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Blog 9 of the most beautiful gardens in Europe
Date: 12 March 2020

9 of the most beautiful gardens in Europe

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From vibrant tulips and delicate white snowdrops to ornate fountains and picture-perfect promenades, it’s safe to say Europe has some truly breathtaking green spaces to explore.

Whether you’re partial to taking a stroll through a manicured ‘petit jardin’ or soaking up the sweet fragrances of hundreds of roses, get your fix of greenery at one of these top nine most beautiful gardens in Europe.

Note: Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, opening hours and availability of gardens and activities could be affected. Remember to check current travel restrictions before booking travel.

1. Monet’s Garden, France

A lake with lili pads in Claude Monet’s Garden surronded by green vegetation and a small bridge
Let yourself be enchanted by the beauty of Claude Monet’s Garden. Photo: Shambhavipriyam – Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

If you’re an art lover (or even if you aren’t), Claude Monet’s Garden is a must-see. Based in Giverny, a short drive from Paris, the charming garden is split into two parts: a beautiful flower garden called Clos Normand, and a Japanese water garden that inspired his ‘Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies’ painting.

One of the most stunning green spaces in Europe, it’s well worth a visit.

Fly to Paris

2. Jardins du Château de Versailles, France

 A view from the top of Palace of Versailles gardens: a big circular fountain basin & hedges ordered in 1 line forming a path
The Gardens of Versailles are a real synergy of art, nature and bourgeoisie. Photo: Daniel Jolivet – Flickr / CC BY 2.0

While in France, you have to see another of the best gardens in Europe: the Gardens of Versailles.

Attached to the UNESCO-listed Palace of Versailles, the gardens are huge. There’s 300 hectares of forest, two classic French-style gardens – the ‘Petit Parc’ and the ‘Trianon’ – over 350 statues, 55 water features, 600 fountains and 35 km of canals. Not to mention the spectacular, symmetrical mazes of greenery you would expect to see from a perfectly manicured French garden.

The gardens of Versailles go back all the way to 1661 when Louis XIV entrusted André Le Nôtre with the creation and renovation of the palace’s gardens, which he thought just as important as the palace itself. Work on the gardens was started at the same time as the work on the palace and lasted for around 40 years.

Enjoy the palace and gardens with this Versailles Palace & Gardens Full Access Ticket. When you book through GetYourGuide, you earn CashPoints too!

3. Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden, Norway

Violet flowers and stones in the Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden with the mountain in the background
Tromsø Botanical Garden has plants from all over the world including some on the brink of extinction. Photo: Harald Groven – Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

The next entry on our list of must-see gardens in Europe is an unusual one, and comes from Tromsø – a gorgeous city north of the Arctic Circle in Norway.

You might think of Tromsø as a chilly place, but in the summer, its Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden bursts into life. Packed with colourful plants from the coldest places on Earth, highlights include Arctic poppies, Siberian lilies and the Wilander Buttercup: a fragile yellow blossom that’s almost extinct due to climate change.

If you’re here in late June, look out for the magnificent Tibetan blue poppy, which stands at over three feet tall.

Tip: Tromsø is a great place to catch the Midnight Sun from late May to late July, where the skies are warm with colour 24-hours a day. If you’re planning a trip there, check out our tips on the best things to do in Tromsø.

Fly to Tromsø

4. Alhambra Palace and Gardens, Spain

Long fountain basin surrounded by  bushes and roses and green arch in the Generalife Gardens of the Alhambra
The Generalife Gardens at Spain’s Alhambra are a real heaven on Earth

The UNESCO-listed Alhambra in Granada is made up of a complex of palaces, a fortress, and the Generalife Palace and Gardens. A masterpiece of Islamic architecture, it’s one of the world’s top tourist attractions. And deservedly so – the whole area is breathtaking.

The Generalife Gardens are a must. Packed with vibrant, perfumed blooms, fragrant orange trees, decorative fountains and secluded courtyards, a walk around them is a sensory treat.

Don’t miss the Patio de la Acequia, a long pool framed by flowerbeds, fountains, colonnades and pavilions, and take a stroll down the promenade of the cypress trees.

Tip: Book this three-hour Alhambra Ticket and Guided Tour with Nasrid Palaces. It’s a GetYourGuide original, which means not only will you earn CashPoints, but you can also reschedule the tour if you’re late or your plans change.

