Whether you’re a keen gardener or would just like to admire the flora and fauna of some of Europe’s most stunning gardens, you might be interested to know that you can visit famous gardens during a river cruise. Cruising on the Seine, Danube or Dutch Waterways, you may have opportunities to enjoy excursions to gardens as you stop at popular ports of call. Read on to hear about three of the best gardens you can visit on a river cruise.
Keukenhof Gardens, Holland
Seven million bulbs are planted in Keukenhof’s 65-acre grounds each autumn, and they burst into colour from mid-March to mid-May. This is the biggest flower garden in the world, and the perfect place to enjoy Holland in bloom – a step above the uniformity of the commercial tulip fields nearby.
Keukenhof’s bright and varied tulips line peaceful waterways, and create vivid paths of colour that wind through the trees. The highlight for spring visitors is the annual Flower Parade, where a striking procession of floats coated in flowers travels from Noordwijk to Haarlem. Visit between mid-March and mid-May and you can enjoy the annual Keukenhof Tulip Festival with its rainbow-stripes of flowers.
Monet’s Garden, Giverny, France
How about a river cruise trip to see what Monet saw? Close to Paris lies the chocolate-box village of Giverny, where Claude Monet lived from 1883 until his death in 1926. Here he devoted much of his time to painting his gardens, which were his personal landscaping project – often painting the same views repeatedly to capture them in differing natural light.
Take a spring river cruise down the Seine and you might have the chance to tour Monet’s house and gardens on a shore excursion. Here you’ll see the iconic Japanese bridge spanning the lily pond, with drooping willows hanging down over the water; and the many pathways that he captured in his paintings – lined with crocuses, daffodils, snowdrops, pansies and a vast array of other species that grew brighter and more vivid in Monet’s eyes as his vision began to fail.
The Volksgarten can be found in the city’s central Innere Stadt, and is famous for a wealth of neoclassical fountains and monuments in addition to its well-loved rose garden. The garden was originally destined to be enjoyed solely by the city’s nobility, having been created as part of the Hofburg Palace grounds. It was later decided to open it for the city to enjoy, making this the first public garden in Vienna – hence its name, “The People’s Garden”.
The garden follows a more formal, uncluttered layout than Keukenhof and Monet’s Garden, following in the traditions of symmetry, space and isolated, ornamental display that lie at the heart of period landscaping. There’s one thing that stands out about the Volksgarten though, and that’s its dedication to roses – with hundreds of species of rose shrubs, bushes and climbers covering the grounds in bright yellows and whites and rich, regal pinks and reds.
How to visit gardens on a river cruise
The best time to cruise to appreciate the gardens of Europe in full bloom is the springtime and easrly summer. Here at RiverVoyages we have a team of expert cruise concierge who are available to help you find your perfect river cruise with excursions to visit gardens. Just give us a call for more information.