Botanical tourism is travel for the purposes of viewing the varied flora of a region, district or in the case of some species even a single plant!
Botanical tourism is travelling to see plants, either in their native environment or in managed botanical gardens and parks. Generally a greater variety of plants can be seen in the one place by visiting a botanical garden and no special preparation is needed, so gardens are a good introduction to the subject.
Parks and gardens have been created and managed over many centuries. Gardens are said to have been created in Mesopotamia around 3,000 years ago. Botanical gardens started to appear during the Renaissance in the sixteenth century, although there were some earlier physic gardens devoted to medical herbs. These gardens were used for research, often connected to universities, and received plants from returning explorers.
The nineteenth century saw the establishment of many botanical gardens, and the building of parks for the general public (rather than a select few) to enjoy. In particular, the British established many botanical gardens modelled after the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew throughout their vast colonial empire. Heated glasshouses (greenhouses) enabled gardens to grow and display plants from around the world.
Know in advance, if there are any plants you want to see specially. Specialist guides like Wikispecies can help you get a detailed taxonomy, if you already have the technical name of a plant you are really interested in.
This is in general up to the traveller, but should be picked appropriately for the region visited. If you are visiting wilderness areas to look at native plants, ensure that your equipment is thoroughly cleaned, so that you don't introduce seeds, diseases or pests from home. Some botanical gardens require you to clean your feet on entry.
It is outside the scope of Wikivoyage to act as a detailed botanical guidebook to where individual species might be specifically found. The listings given below are either major tourist sites, or regions visited specifically because of their floral or botanical heritage.
- See also: African wildlife
- 1 Socotra. A isolated island of Yemen off the coast of Africa with very high biodiversity.
- 2 Namib-Naukluft National Park. A desert park close to the Atlantic with a notable amount of wildlife
The wildlife of Madagascar has more than 10,000 endemic plant species.
- See also: Chinese gardens
- Classical Gardens of Suzhou
- 3 Yuyuan Garden (豫园 Yù Yuán) (Shanghai, China). Beautiful traditional Chinese garden in the heart of Shanghai, next to the City God Temple.
- 4 Bogor Botanical Gardens (Kebun Raya Bogor) (Bogor, Indonesia). The extensive botanical gardens were established in 1811. Today, the gardens stretch out over 87 hectares, including some carefully manicured gardens as well as areas that look and feel like wild jungle. Fountains, lakes, two rivers and hilly trails make for interesting walking. If you visit in January you may be able to spot a blooming giant arum (Amorphophallus titanum), the world's tallest inflorescence (flower cluster) which can reach an astounding 2.5 m and smells like rotting meat.
- See also: Indian zoos and botanical gardens
- 5 National Botanical Garden of Iran, Tehran, Iran. Avariety of indigenous and non-native plants are cultivated outdoors and in greenhouses and plays an important role in a variety of research areas including plant and gardening science, public education and making people aware of the importance of plants and the need to protect them.
- See also: Japanese gardens
As well as specific tourist sites, there are myriad examples of Japanese Gardens, ranging from the traditional to not so traditional.
- Japan's Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots — hanami, or looking at the cherry blossom, has been a Japanese tradition for centuries. A popular pastime all around the country (and nowadays in other parts of the world too), the Japan Cherry Blossom Association has compiled a list of 100 locations where a large number of cherry trees grow in historically important and naturally beautiful environments.
- Hiraizumi – Temples, Gardens and Archaeological Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure Land
- 6 Batu Pahat Botanical Park, Batu Pahat, Johor.
- 7 Perdana Botanical Gardens, Kuala Lumpur.
- 8 Melaka Botanical Garden, Ayer Keroh, Melaka.
- 9 National Botanical Garden Shah Alam, Shah Alam, Selangor.
- 10 Penang Botanic Gardens, George Town, Penang.
- 11 Putrajaya Botanical Garden, Putrajaya.
- 12 Rimba Ilmu Botanical Gardens, Kuala Lumpur.
- 13 Zaharah Botanic Gardens, Johor Bahru, Johor.
- 14 National Kandawgyi Gardens (Pyin U Lwin, Myanmar). Botanical gardens built by the British during the colonial period in this hill station, this today serves as a beautiful retreat for locals from Mandalay.
- See also: Botanical tourism in Singapore
- 15 Singapore Botanic Gardens, Bukit Timah Rd. This UNESCO World Heritage site was once considered among the finest botanical gardens in the British empire, and it is still a firm favourite for visitors and locals alike. Features trees and plants from tropical climates around the world. Walking and jogging trails are throughout, and you can register for regular free guided tours highlighting different themes or areas such as the rainforest, and the healing garden. Outdoor sculptures dot the gardens. Look for the girl on the swing that appears to hang from an invisible chain in the air. Free.
