Top 5 gardens of Germany

Top 5 gardens of Germany

by Genevieve Northup
Stripes Europe

The ground is blanketed with grass and blooms, and every day grows a bit longer than the last. As spring turns into summer, it’s time to head outside. This weekend, make plans to see the brilliant hues of the season, get some fresh air and soak in the sunshine at one of Germany’s impressive gardens.

Linderhof Palace Gardens – Ettal

King Ludwig II of Bavaria idolized the French monarchy of the 17th and 18th centuries. In the late 1800s, he commissioned many royal residences, including the famous Neuschwanstein Castle and smaller Linderhof Palace. While Neuschwanstein ends up on everyone’s bucket list, the Linderhof grounds are also a worthy destination. The palace is flanked on each side by traditional gardens and the Bavarian Alps. To the north, an ornate carved gazebo crowns a bluff, and 30 stepped basins form a waterfall streaming down to a sculpture of Neptune and rearing horses. To the south, two grand staircases descend below a columned Venus temple. Beyond, paths lead to Moorish and Moroccan outbuildings and the Venus Grotto, an artificial cave featuring a lagoon, shell-shaped boat, frescoes and theatrical lighting — as if you’ve stepped onto the set of an opera production.

Mainau Island – Lake Constance

Located next to the town of Constance, Mainau Island’s 110-acre recreation area is easily accessibly by bus or foot. Guests can enjoy the beauty of 1 million blooming perennials, as well as restaurants, scenic walking trails, a petting zoo, vineyard and Baroque palace. The biologically diverse island is home to rare butterflies, tropical birds, palm varietals (some 50 feet tall!) and massive sequoias.

Botanical Gardens – Karlsruhe

In the 17th century, Margrave Karl Wilhelm of Baden-Durlach ordered for a “pleasure garden” to be developed on the grounds of Karlsruhe Palace. In addition to a planting a variety of flora and fauna, greenhouses, grottos and fountains were constructed.

The current location, architectural style and layout of the gardens have remained largely unchanged since 1808, during the reign of Karl Friedrich of Baden. Today, towering trees shade the grounds, but the grandest sight is the greenhouse complex, comprised of ornate iron frames, colorful stonework and large glass panels.

Herrenhausen Royal Gardens – Hannover

Established in the 17th century as a rural estate to provide the community with produce, Herrenhausen was expanded and renovated as the royal summer residence a few years later. Inspired by the Baroque splendor she discovered at Versailles, Sophia, Electress of Hanover (Hannover), ordered for a grand garden to be built. This 120-acre Großer Garten (Great Garden) is comprised of numerous parterres, or formally bordered flowerbeds and hedgerows, that create an array of geometric patterns.

Once the setting for important aristocratic gatherings, the garden is still used for cultural events, including the International Firework Competition on May 20, 2017. In summer, the gardens are illuminated after dark, adding a fairy-tale glow to nature’s beauty. Adjacent to the Großer Garten are the Georgengarten public park and the Berggarten, which houses one of the largest collections of orchids in the world.

Rose Garden Beutig – Baden-Baden

Hidden on a hilltop above the resort town of Baden-Baden is a two-acre plot bursting with the colors and fragrances of roses from late May to early September. This floral oasis has received praise from the World Federation of Rose Societies because of the hybrids created by local growers vying for the title of most beautiful rose. Be sure to snap some perspective photos as you stroll under the central path’s blossom-covered archways. To reach this secret garden, follow the trail behind the Kurhaus on foot, or take city bus 208 to Moltkestraße.

Grab your sunglasses, pack a picnic and stop to smell the roses (and other flowers) this spring. 

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