6 best European gardens to visit this summer

6 best European gardens to visit this summer

Still looking for somewhere to go this summer? Why not let nature inspire you at these stunning botanical gardens! In this short list, we highlight a few of the most famous and unique botanical gardens in Europe, all worth a visit for their beauty and diversity of plant life. 

Best gardens to visit in Europe this summer

Here are some of the most spectacular European gardens that are definitely worth a visit - of course, we can't list them all, but these six are definitely some of the best!

1. Monet's Garden, France

Monet’s Gardens in northern France were home to the great artist until his death in 1926. Now an elaborate garden open to the public, they are where he produced his famous lily series. There are two main parts to the garden: a flower garden and a Japanese inspired water garden.

The flower garden is called “The Clos Normand”, and it is divided into flowerbeds and fruit gardens with iron arches. The Japanese inspired water gardens have the famous bridge that is covered in wisterias, weeping willows, bamboo woods, and nympheas. These gardens are especially unique because of the dedication and devotion Monet put into growing his botanical beauties before painting them.

Monet's Garden in France

2. Arctic Alpine Botanical Garden, Norway

This evergreen garden located in Tromsø, Norway, is the world's northernmost botanical garden, and is home to plants from all corners of the earth. The garden is open the entire year, with no fences or gates, so is freely accessible to all. It’s a joy to see the garden at various times throughout the year because in the spring there are a plethora of bulbs that bloom.

In autumn, the colours are extremely vibrant, and by wintertime, snow covers the evergreen shrubbery, making it look like a winter wonderland. The garden contains over 25 collections of some of the most rare plants in the world. Along with some of the best natural scenery out there, the garden also has a cosy Hansine Hansen’s cafe that is open during the summer months for visitors to enjoy waffles, cake, ice cream and hot drinks.

Blue flower in botanical garden

3. Alhambra Palace and Gardens, Spain

The Alhambra Palace and Gardens in Granada, Spain ooze luxury and elegance. These Arab gardens are a representation of paradise, full of delight and pleasure. Water is an important part of this garden, and it is present in the fountains, ponds, and water sources. The amazing gardens are lined with colourful tiles with beautiful flower motifs that are characteristic of Arab art.

There are different sections that are open to visitors for free at any time. These exquisite gardens where the sultans of Granada would relax are a must-see for everyone.

Alhambra palace in Spain

4. Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands

The Keukenhof Gardens, which are home to millions of plants, are known across the world for the vibrant colourful showcase of their tulips each spring. The Keukenhof, which translates to “kitchen garden” in English, is also called the Garden of Europe, and is one of the largest gardens in the world. Around 7 million flower bulbs are planted here every year, and while Keukenhof is most famous for its tulips, there are also hyacinths, daffodils, lilies, roses, carnations and irises. The famous tulip display is open for eight weeks from mid-March to mid-May, with the peak being in April, when over 800 different types of tulips are on display.

In addition to the tulip gardens, there is also an English landscape garden, a nature garden and a Japanese country garden. There are also flower shows, intricate artwork and wonderful events. The garden is a short distance away from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, and it is easily accessible via public transportation

Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands

5. Maninau Islands, Germany

On Lake Constance in Germany lie the stunning Maninau Island gardens, home to many different types of flowers, beautiful views of the lake, and a greenhouse with tropical climate and thousands of butterflies. The gardens on Mainau Islands are seen as a model for excellent environmental practices.

This island garden has a microclimate, able to sustain palm trees and other Mediterranean plants, along with other rare and valuable plants such as a redwood tree. There are also palaces and other historic buildings and monuments in this stunning place, and it's even possible to have an opulent wedding on this garden island.

Mainau Islands garden in Germany

6. Rose Garden, Switzerland 

As the Rose Garden in Bern, Switzerland is situated above the city, it offers fabulous views over many of the most famous local landmarks and sights. On a clear day, you can even catch a glimpse of the local mountains. The Rose Garden is part of one the most beautiful parks in the country, and they offer visitors a fabulous view of the Old Town, the Minster and the Aare River.

This public park and garden is a great place to visit to relax in the afternoon for a picnic with your family or even to read a lovely book by yourself. And because it has one of the best views to offer, don't forget to take an incredible photo here as well! 

View over Bern in Switzerland

Time to plan your trip!

Now that you've seen what Europe's botanical gardens have to offer, it's time to pick your favourite and plan a trip! Most of these are open during the spring and summer seasons, and some are open all year round!

This article originally appeared on IamExpat in Switzerland.

Eesha Wirk


Eesha Wirk

Eesha studied in the United States, obtaining a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience and Studio Art. She is currently getting her Research Masters in Cognitive Neuropsychology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In...

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