Few spaces are more calming and zen-inducing than a beautiful garden. And research has shown that walking through green spaces can put the mind into a state of meditation. So here are 10 of the world’s most beautiful gardens that should be added to every traveller’s bucket list.
Château de Versailles
Where: Versailles, France
Why go: The famous French landscape designer, André Le Nôtre, laid out these gardens southwest of Paris in the 17th century at the behest of Louis XIV. The Sun King wanted them to magnify the glory of his palace at Versailles.
The 101 hectares are riddled with paths that lead to flower beds, quiet corners decorated with classical statuary, ornamental lakes, and a canal that King Louis used for gondola rides.
Where: Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Why go: This is a dazzling example of a successful reclamation project. The land, used for years by Portland Cement, had exhausted its value as a quarry by 1904. That’s when Jennie Butchart, the wife of Portland Cement’s owner, filled the space with soil from nearby farms. Her vision expanded into a 55-acre (22-hectare) tract filled with 700 varieties of plants that bloom from March to October.
Where: Cape Town, South Africa
Why go: In the shadow of Table Mountain and Desert’s Peak, the famous Kirstenbosch botanical garden (part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, a World Heritage Site) boasts over 22,000 native plant species, glass-covered conservatory, the famous baobab tree and a “useful plants garden” full of plants with medicinal purposes.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Where: Kew, England
Why go: Set amid 132 hectares of landscaped grounds, greenhouses are a popular feature of the gardens. For instance, the Temperate House is the world’s largest Victorian greenhouse while the Bonsai House has trees more than 150 years old.
The Master-of-Nets Garden
Where: Suzhou, China
Why go: At this residential garden in southeast China, called Wangshiyuan in Chinese, the arrangement of pavilions, halls, music rooms, bamboo groves, and waterside perches is sure to blow your mind.
Where: Potsdam, Germany
Why go: Frederick the Great wanted to cultivate plums, figs and wine on Potsdam’s doorstep. In 1744, he had these terraced gardens designed for this reason. But, due to the exceptionally beautiful view, he then decided to include a large summer residence above the terraces just a year later where he could live without a care, or sans souci.
Where: Ishikawa, Japan
Why go: One of Japan’s Three Great Gardens, the Kenroku-en (“garden combining six”) Garden is a haven of peace and tranquillity in Ishikawa. The garden is particularly stunning during cherry blossom season in the spring.
The Majorelle Garden
Where: Marrakesh, Morocco
Why go: It took French painter Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962) forty years of passion and dedication to create this enchanting garden in the heart of the “Ochre City”. Shady lanes, exotic plants, burbling streams and pools filled with water lilies and lotus flowers…The garden also houses the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Where: Melbourne, Australia
Why go: Extending over 40 hectares of parklands that include a children’s garden, aboriginal heritage walk, herbarium discovery walk, and observatory, the botanical gardens is one of the most popular destinations in Victoria, with over 1.5 million visitors each year. Plus, enjoy special events like Philosophy in the Garden and Yoga for Kids.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Provincia Alajuela. ENE of Volcán Poás. La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Trout Lake area.