When it comes to garden spectacles, there are hundreds around the world but these ten royal gardens will make you want to add them to your future travel list. They'll have you catching a flight in no time because they're some of the best 'touristy' spots to see amazing gardens if you're into greenery and plants. Take note in 3,2,1!
10 Royal Gardens That Are Worth Visiting
The gardens and surrounding grounds in this collection span centuries and were once reserved for royalty and their courtiers. They are similar to the most amazing topiary gardens around the world. The sites on this list are a veritable who's who of must-see royal gardens, ranging from the intricate swirls and loops of Germany's Herrenhausen Gardens to the vast scale of Italy's Royal Palace of Caserta.
Each garden is a treasured — and lavish — symbol of the past, beckoning us to escape into the wonders of man and nature (or perhaps digitally escape, if that's all we can manage right now, as with these virtual garden tours). Fortunately, time and history have now opened their doors to those other than the royal few.
1. Italy's Royal Palace of Caserta
The Caserta Royal Palace and Park, north of Naples, was designed by Luigi Vanvitelli, one of the greatest Italian architects of the 18th century, to combine the influences of Versailles, Rome, and Tuscany. Caserta is regarded as an Italian Baroque triumph that was ahead of its time. The garden's pools, fountains, and cascades are aligned in a 'telescope effect' that extends as far as the eye can see across 11 acres. The Royal Palace of Caserta complex includes hunting lodges, a silk factory, and lush woodlands in addition to the vast parterres separated by the central avenue leading to the Fontana Margherita.
2. Germany's Herrenhausen Gardens
Herrenhausen Gardens, located in Hanover, Germany, is a magnificent ensemble of historic gardens that has captivated visitors for centuries. Steeped in history and horticultural splendor, these gardens are a testament to the refined tastes and cultural legacy of the region.
The gardens, dating back to the 17th century, were created by the Electress Sophia of Hanover and further expanded by subsequent generations of the House of Hanover. The centerpiece of Herrenhausen Gardens is the Great Garden, a Baroque masterpiece that features meticulously manicured lawns, geometrically designed flowerbeds, and ornate fountains. The Great Garden is a stunning example of formal garden design, with pathways and hedges arranged in harmonious patterns.
One of the most iconic features of Herrenhausen Gardens is the Grotto, a fantastical structure adorned with seashells, stones, and sculptures that transport visitors into a world of whimsy. The cascading water features and the intricate design of the Grotto add an enchanting touch to the overall ambiance of the gardens.
3. Sweden's Drottningholm Palace
Situated on the island of Lovön in Lake Mälaren, just outside of Stockholm, Sweden, is a captivating masterpiece that seamlessly blends architectural elegance with natural beauty. Steeped in history and serving as the official residence of the Swedish royal family, Drottningholm Palace offers visitors a glimpse into the nation's royal heritage.
The palace, constructed in the 17th century, showcases a stunning example of Baroque architecture. Its façade is adorned with ornate sculptures, columns, and intricate detailing, reflecting the opulence and sophistication of the era. The palace complex is complemented by beautifully landscaped gardens, including the French-inspired Baroque garden and the more relaxed English-style garden. One of the 10 most stunning royal gardens around the world for sure!
4. Denmark's Rosenborg Castle Gardens
Rosenborg Castle Gardens, located in the heart of Copenhagen, Denmark, is a splendid green oasis that surrounds the historic Rosenborg Castle. Nestled amid the city, these gardens offer a serene retreat where visitors can escape the urban hustle and immerse themselves in the beauty of nature and history.
The gardens, established in the early 17th century, are designed in the Renaissance style and showcase a meticulously manicured landscape. Lush lawns, neatly trimmed hedges, and vibrant flower beds create a picturesque setting, providing a perfect complement to the nearby Rosenborg Castle. At the heart of the gardens stands Rosenborg Castle, an architectural gem that served as a royal residence in the past. The castle itself is a striking example of Dutch Renaissance design, with its copper-clad spires and red-brick exterior. Visitors can explore the castle's richly decorated rooms, housing the Danish crown jewels and royal regalia, and gain insight into the country's royal history.
5. France's Jardins du Versailles
The Jardins du Versailles, or Gardens of Versailles, sits in the Palace of Versailles near Paris, France. It is a masterpiece of landscape architecture that exhibits the grandeur and opulence of the French Baroque style. Designed by landscape architect André Le Nôtre, these gardens are an integral part of the historic Palace of Versailles.