- See also: Eurasian wildlife
- Royal Greenhouses in the garden of the royal palace in Brussels.
- 16 Botanic Garden Meise (Agentschap Plantentuin Meise) (Meise, Belgium), firstname.lastname@example.org. Botanical garden of Meise, superseding the herb garden of Brussels.
- Arboretum of the Sonian Forest near Tervuren.
France has over 100 botanical gardens and arboretums. There are also many formal gardens around chateaux (castles) open to the public.
- 17 Jardin botanique de Bordeaux (Bordeaux, France). Started as a garden of medicinal herbs in 1629, the present garden dates from 1858 and covers 0.5 ha. In 2003 an offshoot garden Jardin botanique de la Bastide was opened across the river on a 4-ha site.
- 18 Jardin des Plantes (Garden of Plants), ] (Paris, France). The Paris Botanical Garden, founded as the royal medicinal garden in 1626 by King Louis XIII's doctor, contains over 10,000 species. The garden covers 28ha and includes a zoo, and museums.
Germany has the - perhaps somewhat baffling - tradition of the Bundesgartenschau ("Federal Gardening Exhibition") and in many of its states a Landesgartenschau ("State Gardening Exhibition") which usually takes the form of some former industrial brownfield site being turned into a park with the latest in gardening and landscape architecture being put on display. However, as early as the 1980s there were complaints that some of those Gartenschauen destroyed perfectly fine natural landscapes for the sake of "prettyfying" them and there has been a certain fatigue (akin to the anti-Olympics movement in many cities) which led to criticism of the concept or the awarding of a planned Gartenschau to a different city (as was the case with Erlangen 2023 which rejected the planned Landesgartenschau in a referendum)
- Mainau — the "flower island" in Lake Constance is made up of several parks, including an Italian rose garden, an arboretum and a palm house with tropical plants.
- 19 Palmengarten ("palm garden") (Frankfurt). The Palmengarten is Frankfurt's botanic garden. There are special exhibitions and events throughout the much of the year.
- Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence Square, Bavaria, Franconia
- 1 Wörlitz Gardens (17 km to the east of Dessau, a good hour of cycling, or take the Wörlitzer Eisenbahn from the Dessau main station). Make a tour to the largest English landscaped park on the continent. Created in the 1770s, it shows finest garden architecture, animated by parks in England like Kew, Stourhead, Stowe. Vistas within the park and to surrounding landscape. Wörlitz Palace, Gothic House, Stein (with artificial volcano) have exhibitions.
- 20 National Botanic Gardens (Dublin). 19.5-ha (48-acre) garden founded in 1795 with a large palm house. free.
- 21 Medici Villas and Gardens, Tuscany.
- 22 Botanic Garden (Orto botanico di Padova), Padua. The world's oldest still operating botanic garden, operated by the University of Padua, and on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1997. It isn't a large garden, but subtly laid out to swallow groups of people and give the impression of solitude. Do not miss the carnivorous plants, or the wooded hill at the southeast corner mounted by a double helix pair of paths.
- Bulb fields can be found in the Bollenstreek, the region surrounding Lisse. This is also where Keukenhof tulip park, one of the county's most popular attractions, is located. But the Bollenstreek is not the only region in the Netherlands with these fields. If you're looking for more, try the area between Haarlem and Alkmaar in North Holland. While relatively unknown, the largest tulip fields can actually be found in the Noordoostpolder, and a signed bicycle route is set up every spring to give more prominence to the occasion.
- 23 Arctic Alpine Botanic Garden (Tromsø, Norway). Northernmost botanical garden globally. The outdoor garden resides just a little walk from the university area. There is no fence surrounding the garden either. Free.
- 24 Dovrefjell. Due to its central placement and relatively mild climate the Dovrefjell fell area is considered a botanical hotspot. To get an overview visit the Alpine botanical garden at Kongsvoll. The area around Drivdalen, Snøhetta and Hjerkinn is of particular botanical interest. The three Knutshøene peaks are extremely rich in rare alpine plants, many of which were protected in 1905 and more in 1911. The Drivdalen valley consists of loose slate and limestone, also home to many rare plants. The Fokstumyrene moorland is first and foremost known for a unique bird life, but here also many different orchids as well.
- Polar-Alpine Botanical Gardens in Kirovsk, Russia, previously the northernmost.
- See also: Carl Linnaeus tourism
- Garden of and museum on Carl von Linné, Uppsala
Many horticultural organisations in the UK, including the Royal Horticultural Society, hold annual shows or galas. The most prestigious show is held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea in London. During the late summer, there are countless local horticultural shows in many areas, so ask around, or check local media. You may be surprised at the efforts exhibited!
Floral or botanical displays in public parks are widespread. In many cities and towns, their design and upkeep are a matter of considerable civic pride.
