The most beautiful flower displays in the world
Nothing signals spring like the arrival of incredible floral displays across the world, and to get the best view, you often have to book months in advance.
From spring blooms in The Netherlands to South Africa’s September wildflowers, these are the most beautiful flower displays in the world.
Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, The Netherlands
Each year, more than 7 million bulbs are planted in Holland’s Keukenhof Gardens ready to bloom in Spring. They’re mainly tulips, and there’s an incredible 800 different varieties delightfully arranged here. Keukenhof dates back to the 15th century, when Countess Jacoba van Bieren spent her days gathering fruit and vegetables from the gardens for the kitchen of Teylingen Castle.
Some 500 years later in 1949, a group of 20 leading flower bulb growers decided to repurpose the estate and use it to exhibit spring-flowering bulbs, and so Keukenhof was born. Keukenhof Tulip Gardens is open from March to May each year, and if you want a real slice of the action the annual Flower Parade sees decadent flower floats march through the gardens for a day in April each year. The park covers 32 hectares but can get extremely busy, so visit before 11am and after 3pm if you’d like to avoid the crowds. Budding photographers should visit at sunrise or sunset, when the light makes for excellent photo opportunities.
Wildflowers in Cape Floral, South Africa
South Africa may not be the first destination that springs to mind when you’re thinking about where to spot flowers next, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. At the tip of the African continent, South Africa’s Cape Floral region has the highest concentration of plant species in the world. From August to mid-October, South Africa welcomes Spring and with it comes tonnes of incredible local flora.
Fynbos, vygies, daisies and nemesias are just some of the native species that come into bloom across South Africa’s west coast, creating a true tapestry of colour. The best time to see the flowers is thought to be August through mid-September, and the wild flowers can be enjoyed through self-drive tours, or on walks and bicycle routes within the local National Parks and nature reserves.
Wengen Alpine Flowers, Switzerland
In the heart of Switzerland lies the picturesque town of Wegner, overlooked by the Eiger and Jungfrau mountains. The town sits at a height of 1,274 metres, and is home to breathtaking scenery and verdant alpine meadows. It’s a superb destination for a diverse range of flora and fauna, with between 250 and 350 species blooming here depending on the season. The beautiful Alpine landscape can be explored via 500 kilometres of walking trails or 15 railway routes. For true immersion into the region’s plants, the nearby Schynige Platte Alpine Botanical Garden is home to almost 700 native species that are in bloom from June to November.
Cherry blossom in Asia
One of the most famous phenomena in the world, sakura season in Asia (running between mid-February and April sees thousands of trees across the continent bloom with beautiful cherry blossoms. Two of the best places to see the cherry blossom are Japan and South Korea, with both the cities and rural areas blanketed in a sea of pink. In Japan, a cherry tree tour of Kyoto is a great way to explore the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites as they come alive with spring flowers. For those looking to escape the crowds, make your way to Nara – this city was once the capital of 8th century Japan, and the Deer Park here is idyllic when it’s filled with cherry blossoms.
In South Korea, the major cities of Seoul, Gyeongju and Busan are all filled with opportunities to spot the country’s delightful springtime backdrop of magnificent floral displays. The best place to catch a glimpse of the action in the capital is undoubtedly the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival. Held in mid-April every year, this festival celebrates the Yeouiseo-ro Road coming into bloom with azaleas, forsythia, royal azaleas and a whole host of other spring flowers. Further afield, the beautiful Anapji Pond and Bomun Lake, both located in Gyeongju, are perennials on cherry blossom itineraries, and for good reason.
Wildflowers in Perth, Australia
Capital of western Australia, the city of Perth carries a uniquely laidback and cosmopolitan charm. The real attraction for flower hunters though is Margaret River, a rich wine producing region that is home to lush forests and great blooming patches of wildflowers. The wildflowers come into bloom from June to November, and the most vivid displays are found later in the season. In total, over 12,000 species come into bloom, ranging from kangaroo paws to native orchids. One of the best ways to experience these wildflowers is on a drive through the region, following one of the many routes provided by the local tourist office.
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