Plant enthusiasts have plenty of choices when it comes to botanical tourism. Nearly every major city you visit will have at least one stunning botanic garden filled with native and exotic plants. Many iconic travel destinations also boast national parks and rainforests, as well as festivals specially dedicated to flowers. Some even hold world-renowned flower shows to display the botanical gems of their own country, as well as those brought in from overseas.
If you’re looking to be delighted with a unique floral experience on your travels, this list has you covered. Check out our ranking of the 10 most beautiful countries for botanical tourism.
The top reason that Grenada should be on your botanical tourism list is that the Caribbean country has won the gold medal at the famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show no less than 12 times. They have some truly magnificent flora to offer, and the best place to see it is in Grenada itself.
All kinds of colorful varieties flourish here, from red and yellow heliconias, that are sometimes called lobster claws, to bottle brushes. There are a number of beautiful gardens on the main island, including Hyde Park Garden and Smithy’s Garden, the latter of which boasts bananas and sugarcane.
The Singapore Botanic Garden is the only tropical garden that is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it must make your list if you enjoy beautiful grounds that have been manicured to perfection. Orchid lovers, in particular, will love the Singapore Botanic Garden because it has over 20,000 orchids thriving in the area.
In the garden, you’ll also find a children’s section, a garden dedicated to evolution, a rainforest (along with wild monkeys), and a ginger garden. One of the most popular attractions for visitors to Singapore, the Botanic Garden is not to be missed.
When we think of Australia, we tend to think first of poisonous insects, vast beaches, and red outback. But the Land Down Under is actually home to a wide variety of stunning native flora that you won’t find anywhere else. Enjoy the white petals of the Palm Valley Myrtle, the blue-grey colors of Dallachy’s Banksia, and the vibrant flowers of Sturt’s Desert Rose.
Although you can find eucalyptus trees in neighboring countries, Australia is carpeted with native gums. Remember to look up if you come across one because you might spot a koala or two!
There are many reasons to visit the Swiss Alps, and most people don’t realize that flowers are one of them! From the resort of Wengen, you can see a sea of phenomenal flowers on the highest peaks surrounding the area. The Globeflower and Trumpet Gentians are a lot more beautiful against the backdrop of the Alps!
While visiting, you should also stop by the Schynige Platte botanical gardens, where you can find more examples of flourishing flora. Aside from serving as one of the best locations for a ski trip, Switzerland should definitely be on your botanical tourism list!
Grazalema Natural Park in Spain’s Andalusia contains a quarter of Europe’s flowering plants, making it the ultimate heaven for lovers of nature. The best time to visit is in spring, where you can witness the blossoming petals of colorful peonies, pimpernels, and marigolds that decorate the many meadows and gorges. The park is conveniently located just two miles from the town of Ronda.
There are 30 types of orchids here, including the naked man, woodcock, and somber bee, in addition to rare finds like the hoop petticoat daffodil and the Peruvian scilla.
Add Rio de Janeiro’s Jardim Botânico to your bucket list if you like to see plants and flowers on your travels. Nestled at the base of Corcovado Mountain, the 140-hectare garden contains more than 6,500 species of plants, as well as various species of birds, including rare sights like the white-necked hawk.
The garden and botanical research site was founded by King John VI of Portugal in 1808, who had the intentions of acclimatizing spices from the West Indies, such as cinnamon, pepper, and nutmeg, before importing them home to Europe.
4 Belgium & The Netherlands
If you’re traveling to Belgium or the Netherlands, you can’t go without stopping to see the famous collections of colorful tulips that have come to be associated with the European countries. Keukenhof in Holland is one of the largest flower gardens on the planet, where you can enjoy the sight of more than seven million tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils that sprawl across 32 hectares.
Over in Belgium, check out the 60 glasshouses and 18,000 plants housed at the National Botanic Garden of Belgium. The country also boasts cherry blossom trees in the spring.
3 Costa Rica
With no less than 12 distinct life zones, Costa Rica is one of the best places to visit if you want to see some amazing examples of flora. Check out the forests of Braulio Carrillo National Park, where you can discover 600 different species of native trees, and the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, where you can see some native fauna amongst the plants and trees.
The Central American country is a great place to visit in winter since much of its wildlife emerges following the rainy season in November.
Bordering Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, Oman offers visitors the wonder of the rose harvest between March and May every year. Taking place in Jabal Akhdar, the harvest is marked by a sea of pink petals that are reminiscent of paradise. This is a must for plant enthusiasts!
The Alila Jabal Akhdar hotel is located 6,500 feet above sea level and boasts sublime views of the harvest. Not only can you witness the roses in all their splendor, but while visiting you can indulge in rose-petal bath and spa treatments.
If flowers are your thing, then you have to visit Japan at least once in your life to see the spectacular cherry blossoms in bloom. The time to go is typically in early April, but there are some parts of the country where the blossoms open as early as January, and others where it doesn’t happen until late May.
Yoshino Mountain is the place to go for a truly out-of-this-world cherry blossom experience. Here you’ll find slopes of the mountain covered with around 30,000 blossoming cherry trees. And at night in Kyoto, the blossoms are lit up by lanterns. Magic!