Who doesn’t love a nice stroll in the garden? Nothing says springtime like the sprouting of new flowers, making it the perfect moment to spend time outdoors. Throughout history, gardens have been spaces of contemplation and creativity, allowing people to immerse themselves in nature. With so many types of gardens around the world—from classic French Gardens to Japanese Zen Gardens—it’s incredible to see how the landscape changes due to how these plants are arranged.
These public spaces are far different than your regular backyard garden, drawing from careful landscape design and planning. This organization was perhaps passed down through history when gardens were an expression of power and passion by wealthy estate owners seeking to entertain their guests. This has transitioned to public gardens and botanical gardens, which allow visitors to experience both local and exotic plant life, all while gaining inspiration for their own personal gardens.
If you’re looking for a photo-worthy garden-going experience or are just passionate about horticulture, there is no shortage of beautiful gardens that deserve a visit. From the immaculate lawns of Versailles’ royal gardens to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s impressive cherry trees, we’ve tracked down the most beautiful gardens in the world. Each famous garden warrants hours of attention to fully take in their intricate flower displays and exotic landscape design. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to take that stroll in the garden.
Here are 10 famous gardens around the world that you won’t want to miss.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, USA
Founded in 1910, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a 52-acre haven located in Mount Prospect Park. The beloved botanical garden has 14,000 types of plants spread across multiple areas, including a water garden, an English garden themed around plants named in Shakespeare plays, and a fragrance garden for the visually impaired. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is perhaps most well known for its exceptional Japanese garden—the first created in an American public garden—and the more than 200 cherry trees that draw crowds each spring.
Gardens of Versailles, Versailles, France
This expansive garden, which sits just to the west of the Palace of Versailles, sprawls across nearly 2,000 acres of land. Much of the landscape is styled as a classic French garden with its signature symmetry and order. The manicured lawns are dotted with flowers, sculptures, and fountains that date back to the time of Louis XIV. Fit for a king, the Gardens of Versailles were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the palace itself.
Villa d’Este Gardens, Tivoli, Italy
This 16th-century villa outside of Rome is beloved for its terraced gardens and opulent fountains, one of which plays music. The majestic water features would have been used to delight and impress visitors who were entertained at the villa, which was built for the son of a nobleman and grandson of the Pope. Villa d’Este is a wonderful example of an Italian Renaissance garden, where the landscape is meant to inspire contemplation.
Butchart Gardens, British Columbia, Canada
This beautiful oasis in Victoria, British Columbia has been wowing visitors with its lush greenery and colorful flowers for over 100 years. The Butchart Gardens have 50 full-time gardeners on staff to take care of 55 acres of gardens, which includes 26 greenhouses. The Sunken Garden, pictured above, is a beloved area of the landscape. It’s formed within a former limestone quarry and was transformed by Jennie Butchart, the wife of a wealthy cement manufacturer who first envisioned the landscape’s possibilities.
Keukenhof, Lisse, Netherlands
You can’t visit the Netherlands in the springtime without thinking of tulips. And if you are a real aficionado, that means a pilgrimage to the world famous Keukenhof in Lisse. From late March to late May, visitors flock to view the colorful flower displays filled with tulips, daffodils, crocuses, and hyacinths. According to the Keukenhof, they plant 7 million spring-flowering bulbs each year from 100 Dutch floricultural companies. The bulbs are arranged in incredible displays that provide a dazzling visual for more than 1 million visitors who visit the gardens during this two month period.
Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden, Pattaya City, Thailand
This botanical garden in Thailand isn’t just a tourist attraction, it’s also a research center dedicated to studying cycads, a class of seed plants resembling palms that date back 280 million years. Interestingly, Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden was originally purchased as a plantation, but the owners quickly decided to use the 600 acres to plant tropical flowers and plants in an effort to conserve wildlife. The garden contains over 650 native plant species, with areas that include a Cactus and Succulents Garden, as well as an orchid display.
Ryōan-ji Garden, Kyoto, Japan
Nestled within Kyoto’s Ryōan-ji Zen Buddhist Temple is a garden that’s considered the epitome of the Japanese dry landscape (karesansui) rock garden. This Zen garden is characterized by large rock formations surrounded by meticulously raked gravel. Meant to be viewed while seated on the temple’s veranda, the stones are strategically placed so that they cannot all be viewed at one time. It’s believed that anyone who can see them all from a single seated position has obtained enlightenment.
Powerscourt Estate and Gardens, Enniskerry, Ireland
This large estate in Ireland is known both for its home, which started as a 13th-century castle, and gardens that spill across 47 acres. Much of the gardens at Powerscourt Estate were landscaped in the 19th century after the 21-year-old Mervyn Wingfield, 7th Viscount Powerscourt, inherited the property. Inspired by the Gardens of Versailles and other famous gardens seen on his travels, he created a Japanese garden, Italian garden, walled gardens, and even a pet cemetery.
Kew Gardens, London, England
Kew Gardens, located in south London, is world famous for housing more than 50,000 living plants. In addition, it’s an important center for botanical research and an architectural masterpiece thanks to the Temperate House, the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse. That historic site is home to rare and threatened species of plants. Other attractions include a bamboo garden, arboretum, and the Princess of Wales Conservatory, which is a glass house containing plants from ten different climate zones.
Monet’s Garden, Giverny, France
Located on the site of Claude Monet’s home, these gardens inspired the Impressionist painter’s famous Water Lilies series. Today, it’s possible to immerse yourself in the world of Monet with a visit to Giverny. His iconic water garden, complete with a Japanese bridge, is still intact for visitors to enjoy year-round. Visitors will also delight in the vibrant flower garden, which was laid out to cater to Monet’s creative imagination.