We love spending time discovering the gardens and parks in Europe. Where vibrant flowers meet historic sculptures, water features come face to face with towering trees and the gentle sound of birdsong follows you everywhere you go. If you’re on the hunt for a gorgeous green idyll to slip into your next holiday itinerary, check out some of our favourites below.
1. Minnewaterpark: Bruges, Belgium
When it comes to finding the best parks in Europe, scale isn’t really a factor. The Minnewaterpark, sometimes known as the ‘Lake of Love Park’, is a petite yet gorgeously maintained slice of nature based right in the heart of the city, which you can access via an ornamental red bridge. We’d recommend enjoying a fresh pastry on one of the benches that gaze out across the Minnewater, the lake from which this park gets its namesake, as a perfect way to start the day.
Where to stay: Hotel Flanders wears many hats, including that it was once part of a Dominican monastery dating back to the year 1304! Modern travellers can still enjoy the building’s Gothic room today, as well as several more contemporary areas like a lounge/bar with terrace and immaculate inner gardens. Named in the TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards between 2013 – 2018, this multi award-winning property is definitely one for your must-visit list.
2. Villa Giulia: Palermo, Italy
Quiet moments away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre meets access to Palermo’s fascinating heritage in the gardens of Villa Giulia. Originally built in the 1700s as a private garden for a viceroy, this glorious green patch boasts beautiful lakes, statues and fountains everywhere you turn. Not only is it free to access, but Goethe himself allegedly considered it ‘the most marvellous corner on Earth’!
Where to stay: Principe Lampedusa Boutique Hotel harbours some amazing gardens all of its own. Linger an hour or two in the Garden of Scents, where piquant flowers turn the air into a powerful perfume. Whether you’re inside or outside, you’ll find history everywhere, from reclining in your room’s antique furniture to exploring the property’s storied courtyard.
3. Blarney Castle: Cork, Ireland
Renowned globally for its mystical stone which is said to give the ‘gift of the gab’ to those who visit, Blarney Castle is also home to over 60 acres of spectacularly landscaped gardens. Journey through diverse surroundings and enjoy a dash of magic with a trip to the enticingly unique poison garden, bog garden, woodlands and more. From the top of the castle, after kissing the stone on the parapet, you can take in some wonderful views, including a bird’s-eye perspective of its arboretums and waterways.
Where to stay: The Metropole Hotel is one of Cork’s oldest hotels, celebrating 125 years at the heart of the city centre in 2022. With a fascinating history of famous guests, rebellious connections and timeless glamour, this property offers an exceptional experience like no other. They’ve got some great deals on for guests wanting to explore the delights of Blarney Castle, too. Check out their 4 Night Ultimate Cork Staycation or 2 Night Pure Cork Break.
4. Tivoli Park: Ljubljana, Slovenia
The incomparable Tivoli Park is one of the most exquisite parks in Europe, designed in 1813. From the moment you enter, you’ll be enthralled by its various pockets of beauty, like its meticulous ornamental flower beds and curving walkways, which lead right up to the Jakopič Promenade. This walkway is the perfect place to stroll down with a coffee when you’re in the mood for art, as it exhibits a range of stunning photographs all year.
Where to stay: The first written records of Antiq Palace date back to the beginning of the 16th century, and the property has since housed several noble families before becoming the beloved hotel it is today. A hallmark of the city, Antiq Palace is close to several major attractions including Ljubljana castle and some thriving local markets.
5. Eduardo VII Park: Lisbon, Portugal
One of the first things you’ll notice on stepping into Eduardo VII Parque is the beautifully manicured maze stretching right through the middle. Starting from the Avenida da Liberdade side, wander up the park and you’ll find, among its beautiful trees and statues, a hothouse filled with exotic plants and botanic gardens for you to explore. See a range of palms, cacti, and tropical flora and fauna before heading to one of the park’s food locales, where you can peacefully watch the day go by.
Where to stay: Hotel Lisboa Plaza is the place to be in this charming city. This colourful hotel has been run by the same family since the 1950s, and offers a level of personal care you’ll be talking about for years after. Offering a gym, twenty-four hour room service and more, there are very few boxes this elegant property doesn’t tick.
6. Rieter Park: Zurich, Switzerland
Along with being one of the best parks in Europe, did you know that Rieter Park is the largest park in Zurich? Set aside a full afternoon for exploring this wonderful corner of the city, which is a close neighbour of Lake Zurich. Two stately villas occupy this land, as well as some beech trees that belong to the original grove planted around the mid-1800s. The landscaped park also features several playgrounds for those travelling with families.
Where to stay: It’s hard to know what to talk about first with Marktgasse Hotel. Restaurant IGNIV is a hub of innovative cuisine, with its team of chefs always looking for unique ways to please your palate. 39 gorgeous rooms provide ample places for you to rest your head. A salon and library provide some ultra-relaxed areas for you to enjoy a quiet moment of repose. It’s the full package.