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Visit the 13 Most Famous Gardens of the World

Did you know that gardening can relieve stress and lower your blood pressure? Imagine what it can do when combined with your passion for learning and travel! We’ve created a list of 13 of our favorite gardens to visit around the world that we think are worth the trip. You may just want to add them to your health regimen.

Begonia, Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia

The World’s Most Beautiful Gardens Around the World


1. Butchart Gardens: Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

When Robert Pim Butchart’s cement business took off at the turn of the 20th century, he and his wife, Jennie, left Ontario for Vancouver Island and built a home and factory near a limestone quarry. In 1906, Jennie added a Japanese garden to the site, and as her husband exhausted the quarry, she began to transform the unsightly crater into the now-famous Butchart Gardens.

By 1929, the Butcharts had added an Italian garden and replaced their tennis courts with a rose garden. Today, 50 gardeners maintain the year-round blooms of Butchart Gardens’ more than 700 varieties of flowers that, along with world-class dining and entertainment, attract nearly one million annual visitors.

For eight days, Road Scholar will take travelers on tour to see the botanical beauty of Victoria and Vancouver, where there are some of the world’s most beautiful gardens to visit.


2. Boston Public Garden: Boston, Mass., United States

Boston Public Garden, across Charles Street from another famous garden — Boston Common — was established by jurist and philanthropist Horace Gray in 1837 and added to the National Park Service’s registry of historic landmarks 150 years later. It is recognized as the first public botanical garden in the United States.

Among the garden’s statuary are Thomas Ball’s equestrian statue of George Washington and a set of ducklings in file behind their mother, depicting the central characters in Robert McCloskey’s children’s book "Make Way for Ducklings." The book, which won the Caldecott Medal in 1942 for its illustrations, tells the story of a family of ducks living on an island in the garden’s lagoon. The duck statuary is an iconic landmark in Boston.

Road scholar offers an incredible trip to see Boston and all its sites on the tour Boston: Birthplace of American Liberty.


3. Monet’s Garden: Giverny, France

On the “right bank” of the Seine River, 50 miles west of Paris, lies the village of Giverny. French painter Claude Monet — whose work "Impression, Sunrise" gave the Impressionist movement its name — spotted the tiny community from the train running between Vernon and Gasny. He decided to move his family there, and the gardens he raised at his new home inspired much of the last 30 years of his career.

The gardens at Giverny were the subject of Monet’s iconic "Water Lilies," a series of about 250 oil paintings that continued the artist’s career-long motif of serial works. In June 2007, 81 years after Monet’s death, a Sotheby’s auction in London fetched 18.5 million pounds for one of these pieces.

Road Scholar has curated a tour called French Art Voyage: Paris, the Rhône and the French Riviera


4. International Rose Test Garden: Portland, Ore., United States

In 1905, to help spur a flagging economy, legislators in Portland, Oregon, held an international fair marking the centennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition’s arrival at the Pacific Ocean. The fair left Portland with 20 miles of rose-lined streets and a number of enthusiasts who, with the help of Portland Parks and Recreation and the American Rose Society, created what is today the oldest continually operating rose test garden in America.

With more than 7,000 rose plants in 550 varieties, the garden tests new cultivars from all over the world for color, fragrance and disease resistance and, on clear days, provides visitors with spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains and majestic Mount Hood.

Learn about the “City of Roses” with the Road Scholar tour Signature City Portland, where travelers explore the Portland Art Museum and the most beautiful gardens.


5. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: London, England

With his marriage to Dorothy Bennett, heir to Sir Richard Bennett’s estate in Kew Park in today’s Greater London, 17th-century British noble Sir Henry Capel developed the first gardens in what is now the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the RBG continues its 250-year tradition of contributions to botanical science. Scientists pursue hundreds of scientific projects on the grounds, ranging from individual doctoral research to large-scale undertakings involving dozens of international partners. In addition to its many exhibits throughout the year, the gardens host an annual photography contest, with the top 100 images displayed in an outdoor exhibit.

Join Road Scholar on the tour The Quintessential Britain, where you will have a chance to see the famous gardens and sites of London and beyond. 


6. North Carolina Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, United States

The North Carolina Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is a 434-acre public garden located within the Bent Creek Experimental Forest south of Asheville. The North Carolina Arboretum contains 65 acres of cultivated gardens, including one of the most famous bonsai collections in the United States. 

