10 Beautiful Gardens in Europe to Visit
Spring is fast approaching, and there’s no better way to celebrate than by immersing yourself in Europe’s finest gardens. There are spectacular gardens located throughout the continent that are easy to reach by train. In fact, you’ll find pristine parks and flourishing flowerbeds in most capitals. Here are ten gardens in Europe worth going out of your way for.
Gardens in Europe
1. Giverny, France
Giverny inspired dozens of French artist Monet’s most famous works. It’s a beautifully maintained garden in Normandy, set out in a pleasing grid with a wide range of plant life. Most visitors head here to witness firsthand perhaps the most famous garden cliché of all time – the green arch bridge. Few leave disappointed.
More info: giverny.org
How to get there by train: There are regular trains from Paris St Lazare to Vernon that take 45 minutes. From there, a short bus ride will get you to Giverny.
2. Generalife, Spain
Granada’s ancient Alhambra and the Generalife gardens that surround it are an incredible sight. They may not be as traditional as other gardens in Europe such as France or the United Kingdom, but the views of Granada, use of water fountains, and exquisite greenery are remarkable.
More info: www.alhambradegranada.org
How to get there by train: Most trains to Granada go via Antequera-Santa Ana. There are up to five daily trains between Antequera-Santa Ana and Granada that take approximately 90 minutes.
3. La Bagatelle, France
Paris is not short of parks. In spite of this, the capital’s La Bagatelle still manages to stand out. It’s an English-style garden set around a small chateau that dates back to the time of Marie-Antoinette. The biggest drawcard of the garden lies at its heart, where you’ll find a beautiful flourishing rose garden designed in 1905.
More info: www.parcbagatelle.com (in French)
How to get there by train: The park is on the western edge of Paris, with the entrance on Route de Sèvres À Neuilly. There are regular trains to Paris from throughout France and from neighboring countries.
4. Isola Bella, Italy
Isola Bella is a stunning garden accessible only by boat. You’ll find it in the middle of Lake Maggiore. It’s the country’s second largest lake, which extends across the border to Switzerland. The villa and garden took 40 years to complete. The unique design, features, and style make it a worthy destination to visit.
More info: www.isoleborromee.it
How to get there by train: There are five daily trains from Milan to Isola Bella that take under an hour.
5. Dessau-Wörlitz, Germany
The Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz is a 300-acre garden near Dessau, southwest of Berlin. It’s a vast English landscape garden that oozes British charm and transports visitors through a range of views and emotions. Almost one third of the garden is water, creating a tranquil escape from the bustling capital which is just a short drive away.
More info: www.gartenreich.com
How to get there by train: There are four daily trains between Berlin Hbf and Worlitz, connecting at Wittenberg. The total journey time is approximately 2.5 hours.
6. Keukenhof, Netherlands
The Netherlands is not short of green-fingered citizens. This is most obvious during the spring, when the tulip season splashes color across the country. The best place to witness this is the incredible Keukenhof Garden in Lisse. There you’ll find more than seven million bulbs of hundreds of varieties set across almost 80 acres of land. Tulips aren’t the only species on display – you’ll also encounter dozens of flowers sure to inspire even the most jaded traveler.
More info: keukenhof.nl
How to get there by train: You can reach the gardens by taking a short train from Amsterdam Centraal to Schiphol Airport, and then connecting to Lisse via the hourly 361 bus.
7. Petrin Gardens, Czech Republic
The funicular ride to Petrin Gardens may offer some of the best sweeping views of Prague, but once inside the tranquil space you’ll forget all about the bustling city below. There are five gardens on Petrin Hill, including the famous rose and lavender garden, an enchanting mirror maze, and even an observatory.
More info: www.prague.eu
How to get there by train: Petrin Gardens are in Prague, which is a major rail hub in the Czech Republic. There are regular trains to Prague from throughout the Czech Republic and long-distance trains from most neighboring countries.
8. Eyrignac Manor Gardens, France
Fans of trimmed hedges and precisely pruned bushes have been making the trip to Eyrignac Manor Gardens in Dordogne for several years. These sculptured gardens feature an array of shapes and designs inspired by the Italian Renaissance. There are also more natural gardens that feature fruit and vegetables, as well as a wide range of roses, dahlias, and cosmos.
More info: www.eyrignac.com
How to get there by train: There are regular trains to Dordogne from Bordeaux that take approximately 2 hours. Most trips connect in Perigueux and arrive at Niversac.
9. Vigeland Park, Norway
Oslo’s Vigeland Park is one of the world’s largest sculpture gardens dedicated to a single artist. There you’ll find hundreds of Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland’s works set across the 80-acre estate. Though it’s less flourishing garden and more outdoor museum, this is one carefully curated attraction worth dedicating a morning to.
More info: vigeland.museum.no
How to get there by train: Oslo is a major rail hub in Norway, and there are several trains to the city from throughout the country, as well as its neighbors.
10. Notre-Dame de Sénanque Abbey, France
There are few floral sights as impressive as France’s lavender fields. Though there are dozens of places in Provence from which to explore these fields, the Sénanque Abbey is an understated yet enthralling focal point. Monks who live at Sénanque grow lavender on the estate, and in June and July it extends as far as the doors of the abbey.
More info: www.senanque.fr
How to get there by train: There are regular trains from throughout France to the city of Avignon. From there, hire a car or catch a bus to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. You’ll need to do the final stretch to the Abbey by taxi.
If you’re a fan of parks, then you’ll be spoilt for choice with these beautiful gardens in Europe. Most towns and large cities have at least one that you can visit on your Eurail trip, and they are truly unmissable attractions as spring spreads through the continent.