Botanic beauties: Spectacular botanic gardens

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These gardens merit more than just a quick stroll.

Relaxing, scenic and an insightful portrait of the destination at hand, botanical gardens provide a unique snapshot of local culture and wildlife. We’ve found eight of the world’s loveliest gardens that merit more than just a quick stroll.

Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

In addition to being a horticultural research capital, Rio’s Jardim Botânico is a stunning display of tropical flora. Containing more than 6,500 species, numerous greenhouses and incredible views (the garden is situated below the right arm of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue), it’s a must-visit for cariocas and visitors alike.

Botanical Garden Rio de Janeiro © Janelle Lugge, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com
Botanical Garden Rio de Janeiro © Janelle Lugge, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com

Kew Gardens, London, England

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kew Gardens dates back several centuries. The 121-hectare expanse in southwest London features thousands of different species, as well as greenhouses, outdoor sculpture exhibitions, a museum and more.

Greenhouse at Kew Gardens © Kamira, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com
Greenhouse at Kew Gardens © Kamira, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com

Monet’s Gardens, Giverny, France

No, Monet’s paintings weren’t surrealism – the fact is, the landscapes he painted really were that gorgeous. At Giverny, visitors can see his works come to life. Look for water lily-dotted ponds, wisteria-covered bridges, and colorful flower gardens.

The garden of Claude Monet © Anneka, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com
The garden of Claude Monet © Anneka, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com

Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden, Cape Town, South Africa

Located at the foot of distinctive Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden was founded 100 years ago in an effort to preserve South Africa’s unique ecology. A large conservatory showcases different species, while Zimbabwean stone sculptures decorate the outdoor gardens.

Table Mountain in Kirstenbosch © Todd Boland, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com
Table Mountain in Kirstenbosch © Todd Boland, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, New York, NY, United States

The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens are a favorite year-round urban escape for locals and tourists. The 52-acre garden attracts a crowd in the spring for its cherry tree esplanade, while the C. V. Starr Bonsai museum is another popular garden site.

The Shinto Shrine at Brookyn Botanic Garden © Todd Boland, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com
The Shinto Shrine at Brooklyn Botanic Garden © Todd Boland, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com

Byodoin, Kyoto, Japan

Though it’s just shy of five acres, this garden is now ranked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Featuring an 11th century Buddhist Temple, Byodoin boasts classic elements of a Japanese garden: a pond, pavilions, bridges and cherry trees.

Byodoin Buddhist Temple © thanomphong, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com
Byodoin Buddhist Temple © thanomphong, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com

Seychelles National Botanic Gardens, Victoria, Seychelles

Those after lush flora shouldn’t miss the Seychelles National Botanic Gardens. Filled with tropical jungle plants, including the national coco de mer tree and numerous spice and fruit-bearing species, the garden also plays host to populations of fruit bats and giant tortoises.

Jungle of Seychelles Island © Iakov Kalinin, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com
Jungle of Seychelles Island © Iakov Kalinin, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com

Tohono Chul Park, Tucson, Ariz., United States

There’s more to desert ecology than prickly cacti. At Tohono Chul Park in Arizona, a vibrant hummingbird garden attracts the birds with fragrant honeysuckle plants, while indigenous salvia and species of succulents populate other areas of the park. The historic, on-site adobe house provides a snapshot of desert life.

Tohono Chul Park (Image: arancidamoeba)
Tohono Chul Park (Image: arancidamoeba)

(Main image: Orchid garden © Janelle Lugge, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com)

Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…

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Botanic beauties: Spectacular botanic gardens was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Claire Bullen
Author: Claire Bullen (88 posts)

Globetrotter, chowhound, travel writer for Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to... and contributor to Cheapflights Travel Blogs.