Here are some of the features of the North Carolina Arboretum and Botanical Gardens:

  • 65 acres of cultivated gardens, including the Bonsai Exhibition Garden and the National Native Azalea Collection
  • Over 10 miles of hiking and biking trails 
  • Self-guided nature explorations 
  • An Ecolab containing live reptiles and amphibians
  • Rotating art, science and educational exhibits

Explore the gardens of Asheville with Road Scholar on a tour aptly named A Garden’s Delight: The Private & Public Landscapes of Asheville


7. Bermuda Botanical Gardens

The Bermuda Botanical Gardens were established in 1898 on 36 acres of lush foliage. Meander through tropical plants and trees from all over the world, including banyan trees from India, a Japanese Zen garden and meticulously manicured English gardens. There is even a sensory garden for the blind, with braille signs and fragrant plants.

Also on the grounds of the botanical gardens is Bermuda’s Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art. The museum houses island-inspired artwork from 19th-century and 20th-century artists, including Georgia O'Keeffe and Andrew Wyeth. 

Be sure to check out the sculpture called "Double Fantasy," a tribute to John Lennon, who wrote his final album in 1980 after a visit to these gardens. 

Join Road Scholar for the tour Bermuda Unveiled: Historic Forts, Secret Gardens & More!


8. Longwood Gardens, Philadelphia, Pa., United States

Longwood Gardens is 200 acres of highly manicured plantings and water fountains that are equally beautiful and stunning. Within the gardens are sunny spaces with forever-blooming flowers, walking paths through woodlands and beautiful sparkling lakes, including: 

  • Chimes Tower District: Here, you'll find a collection of rare plants, a historic bell tower, a 50-foot waterfall and award-winning trees. 
  • Conservatory District: The centerpiece of Longwood Gardens is a 19th-century conservatory housing a flower show through a series of breathtaking rooms.
  • House & Theatre District: With expansive views out to Peirce’s Park and Peirce’s Woods, this district features a 600-foot flower garden and an open-air theater. 
  • Pierce-du Pont House: The Heritage Exhibit at the residence shows 300 years of history and horticulture at Longwood. There are lush gardens and shaded benches. 
  • Peirce’s Park: This area is home to woodland wildflowers and soaring trees, many more than 100 years old.
  • Peirce’s Woods: Walk through an award-winning woodland garden filled with oaks, ashes, maples and tulip trees, over 200 species of native plants and cultivars.

Discover one of the best gardens in the U.S. in Philadelphia on the Road Scholar tour, Topiaries, Pleasure Gardens and Botanical Gems in Philadelphia and Beyond


9. Chelsea Flower Show and Gardens, London, England

The British love their beautiful flower-filled gardens properly manicured and doused with just the right amount of rain each year to make them come alive with color. The Chelsea Flower Show and Gardens is the world's most famous, high-profile flower show and the place to see cutting-edge garden design and new plants — and find ideas for your own garden. 

Chelsea Flower Show and Gardens is the ‘haute-couture’ of the international gardening scene where plants are revealed for the first time. Where else can you sip on champagne and enjoy a great meal on the grounds of the most famous gardens in the world? 

Don’t miss the Road Scholar one-day Chelsea Flower Show and Gardens tour. 


10. Villa Rufolo Gardens, Ravello, Italy

This spectacular villa, built by a wealthy merchant family in the 13th century, sits on a hill overlooking the sea in Ravello, Italy. In its time, it was considered the largest and most expensive villa on the Amalfi Coast. 

Italians consider Villa Rufolo the jewel in the crown of Ravello, and its garden is known as the "Garden of the Soul." The garden occupies two levels and is reached by following a Victorian-style, tree-lined avenue. Ancient walls cloaked in lime and cypress trees guide visitors to the Moorish cloister. 

The town of Ravello has become “la città della musica“ — the city of music, for the annual summer concert series that features piano concerts, chamber music and a grand orchestral performance looking out over the Mediterranean Sea. 

Join Road Scholar on a tour of Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, where you will eat and breathe the romance of the Mediterranean. 


11. Marrakech, Morocco (Jardin Majorelle)

Looking for one of the world’s most beautiful gardens that you will never forget? Take a trip to Marrakech, Morocco, to tour Jardin Majorelle. This botanical garden in the heart of Marrakech was designed by French artist Jacques Marjorelle in the 1920s and 1930s. It’s known most notably for its vibrant blue structures. These blue structures contrast beautifully with the colorful plants and trees, creating a visually striking environment.

As you walk among famous gardens like Jardin Majorelle, you can learn more about plant life and biodiversity. Here in Marrakech, visitors of Jardin Majorelle can explore a diverse collection of plant species like cacti, bamboo, palms and other exotic plants, then relax by the tranquil pond that’s home to water lilies and lotus flowers.

Along with its vibrant plant life, what makes Jardin Majorelle one of the world’s most beautiful gardens is its accompanying Berber Museum, which displays the stunning personal collection of Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent of Northern African ceramics, jewelry, textiles and other artifacts. Overall, Jardin Majorelle offers visitors a peaceful oasis among the hustle and bustle of Marrakech to learn about Moroccan culture and art.

