PHOTO: Claude Monet's Garden in Giverny, France. (courtesy of Thinkstock)
Gardens and parks inspire rest and relaxation. A nice stroll through a formally decorated, nicely manicured garden is the perfect way to find your inner Zen and a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The next time you find yourself in need of some respite, consider the following parks and gardens. They are some of the most beautiful in the world.
Royal Botanical Gardens
Tucked inside Melbourne is a 100-acre wonderland. The Royal Botanical Gardens features wide-open spaces where events such as philosophy presentations, harp playing and yoga are conducted for the curious. Enjoy a stroll through the herbarium discovery walk, or spend time at the observatory. Children will enjoy their special place in the children's garden, and there is also an Aboriginal heritage walk to give you a bit of culture. The park is beautiful and garners about 1.5 million visitors annually. Well worth a visit, make sure to keep your camera handy.
Sitio Roberto Burle Marx
This is another 100-acre wonderland for you to explore. Formerly a plantation, this Brazilian site is now a national treasure. Over 3,500 different species of plants, original folk art and beautifully landscaped lawns are the brainchild of the property's designer and namesake. This is a great respite from the noise of the city.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Tucked in the heart of Costa Rica is a 70-acre ecologically-minded attraction. This privately owned locale dubbed La Paz Waterfall Gardens is spectacular. It features over 100 different types of native animal species, as well as the amazing waterfalls for which the park is named. Rugged, lush, and pristine, it is a true Costa Rican gem.
This jewel of a park is located in Ishikawa, Japan. The preferred time to visit is the short span of time when the Cherry Blossom trees are in full bloom. For this two-week stretch, admission is free. Photograph the lake, different statues, and of course the cherry trees in full bloom. The fragrance is great too.
These gardens are laid out more like a park. The best expanse of topiary, finely pruned shrubbery and ornate statues will have you feeling like King Louis XIV himself. There are plenty of scenic vistas, flowers and fountains to see. Enjoy meandering around the winding paths with the palace as a backdrop. This is a great place to visit when the temperatures are mild and the day is filled with sun.
Head to Morocco to take in this stunning cobalt blue wonder. Owned by Yves Saint Laurent, this garden will have you feeling like a fashion icon for sure. It consistently ranks as one of the most beautiful gardens in the world, and is the most popular of tourist destinations in Marrakech. The pool with its water lilies and overlook is simply stunning.
Claude Monet's Garden
Nestled in Giverny, France, you will see what inspired Monet's paintings. Of course, the iconic water lilies are part of this garden that he spent 43 years of his life cultivating. However, there are so many other wildflowers and other types of shrubs that it creates a breathtaking scene. The house and grounds are open for visitation from April to October. So, book a trip and plan to come home inspired. Who knows, you might even turn out a few paintings of your own.
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