Gardens To Visit


Here are some of the finest gardens you can visit in and near our Lakes & Mountains holiday resorts.

There is an enormously varied range of beautiful gardens open to the public. The flora will, of course, vary throughout the season, as will opening times, so please do investigate further.

Austrian Gardens - Bloom And Grow Forever

No visit to Salzburg is complete without seeing the famous Mirabell Gardens (as featured in THAT film). Opened by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1854, they are a horticultural masterpiece and popular with photographers. Unusual features include the Hedge Theatre and the Dwarf Garden.

Further east, in Vienna, Schönbrunn Palace Park complex includes:

  • Palmenhaus Schönbrunn - one of the largest botanical exhibits of its kind with over 4,500 plant species, including an olive tree approximately 350 years old and a coco de mer from the Seychelles which is not expected to blossom for 50 or even 100 years.
  • Wüstenhaus Schönbrunn where you can see one male and one female Welwitschias, a rare, endangered species which can survive for two millennia.
  • The Great Parterre - the sculpted garden space between the palace and the Sun Fountain which contains a maze.
  • And much, much more.

Still in the Austrian capital, the Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna dates back over 250 years and has over 9,000 species of plants on display, including woody tropical plants. Also in Vienna, Neugebaüde Palace is a former Imperial residence where the Italian-inspired palace takes second place to its Renaissance garden complex.

To the south, clients on our Grand Austrian Rail Adventure will appreciate the extensive scenic gardens surrounding Eggenberg Castle in Graz - these have recently been restored or reconstructed as a tribute to Romanticism. The northern quarter of the grounds features a separate Planetary garden. 

Tyrolean Treats in Austria Gardens

Inghams clients staying in the Tyrol, especially in Igls, Seefeld, Neustift and Innsbruck, have plenty of floral choices.

At 2,000m, the Alpengarten Patscherkofel near Igls is the highest botancial garden in Europe. It features more than 400 different mountain plants including Edelweiss, gentian and primula auricular. The site also includes a research centre for eco-physiological studies at the Alpine tree-line. Nearby is the Zirbenweg trail, a panoramic hiking path which runs above Innsbruck for 7km through the oldest pine forest in the Alps.

As well as a parade of floral floats, the annual Seefeld Flower Parade on Sunday 2nd  August 2014 also features a procession of vintage cars, tractors and and fire engines! It's followed by a Rio Carnival Show in the village square.

Ambras Castle, above Innsbruck, has gardens of note, whilst in the Tyrolean capital itself you'll find the Innsbruck University Botanical Garden. This features over 5,000 species and includes cactus, fern and orchid houses, an alpine rock garden and an arboretum - plus a fragrance & touch garden where all plants are labelled in Braille. Also in Innsbruck the Hofgarten is a 25 acre protected park on the edge of the Old Town. Originally a river meadow, over the centuries it has been a Renaissance garden, a French formal garden and now an English landscape garden.

See more information on holidays in Austria >

Italian Gardens - Magical Maggiore

Inghams clients staying in or near Baveno and especially Stresa on Lake Maggiore in northern Italy have an absolute abundance of horticultural delights on their doorstep.

There is not enough space to go into detail here, so here is a quick rundown that could keep you going for a full week:

  • Villa Taranto - at 50 acres, these are some of the most extensive gardens in Europe and are world famous for tulips (25 minutes by ferry from Baveno).
  • Isola Bella - a baroque villa and gardens particularly noted for springtime azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons (five minutes by ferry from Stresa).
  • Islola Madre - an elaborate villa and gardens with rare vegetables and flowers (ten minutes by ferry from Stresa).
  • Villa Palavicino gardens (1km from Stresa).
  • Botanic Garden Alpinia (reached by cable car from Stresa).
  • And don't forget the Botanical Gardens of Brissago just over the border in Switzerland.

See more information on holidays to Stresa & Baveno, Lake Maggiore >

More Gardens in Italy

Not be outdone by Lake Maggiore, the rest of Italy has plenty of garden delights too. Take the Franciacorta Wine area near Lake Iseo where you'll find Quistini Castle, famous for its 1,500 varieties of roses.

