The most beautiful spring flower displays in Europe

Spring turns Europe into a kaleidoscope of colors and a perfume shop of fragrances. Cities burst to life, warm spring days stretch into balmy nights and blooming flowers brighten even the plainest of streets. If you want to witness spring in all its colorful glory, here are the best places to get ‘gram-worthy shots of the best flower displays across Europe.  

Flowers blooming outside Residenzschloss, Ludwigsburg, Germany. A fountain is visible, as are people walking in the distance.
Ludwigsburg’s incredible Residenzschloss in the sunshine © Stuttgart Marketing

Blooming Baroque, Ludwigsburg, Germany

The semi-permanent Blooming Baroque garden show in Ludwigsburg, Germany, has been welcoming visitors to its 30 hectares of manicured gardens since 1954. Visit the palatial grounds of the 18th-century Residenzschloss between March and November and you can not only see displays filled with spring flowers, but also visit bird aviaries and oriental gardens, cruise past Grimm Brothers fairytale scenes, climb Rapunzel’s tower and get lost in a giant hedge maze.

A close-up of some tulips in full bloom at Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse.
Keukenhof is the largest flower garden in the world, packed with the Netherlands’ trademark tulips © Kat Barber / Lonely Planet

Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse, the Netherlands

The largest flower garden in the world, Keukenhof in the Netherlands is the best place to see the iconic Dutch flower at its finest. Tulipmania explodes across 32 acres of patterned gardens, with more than 800 different varieties. After you’ve wandered the gardens, go Dutch and hire a bike from the main gate, then pedal through the endless rows of picture-perfect floral rainbows. The show runs from 21 March–10 May 2020.  

Geraniums and bougainvillea hang on the side of a home during the Festival of the Patios, Spain. The sun is shining and the flowers are in bloom.
The Festival of the Patios has been held since 1918 © Marina Nozhko / Shutterstock

Festival of the Patios, Cordoba, Spain

Part festival, part competition, this Unesco-listed event in Cordoba, Andalucia, invites visitors to explore local life through elaborately decorated private courtyards. These iconic patios date back to Roman times, and are cleverly designed to provide respite from the sweltering heat Andalucia endures each summer. Fountains, pot plants, flamenco music and spring flowers are all used to create colourful oases as residents vie to be awarded the city’s best patio. Visit between 4–17 May 2020.

Temps de Flors, Girona, Spain 

Girona’s medieval core transforms into a living gallery as art installations, flower carpets and kitsch sculptures explode throughout the city centre each May. Even the cathedral’s concrete steps turn into a cascade of colourful blooms. Running parallel, the Girona A Cappella Festival invites music lovers to engage all their senses as the sound, smell and sight of spring fills the city for 10 days in May. 

Flower display at Chelsea Flower Show, London.
London’s Chelsea boasts the most prestigious flower show in Britain © Prettyawesome / Shutterstock

Chelsea Flower Show, London

This quintessentially British flower show is a highlight for anyone with a green thumb. Set in the grounds of London’s Royal Hospital Chelsea, this five-day event in May invites world-class landscapers, florists and designers to create inspiring gardens and exhibits. This year’s theme is sustainability and climate change. Once the Queen has given her royal seal of approval, the show opens to the public. If you miss out on tickets, soak up the floral atmosphere in the neighbouring shops and restaurants around Sloane Square. 

Normandy Tulip Festival, Vendeuvre, France

The formal French garden of the 18th-century Vendeuvre Château in Normandy springs to life in April, as over 30,000 tulips, daffodils, narcissus and grape hyacinths awaken. Meander along the floral pathways taking in unique water features, tulip carpets, ornate pavilions and fish ponds before heading inside to tour the quirky chateau and its collection of miniature furniture. Open afternoons throughout April between 2–6pm.   

A floral design at the Infiorata festival in Sicily, Italy, depicting a man and woman kissing. Patrons on either side look on and pass by.
Italy’s flower decorating festivals attract revellers from around the world © Luigi Nifosi / Shutterstock

Infiorata festivals, Italy

During May and June, Infiorata ‘flower decorating’ festivals are held across Italy, celebrating the religious feast of Corpus Domini. Cobbled streets are turned into canvases as local volunteers use thousands of locally grown flowers to create floral religious votives. Noto in Sicily (15–17 May 2020), Spello in Umbria (13–14 June 2020) and Genzano in Lazio (13–15 June 2020) are three of the best.  

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