- 25 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (London). A UNESCO World Heritage Site, these extensive, historic and beautiful gardens feature elements illustrating significant periods of garden and landscape art from the 18th to the 20th centuries, as well as a plant collection second to none in the world. Since their creation as a royal estate in 1759, Kew Gardens (as they are commonly known) have made a significant and uninterrupted contribution to the study of plant diversity and economic botany. The gardens cover 120 hectares (300 acres) and are over 1.5 km long. They contain several major glasshouse complexes, not least the famous Palm House opened in 1848, together with a museum and several follies.
- 26 Chelsea Physic Garden (London). Garden founded by apothecaries in the 17th century to the medicinal properties of plants. It was only opened to the public in the 1980s when it became a charity. The heat-sink caused by its thick walls, combined with the general waste heat of London itself, keeps the garden much warmer than it would otherwise be at this latitude. Due to this, the garden contains the world's most northerly example of a grapefruit outside of a greenhouse, and the largest fruiting olive tree in the country. The collection contains thousands of different plant species.
- 27 Pavilion Garden (Buxton). Landscape garden and lakes; Also noted is a "Conservatory" or Winter Garden next to Buxton Opera House.
- 28 RHS Garden Wisley (Wisley, near Guildford). The Royal Horticultural Society's (RHS) flagship garden is one of the world's great horticultural gardens, with thousands of plants from every continent across dozens of themed areas including formal gardens, borders, arboreta, rockeries, orchards and glasshouses.
- 29 Hever Castle (Hever, near Sevenoaks). Well-maintained landscaped Italian-style garden restored by William Waldorf Astor in the early 1900s.
- 30 The Eden Project. Dubbed by many as The Eighth Wonder of the World, Eden is well worth a visit if you don't mind the theme park atmosphere. A fabulous collection of flora from all over the planet housed in two 'space age' transparent domes.
- Compton Acres (Poole).
- 31 The Poison Garden (Alnwick). One of the gardens at Alnwick Castle is dedicated to poisonous plants. By tour only. The tour discusses the lore behind many plants, which if not respected may be fatal! Not suitable for small children or those with a nervous disposition.
- 32 Alton Towers. Although better known for the modern amusement park, Alton Towers was a resort long before this, and the Grade 1 listed gardens of a former Earl of Shewsbury are a relaxed delight overlooked by many visitors.
- 33 Botanical Gardens, Belfast. The Palm House contains local and interesting plants, such as carnivorous plants. Beside it is the Tropical Ravine, unique to the British Isles, where visitors walk around a raised balcony observing tropical flora and fauna. With large lawns and well maintained planting, the park is a popular destination in the summer.
- 34 Royal Botanic Garden (Edinburgh). Very impressive gardens with a collection of interesting plants. Great place to wander around on a sunny day, or to sit and have a picnic. Highlights include the Rock Garden; the 165-m-long herbaceous border, backed by a huge, century old beech hedge (a hedge may not sound too exciting but this one has to be seen to be believed!); and the Victorian Temperate Palm House, which is the tallest of its kind in the UK.
- 35 Logan Botanic Garden (Port Logan). Impressive gardens with a wide variety of subtropical plants.
- 36 Benmore Botanic Gardens (Dunoon, Argyll). Site of one of the finest collections of conifers as well as rhododendrons in the world, Benmore Botanic Gardens, managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, offers a 130 acre estate filled with trees and plants from around the world.
- 37 Glasgow Botanic Gardens (Glasgow). The Botanic Gardens contains extensive tropical and temperate plant collections from around the world. Glasgow has several other good parks. Free.
- 38 Powis Castle and Garden (Welshpool), ☏ . Medieval fortress turned grand manor house. The extensive gardens look much as intended when they were laid out in the 1770s.
- See also: North American wildlife
- 39 Bow Valley Provincial Park (Kananaskis Country, British Columbia). In June lots of opportunities to see alpine meadow plants and wet land plants in their natural environment including orchids.
- 40 Royal Botanical Gardens (Burlington, Ontario). Canada's largest botanical garden comprises a mix of five landscaped gardens and various wild natural areas spread out over 900 hectares (2,250 acres) and intertwined with a number of scenic trails including a segment of the Bruce Trail. 1,100 plants are represented among the collection, including many, such as the Bashful Bulrush and the red mulberry tree, that grow nowhere else in Canada. As well, the Ontario Garden Show each spring is the second-largest in Canada.
- Cholla Cactus Garden (Joshua Tree National Park). A short walk leads through a thick stand of cholla cactus, noted for its especially prickly exterior.
- 41 Dow Gardens ( Midland, Michigan). Landscaped botanical garden.
- 42 Denver Botanic Gardens (Denver, Colorado). A 23-acre garden with an array of flowers and plants from around the world. Above the gardens' bistro, you'll find Denver's first public green roof.