Stretching across 800 hectares, the Gardens of Versailles are a breathtaking showcase of symmetry, geometric precision, and ornate design. The gardens are meticulously divided into distinct areas, each with its unique charm and purpose. The Grand Parterre, a vast expanse of meticulously manicured lawns adorned with intricate patterns of flowerbeds and statues, serves as the central axis leading the eye toward the grand façade of the palace.
The iconic Orangerie, a colossal greenhouse, houses a remarkable collection of citrus trees during the colder months and stands as a testament to the technical prowess of 17th-century horticulture. The Latona Fountain, an impressive centerpiece surrounded by terraced steps, tells the mythological tale of Latona and her children, Apollo and Diana, turning disrespectful peasants into frogs.
6. China's Summer Palace
China's Summer Palace is located northwest outskirts of Beijing, China. It has come to be a sprawling masterpiece of Chinese garden design and imperial architecture. Renowned for its scenic beauty and historical significance, the Summer Palace is also a UNESCO World Heritage site that reflects the grandeur of Chinese imperial aesthetics.
Occupying an area of 290 hectares, the Summer Palace is centered around the tranquil Kunming Lake and surrounded by lush hills. The palace was originally built in the 12th century and later reconstructed in the 18th century during the Qing Dynasty. The architecture, predominantly in the classical Chinese style, harmoniously integrates with the natural landscape, creating a breathtaking panorama of pavilions, halls, bridges, and gardens.
Tip: April to May is the peak season for the Summer Palace, as the weather is warm and many flowers are in bloom. In July and August, you can see lovely lotus blossoms covering some areas of the lake.
7. Germany's Ludwigsburg Palace
Situated near Stuttgart, Germany, Ludwigsburg Palace is a magnificent Baroque masterpiece that stands as a testament to the grandeur of 18th-century architecture. Built during the early 18th century by Duke Eberhard Ludwig of Württemberg, Ludwigsburg Palace served as a residence for the dukes and kings of Württemberg. The palace complex encompasses a series of interconnected buildings, including the main residential palace, the Favorite hunting lodge, and the beautiful Ludwigsburg Baroque Gardens.
The Ludwigsburg Baroque Gardens spread over 32 hectares, are a masterpiece of landscape design. The gardens feature geometrically arranged flowerbeds, symmetrically aligned pathways, and meticulously sculpted hedges. The Neptune Fountain, a prominent centerpiece, adds a touch of grandeur, while the numerous sculptures and statues scattered throughout the gardens contribute to the overall aesthetic charm.
8. France's Château de Chenonceau
Often referred to as the 'Ladies' Château' due to the influential women who shaped its destiny, Chenonceau stands as one of the most iconic and romantic castles in the country. It was built during the times of the 16th century. Château de Chenonceau boasts a unique design that spans the river, creating an enchanting vision of turrets, arches, and delicate stonework reflected in the tranquil waters below. The castle is framed by lush gardens, adding to its overall fairy-tale allure.
9. Madrid's Real Jardin Botanico
Another pit stop in your travel plans should be in Madrid to visit the city's Real Jardin Botanico. It's best recommended to go from March to May or September to November and visit it during weekdays to catch a great glimpse of the garden without too much of a crowd. The Real Jardin Botanico is a jewel in the heart of Madrid, with species dating back more than two centuries and a commission by Fernando VI in 1755. There are several greenhouses on the grounds, as well as an enchanting rose garden.
10. Brussels's Royal Greenhouses of Laeken
Seen within the expansive grounds of the Royal Castle in Brussels, Belgium, the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken is a botanical marvel. This annual spectacle, open to the public for a limited time, invites visitors into a world where glass and iron create a synthesis between nature and keen design.
The Royal Greenhouses, designed by the renowned architect Alphonse Balat in the late 19th century, are an extraordinary feat of engineering and aesthetics. Comprising a series of interconnected domes and pavilions, the greenhouses showcase an elegant fusion of Art Nouveau and classic styles. The towering glass structures allow an abundance of natural light to flood the interiors, creating a perfect environment for the diverse array of plants housed within.
Upon entering the greenhouses, visitors find themselves fused in a botanical paradise. The collection is not only diverse but also carefully curated, featuring rare and exotic plant species from around the world. Palms, orchids, azaleas, and countless other flora create a vibrant tapestry of colors and fragrances, transporting visitors to different corners of the globe.
As visitors wander through the greenhouses, they encounter themed rooms and spaces dedicated to specific plant species, creating a dynamic and educational experience. The meticulous organization of the collection reflects not only the aesthetic sensibilities of the era but also a commitment to the exploration and preservation of botanical diversity.
Which will be your next choice? Pack your bags and get ready to feel like part of royalty when stepping foot in these alluring green gardens!