Spring is the time to savour the season, spending time outdoors and watching nature bloom. People travel from all over the world to see the seas of colour in famous tulip or lavender fields, botanical gardens, and flower festivals. Here are the very best destinations for flowers, according to international travellers.*
Lisse in Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
See over seven million spring flowers bloom in the Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands
Over seven million tulips and other flora fill the beautifully-sculpted flowerbeds at the world-famous Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse. Winding around the trees, immaculate, lime green lawns, and water, these resplendent flowers will stop you in your tracks and nearby you’ll find the Dutch tulip fields; row upon row of vivid colours stretching right into the horizon. The Keukenhof gardens are open from March until May and the tulip fields are best viewed mid-April (depending on the weather) when they’re usually in full bloom. For a short walk to Keukenhof and local hospitality, stay at Bed & Breakfast Madeleine.
Giverny in Upper Normandy, France
Visit the gardens that inspired Claude Monet's lauded water lily series, France
Giverny was home to Claude Monet for much of his life and his former home and garden, instantly recognisable from his water lily series, are now open to the public. It’s not hard to see how it inspired some of his most lauded work, since the garden feels like a surreal art installation. Almost every inch of ground is covered with a dizzying array of flora – nasturtiums, tulips, irises, peonies – separated by water-lily ponds, the wisteria-lad bridge, and huge weeping willows. Book an apartment in the centre of Giverny at the stylish Le Loft Campagnard and you'll be within a few metres walk of the Musée des Impressionnistes.
Spello in Umbria, Italy
Spello's 'Inforiate' festival sees the whole town covered in a floral mosaic, Italy
The ancient Italian town of Spello is a garden in itself. Flower pots and vines cover almost all of the buildings’ rose-coloured stone walls and weathered wood shutters and doors. But Spello’s 'Infiorate', an ancient ceremony that still takes place on Corpus Domini (a different date every year but usually the ninth Sunday after Easter), is the real attraction. On this day, the streets of the town are covered with floral mosaics, created as part of a competition and following all kinds of themes. The petals of daisies, chrysanthemums, roses, and all other types of flower are laid out masterfully and to spectacular effect. La Residenza Dei Cappuccini is part of Spello's Old Town and the big, arched windows offer fantastic views of the festivities.
Boquete in Chiriqui, Panama
The annual flower festival in Boquete is an exuberant display, Panama
Boquete and its exuberant tropical surroundings are worth visiting year-round but the town’s annual flower festival, from 11th to 21st of January each year, is the best time for fans of flora. On the banks of the Boquete river, expert gardeners put on an incredible display of thousands of assorted flowers. A highlight is the showcase by the local orchid society; an explosively colourful collection of one of the world’s most treasured exotic plants. The Boquete Garden Inn plays a regular part in the festival, opening it's beautiful gardens up to admirers.
Furano in Hokkaido, Japan
Celebrate spring with Japanese locals in the flower fields of Furano, Japan
Though the lavender fields in Furano may not be too different from those in Provence, it’s the setting that makes them special. Mount Tokachi forms an impressive backdrop and the atmosphere when they’re blooming in July is wonderfully celebratory. Visit a local farm to enjoy a seemingly endless expanse of lavender, as well as poppies, lilies, and sunflowers, and taste some of the freshly-made lavender ice cream. For a central, well-appointed place to stay the Tsuru Apartments are hard to beat and offer ski storage for travellers hoping to hit the slopes.
*These destinations were the most highly-rated by Booking.com customers for 'flowers' during the spring months.