Meanwhile around Lake Garda there are several gardens of interest which are relatively easy to reach from most resorts around the lake. For instance:

  • Isola del Garda, the biggest island on Lake Garda, features a Venetian neo-Gothic style villa with Italian and English gardens sloping down to the lake. Guided tours are organised by the owners, the Cavazza family.
  • Botanical Gardens at the Varone Waterfalls in Riva del Garda
  • The Parco Giardino Sigurta near Peschiera comes with a slice of history - this was Napoleon III's headquarters in 1859. There are various events here throughout the summer, including performances by British schools bands.
  • Near our hotel in Gardone Riviera you'll find the Andre Heller Botanical Gardens which are noted for bamboo and azalea.
  • Also in Gardone, I Giardine del Vittoriale is a citadel featuring the Prioria Gardens with its trophies, works of art, citrus orchards and a magnolia thicket.

Lake Como has also some great gardens in the following villas:

Villa Melzi
This heavenly white villa sits just on the outskirts of Bellagio.  The park is filled with rare and exotic plants and is available to the public.

Villa Monastero
The villa has got a botanical garden which is one of the main attractions of the villa on Lake Como. The beautiful trees include cedars of Lebanon, evergreen hedges, African palms, American palms, agaves, yuccas, dragon-trees, citrus trees and oleanders. For all the visitors of Lake Como who have got the opportunity to visit Varenna, the botanical garden of Villa Monastero is not to be missed!

The Gardens of the Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo, is well worth the visit and features 70,000 sq metre botanical gardens, surrounding the building. There is so much choice of colours and 500 varieties of flowers and plants, including 150 types of rhodedendrons and azaleas. The villa can be visited between March and November between 9am and 4.30pm (with a 2hr break for lunch at 12.) The villa is situated in Tremezzo, and is just a short walk from the ferry platform.

The Villa del Balbianello is a villa famous for its elaborate terraced gardens where they prune the trees with scissors. The spectacular terraced gardens feature magnolias, azaleas, cypresses and much more. You can experience excellent panoramic views of the lake and mountains from the villa gardens. The Villa has a fabulous history and owners, some of who were Butler Ames, who purchased and renovated the villa and its garden. It was then bought in 1874 by the explorer Guido Monzino (leader of the first Italian expedition to climb Mount Everest), who filled it with rich collections, including artifacts acquired on his expeditions. Now it is owned by the National Trust of Italy.

The grounds have been featured in a number of high profile films including Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones (2002), and Casino Royale (2006).

Finally, visit the gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle which boast spectacular exotic gardens and breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains and the spa resort town of Merano.

See more information on holidays in Italy >

Gardens in Switzerland & Germany - Blooming Marvellous

For our Swiss holidaymakers, three particular gardens come to mind.

In the Italian-speaking deep south of the country you will find over 1,700 exotic and sub-tropical species cultivated outdoors in the Botanical Gardens of Brissago on Lake Maggiore. Once the home of a convent, the Brissago islands were then privately owned for decades, one prominent owner and resident being Baroness Antonietta Saint Leger who published details of the plants cultivated there in 1913 in The Vegetation of the Island of St Leger in Lago Maggiore. The gardens were first opened to the public in 1950 and are a short boat ride from our hotels in Locarno, Lugano and Ascona.

Another island garden can be found at the opposite end of the country (in fact, it's just across the border in Germany): Mainau Island on Lake Constance is known as the Flower Island because of its beautiful botanical gardens. Features here include tropical and sub-tropical plants, a substantial arboretum, an Italian Rose garden and (hic!) an educational wine trail.  With Inghams, you can even stay at a former Dominican monastery, still preserving the magnificent original cloisters - the Steigenberger Inselhotel on the shores of Lake Constance.

Finally, in the much-loved Bernese Oberland area of Switzerland, a scenic mountain railway ride will take you to the Schynige Platte Botanical Alpine Garden. Here, at a height of nearly 2,000 metres and overlooked by the Eiger, Jungfrau & Mönch, you'll find 600 native species of Swiss Alpine wild flowers. Inghams features several resorts near here, including Wilderswil and Interlaken and Grindelwald. 

