While a contemporary river cruise can now offer all the comfort and style of that of a 5 star hotel, the one thing they can’t offer is the expansive grounds of a park or garden. Here is your guide to the very best parks and gardens to visit during river cruises through Europe.

Jardin du Luxemburg

First up is the spectacular Jardin du Luxemburg, one of the most beautiful parks in France and, indeed, Europe. This exotic garden is Paris’ second largest public park and situated in the house of the French Senate, Luxemburg Palace.

There are some incredible sculptures to see as well as numerous live shows and events taking place in the gardens for a taste of Parisian culture. You can just sit and enjoy your surroundings, choose to have a wander around the 23 hectares of grounds or watch the exotic birds in the garden’s Luxemburg Apiary. There are also fantastic examples of urban orchards and an Orangery home to lemon and orange trees.

Vondelpark

Amsterdam’s largest park is also its most popular and it is easy to see why – it is the location of some of the city’s most beautiful natural objects and Holland’s national flower, the tulip, is celebrated here in all its glory.

While the garden is home to some great festivals that celebrate their national flower and Amsterdam’s culture, it is also home to an open-air theatre, a film museum, a large playground and a rose garden to really embrace the great outdoors during a cultural river cruise holiday stop-off in Amsterdam.

Schloss Ludwigsburg

Perhaps home to one of the most unusual yet spectacular festivals in Europe, Germany’s Schloss Ludwigsburg is one of the best parks to visit during any trip to Germany. Home to the World’s Largest Pumpkin Festival, it attracts a huge number of visitors every year, all dying to catch a glimpse of some of the giant sculptures created out of this favourite autumnal treat.

The festival sees some 400,000 pumpkins enter the park’s grounds to create some truly impressive sculptures in and amongst the beautiful colours and scenery provided by the autumn leaves.

Chateau de Laeken Gardens

While most of the previous parks are relatively well-known, the Chateau de Laeken Gardens in Brussels, Belgium are something quite unique indeed. It is home to two spectacular monuments – the Japanese Tower and Chinese Pavilion in the northern corner of the park.

They were put in place under the intention of King Leopold II as a way of showing visitors a feel of the Far East without having to leave their home country of Belgium. They stand to this day as a fantastic example of eastern culture and architecture.

Versailles

The impressive Gardens of Versailles are world famous and, having dated from Louis XIV’s reign, it is incredible to think they stand as spectacular now as they did back then. Incredibly neat lawns, sculptures, arrangements of flowers and fountains make up what is considered one of France’s most significant parks, presenting a great insight into the country’s history.

The fountains in particular are often a sight of interest as they mostly still work on the same network of hydraulics that were put in place during the Ancien Régime.

These are just a few of the fantastic parks and gardens to enjoy during a tour through Europe and with many more incredible sights to be seen on a river cruise through Europe and France, there really is no better way of experience local cultures and seeing the most beautiful sights of Europe.

Image Credit: STAATLICHE SCHLÖSSER UND GÄRTEN BADEN-WÜRTTEMBERG

This content was written by Angela Sloan. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.
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