Pack your bags, travelers and plant lovers because today, we are going to take you to a fascinating tour to the world’s best and most breathtaking botanical gardens. Whether you’re a solo backpacker or a horticulturist, visiting any these oases will definitely give you a slice of paradise on earth and a trip you’ll cherish for years to come.
Botanical gardens are a godsend and an absolute joy to watch, especially for folks who love plants and nature. More than just a sight to behold, botanical gardens are also a great resource for plant conservation or education, and even an excellent place to buy gorgeous flora. What’s more, a visit to a botanical garden can be a pretty fun outing for the family or even make a serene solo getaway. Either way, visiting a botanic garden will let you take some expertly designed greenhouses and learn about new plant life that may flourish at home.
Fond of botanical gardens? From an eccentric park in Scotland to the gardens that inspired some of greatest artworks of the legendary impressionist Claude Monet, here’s a list of some of the best and most alluring botanic gardens in the world.
1. Jardim Botanico – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Serene and idyllic, the exotic 54-hectare Jardim Botanico – or also known as the Botanical Garden – is a lovely place to soak up the splendor of both imported and Amazonian plants. Here, you get to spot more than 5,500 species of plants, as well as find the first cinnamon, cloves and tea that were transported to Brazil to acclimatize. Plus, the garden has a handful of other noteworthy highlights, including the Japanese Garden, the orchids and the lake that contains massive water lilies.
2. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens – Cape Town, South Africa
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, deemed as one of Africa’s most beautiful botanical gardens, is a lush and extensive hothouse filled with flora that will surely take your breath away. Located against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town, this 36-hectare garden is home to over 7,000 species of plant. Though it mainly features the diverse and extraordinary rich flora of southern Africa, you’ll find plenty of endangered and rare garden plants throughout the field as well.
3. Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden – Pattaya, Thailand
Going on a backpacking adventure across Thailand and Southeast Asia? Then, make sure to pay a visit to the largest botanic garden in Southeast Asia – the Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden in Pattaya. Not only does it boast the largest variety of orchids in all of Thailand, but it features the largest palm tree collection in the world as well. Additionally, Thai cultural and elephant shows are held regularly in these grounds, including Muay Thai boxing, traditional Thai dance performances and elephants playing basketball or football.
4. Kew Gardens – London, England
Kew Gardens are filled with magnificent landscapes and a vast range of beautiful and rare plants, making it a must-include stop for anyone visiting London. Known as of the top places to visit in London, Kew also boasts a galore of world-class attractions, including historic buildings and glasshouses. And by the way, the gardens change wonderfully with the seasons, so expect to experience something different every time you visit it.
5. Na'Aina Kai Botanical Garden – Kauai, Hawaii
Artistically developed by Ed and Joyce Doty, Na'Aina Kai Botanical Garden is a horticultural project based upon the founders’ strong love for the people and land of the tropics. A non-profit organization, this botanical garden offers free tours that let you feast your eyes on an ever-evolving human-crafted artistic creations and natural wonders. In addition, the garden aims to preserve the natural and land resources for future generations of visitors from Hawaii and around the world.
6. Gardens of the Palace of Versailles – Paris, France
No list of the world’s best and most spectacular botanical gardens is complete without the inclusion of the Palace of Versailles in France. Epitomizing a formal French garden design, these world-famous vast chateau gardens are famous for its geometrically aligned trees, canals and tree-lined paths. To make things even better, it has 50 remarkable fountains that enhance the geometrical design as well as function as focal points. From late springtime to early fall, the fountains of the gardens come to life as part of the yearly water spectacles of grandes Eaux.
And there are a lot more delights and mesmerizing sights in store for you in this lush oasis. Highlights of the garden include the elaborate parterres of the Orangerie, the Grand Canal that stretches off to the horizon, and the chariot and horses of the Apollo Fountain. Wherever you go in this garden, you are bound to come across a sculpture, fountain, colonnade or grove that will delight, surprise and snatch your breath away.
7. Garden of Cosmic Speculation – Scotland
Scotland’s Garden of Cosmic Speculation is an incredible pleasure garden that pays tribute to mathematics and science. And as far as I’m concerned, there isn’t another garden on the face of the earth like the Garden of Cosmic Speculation. Bizarre and visually appealing, the Garden of Cosmic Speculation wows its visitors with twisting undulating terraces and land forms as well as abstract figures and sculptures inspired by math and science themes like Fractals and Black Hotels.
While the garden isn’t abundant with flora, it sets scientific phenomena and mathematical formula in a setting that elegantly blends natural features with curves and artificial symmetry.
8. Botanical Cactus Garden in Ethel M Chocolates – Nevada, United States
Home to one of the largest collections of cacti and other types of drought-tolerant flora, the Botanical Cactus Garden in Ethel M Chocolates is definitely one-of-a-kind. Nestled in Henderson, Nevada, this unique flora sanctuary features over 300 types of cacti, including yuccas, spotted alone, agave plants and Texan Prickly Pears. As an added plus, a visit here of lets you experience a free self-guided tour around Ethel M Chocolates factory as well as indulge on its luscious sweet samples.
9. Montreal Botanical Garden – Montreal, Canada
With over 10 exhibition greenhouses, 30 thematic gardens and a spacious arboretum, the Montreal Botanical Garden is indeed a picturesque oasis of beauty and peace. Lauded as one of the world’s greatest and most important botanical gardens, Montreal Botanical Garden also offers a colorful program of activities, exhibits and events all year long, making it a celebrated tourist spot in Montreal.
