Gardens across the globe have inspired poets and princes. We’re dreaming of casual strolls in exotic locales, the fragrance of blooming flowers, and the feeling of fresh grass brushing against our feet. Take a walk in the park and consider including one of the world’s most beautiful green spaces to your next custom journey.
Christchurch and Canterbury Gardens, Christchurch, New Zealand
You will be doing a whole lot of stopping to smell the roses in Christchurch’s award-winning gardens. The city itself is known as the Garden City, and green spaces take up one third of the urban area. Fill your lungs with fresh air as you walk along the banks of the Avon River, lined with European trees reminiscent of the English towns of the early settlers. Weeping willows, succulents, banana trees, and exotic flowers are a treat for the senses. Go on a private tour of an emerald expanse with the head gardener of nearby Otahuna Lodge, a 115-year-old estate. See our Wonders of New Zealand suggested journey to explore Christchurch and even more of the country’s natural treasures.
Photography provided by Neil Macbeth
Pretty gardens known as baghs are popular in Iran and an important part of Persian culture. The UNESCO-listed Eram Garden is one of the country’s favorites, and we can see why. Reflective pools glimmer among rows of aromatic blooms visited by fluttering nightingales. Tucked within these One Thousand and One Nights-style gardens is the tomb of the world-renowned poet Hafez, visited by those hoping to be inspired by his verses of love and the Divine. Read our Ker & Downey Iran Travel Guide to learn more about the beauty of this country.
Florence is no stranger to beautiful spaces and its Boboli Gardens live up to the city’s reputation of being a center of beauty, art, and culture. The gentle slopes of the manicured gardens offer views of the Tuscan countryside that would have easily inspired Michaelangelo to create more masterpieces. Sculptures dating back to the 16th century dot the garden among the roses and manicured hedges. Once only open to the Medici family living in the nearby Pitti Palace, today anyone can feel like a royal as they wander the pretty pebbled paths, admiring the bubbling fountains. Tuscany is a timeless treat and we suggest you dig into some of its culinary treasures on our Taste of Italy journey.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, Cape Town, South Africa
Even though Cape Town has its fair share of sights, taking a drive out of the city will reveal a tranquil world of fynbos and flowers carpeting the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. There are some 7,000 species of plants to be found in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. The roots of this UNESCO-listed garden began in 1913 when it was converted from a farm into a botanic garden celebrating the country’s indigenous flora. Ker & Downey features a visit to this garden during a private Cape Point drive. No matter the season, there’s something to see on our Luxury South Africa Honeymoon journey.
Shalimar Gardens, Lahore, Pakistan
Although it’s not often on a travel bucket list, Pakistan actually offers a wealth of historic sites, including the UNESCO-listed Shalimar Garden built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1641. The timeless garden is the only one that survived from the Mughal era in Lahore. When you are wandering around the shimmering ornamental ponds, finding shade under the three terraces and cypress trees, you will imagine the rulers of so long ago in their regal finery. The gardens envelop the Lahore Fort, lavishly decorated with inlays of precious metals, mosaics of glass, and Persian motifs.
The expansive royal palace and gardens of Versailles are a must-do day drip from Paris. Best known as the playground of Marie Antoinette, the sprawling palace was once home to the French royal family. Although the interior of the palace and its decadent Hall of Mirrors are a spectacular sight, its gardens (which took 40 years to complete starting in 1661) are the real treat. Explore the geometrically-aligned flowerbeds, paths, terraces, ponds, and Bassin de Neptune fountain with 99 spouts. Marie Antoinette sought privacy on the grounds and built her own little estate here. A perfect slice of French joie de vivre can be enjoyed on our France Through the Ages itinerary.
Draped in a powdery blanket of snow in the winter and filled with a canopy of cottony pink cherry blossoms in the spring, the Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa, Japan is beautiful no matter the season. Sip on a cup of warm brew in one of the tea houses with a serene view of the moss covered rocks and emerald ponds. Learn more about Kanazawa’s art and history on our Haute to Handicraft journey.
Escape Beijing’s buzz with a stroll through the park. Tree-covered hills slope down to lakes and gardens, all fit for a king. The Summer Palace was once a residence of the Qing Dynasty. History buffs will learn about China’s royal family with a private guide taking you through the Buddhist temples, pavilions, and halls. Our Charming China journey will show you Beijing’s timeless sites, and a stay in the Aman Summer Palace gives you private access to the garden.
This 1920s garden replete with marble pools, spiky cacti, banana trees, swaying palms, and bursting bougainvilleas is a painting come to life. After years of neglect, fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent (who had an affinity for Morocco) restored the bewitchingly beautiful garden. Get a little cultural knowledge at the on-site museum displaying a range of Berber jewelry, finery, and objects.
Ready to take a walk in the park? Contact our Ker & Downey travel designers to get started.