Most Beautiful Gardens in Europe
From manicured French gardens to elegant palace grounds, Europe is home to some of the world’s most beautiful green spaces. These picture-perfect gardens supply equal doses of history and tranquility (as well as the ideal chance to unwind after days of busy sightseeing). From Spain to Italy and Germany to England, here are six highlights to seek out.
Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands
When you think of those classic Dutch vistas of tulips and windmills, it’s likely Keukenhof Gardens that you’re envisioning. Located roughly 25 miles (40 kilometers) outside Amsterdam, this landmark is among Europe’s largest flower gardens. Upwards of 7 million bulbs—which comprise more than 800 different tulip varieties—are planted here each year and, come springtime, emerge in a riot of color. While only open from March to May, Keukenhof still welcomes over a million visitors each year.
Generalife Gardens, Spain
Although it’s close to the famous palace of Alhambra, Granada’s centuries-old Generalife Palace stands on its own—thanks in part to its beautiful gardens. The UNESCO-listed attraction boasts some of the most impeccably preserved Moorish gardens in Spain, which feature sculpted hedgerows, palm trees, reflecting pools, and vibrant flowers. Follow in the footsteps of sultans while you stroll through palace courtyards and enjoy the garden’s tranquility.
Gardens of Versailles, France
The Palace of Versailles may be among the largest and most opulent of its kind, but it’s hard to compete with the enormity and splendor of Versailles’ companion gardens. First commissioned by Louis XIV and built alongside the palace, the gardens took more than four decades to complete. Sprawling across almost 2,000 acres (800 hectares), they were designed according to the classic French Garden style and feature numerous fountains, perfectly manicured lawns, an orangery, and more.
Kensington Gardens, England
One of London’s eight Royal Parks, Kensington Gardens was once a private garden attached to Kensington Palace, where members of the British royal family still reside today. In addition to its tree-lined avenues and swan-filled pond, Kensington Gardens features a number of other highlights, including the Italian Gardens and their many fountains, the gilded beauty of the Albert Memorial, and the White Garden (a memorial to Princess Diana).
Boboli Gardens, Italy
Located directly behind Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens were established by the famed Medici family during the Italian Renaissance and remain one of Florence’s prettiest oases. In addition to their verdant beauty, the gardens also house a number of sculptures and fountains, some of which date back to the 16th century.
Nymphenburg Palace Gardens, Germany
Built in the 17th century as a royal summer retreat, Munich’s Nymphenburg Palace is famous for its elegant baroque gardens. The many water features and floral parterres make the Nymphenburg Palace Gardens an ideal candidate for languorous strolling. Be sure to step into the Amalienburg hunting lodge, famed for its fantastically ornamental interior.
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