It seems as if every culture in the world holds gardens in high esteem. No matter what the type of foliage, gardens often symbolize life, beauty, and affluence. Maybe a visit to a garden doesn’t sound that exciting, but the beauties on this list will catch your eye, even if it’s for a short visit. And remember, it the immortal words of Joe Dirt: “Life’s A Garden, Dig it”.
The Palacio de Generalife – Granada, Spain
Originally, built during the reign of Muhammad III in the early 1300’s, Generalife is the oldest surviving Moorish garden. Cypress trees, cascading vines and rows of hedges beautifully spread across this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Keukenhof “The Garden of Europe” – Lisse, The Netherlands
Daffodils, bluebells & hyacinths are part of the 7 million bulbs that call this garden home. But let’s be honest, it’s the tulips that you come to see. Plan your trip accordingly, as the gardens are only open when the flowers are in bloom, typically mid-March to mid-May.
Desert Botanical Garden – Phoenix, Arizona, United States
This landmark is successfully disputing the notion that desert landscapes contain no beauty. This garden focuses on plants that have adapted to desert conditions and contains over 21,000 different types.
Gardens of Versailles – Versailles, France
A half hour train ride from Paris will take you to Versailles, where botany meets opulence. Over 200,000 trees, 210,00 flowers, and 50 fountains extend over 800 hectares of land extend through the Château de Versailles, making this the grandest of all French Gardens.
Powerscourt Estate Gardens – Enniskerry, Ireland
Several gardens make up the Powerscourt Estate. The Walled Gardens, Italian Gardens & Dolphin Pond are part of over 47 acres of viewable land on the estate. RADTIP: View the Japanese Garden from the top of Lord Londonderry’s stone seat.
Ryōan-ji – Kyoto, Japan
Known as the “Tempe of The Dragon At Peace”, the gardens are part of a school dedicated to Zen Buddhism. The highlight here is the “dry” rock garden, built in the late 1400’s.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden – Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa is home to some of the most diverse flora in all of the world. Kirstenbosch was created to celebrate and preserve the country’s natural beauty. Table Mountain looms nearby creating one of the best outdoor tour experiences in all of the world.
Summer Palace Gardens – Beijing, China
One of Beijing’s most popular tourist attractions, the gardens are part of the immaculate Summer Palace, which was initially built the 1100’s. Longevity Hill, located on Kunming Lake, are home to some of the most breathtaking views of the palace.
Shugakuin Rikyu Imperial Villa – Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto’s second garden on the list contains some of the most beautiful walking paths in the world. A true gardening masterpiece, the Imperial Villa was first created in the 1600’s and now contains three gardens supported by two allées.
Sissinghurst Castle Garden – Kent, England
How many gardens can claim they were built on the site of a prison & women’s land army site? Sissinghurst can, and is host to one of the finest maze gardens in all of Europe.
Monet’s Garden – Giverny, France
Monet Garden served as the influence for some of Claude Monet’s most famous paintings, including Water Lilies”. Visit in springtime for a surreal opportunity to appreciate the beauty of this garden.
Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden – Chonburi, Thailand
The most awe-inspiring botanical garden in Asia, Non Nooch includes a scientific center dedicated to the study of one of Thailand’s most common plants, the cycad. One of the younger gardens on the list, Nong Nooch opened in 1980 as a wildlife conservation project.
Butchart Gardens – Brentwood, Canada
Over one million people per year visit the beauty of these gardens located near Vancouver. Tributes to birds are scattered across these elegant gardens, which are named after businessman Robert Butchart.
Garden of the Sítio Roberto Burle Marx – Rio de Janerio, Brazil
Landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx’s magnum opus is one of the finest national monuments in Brazil. Part artist and part scientist, Marx’s modern style left an unparalleled impression on the landscape architecture world.
Villa d ’Este – Tivoli, Italy
Dating back to the 1500’s these gardens are famous for its epic amount of fountains. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located just outside of Rome, and should be included in any Italian trip.