Flower tourism may not be a phrase you have ever heard but many of us stand in awe of some of the most gorgeous flowers where ever they are in the world. From the cherry trees of Washington to the tulips and bulbs of Holland flower tourism is everywhere. These are some of the best locations in the world to see flowers both wild and tame. Written by fellow travel bloggers who span the globe these are some of their favourite destinations.
Cherry Blossoms in Washington
The magnificent cherry blossom trees of Washington are the herald and star of springtime in the US capitol. A great time to visit the blossoms is during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which takes place from March 18 – April 16, 2017.
The blooming times do change a little from year to year but early April is said to be the optimum time to visit when the majority of trees are blooming. The blossoms can be seen at the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the Roosevelt Memorial. The greatest display is along the shoreline of the East Potomac Park. There are smaller clusters around the National Mall.
There is no bad time to visit the blossoms but you can expect greater crowds on weekends and when the blooms peak but the least busy times are usually early morning and early evening. There is plenty to do at the festival as well from the Opening Ceremonies to a Kite Festival and specialty themed menus, lots of hotel discounts.
Sunflowers at Suzie’s Farm in San Diego, California, United States
A hidden gem, Suzie’s Farm is an organic farm located in San Diego, California. Other than fresh produces such as carrots, radish and tomatoes, this farm has a beautiful sunflower field. They can be seen all year around but potential guest should check their website or facebook group to see if a new crop has bloomed. Once they post their event for sunflowers, it’s best to go as soon as possible because these flowers wither quickly. A breathtaking sight for only $5 per person. Visitors can take home their very own sunflower for $1 a stem.
Wild Flowers in Walker Canyon, Lake Elsinore, California.
The fruits of this past winter’s rain, Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore, California welcomed wildflowers for the first time in a very long time. Due to the recent California drought, wildflowers hadn’t popped up during spring time. Lake Elsinore is only one of the many places to see the desert wildflower bloom in the golden state. Golden poppies cover the hilly grass canyon.
Tulip Festival in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Every Spring, the city of Ottawa explodes with flowers in every colour. The tulips take over, and can be seen along bike paths, next to the canal, in front of the parliament buildings, and alongside roads in the nations capital. The flowers have a very interesting history. Everyone knows that Holland is famous for tulips, and they’re the ones who send us bulbs every year. During the Second World War, Canada sheltered the Dutch royal family and designated a part of the hospital as “international” for the birth of the princess. As a thank you, the Netherlands still sends ten thousand flowers every year to this day, while the city plants over 1 million flowers in total.
Not only are the flowers beautiful, there’s also a whole festival that goes along with their arrival. The Ottawa Tulip Festival is on for three weeks in May, and always includes Mother’s Day (a Sunday). The event includes free concerts, street food, vendors selling lemonade and ice cream, and fun events for the kids. Most of the events take place near the flower beds located at Dow’s Lake (one end of the famous Rideau Canal). The event is entirely free, though the food and some of the concerts cost extra. City buses run regularly between Dow’s Lake and the downtown core, or it is possible to walk in about 45 minutes on a sunny day (since parking fills up quickly). Another fun activity is the fireworks show, which takes place over the waters of the canal, and is free to enjoy. Since this is Canada’s 150th birthday, we have even created a special red and white tulip for the occasion. You can find out more information about the exact dates and events for the year on the city website here.
About the author: Amanda currently lives in South America but calls Ottawa, Canada her home town. She loves to enjoy what the capital city has to offer during all four seasons! You can hear more about her international adventures on her blog here, or see what the daily expat life in a “developing country” is like on at Instagram.
Lavender Fields over the world from North Yorkshire, to Ontario Canada
Lavender is an evocative flower that often brings memories of home, the hug of a grandmother, the aroma of an English countryside the charm of Provence and quieter more peaceful days.
Lavender blooms from June to August in the Luberon, around the Mont-Ventoux, in the region of Sault and that of Valréas; such amazing scenery and atmosphere make the lavender fields one of the summer Must-Sees in Provence.
Keukenhof Gardens – Netherlands
Keukenhof is also known as the Garden of Europe. Approximately 7 million flower bulbs are planted annually in the park, forming large colorful carpets of indescribable colours. The best times to go are from March through to May.
In May the poppies of Tuscany start to bloom, covering the countryside and olive groves in a blanket of bright red. The best area to see entire fields of these flowers is around Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site just south of Siena. The poppies grow with the agricultural seasons and are sometimes called corn poppies, but they are also the same Flanders poppies that commemorate WWI. Check out this great site for Hill Town Walks in Tuscany.
Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand India
If words could describe the Valley of Flowers National Park in Uttarakhand, then, enchanting, scintillating and magical would come pretty close to doing justice to its outstanding natural beauty. Spread over 87.5 sq km, the bio-diversity hotspot is known for its scenic beauty comprising alpine shrubs and meadows, milky white streams, snow-clad peaks and pristine air.
Daffodils in Yorkshire
Castle Howard is a beautiful (and huge!) stately home in North Yorkshire, in the North of England. Built during the 17th and 18th Centuries it is a magnificent building with beautiful gardens. It’s been used as the backdrop for many films and TV pieces, most memorably for the TV and film adaptations of Brideshead Revisited. We live quite close to Castle Howard and take the children for some fun in the adventure playground and a romp through the fabulous gardens. We visited in late March to find the place bedecked in it’s very own ‘host of golden daffoldils’.
Castle Howard is also famous for its rhododendrons and bluebells in later Spring. If you don’t get change to visit then though, there are fabulous roses in summer and the house is simply stunning at Christmas with enormous Christmas trees and twinkling lights everywhere.
There is an admission charge for both the gardens and the house or you can pay to visit both on the same day. The website can be found at www.castlehoward.co.uk.
Where To See Southern California Wildflowers by The Family Voyage
Every spring, the hillsides of California come alive as the wildflowers bloom after the winter rains. In areas where the soil is particularly dry, the hillsides light up with the bright orange of our state flower, the golden poppy. These delicate blooms peak in March and April, but may temporarily close if it’s cold or windy.
Where are the best place to see poppies and other wildflowers in southern California? The best place for poppy viewing is the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, and there are many unofficial spots in that region as well. As the flowers are wild (rather than cultivated) you can often see them for free either by stopping on the side of the road at places like Gorman Hills. Even at the Poppy Reserve, you can either pay $10 to park and support the upkeep of the Reserve or you can look for parking nearby and walk in for free – but please be mindful to stay on marked trails rather than trampling the delicate flowers!
We were pleasantly surprised this year to see the coastal region of Los Angeles absolutely blanketed by wildflowers along every hillside as a result of this winter’s record-breaking rainfall. For a real celebration of spring colors without heading too far afield, head to Point Mugu State Park ($10 to park, or park along PCH for free and walk in) to find layers of bright yellow daisies, purple lupine and golden poppies along the easy Ray Miller Trail.
The Tour du Mont Blanc
This is a photo experience with a difference. The tour du Mont Blanc hike takes you through the Italian, Swiss and French Alps on a challenging but beautiful hike. The full circuit around the Mont Blanc massif took me 8 days of walking over 110 miles/170 km.
Summer is definitely the best time of year to see all the stunning alpine flowers and its great weather for hiking too. There are so many different wild flowers and the bright colours are breath taking against the green grass and snow topped mountains.
Some of the flowers I spotted and later found out their names included Alpine Houseleek – a pink spiky looking flower and Mountain Arnica – similar to a daisy but bright yellow. But if you really want to know all the names I would recommend taking a wild flower book with you on the walk.
I hiked as part of an organised group but you can easily complete the circuit with a good map and compass. July was a perfect time of year for both the alpine flowers and the walking conditions.
Spring Flowers in Hallerbos, Belgium
Never seen a forest covered by a purple flower carpet? Put a visit to the Hallerbos in Belgium on your bucket list. It’s magical!
Every year, when the bluebells in the Hallerbos near Brussels flower, the forest is covered in a beautiful purple carpet. They only do so for a week to 10 days each year, so plan your visit carefully. Usually the flowering season is in the second half of April, but it can slightly vary due to the weather conditions. You’ll want to keep an eye on the Hallerbos website to stay up-to-date on the best time to visit.
There’s no entrance fee to see the flowering bluebells in the Hallerbos in Belgium. You’re just asked politely to stay on the path at all times, since a bluebell that’s been stepped on won’t be able to sprout again. Just one simple common sense rule to help preserve the beauty of the Hallerbos!
Literally the entire Hallerbos is covered in bluebells, so you’ll want to choose the right walking track to see as much bluebell-covered forest as possible. There’s one designed especially for that: the Bluebell Walk. It’s a 7 km loop track taking you along oceans of bluebells, with plenty of photo opportunities. Make sure you have a full battery when starting the walk!
The happiness and joy that seeing blooming flowers brings us is a world wide feeling. There is nothing better in spring than glimpsing those first flowers blooming in little hollows, forests and meadows across the planet. Where will you travel to for the flowers?
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