10. Chicago Botanic Garden, Illinois, United States
Chicago Botanic Garden will put plant lovers in a state of pure bliss with its sheer wealth of flowers and plants, which can be admired throughout its 385-acre ground. Even though it’s a bit new (opened more than 40 years ago), it is already one of the most visited botanical gardens in the United States, luring a million tourists every year. In addition to the plants, this green space has a series of exhibits and a wondrous aquatic garden, where you and other visitors see how water plants flourish.
11. Denver Botanic Gardens – Denver, Colorado
The 23-acre Denver Botanic Gardens is home to a variety of eye-catching themed gardens, a sunken amphitheater and a conservatory. Revered as one of the most sought-after botanical gardens in America, this lush wonderland displays the largest collection of flora from cold-temperate climates around the world in North America. Moreover, it has seven wonderfully diverse gardens that include mostly plants from Colorado and its neighboring states.
12. The Butchart Gardens – Victoria, Canada
Designated as a National Historic Site of Canada, Butchart Gardens is an internationally renowned group of floral display gardens that will appease your eyes with its ornamental birds and impressive bronze statues. Of course, this verdant 55-acre have also dazzles with fragrant flowers, lily ponds, streams, and landscaped theme gardens.
13. Brooklyn Botanical Gardens – New York, USA
Surprised? While Brooklyn isn’t known for its leafy green foliage, it is in fact home to one of the world’s finest and most renowned gardens – the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Spanning over 52 acres of land, this celebrated Brooklyn attraction houses an art gallery, plant houses, Star Bonsai Museum, the Starr Bonsai Museum and a variety of plant collections. Furthermore, there are plenty of collections and exhibits taking place on a regular basis at the garden. On top of it all, it hosts an array of workshops that allow visitors to get a heavy dose of fun and a fabulous hands-on experience.
14. Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens – Tokyo, Japan
Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens, nestled in a great and vibrant Asian mega-city, offers soothing respite for people who want to get away from the daily grind of their urban life. Filled with seasonal flora, flowering cherry trees and sculptures, it has its own tranquil lake as well, which is lodged right at the center of the garden.
Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens is also one of Tokyo’s two surviving Edo-period gardens, making it an important stopover for history buffs visiting Japan’s electric capital. Famed for its opulent cherry blossoms, the garden offers a taste of nature and touches of Japan’s long and intriguing heritage.
15. Royal Botanic Gardens – Sydney, Australia
Set right at the heart of Sydney, the 30-hectare Royal Botanic Gardens are Australia’s oldest scientific institution and are a host to a captivating bundle of indigenous and foreign plants.
16. Claude Monet's Gardens – Giverny, France
Claude Monet's Gardens, like his paintings, are brightly-colored patches that will please your eyes. A worthy entry to your bucket list, stepping inside this scenic garden will make you feel like you are a part of his majestic painting. And as you walk through the gardens and house of Claude Monet, you’ll feel the atmosphere that reigned at the hub of the Master of Impressionism. Also, a visit here lets you to marvel at the nympheas and floral compositions that inspired some of his most iconic pieces.
17. Missouri Botanical Gardens – Missouri, United States
The Missouri Botanical Gardens, known formerly as Shaw’s gardens, is not just a National Historic Landmark, but it’s also the oldest botanical garden in the United States. Drawing more than 700,000 visitors every year, the garden beckons plant lovers and tourists with its extensive and green 79-acre land that displays a wide variety of shrubs, trees and plants, including a levy of rare orchids.
Also, the garden features a thriving tropical rainforest, a Victorian district, an English Woodland garden, a Japanese-strolling garden, and the original home of Henry Shaw in the 1850s. Pretty impressive, right?
18. Singapore Botanic Garden – Singapore
The Singapore Botanic Garden – the last remaining green lung in downtown Singapore – is a bucolic retreat teeming with tai-chi practitioners, dogs and joggers. Here, you may wander through its swaths of virgin rainforest, and then take in the multi-colored collection of 2,000 hybrids and 1,000 orchid species in Orchid garden. An underrated tourist attraction in Singapore, the garden has a few other awesome attractions, like the Saraca Stream, statues, three lakes, and Botany Center.
19. Keukenhof Gardens – Lisse, Netherlands
Planning a trip to the Netherlands? Keukenhof Gardens enchants its patrons with its exceptional wealth of breath-snatching floral displays planted beautifully in endless varieties and alternated with bewitching works of art. Unique and beloved, Keukenhof Gardens is often regarded as one of the most celebrated destinations in the country.
20. Andromeda Botanical Gardens – Barbados
Situated along the stream, overlooking the Atlantic, and embellished with waterfalls and ponds, the Andromeda Botanical Gardens has amassed one of the best collections of imported and indigenous tropical plants in the Caribbean since Iris Bannochie ( a horticulturist) started her work in 1954 here. Among the familiar and beloved faces like hibiscus and ginger are some nice surprises as well, many in the form of cacti.
21. Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum – Berlin, Germany
This ravishing Berlin wonder is often labeled as one the world’s most important botanical gardens. It’s well-known worldwide for its collection of over a dozen of glasshouses (or also known as greenhouses), which are housing a cluster of plant species, including the Pavilion Victoria and Cactus Pavilion. The beloved 43-hectare garden likewise is the turf of the Great Pavilion – the world’s largest glasshouse.
22. Atlanta Botanical Garden – Georgia, United States
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is home to over 30 acres of stunning botanical gardens, with a series of exhibits and collections. The park has been around for 30 years, and has been constantly reworked and updated to create a charming sanctuary of urban bliss.
23. Terrazas De Flores Botanical Garden – Cebu, Philippines
While it's still relatively new, Terrazas De Flores Botanical Garden has been making some buzz in Cebu, Philippines, thanks to its unique floral designs and easygoing vibe. As the first and only terraced Botanical Garden, it is indeed a must-see for any floral connoisseur visiting this side of Asia.
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