When it comes to travelling, we all have our favourite style. Some cannot live away from nature, others need to be close to the ocean, and some are urban fans.
On a short city-break or a longer exploration in one of the world’s capitals, getting away from the crowds and finding a park to reconnect with nature is a pure delight.
Some cities in the world have parks that are tourist destinations of their own, other cities are renown for the impressive number of parks they count.
Here’s our world tour series of the best cities with parks that might lead you to plan your next city-break. And we’re starting in Europe.
© Cha Gia José – Flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0
We already told you cycling was part of the philosphy in Copenhagen. Nature happens to be too. Since 2015 by municipal law all citizen must be able to reach a park by foot in less than 15 minutes.
The Kings garden is probably the most famous park, open year-round to visitors. The park is also known as the Rosenborg park. It is the country’s oldest royal garden, where locals and visitors stroll along and enjoy flowers, sunbathing or people watching, especially in the summer.
During the Copenhagen Jazz festival, you can enjoy several bands playing throughout the park.
Astonishing as it may seem, another very appreciated area to relax, walk in nature or meditate is the Assistens cemetery. The most famous cemetery in the country, as it is the resting place of fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen. If you visit it, you will surely be like us amazed by this green oasis, and probably surprised to cross numerous locals meditating, having a rest or a picnic in the shade.
The city regularly hits the headlines on articles related to overtourism. A great way to escape the city centre hassle, noise and traffic is to head to one of the many parks that are around.
Barcelona is the town of the famous architect Antonio Gaudi, who left his architectural footprint all around the city, notably with the famous Sagrada Familia. He also created the Guell Park, a very beautiful place to visit: unless you want to stay away from the crowds.
In the same way, the largest park in the city the Ciutadella park would probably be one to avoid if you are visiting the area during the high season.
For more intimacy: we particularly liked going up to Montjuic the former Olympic city. After taking the cableway, to climb the hill, you can access the former stadiums and a museum if you wish to. But the real interest of being here is to find little green gardens, that tourists not often go to. You can enter one of the gardens and they follow one another. A very pleasant green escape and a nice viewpoint on the city of Barcelona. There is also an ancient Greek theatre where concerts are held in summer.
© harry lawford – flickr - CC BY 2.0
The city of London counts 8 parks called the Royal Parks. All together, they account for over 2000 hectares (500 acres) of green space in the city.
The city has 33% of green space altogether according to the World Cities Culture Forum statistics
One of the most famous and the largest one is Hyde park. A great place in the heart of the city centre, where you can admire a lake, do boating, jogging, tennis or cycle. The park also provides a unique habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna, with its lake called the serpentine.
Another great park to unwind in, not so far from Hyde Park are the Kensington Gardens. Recently an allotment was created for the visitors. Here people can just enjoy and relax, or learn more on growing vegetables organically.
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Munich is famous for it’s beer fest, but also for is 18th century park called the English Garden (Englisher Garten). It happens to be the very first public greenspace that was created in Europe and is still considered as the largest city-owned park in Europe.
Munich also has a wonderful botanical garden (Botanischer Garten) with 15,000 varieties of Flora.
If you want to enjoy the park in a true german style, don’t miss the Historic Hirschgarten a little further away from the city which is more famous in town for it’s very large beer garden than it is for it’s green space.
It would be difficult to name all the parks and gardens that you can find in the French Capital. But depending on the style of parc you are looking for, or where you are in the city, you’ll always find a green space to relax and escape the Parisian rush.
For a typical Jardin à la Française walk, head to the Jardin des Tuileries drawn by Le Nôtre. The garden allows strolling in nature between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde. When you have reached the Louvre, turn around and view the perfect alignment of the Eiffel Tower.
Another great Parc is the Jardin du Luxembourg, where you will see both a typical French style garden and English style one. Here locals and visitors can play tennis, chess, bridge or remote-controlled boat. The garden also has an orchard, beehives and regularly organizes photography exhibitions.
For a more botanical experience, head to the Jardin des Plantes a garden created for science. In this 2.5-hectare garden learn about botany, discover remarkable and historical trees like the 315-year-old pistachio tree, a great experience.
Another less known park, is called les Buttes Chaumont (our picture). Be brave if you head there by metro, you’ll be going up a lot of steps! Its construction on quarries explains its escarpment and its impressive unevenness. It is one of the largest park’s of Paris and is located East of the city. Its caves and waterfalls, make the visit particularly charming. It is decorated with exotic and native trees and the many birds (seagulls, water hens, mallards) share the space with walkers and joggers and enjoy the artificial lake.
Hard to state only five, Europe is quite spoilt with parks and gardens in its main cities, and the trend is not ready to stop.
Next time, we’ll go to Asia and America to see what parks we can find on those continents.
Whats your favourite city with green spaces and parks in Europe, tell us in the comments.