When you think of Switzerland, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
The snowy peaks of the Alps, glacial trains, stunning scenery and perhaps mouthwatering chunks of Toblerone!
Well, what if we were to tell you that hidden amongst this landlocked country’s green hills and crystal clear lakes, you will find an array of glorious gardens.
If you want to find out more then keep reading for some green fingered goodness.
Switzerland’s capital is home to many treasures, but one in particular is the beautiful Rosengarten.
Bursting with colour and home to 223 rose, 200 iris and 28 rhododendron varieties, it’s hard to believe that this stunning space once actually served as a graveyard for residents of the Old Town.
That’s right, it was only in 1913 that the Rosengarten was opened as a public park, the rose garden being added four years later in 1917.
It’s not all flora and fauna, the park also offers some of the best views of Bern, as well as a restaurant serving a delicious variety of dishes. If you have enough time treat yourself to a bite to eat, we promise, you will not be left disappointed by the culinary delights.
Botanical Gardens of Bern
Located in the heart of the city, along the banks of the River Aar, the Botanical Gardens of Bern displays over 6000 species of plant across its seven large greenhouses.
A place for quiet relaxation, the park can transport you up to the Alps, through the Mediterranean, and even through tropical forests, as you are treated to the sights and smells of plants from all over the world including cacti to banana trees.
Sentiero dell’Olivo, Lugano
Built in 2002, this stunning lakeside walk was created by the ‘Friends of the Olive Tree’, by means to revive the cultivation of olives and production of olive oil in the Ticino region.
The 2km long path from Castagnola to Gandria takes visitors past groves of olive trees young and old, verdant countryside and impressive panoramas.
Along the walk you will also find pit stops with plaques that explain the history and importance of olive cultivation, which adds a really nice touch to this beautiful walk – whoever said exercise had to be boring.
Parco Ciani, Lugano
Situated by the shores of Lake Lugano, you will find the enchanted Parco Ciani.
Created In 1845 when the Ciani brothers came up from Milan and purchased the land, the park has been open to the public since 1912.
Split into two parts, on one side you will discover manicured English and Italian style gardens, with wide greens and perfectly posed flower beds – and on the other you will enjoy a more natural atmosphere, with trees that populate the Ticino region sheltering you from the sun.
Amongst the greenery, you will also come across some of the regions most spectacular buildings, from the blush pink Villa Ciani to the Pallazzo di Congressi and even a National History Museum!
Parco delle Camelie, Locarno
Located in the Italian resort of Locarno, is the fragrant Parco delle Camelie.
Spread over 10,000 metres the park is a treat for all the senses, as visitors witness over 900 varieties of camellia spread over 30 flower beds.
The park was first opened in 2005, during the world congress of the International Camellia Society, and has attracted visitors from near and far ever since.
Parco San Grato, Lugano
Situated just under 700 metres above Lake Lugano, in the hills of Carona, you will find the beautifully colourful Parco San Grato.
Covering an area of 62,000m2 the park is a mecca for plant lovers, and is home to the largest collection of azaleas, rhododendrons and conifers in the whole of the Insubria region.
As well as it’s extensive plant collection, Parco San Grato also offers a unique experience to its visitors by way of its six themed trails.
Each offering a different view of the park visitors can pick between the botanic trail, the relaxation trail – which offers an easier walk, the panoramic trail, artistic trail – where many sculptures can be found, the fairy tale trail, which offers a playground for children or finally the sensory trail.
The sensory trail is said to be one of the most emotive trails you can choose, as it offers visitors a chance to get up close with nature, as they experience forgotten sensations.
So, if you’re a lover of gardens, or just a fan of all things pretty then why not join us for a once in a lifetime adventure. Visit the aforementioned gardens and be accompanied by the one and only garden columnist Helen Yemm, on our 8 day rail tour visiting some of Switzerland and Italy’s most glorious gardens.