The 15 Most Beautiful Gardens in the World
For us, nothing says spring and summer quite like fresh flowers. No wonder we’ve been daydreaming of botanical gardens lately. Of course, these scenic sanctuaries aren’t limited to vibrant blooms. Some spotlight indigenous plants, while others showcase exotic greenery. Add to that fanciful topiaries, meandering paths, graceful fountains and more. From Jardin Majorelle to Giardini Botanici Villa Taranto, these are the most majestic gardens around the world.
KIRSTENBOSCH NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDEN (CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA)
Beautiful and biodiverse, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden sprawls 528 hectares. So, yeah, there’s a lot to see! Spend the day exploring unspoiled fynbos and dense forests. Don’t miss the chance to traipse across the Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway.
KEUKENHOF (LISSE, NETHERLANDS)
Since opening to the public in 1950, Keukenhof has established itself as the preeminent springtime park in Europe. From March to May—when the bulb fields are in bloom—it’s *the* place to peep 800 varieties of tulips, plus colorful daffodils, hyacinths and lilies.
DESERT BOTANICAL GARDEN (PHOENIX, ARIZONA)
Some folks assume that arid landscapes are nothing more than sand. That’s SO not true. Don’t believe us? Take a trip to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. You’ll find an astonishing assortment of dryland-dwelling plants such as cacti, agave, succulents, wildflowers and shrubs.
CLAUDE MONET GIVERNY GARDEN (GIVERNY, FRANCE)
Art enthusiasts and budding botanists travel from all over to see the beautiful gardens Claude Monet created in the village of Giverny. Visitors can admire the water lilies, weeping willows and wisteria-covered bridges that inspired many of his most famous paintings.
LONGWOOD GARDENS (KENNETT SQUARE, PENNSYLVANIA)
If you fancy domestic destinations and blossoms, we highly suggest checking out Longwood Gardens. Situated in Kennett Square, this Insta-worthy oasis comprises 1,083 acres of manicured lawns, forests, meadows and attractive greenhouses.
VILLA D’ESTE (TIVOLI, ITALY)
Villa d'Este offers an utterly enchanting journey into the past. Renaissance refinement takes center stage in the magnificent terraced gardens. One of the most extraordinary examples of giardini delle meraviglie in the world, it displays an abundance of fountains, grottoes and ornamental plants.
POWERSCOURT GARDENS (ENNISKERRY, IRELAND)
Visiting Powerscourt Gardens feels a bit like stepping into a fairy tale. The grounds are dotted with rows of blooms, tranquil ponds, stone watchtowers and secret hollows, while carefully planned pathways make it easy to navigate the storybook charms of this idyllic country estate.
THE BUTCHART GARDENS (BRENTWOOD BAY, BRITISH COLUMBIA)
We were shocked to learn that The Butchart Gardens (or, rather, part of the land it occupies) used to be a limestone quarry. Over a century ago, Jennie Butchart transformed the empty pit. It has since expanded into a spectacular 55-acre parcel, complete with artful flower beds, rose-clad arches and a hand-carved carousel.
GARDENS OF VERSAILLES (VERSAILLES, FRANCE)
When it comes to opulence, Louis XIV still reigns supreme. The notoriously extravagant monarch brought in royal landscaper André Le Nôtre to design his 1,976-acre playground. From the espaliered hedges to the grand canal (apparently, the king enjoyed gondola rides), every element is regal to the max.
JARDIN MAJORELLE (MARRAKECH, MOROCCO)
Among the most popular stops in Marrakech, Jardin Majorelle—often referred to as the “Yves Saint Laurent garden”—is a true work of art, distinguished by rare desert flora and bursts of vivid cobalt. Its trademark hue swaths everything from the fountains to the villa walls.
NONG NOOCH TROPICAL GARDEN (PATTAYA, THAILAND)
Nong Nooch Tropical Garden welcomes more than 5,000 visitors each day. And it’s easy to see why. Not only does this 600-acre tourist attraction boasts the largest variety of palms anywhere, but also a wide array of orchids and endangered cycads. The large-scale animal sculptures are a major highlight, too.
KEW ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS (LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM)
Kew Royal Botanic Gardens crushes the biodiversity game. It’s home to 50,000 living plants, plus an insane concentration of seeds and fungi. You can even catch a glimpse of carnivorous species, like Venus flytraps, in the Princess of Wales Conservatory.
GIARDINI BOTANICI VILLA TARANTO (VERBANIA, ITALY)
Perched on the western shore of Lake Maggiore, Giardini Botanici Villa Taranto brims with beauty and history. (It was established by Captain Neil Boyd Watson McEacharn in 1931.) Today, herbaceous eucalyptus and giant Amazon lilies grow alongside Japanese maples.
GARDENS OF VILLANDRY (VILLANDRY, FRANCE)
France is an embarrassment of riches in the garth department. Need proof? Turn your attention to Château De Villandry. The crown jewel of this grand country estate? Without question, the exquisitely restored Renaissance gardens—which, as of 2009, are organic.
BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN (BROOKLYN, NEW YORK)
New York City may be the “concrete jungle,” but Brooklyn defies that moniker with a glorious garden with which few can compare. Located in Crown Heights, this 52-acre urban escape flaunts fragrant cherry blossoms, nearly 100 varieties of aquatic flowers and an impressive collection of bonsai trees.