If you’re someone with a dynamic imagination and a curious mind, planning a vacation can be tricky.
The concrete streets and important landmarks of big cities have a lot of unique charm as well as nature.
Finding a perfect combination of everything you want to experience can be challenging, to say the least.
We have a suggestion.
Spend the day enveloped in the wilderness, and have a drink in your favorite cafe a few hours later.
Well, this seemingly impossible combination is yours if you choose to visit some of the most beautiful botanical gardens in Europe.
Here’s a couple of the absolute best ones!
Most Beautiful Botanical Gardens in Europe
Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum, Germany
This one is, without a doubt, absolutely unmissable.
The complex covers an area of 43 hectares and it consists of 16 greenhouses.
With around 22,000 plant species, you will be able to explore the entire world in a single (although enormous) garden.
Believe it or not, it evolved from just a kitchen garden, used for growing vegetables and herbs.
Today, it’s almost impossible to see everything it has to offer in a day. It’s also very significant for scientific purposes, since it’s part of the Free University of Berlin.
Make sure you check out the giant water lilies and insectivorous plants, as well as the Fragrance and Touch Garden. It was built so that visually disabled people could enjoy the diversity of plants. Therefore, the plants are grown in large groups on raised beds.
Many outdoor installations make it possible for visitors to sit down, relax and soak in the nature.
If you want to wind down and enjoy yourself, this oasis in the middle of the lively capital is perfect for you!
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England
This extensive property is home to one of the largest gardens in the whole world.
It includes around 30,000 plant species and over 30 buildings.
Make sure you sign up for a guided tour, so that you could make the best of your time there.
Some of the attractions are also architecturally impressive.
The examples are the Palm House, the Great Pagoda, but also the Hive and the Treetop Walkway.
The Hive is something you’ve certainly never seen before.
It’s a unique, multi-sensory simulation of what it would feel like to live as a bee. So, every sound you hear is triggered by bee activity in an actual beehive in the complex. Impressive, right?
The Walkway, on the other hand, allows you to walk through the branches of Kew’s forest. It’s 18m above the ground and it lets you into a part of the forest that would usually be off limits to you. A change of perspective will definitely be interesting!
The botanical garden’s collection of plants and documents even brought it to UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list. As if you needed another reason to visit.
If you plan on going any time soon, keep in mind that it’s only 30 minutes away from the center of London!
Orto Botanico di Padova, Padua, Italy
To see how the world of botanical gardens even got started, visit Padua.
It is home to the oldest surviving university botanical garden, functioning since 1545.
This garden aided the development of botanical sciences in general, as well as medicine and pharmaceuticals.
It was the inspiration and example for all the botanical gardens in the world.
What’s interesting is that the layout you see today is pretty much the same as it was in the 16th century.
The main building is circle-shaped, which represents the world, and it’s surrounded by a ring of water.
Some of the interesting collections are its poisonous and carnivorous plants, as well as the rare plants first introduced to Italy by the Garden itself!
It may not be the richest in species, but they are all carefully selected.
However, one of the most impressive things about it is its document collection.
The library contains more than 50,000 manuscripts that are of immense value for the botanical world. That, among other historical and scientific significance, puts it on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list as well.
If you’re a bit of a history geek and if you happen to be in Padua, you have to stop by the first ever botanical garden!
Copenhagen Botanical Garden, Denmark
Considering the fact that Northern Europe is very expensive in general, this is a perfect way to spend quality time without splurging.
The entrance to the Copenhagen Botanical Garden is free!
It’s famous for its 27 spectacular glasshouses from the 1800s, which contain around 13,000 species in total.
The most impressive one is the glass and cast-iron Palm House.
Make sure you climb up the spiral stairs to get a nice view from the top!
This is the perfect place for a peaceful day in the nature.
You can visit the herbarium, the museum or perhaps buy some plants or seeds in one of the shops. Also, the whole of the Garden is accessible to wheelchair users!
Botanical Garden of Brussels
The Brussels Botanical Garden is a botanical garden with a spin.
It’s more of an urban park than it is a classical greenhouse complex.
Until 1939, it was actually only dedicated to botanical studies, like the majority of botanical gardens. Now, its main building, Le Botanique, has stolen the spotlight, but for different reasons.
Le Botanique is a cultural complex and a music venue which hosts more than 280 concerts each year.
This previous orangery has become one of the most visited cultural centers in all of Belgium.
Le Botanique is famous for its annual Les Nuits Botanique (‘Botanique nights’) festival, held during the spring, which attracts a lot of performers and visitors.
You can still enjoy the 6 hectare property and the stunning glasshouses, but if you’re interested in seeing more variety and wildlife, visit Meise. That’s where the National Botanical Garden of Belgium is located, with its 16,000 plant species.
Even the great writer Victor Hugo spoke about the Botanique.
He said: “Brussels possesses two unique wonders of the world, its Grand-Place and the panorama of the Jardin Botanique”.
Why wouldn’t you come and see for yourself? Check our top travel resources, that will help you plan your next trip.