When urban fatigue sets in, here are some of the gorgeous gardens of Europe that will bring you a breath of fresh air.
Tulips at Keukenhof Gardens / Photo: Flickr user @prof_richard[/caption] Much of Europe’s appeal lies in its lively metropolitan cities. Though there’s a time and place for tranquil, rural getaways, most travelers don’t fly all the way abroad to lock themselves in a countryside cabin: instead, exploring dynamic cities like Paris, Amsterdam, and Florence is the name of the game. However, the chaos of those packed environments can suck the energy from even the most seasoned travelers, particularly during high tourism periods. When urban fatigue sets in, here are some of the gorgeous gardens of Europe that will bring you a breath of fresh air.
After you’ve seen the Anne Frank Museum and viewed Van Gogh’s masterpieces, you may be tempted to duck into one of Amsterdam’s infamous “coffee shops” for a little extra “”Dutch relaxation””. But Lisse is an easy day trip from Amsterdam where you can get a healthy, all-natural high from the fragrances and colors of the Keukenhof Gardens! The Keukenhof Gardens are a world-class floral wonderland—the largest flower garden on the planet, in fact, containing a whopping 7 million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. Let Musement organize your day trip from Amsterdam: apart from taking in the mesmerizing beauty of the gardens, when you book Musement’s full-day tour, you’ll get the added advantage of skipping the queues. You’ll also get to hear an insider’s perspective from the gardener behind it all, and a chance to lunch leisurely in what is arguably the world’s prettiest picnic spot. If you’re not convinced that flowers alone can keep you fascinated all day long, don’t worry—there are plenty of intriguing artworks and sculptures lining the garden’s picturesque pathways.
The Boboli Gardens, Florence
Reflecting pool in the Boboli Gardens / Photo: Flickr user @russellmcneil[/caption] Nestled behind the imposing Pitti Palace, the former residence of the legendary Medici rulers, is one of Florence’s most serene spaces: the Boboli Gardens. The space is far from your average 16th century garden, and its expansive openness was unusual for its time. Beyond that, you can get an idea of just how powerful the Medici dynasty was when you consider that the entire complex was originally closed off to anyone outside the immediate family. Imagine having the Boboli Gardens as your backyard—that’s essentially what this lush space was. Accented with grottos, fountains and even an amphitheater, the lavish gardens were originally laid out for Eleanor of Toledo, the former Duchess of Florence and wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici. Saunter through the paths lined with sculpture collections, or take a breather on a bench with a good book. To take full advantage of your time in the fascinating space, book your tickets for the Boboli Gardens with Musement—on the same ticket, you’ll be able to visit various spots in the Pitti Palace, including the Costume Gallery, the Silver Museum and the Porcelain Museum.
Luxembourg Gardens, Paris
As it turns out, you can take the Medici out of Florence, but you can’t take Florence out of the Medici. A relatively little-known fact about Paris’s most distinctive and beloved green space is that it was the vision of the Florentine-born widow of Henry IV, Marie de’ Medici. She wanted to construct a building in Paris modeled after the Pitti Palace, so in the early 17th century, she invested in what became the Petit-Luxembourg palace and directed dozens of gardeners in the creation of the surrounding green space—designed with the Boboli Gardens in mind, of course. Today, the centerpiece of the 60-acre space is an octagonal water basin where Parisian children and their tourist counterparts famously play with wooden boats. The space is also home to several series of statues of famous French faces, including iconic queens and saints. An orchard of apple and pear trees adds to the fairy-tale feel of it all. Luxembourg Gardens is an essential stop on any family vacation to Paris: let the kids enjoy a carousel spin, an old-school puppet show, or a time-out from the art museums at one of the area’s playgrounds. Don’t leave these gorgeous gardens of Europe off your international itinerary!