- 43 International Rose Test Gardens (Portland, Oregon). The largest rose test garden in U.S., perched on a hill overlooking downtown Portland, with thousands of roses planted in every possible way: rows, bushes and vines. Best to come between May and July, when it gets fragrant as everything's in bloom.
- 44 Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens (Fort Bragg, California). One of only a handful of public gardens with ocean frontage. These 47 acres encompass manicured gardens, fern-ringed ponds, intimate pocket gardens, coastal pine forests, and wildflower-strewn bluffs at ocean’s edge. The mild maritime climate of the Mendocino Coast offers ideal growing conditions for rhododendrons, heaths and heathers, dahlias, heritage roses, succulents, conifers, and many other plants.
- 45 National Garden Festival (Buffalo, New York). This "five-week-long garden party" in July and August is the largest festival of its kind in the U.S. The centerpiece is the five-mile-long Garden Walk Buffalo, but there are also about a dozen smaller garden walks passing through different neighborhoods of Buffalo and its suburbs, with over a thousand gardens participating overall. You can also take a bus tour of area urban farms, nurseries, and community gardens, take a weekday tour of one of the Open Gardens, attend your choice of symposia on various garden topics — and of course, the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, Delaware Park's Rose Garden and Japanese Garden, and many of the local farmers' markets get in on the act too.
- 46 New York Botanical Garden (The Bronx, New York City). This garden is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.
- 47 Longwood Gardens (Kennett Square, Pennsylvania). A thousand acres of beautiful gardens, woodlands, and meadows in the Brandywine Creek Valley, created in the 1700s. The spectacular Italian-style fountains are a particular draw. During the holidays, they decorate the property with different themed lights. Overall, a must-see for plant lovers.
- See also: Central and South American wildlife
- 48Galapagos Islands.
- 49 Amacayacu National Park (take a boat from Leticia). National park in southern Colombia, by the Amazon River.
- See also: Australasian wildlife
- Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, Melbourne/Inner north
- 50 Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne CBD. Recognised as one of the world’s finest botanic gardens, with over 10,000 species and 50,000 individual plants in the 38 hectare gardens. Free.
- 51 Royal Botanical Gardens. The Royal Botanical Gardens in Central Sydney near the Opera House is possibly the best place to see Australian flora in central Sydney.
- 52 Kings Park. The most popular tourist attraction in Perth, Western Australia, comprising of native bushland, botanical gardens and grassed parkland.
- 53 Australian National Botanic Gardens, Acton, Canberra. Contains a piece of flora from nearly every corner of Australia.
- The mild temperate coastal climate, and relative remoteness has resulted in New Zealand retaining many areas of temperate rain forest, which can be explored when walking (tramping) in the country.
- There are many good parks and several botanical gardens. Of particular note are the botanical gardens in Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin, and the parks in Hamilton and New Plymouth.
In conservation areas you should take care that the food that you bring with does not cause biosecurity breaches. Check your bags for any pests that may be trying to hitch a lift. Avoid bringing any food with you which would grow if accidentally dropped - you may need to leave fresh fruit and nuts behind, although cooked fruit may be fine.
Many botanic gardens have cafes which provide a pleasant setting to eat in, but the cafe may open for shorter hours than the garden and be closed on some days.
Many botanical gardens have shops, selling guidebooks and souvenirs and often gardening tools and plants. On long summer days, the shop may close earlier than the garden.
The purchase of cut-flowers, which are not easy to transport, and perish easily should be considered very carefully. In Europe commercial cut flowers are often a nice thank-you, but be aware of any cultural meanings attached, sending lilies or roses for example, certain colours, or an even number of flowers, may well be mis-read in some areas.
It should also be borne in mind that nearly all plants (including their seeds and bulbs) are subject to tight import controls regardless of jurisdiction, in order to prevent the spread of plant pests and to protect native ecosystems from non-native invasive species. If buying plants to take home check the regulations carefully. It is often much easier to buy seeds or plants once you have returned home, and the varieties which you buy are more likely to be suitable for your climate.
A number of plants are toxic or act as irritants; see Dangerous plants for some with which contact should be avoided.
Pollen allergies should also be borne in mind.
Plants look their best when in a natural environment, so resist the temptation to remove even "just one" specimen. If visiting a formally arranged garden, collecting "specimens" is also going to get you ejected, without discussion. In some regions, you may also find that owing to a highly specific ecology, you are unable to get very close to some flora, this is done for protective reasons as the cumulative effect of many visitors could destroy the very flora that visitors come to see!
- UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves
- Biomes and ecosystems
- Caves - a small number of caves have very unique flora.
- Fruits and vegetables
- Carl Linnaeus tourism
- National parks
|List of botanical gardens|