. Its design combines elements of the neoclassical and romantic style with allusions to Greek mythology and ancient temples.
4. Kew Gardens
One of the most famous botanical gardens in the world, located in the southwest London, offers unique attractions such as a treetop walkaway perched 18 metres above the ground or the Victorian Palm House, one of the first buildings made of glass and iron. Overall, Kew Gardens boast over 30000 plant types, ranging from flowers to exotic trees, as well as some beautiful examples of modern architecture such as the curve-shaped Sackler Crossing.
5. The University of Warsaw Library Garden
Heading to Warsaw between May and October? It’s one of one the most leafy European capitals with quite a few parks and green spaces. This time of the year is perfect for visiting the rooftop botanical garden, one of the largest in Europe, to admire its lush vegetation, eco friendly solar panels and beautiful panorama over the Vistula River and the centre of Polish capital.
6. The Gardens of Villa Taranto
The botanical paradise in Verbania, on the shore of the scenic Lake Maggiore, enchants with dahlias, azaleas and giant water lilies floating in ornamental ponds. It was opened to the public in 1952 and since then it has become one of the major tourist attractions in the area. Worth visiting during a one day trip from Milan or as an alternative to the more popular Lake Como.
7. Villa d’Este in Tivoli
If you’re visiting Rome, don’t miss the chance to see the 16th century villa in Tivoli, a stunning example of the Italian Renaissance garden, listed as the Unesco World Heritage Site since 2001. The gardens are famous for their exquisite fountain system and allow visitors to experience the beauty of art and architecture united with natural landscape.
8. The Public Garden of Taormina
This park inspired by the 19th century Victorian gardens offers green refuge to those visiting the busy streets of Taormina. It was founded by an English aristocrat Lady Florence Trevelyan. The plants are spread on many levels connected with staircases, each level offering stunning views of the Sicilian coastline and the nearby Mount Etna.
9. Balchik Palace
The palace and surrounding garden once served as a summer residence of Queen Mary of Romania. Today, the Black Sea coastal town belongs to Bulgaria and is one of the most picturesque places in the region of Varna. The botanical garden features over 2000 plants, including giant cactuses, as well as the Ottoman style baths.
10. Copenhagen Botanical Garden
The University of Copenhagen botanical garden is a must-see tourist attraction in the centre of Danish capital. The area accommodates 27 glasshouses, including the oldest, 16 metre-high Palm House with its Instagrammable spriral stairs. In addition to over 13,000 species of plants on view, you can also visit recently opened Butterfly House, a part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark.
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