Finally! The April Showers have (hopefully?) left us just in time for May Flowers to show their pretty faces. (Which for some reason always makes me think of those trippy flowers from the animated Alice in Wonderland cartoon. Just me?)
And while I may be rather allergic to it all this year (as mentioned the other day), I still adore the beauty, scents, and careful avoidance of bees that accompanies a magnificent field of flowers. It’s Spring! I want to load up on antihistamines and get out there into the world, exploring the glory that is Mother Nature in full, showy bloom.
So here are the top 5 flower locations I want to go to, ASAP (please):
1. Kawachi Fuji Garden, Japan
About five hours (by speed train) outside of Tokyo is this absolutely Photoshopped-looking place. But still, apparently this tunnel of surreal-ness, best visited between late April and mid May, is in fact real. And glorious. There are close to 150 flowering wisteria plants of up to 20 different varieties providing the rainbow of white, pink, purple and blue.
If you saw the terrible movie version of the excellent book “Memoirs of a Geisha”, this may look familiar to you.
2. Hallerbos, Belgium
At 1,360 acres, this large beech forest in Flemish Brabant, Belgium (not too far from Brussels) transforms into a bluebell-ridden dreamscape for only a couple weeks every Spring. Millions of bluebells bloom between Late April and Early May providing a dense extensive carpet of indigo. It is known as the Blue Forest, for (hopefully) obvious reasons.
As you wander the meandering pathways be on the lookout for the many deer and rabbits that call Halle’s Forest home.
3. Keukenhof, Netherlands
I am sure you saw this one coming. Afterall, you can’t really overlook tulips when talking about Spring Flowers. And this is certainly not a hidden gem by any measure, with close to seven million (yep, MILLION) tulips, daffodils and hyacinths all calling the Keukenhof Gardens’ almost 80 acres home. Only open for two months a year (typically Mid March to Mid May) and a doable day trip from Amsterdam makes this place very popular.
Keukenhof translates into “Kitchen Garden.” It’s also called the “Garden of Europe.” Pretty lofty title.
4. Yvoire, France
(I am cheating a little on this one, since these flowers are more prevalent later in the summer.)
In southeast France on Lake Geneva lies the tiny medieval city of Yvoire. Nicknamed the “gem of the lake”, it boasts some beautiful 13th century architecture and one of the best summer displays of flowers around. Nestled in their “flower alleys”, you will find cultivated and vibrant displays aplenty just by wandering throughout the entire village.
If you get bored with flowers, you can always go sailing on the lake. Which looks awfully lovely as well.
5. Skagit Valley, Washington
I am including this one mostly because I can’t believe I haven’t gone to see this before. At least that I recall. Reminder: I spent the first 18 years of my life in Washington State.
Giving Holland a run for its tulip-money is the Skagit Tulip Festival, occurring every April. Primarily a driving tour located about an hour north of Seattle, local farmers grow flowers as a crop resulting in millions of flowers over hundreds of acres. It’s not JUST tulips, either. There are also daffodils, irises, and lilies to be spotted.
If the flowers get boring, or you are just “so over” tulips, don’t’ overlook all the local wineries in the area. Fun for all!
So let’s all get out there and smell the roses (and tulips, and irises, and bluebells and wisteria), shall we?
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Need more pretty travel pics and ideas? Previous “I Want to Go To There” Posts: