Whatever your plans are this summer, it’s not summer unless you visit at least one beautiful garden that makes your jaw drop. While you’re on your worldwide travels, be sure to make time for these top gardens across the world. They’re the ten most beautiful in the world, and there’s a little something for everyone — from succulents to flowers and from China to California.
1. Claude Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France
Designed by revered visual artist Claude Monet, this unique garden calls to mind the values of the impressionistic painters. As he landscaped, Monet ignored typical landscaping organization and instead produced a garden which is delightful and surprising throughout. The garden is split into two parts: the Clos Normand flower garden and the water garden, which is complete with the enchanting bridge pictured above. If you look through Monet’s oeuvre, you’ll find this garden quite a few times.
2. Lotusland in Santa Barbara, California
Created by Polish opera singer Ganna Walska in 1941, this 37-acre property is a reflection of its owner: theatrical, whimsical, and totally dramatic. Walksa’s one-of-a-kind landscaping style produced many outdoor garden ‘rooms,’ each of which focus on a particular kind of plant. You’ll find a cacti room, a fern room, an aloe room, and even a blue room that features only silvery-blue succulents.
3. Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden in Pattaya City, Thailand
Originally intending to create a fruit plantation, Pisit and Nongnooch Tansacha purchased this 600-acre plot of land in 1954. The result? An incredible garden filled with tropical flowers. Widely known for its breathtaking symmetrically and color. The Nong Nooch garden officially opened in 1980 and has attracted visitors around the world ever since.
4. Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, U.S.
With 40 gardens, 4.5 acres of greenhouses, and an 86-acre meadow garden, the Longwood Gardens are impressive by any standards. Founder Pierre S. du Pont created these gardens on land that was home to native Lenni tribes, Lenape tribes, and Quaker farmers. The gardens include stunning fountain gardens, water-lily gardens, an open-air theatre, a forest walk, and many unique passages.
5. Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London
It’s been said that the Kew Gardens host the most diverse and largest plant collection in the world. Designed by Princess Augusta in 1759, these gardens house 30,000 different kinds of plants, contain an elaborate treetop walkway 59 feet above the ground, and boast one of the largest compost heaps in Europe. In the organization’s own words, they want to “live in a world where plants and fungi are understood, valued, and conserved.”
6. Gardens of Versailles in Versailles, France
Widely known for its role in European regal history, the Palace of Versailles is now a French Historic Monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace’s gardens are equally (if not more) impressive. With a vast orangery, unique garden groves, and beautiful parterres that compliment the palace’s architecture, the Gardens of Versailles are a must-visit for those spending the holiday in France.
7. Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Netherlands
Regarded as the “garden of Europe,” the Keukenhof easily makes the list of top gardens. Landscape architects Jan David Zocher and his son redesigned the castle gardens in 1857 to become what they are now. Now, the Keukenhof Garden is the largest flower garden in the world, hosting 7 million bulbs total each year. It’s a perfect garden to visit in the spring, while the flowers are in bloom!
8. Tresco Abbey Garden in Isles of Scilly, U.K.
Just off the cost of Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly have a mild maritime climate and unique soil very unlike the mainland’s. As such, the Tresco Abbey Garden accommodates a unique collection of plants and is home to species found across Mediterranean climate zones. The garden was built in the 19th century around the ruins of a Benedictine abbey, and the picture of lush greenery surrounding scattered remains are a sight to see.
9. Jardim Botânico de Curitiba in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
You’ll find a bit of France in this Southern Brazilian garden. The Jardim Botânico de Curitiba opened in 1991 in the style of the famous French gardens. Within them, you’ll find waterfalls and lakes, a main greenhouse nearly 458 square meters big, structured fountains, and a native forest ripe for exploring.
10. Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai, China
During the Ming Dynasty, Pan Yunduan built this outstanding garden as a comfort for his father. Five acres and divided into six areas, the Yuyuan Garden includes halls, chambers, waterfalls, and the exquisite Jade Rock — one of the most famous rocks in the southern region of the Yangtze River.
Aesthetic gardens have been a tradition for centuries, and the result of years and years of gardening is absolutely stunning. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, we suggest finding these top gardens and enjoying your time off amongst the green.
Staying a little more local this summer? Check out our guide to the secret gardens of NYC.