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5. Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands

Pink, yellow and white tulips in Keukenhof Gardens
Keukenhof Gardens, a magnificent rainbow of flowers. Photo: Balou46 – Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Tulips, the national flower of the Netherlands, are celebrated in style at Keukenhof, the world’s largest flower gardens.

One of the most impressive and colourful gardens in Europe, a whopping seven million bulbs are planted each year, including 800 varieties of Dutch tulips. It’s a glorious sight, especially with Dutch windmills as a backdrop. Catch the tulips in bloom between mid-March and mid-May.

Visiting Amsterdam for a few days? Find out what to do with these 3 plans for a weekend trip to Amsterdam.

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6. Petřín Gardens, Czech Republic

A view from the top of Petřín Hill, the castle, Vitava river and houses
The views from the Petřín funicular offer incredible views of Prague

Petřín Gardens are perched on top of Prague’s Petřín Hill. The funicular ride to reach them offers fabulous sweeping views of the city and castle.  

At the top, you’ll find fragrant rose and lavender gardens, as well as the gorgeous Seminary Garden, with 2,100 fruit trees.

Got kids in tow? Let them loose in the mirror maze. There’s hours of fun to be had!

Tip: Take in the gardens and Petřín Tower (the best viewing point in Prague) in style on this Prague segway tour.

Fly to Prague

7. Kew Gardens, London

Red flower beds, benches with people and the glass building of the palm house in the background in Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens offers a green oasis in London’s bustling city centre. Photo: Daniel Case – Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

The UNESCO-listed Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is home to the world’s largest and most diverse collection of plants. You can easily spend a day marvelling at the tropical greenery in the palm house, taking in the view from the treetop walkway, and admiring the Hive – an incredible immersive installation, inspired by a beehive.

As far as gardens in Europe go, this is a must-see.

Tip: If you’re in London at Christmas, be sure to catch Christmas at Kew, a magical light and audio trail around the grounds. Book tickets well in advance as they sell out quickly!

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8. Mainau Island, Germany

A vast field of multiple red and yellow flowers on Mainau Island
Visit Mainau Island’s Sping Avenue in late April for a real burst of colour

If you’re anywhere near Lake Constance during spring or summer, hop across to Mainau Island. Known affectionately as ‘flower island,’ the focal point of this popular day trip spot is the sumptuous baroque palace and luxurious Italian-style gardens, which are laid out over 10 terraces.

Make a beeline for the Italian rose garden with pyramids of over 1,000 different kinds of roses. It’s unbelievably beautiful.

If you’re lucky enough to be on Mainau during April, make sure you head to Spring Avenue where you’ll witness a wash of colour in the form of thousands of narcissi, hyacinths and tulips against a backdrop of the deep blue lake and the snowy Alpine peaks.

For the little ones, there’s Germany’s second largest butterfly house to discover, and Mainau Kinderland, which has six separate playground areas, a petting zoo, pony riding, and a wet play area called Water World.

Fly to Munich, rent a car, and drive for around three hours.

9. Gordon Castle Walled Garden, Scotland

Aerial view of Gordon Castle walled garden
This one is a great pit-stop if you’re visiting Scotland. Photo © Gordon Castle

One of the largest and oldest walled kitchen gardens in Britain, there’s something for everyone at Gordon Castle Walled Garden.

For avid gardeners, there are gorgeous floral displays, a perfume garden and rare plants. For foodies, there’s a fruit garden, quince meadow and vegetable garden. For children, there’s a maze to get lost in.

The produce grown in the garden is used in the café and shop. If you’re not driving, we recommend you try the botanical gin.

If you’re visiting Scotland, this place makes a lovely pit-stop during the summer months.

Fly to Edinburgh, rent a car, and drive for around 3.5 hours.

Go green

Long fountain basin surronded by bushes and trees forming a tunel
Take a stroll through the green spaces of the Alhambra. Photo: Roberto Chamoso G – Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 ES

Whether you’re looking for a romantic picnic spot, a maze for the kids to run around in, or a scenic spot to sunbathe, these top beautiful gardens in Europe have got you covered.

Remember, Reward members earn CashPoints on flights, tours, car hire and loads of other travel-related services. Sign up and start reaping the rewards today!

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