At Road Scholar, we make exploring world-famous gardens like Jardin Majorelle easy. Join our Adventures Online about Morocco, where you can take an online field trip to learn about famous world gardens right in Morocco, including Jardin Majorelle, from the comfort of your home. 


12. Keukenhof, Lisse, Netherlands

Another one of the most beautiful gardens of the world is Keukenhof, located in Lisse, Netherlands. Keukenhof makes our list of famous gardens for several reasons. Known as the “Garden of Europe,” Keukenhof boasts one of the largest flower gardens in the world and is known for its strikingly vibrant display of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other spring flowers.

Covering an area of over 32 hectares, Keukenhof features millions of budding bulbs that create interesting designs and patterns, allowing visitors to walk the grounds and wander through themed gardens that each showcase different varieties of flowers. From its Japanese garden to its historical and natural gardens, visitors of Keukenhof can spend an entire day taking in the sights, smells and beauty of this world-famous garden.

Keukenhof is only open to the public for a limited time each year, typically from March to May, when the flowers are at their peak, making this an excellent springtime vacation. As Keukenhof bursts into color, visitors from around the world make their way to Lisse to witness this breathtaking beauty firsthand. 

Along with its floral displays, Keukenhof also offers various events and activities for visitors, such as flower shows, guided tours, bike tours and boat rides that bring visitors to the surrounding bulb fields. Along the way, you can learn about Dutch history and its horticultural industry, making flower cultivation one of the country’s top trades. After hours of walking the garden, visitors can eat at one of the several restaurants on the grounds, offering the opportunity to enjoy authentic Dutch cuisine.

At Road Scholar, you can enjoy a riverboat tour to Holland’s tulip gardens to witness the stunning springtime displays. On our riverboat cruise, you can voyage through Holland and walk among the country’s many tulips and flower gardens, including those of Keukenhof, learning from locals and your expert guide about the history and traditions of Dutch flower farming.


13. Gardens of Versailles, France

Arguably, one of the most famous gardens around the world is the Gardens of Versailles, located on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles in Versailles, France. Located a short train ride from Paris, the Gardens of Versailles are known for their grandeur, beauty and historical significance. This palace served as the royal residence of France during King Louis XIV’s reign during the 17th and 18th centuries, and his vision of the palace and its grounds remain today.

The Gardens of Versaille were designed by André Le Nôtre, whose design style is characterized by symmetry and geometric precision. As you walk the grounds of this world-famous garden, you can get lost in the elaborate mazes of hedges and the meticulous layout of lawns and flowerbeds. 

Covering over 800 hectares, the Garden of Versailles is one of the largest gardens in the world. It features a series of terraces, parterres, alleys and avenues that stem from the central avenue down the middle of the palace’s lawn. At the far end, visitors will find the Grand Canal, a stunning waterway open for boating.

Throughout the gardens, visitors can also marvel at the beautifully ornate fountains and hand-carved sculptures, along with pools and water features, many of which were designed by Jean-Baptiste Tuby and Tommaso Francini, a hydraulic engineer. One of the most famous fountains is the Neptune Fountain at the far end of the Grand Canal, which features a giant statue of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea.

Another key feature of the Gardens of Versailles is the Orangery, an expansive greenhouse dedicated to preserving citrus trees from the winter months. On the outskirts of the Orangery are the King’s and Queen’s groves, carefully manicured paths that offer visitors reprieve from the sun during the hot summer months. Throughout the year, visitors can enjoy events like musical performances, elaborate fountain shows, theater productions and take a guided tour of the palace itself.

At Road Scholar, we have an exciting collection of Paris tours that can bring you to notable attractions like the Palace of Versailles to view one of the world’s most beautiful gardens. Our expert guides will walk you through the grounds to allow you to discover the craftsmanship of world-famous artists, gardeners and architects. Along the way, you can ask questions and let your curiosity run free as you get lost in the beautiful and moody labyrinth of hedges. Explore our programs today to see some of the world’s most beautiful gardens.


Road Scholar

At Road Scholar, we have a wide range of tours to choose from, including city tours throughout Europe, America and Canada. Our programs are designed to open the world to all our scholars. No matter which educational learning adventure you choose, you'll be placed in a cohort of like-minded adventurers, ranging from families to couples, business people to retirees, and intellectuals to solo travelers like yourself.

Each of our programs is led by local experts who will walk you through your destination's history, culture, traditions and landscape. Our immersive experiences will allow you and members of your group to partake in spirited conversations, learn more about the world and return with lifelong friendships and memories.

Enroll in one of our Road Scholar tours today to visit the best gardens in the U.S. and beyond.