See more information on holidays in Switzerland >

Fabulous France

Those who like to explore won't be disappointed in Chamonix in France where there are beautiful Alpine pastures knee deep in flowers including aplenroses, arnica, and genetians. Book our photographic walk "Chamonix a gardener's paradise" and meet local gardeners and the chef Denis Carrier will show his famous vegetable garden at the Auberge du Bois Prin. And depending on the time of year, wild strawberries and blueberries can be picked and enjoyed during these walks.

In Evian the Jardin de L'Eau de Pre Curieux is a spectacular water garden accessed by boat with various water-based ecosystems. You can also visit the Japanese garden, English garden and Lovers' garden.

See more information on holidays in France

Slovenian Splendour

Slovenia has some Austrian-influenced gardens, sometimes lusher than the gardens of Austria because of Slovenia's milder climate. Established in 1810, the Ljubljana Botanical Gardens are Slovenia's oldest and contain more than 4,500 different species and sub species and are well worth a visit.

In May and June you can visit the International Wild Flower Festival in Bohinj and enjoy its verdant Alpline meadows and flowers guided by some of the world's leading botanical experts

See more information on holidays in Slovenia.

Gardens in Canada

If you're travelling to Vancouver or Victoria on the west coast of Canada with Inghams, a visit to the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island is a  'must'. (Victoria and Butchart Gardens full day tours available from your Resort Representative in Vancouver or Victoria.)

Established more than a century ago by the Butchart family, the original estate was called Benvenuto - Italian for 'welcome'. Family-owned and managed ever since, these beautiful 55-acre gardens have wonderful floral displays and are now classified as a National Historic Site of Canada. They are conveniently located just 14 miles north of Victoria and 13 miles south of the Vancouver-Victoria ferry terminal at Swartz Bay. (You can even visit Victoria by Float Plane from Vancouver! Book with your Representative in resort.)

Whilst you’re here, don't miss the rural peace of the smaller Glendale Gardens where you'll find a wide range of individual gardens dedicated to (amongst others) hardy fuchsias, lilies, mixed borders, native wildflowers, herbs, heather and ornamental grasses. There is also a 'drought tolerant ' garden - worth a visit in these times of climate change - and even a Zen garden for those of you who fancy some meditation and self-contemplation.

Last, but not least on Vancouver Island, at Victoria Butterfly Gardens you'll find beautiful orchid displays and thousands of colourful, free-flying butterflies and moths.

See more information on holidays in Canada >

 Country Resort Gardens
 Austria Seefeld

 Blumen Corso (Flower Parade)

 Innsbruck University Botanical Garden
 Ambras Castle
  Salzburg Mirabell Gardens
  Igls Alpengarten Patscherkofel, Botanical Garden
  Vienna Schönbrunn Palace Park:
 Palmenhaus Schönbrunn
 Wüstenhaus Schönbrunn
 The Great Parterre

 Neugebäude Palace 
 Botanical Garden, University of Vienna

 Castle in Graz (Burg) - Grand Austrian Rail Adventure
 Italy Gardone Riviera, Lake Garda

 Riva del Garda

 Lake Iseo

 Lake Trasimeno
 Stresa, Lake Maggiore


 Baveno, Lake Maggiore



 Lake Garda



 Lake Como
 I Giardine del Vittoriale
 Andre Heller Botanical Gardens

 Gardens of Villa Lante

 Lake Front Gardens
 Arco (garden area)
 Botanical Gardens at the Varone Waterfalls

 Quistini Castle

 Reinhardt Park & Garden

 Isola Bella Gardens
 Islola Madre Gardens
 Villa Palavicino Gardens
 Alpine Gardens
 Villa Taranto Gardens

 Parchi Giardino Sigurta
 Parco Sigurta Giardino (Sigurta Park Gardens)

 Isola del Garda

 The Parco Natura Viva

 The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff

 Villa Melzi
 Villa Monastero
 Villa Carlotta
 Villa del Balbianello
 Switzerland Wilderswil

 Locarno Lugano, Ascona (Lake Maggiore)
 Botanic Garden Alpinia
 Botanical Alpine Garden
 Botanical Gardens of Ascona
 Botanical Gardens of Brissago
 Canada Victoria and Vancouver

 Victoria and Butchart Gardens
 'Drought tolerant' Garden
 Zen Garden
 Victoria Butterfly Gardens

 Lake Constance Mainau Island