Spring has sprung and it’s an inspiring time! Today is the first official day of spring – and that means that flowers will begin to bloom in colder regions that have been covered in a blanket of snow and ice for many months.
As people across the northern hemisphere are looking forward to the return of the sun, Holland America Line’s signature tulip is beginning to bloom in the world-famous Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands, one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. In celebration of spring flowers, here are more gorgeous gardens — in no particular order — that you can visit on a Holland America Line shore excursion. Take a tour and take home some inspiration for your own backyard masterpiece!
The Tayutic Hacienda
Puerto Limon, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is known for its lush setting and extraordinary biodiversity. At Puerto Limon head to the hills for a picturesque experience at Tayutic Hacienda. The gardens surrounding there were built by the wealthy Ortuño family, who made their money in the sugar cane business. Learn about ancient methods of sugar cane cultivation and walk the impressive gardens, buzzing with hummingbirds and butterflies, then dine in a covered hall surrounded by the exotic flora with beautiful mountain views.
One family visited all the way from the Jersey Shore and said,
“This was one of our favorite excursions. The bus ride though the countryside of Costa Rica was just beautiful — but wait — the best is yet to come! High on a hill the Tayutic Hacienda has the most magnificent views in the valley … We loved this excursion which was well organized and allowed us to feel “living the life” on the estate.”
Funchal, Portugal, is known for more than just great wine. During the Botanic Beauty tour guests will walk through the village of Monte to admire a succession of beautiful gardens and landscapes. On the far side of town, board the cable car for a ride over breathtaking views of the valleys that lead inland from the coast.
Then head to the Botanic Gardens of Madeira, where you will learn why Madeira is known as the Floating Garden — these gardens are beautifully laid out across terraces that climb from 600 to 900 feet in elevation. Make the most of some free time to explore the path winding between dragon and coral trees, hibiscus bushes and an abundance of flowers both indigenous and exotic, with sensational city views.
Victoria, British Columbia
At beautiful Butchart Gardens, see how the Butchart family has transformed a barren rock quarry into what is now one of the world’s best-known horticultural attractions, covering more than 55 acres. The gardens are a lush paradise of flowers, rare trees and winding paths and were created more than 100 years ago. Enjoy the cascading fountains and footbridges connecting the many themed gardens, including the beautiful Sunken Garden, the Japanese Garden and the Rose Garden.
Katharine from Oregon visited on Holland America Line’s Butchart Gardens & Short Drive tour and called Butchart Gardens “the loveliest place on earth.”
“I’ve been a half dozen times and have never been disappointed.” – Katarine, Oregon
Inverary Castle appears out of a fairytale. The castle is England’s earliest example of Gothic Revival — built in the 1700s — and could not be more beautiful if it were a painting. No matter the time of year the gardens are well worth a visit. In early spring daffodils bloom with various shades of yellow, replaced by the vibrant reds, pinks and whites of the rhododendrons and azaleas that the West Highlands are famous for. Other highlights are the heathers, roses and varied trees that are spectacular later in the summer and autumn. The garden covers 16 acres, of which, around two acres are formal lawns and flowerbeds, the remainder being park and woodland. Extending over 400 acres they from one of the most important designed landscapes in Scotland. You can check them out on cruises to Glasgow on Holland America Line’s Inverary Castle & Loch Lomond tour.
Romney Manor Gardens
Basseterre, St. Kitts
At St. Kitts hop in a jeep for the Safari Island Drive to take in the beauty of this most scenic of the smaller Caribbean islands. After driving through the town of Basseterre, you will proceed westward to the renowned Caribelle Batik Studio and Romney Manor Gardens — beautifully maintained gardens and a batik factory. Here you will have some time to enjoy this spectacular 12-acre location and see batik-making in progress. Then you will continue the scenic ride around the island as your entertaining and knowledgeable guide points out places of historical and cultural interest. Hear about Old Road Village, where the British first landed on Middle Island, and the world-famous Brimstone Hill Fortress as you drive by. Your next stop will be at Gibbon’s Hill, from where you can see the Atlantic Waters meeting with the Caribbean Sea in a splash of waves that never ceases to fascinate.
Adelaide Botanic Garden
Adelaide’s Garden & Museum takes you to the Bicentennial Conservatory at the Adelaide Botanic Garden. The conservatory is located in the tropical rain forest section of the garden and is awash with waterfalls and rock pools. It was built to celebrate Australia’s bicentenary (1988) and is the largest single-span conservatory in the Southern Hemisphere. The Bicentennial Conservatory houses a display of lowland tropical rain forest plants from Northern Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the nearby Pacific Islands. Many of these plants are at risk or are endangered in their natural habitats. You will have the chance to visit the Palm House, established in 1875 — the pre-cursor to the Conservatory. It was fully restored in 1992 and is believed to be the only one still in existence today.
The Humble Administrator’s Garden
Shanghai, China, is a city where old meets new. Scenic Suzhou, founded in the 5th century B.C., maintains tradition. A famous Chinese proverb says, “In heaven there is paradise; on earth Suzhou and Hangzhou.” At Suzhou, the Humble Administrator’s Garden is 10 acres of pure beauty, with a variety of lakes and gardens dotted throughout. The name, “Humble Administrator” comes from another Chinese proverb that says,
“To cultivate a garden for a living is really the politics of a humble man.” — Chinese Proverb
Also at Shanghai, visit the Yuyuan Garden. The Pan family, wealthy Ming Dynasty officials, had the garden built for them. The endeavor took 18 years between A.D. 1559 and 1577. Small bridges of different shapes and sizes, beautiful rockeries, clear water ponds, elegant pavilions and zig-zagging, covered corridors are nicely designed and built in this small but very delicate and pretty garden.
Mendenhall Glacier Gardens
Mendenhall Glacier Gardens is unique — it’s where beautifully designed landscapes meet rustic forest and cascading waterfalls. The bright greens, purples and pinks of the garden contrast the region’s greatest attraction nearby, the Mendenhall Glacier. See them both on Holland America Line’s Mendenhall Glacier & Gardens tour. You will be amazed at the diversity of the rain forest as you wind along pathways carved into the mountainside, heading toward the upper regions of the forest. Visit a one-of-a-kind Alaska garden featuring towering ‘upside-down trees’ covered with planted flowers. From the viewing platform at the 580-foot level, capture images of the Gastineau Channel, Douglas Island and the Chilkat Mountains.
MMouse from Vancouver, B.C. visited and said,
“The gardens were beautiful, especially the upside down trees & the flowers in the gift shop. The views from above were spectacular. The glacier & falls were also very impressive. Saw a bear by the salmon spawning streams, very close up! Once in a lifetime!”
From tropical rainforests to temperate hillsides these are just a few of the many beautiful gardens Holland America Line visits around the world. Do you have a favorite that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments!
Remember, you can pre-book the shore excursion of your choice to save time onboard!