The Best Botanical Gardens in Europe

Europe has hundreds of breathtaking botanical gardens, many of which are in major cities. Over a quarter of Britons have travelled specifically to visit a garden, and over half (54%)* say green spaces and gardens are a deciding factor when choosing where to go on holiday.


As we head into the warmer months, which gardens are worth visiting? We’ve curated a list of the 15 best botanical gardens across Europe, including the most peaceful and beautiful gardens and the best for outdoor adventures and families. We gave each garden a score out of 10 based on average rating, number of reviews, utilities and amenities, online popularity and price.

National Botanic Gardens, Ireland

At the top of our list are Ireland’s National Botanic Gardens. Located in Glasnevin, just 3km northwest of Dublin city centre, they offer a tranquil retreat and are home to over 15,000 plant species and cultivars sourced globally. Ireland’s gardens are renowned for their historic glasshouses spanning from the early 19th to mid-20th centuries, featuring a variety of structural techniques and materials. Visitors can also indulge in delicious refreshments in the garden tearoom. The gardens are open every day throughout the year except Christmas Day, and admission is free of charge.

Bodnant Garden, Wales

Securing the second spot is Bodnant Garden, managed by the National Trust and located in Conwy. This Grade I-listed historic garden spans 80 acres and encompasses a diverse range of gardens, including a formal Victorian garden, shrub-filled glades, meadows, woodlands and water gardens. The Victorian East Garden is particularly notable, with its intricate Edwardian Italianate terraces adorned with rose beds, pools and pergola garden rooms. Additionally, the National Trust garden boasts a stunning arboretum, offering enchanting woodland walks amidst various native and exotic trees, such as magnolias and cherished old and rare Champion Trees. Entry into the gardens is £15.

Royal Botanic Garden, UK

The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh claims third place, home to one of the world's most extensive and diverse plant collections. Situated merely a mile north of the city centre, the botanical garden offers a serene escape and superb panoramic views of the city’s skyline. Set over 70 acres, it includes the Rock Garden, the Alpine Houses, the Woodland Garden, the Arboretum and the Native Plants Collection. Entry into the royal gardens is free, and they are open year-round.

Dendrological Garden, Czechia

The Dendrological Garden of Czechia ranks fourth, celebrated for its impressive array of rhododendrons and azaleas and boasting approximately 5,000 tree species and perennials. It stands as one of the Czech Republic's most extensive plant collections.  Established in 1974, the garden frequently hosts plant exhibitions, guided tours and events marking significant occasions, all of which are listed on its website. Admission is free for visitors.

Gardens of Trauttmansdorff, Italy

Completing Europe's top 5 beautiful gardens are the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle in Italy. These castle gardens cover 12 hectares with a 100-metre altitude variation, offering breathtaking vistas of 80 distinct garden landscapes. The grounds comprise four garden worlds showcasing flora from around the globe: the Forests of the World, the Sungardens, the Water and Terraced Gardens, and Landscapes of South Tyrol. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in Europe's finest garden architecture, explore miniature forests from the Americas and Asia, and appreciate the cultivated landscapes of the region. Admission to the gardens is €13.69.

The most peaceful parks in Europe

Jevremovac Botanical Garden, Serbia

At the forefront of Europe's serene gardens is the Jevremovac Botanical Garden in Serbia. Situated in the heart of downtown Belgrade, this expansive garden spans 5 hectares and showcases a diverse collection of over 2,000 plant species from around the world. Jevremovac is also home to a Japanese garden, where visitors can admire a selection of flora from the Far East. With 34 positive reports of tranquil experiences, this peaceful sanctuary is a highlight of the region.

Edinburgh Botanical Garden, UK

Edinburgh's botanical garden emerges as the second-most tranquil botanical garden in Europe. Nestled away from the city's hustle and bustle, it's hardly a shock that this Scottish gem earns its place in the rankings yet again. With attractions like the serene Chinese Hillside and the soothing Rock Garden, visitors can find moments of peace amidst its beauty. Edinburgh's haven garnered 29 reports of serene and positive experiences.

Dendrological Garden, Czechia

The Dendrological Garden in Czechia is in third place, once again appearing in the rankings. Visitors can find solace by taking a leisurely walk along the Black Stream flowing through the series of reservoir basins.

Augsburg Botanical Garden, Germany

The Augsburg Botanical Garden in Germany offers an idyllic retreat away from the bustling heart of Augsburg. Hosting a diverse collection of over 3,100 flora and fauna from various regions, including sandy deserts, savannahs, tropical mountainsides and fields from Central Europe, the gardens provide a captivating experience. Visitors can explore the Roman garden, Bavarian fruit garden, and Japanese gardens, each a must-see attraction. With their harmonious blend of stunning architecture, lush plants and serene water features, these gardens create a peaceful oasis for all who visit.

Ireland’s Botanical Garden, Ireland

Ireland’s Botanical Garden features once more as a slice of serenity away from Dublin’s city centre. This attraction fares well with its romantic walled gardens, enchanting walks around the arboretum and beautiful array of wild meadows, all contributing to its peaceful ambience. 

Europe’s most beautiful gardens

We’ve also looked into the gardens that had reviewers leaving the most comments around positive aesthetics, using terms such as ‘beautiful’, ‘pretty’ and ‘stunning’. 

Bodnant Garden, Wales

Bodnat Garden is crowned the most beautiful botanical garden in Europe, as well as making our top 10 garden list. With year-round colour, and exotic collections of plants from the Himalayas to the Andes, it’s no surprise this Welsh national trust site has scored 74 for a positive aesthetic experience. 

Winterbourne House, England

In second place is Birminghams botanical garden Winterbourne House. The Edwardian historic house and gardens contain plants from around the world with collections of plants from China, North and South America, and is one of the best-surviving examples of an Edwardian Arts and Crafts suburban villa garden.

Keukenhof, Holland

Holland's Keukenhof, ranks third among the most beautiful gardens. The gardens date back to the 15th century, and although originally used as hunting grounds, the park is now home to 7 million flower bulbs. Displaying the very best that Dutch floricultural has to offer, it’s a must-visit destination when exploring the Netherlands’. 

The best gardens for adventures and families

The Dendrological Garden in Czechia has earned top ratings as a family-friendly destination. Here, families can explore wooded paths, collect sticks, spot frogs in the pond and climb over rocks. Near the entrance, a charming wooden playground awaits. Additionally, visitors can refuel at the well-equipped café within the garden premises, offering both indoor and outdoor seating. It's an ideal spot to relax with a coffee, indulge in a slice of cake, or savour an ice cream. For eager little ones, ice cream is also available at the entrance desk if they can't wait until after their stroll.

The top choice for outdoor adventure enthusiasts is Bodnant Garden in Wales. Here, visitors can explore a range of trails, including the Furnace Wood and Meadow Trail, as well as the Winter Garden Trail. They offer a circular route around the gardens, spanning 250 years of horticultural history and catering to families of all ages.

If you're feeling inspired to organise that long-awaited city break, we've got you covered. Consider delving into Edinburgh's fascinating history, or if you're inclined to venture beyond, Accor offers a variety of hotels in Europe to suit your needs.

Methodology and sources

*Source: *Onepulse survey of 500 Brits Jan 2024

Step 1: Seed List Compilation An automated bot searched Google Maps for botanical gardens across 27 countries, generating a seed list of over 700 top locations in Europe.

Step 2: Data Refinement Gardens were ranked based on ratings and reviews. The top 50, characterised by high and frequent reviews, were selected for in-depth analysis.

Our recent articles