You don’t have to be an avid gardener to appreciate nature’s beauty. But for anyone who has a particular love for flowers, there are many places around the world that are worth putting on your list to experience flora in all its glory. Here are just a few.
Tulips in Holland
Just as the song tells us, the best time to see Holland’s famous tulips is in spring. With the first bulbs starting emerging in March and the last petals falling around the end of May.
The best places to see these rainbow fields is anywhere in the Bollenstreek, also known as the Bulb Region, which covers a 20 mile stretch between Haarlem and Leiden. Regular buses run from Amsterdam and Schipol, or you can take the train to Leiden or Haarlem where you can hire a bike for around €10. Alternatively you can cycle the whole route. Head to spots such as Helligom and Leiden if you’d rather avoid the main crowds at the Keukenhof Gardens.
It’s not just tulips that you’ll find here either, but a beautiful array of flowers blooming one after another – beginning with the crocuses, soon followed by hyacinths, narcissi and daffodils, and then of course the tulips themselves.
Cherry Blossom in Japan
For just a few short weeks each year, Japan’s iconic cherry trees come into full bloom, creating a landscape of sugary pink. This special time is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture, with the main festival of Sakura matsuri commencing as soon as the first buds appear, usually around April time.
Thanks to Japan’s seasons being slightly staggered, you can enjoy this historic spectacle in a number of destinations – even following the blossoms as spring makes its way from south to north. Tokyo’s Shinjuko Gyoen Park is a particularly good place to visit as it boasts over 1,000 species of sakura trees.
We also recommend heading to the Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu, where you can walk through the magical wisteria tunnels that are truly breathtaking from late April to mid-May.
Sunflowers in Italy
During the summer months, many of Tuscany’s fields become a mass of green and gold as sunflowers come into bloom. Though initially native to North America, girasoli have become a symbol of Tuscan summer.
Finding these majestic floral giants is no easy task however, as sunflowers are a rotation crop that tend to change field each year. So your best bet is to do some research before you plan your trip, or to speak to the locals and find out where to go. The adventure is worth it though, and makes for a great drive in the countryside – especially with the top down, perhaps with a little wine tasting en route!
The best time to go, is around late June to early July, and if you plan it just right you may also catch the tail end of the poppy fields too.
Rhododendrons in India & Nepal
From late March to early May, the forest trails of the Himalayas turn into an explosion of colour as rhododendrons open their buds. Trees adorned in pink, red and white, drape themselves over the footpaths, perfectly framing the vast surrounding peaks.
The only way to really capture these beautiful blooms in all their glory is on foot, as part of a trek. A good place to start is in India’s northeastern state of Sikkim, which is home to the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary. Aside from the obvious flora it is also host to the elusive red panda.
The Langtang Heritage Trail in Nepal also offers up some floral bliss, with the chance to take tea beneath the bows of rhododendron trees in all their sweetness.