Take a Detour through Europe’s Urban Gardens

February 19, 2013

in Cheap Activities, City Tips, Europe, France, Free Stuff, Germany, Museums, Russia, Travel, Web Tips

Europe makes it so easy, even for the busy tourist, to take a meandering stroll through a public park.  Due to their central locations, the following parks are hardly an addition to a traveler’s checklist — indeed, they connect visitor points of interest so smoothly, you’ll think you planned to take that little break in the grass.

Here are three of my favorite urban gardens across the European continent:

Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, France
Capped by the Louvre on one end and the Place de la Concorde/Champs Elysee on the other, a detour through the Tuileries garden is hardly one at all. For art lovers, the place is a magnet: the park itself contains both the Orangerie and the Jeu de Paume, as well as numerous sculptures; on its northeastern edge, it borders the Museum of Decorative Arts. With its many chairs and benches, the park is an excellent location for picnicking and people watching.

Planten un Blomen, Hamburg, Germany
Hamburg’s Planten un Blomen park runs from the central area near the University and Convention Center, clustered near the Dammtor train station, all the way past the lively area known as St. Pauli, down to the harbor at Landungsbrücken. Alternatively, you can take an easterly branch towards the Alster and the city’s main train station. In summer, there are regular, free water and light shows at the park’s lake. In winter, the giant skating rink at the Wallanlagen attracts young and old alike to venture out on the ice.

Letny Sad, St. Petersburg, Russia
Arguably St. Petersburg’s prettiest park, the main allees are flanked with statuary, giving the simple endeavor of a stroll a decidedly regal feel. While it is indeed glorious in summer, autumn’s golden leaves are an annual highlight. The park is located across the Neva from the Peter and Paul Fortress. Enjoy the views from the Troitsky Most (bridge) before entering the park. A visit to the Summer Garden is easily married to a further stroll through the Mikhailovsky Gardens, on one’s way to the Church of the Spilled Blood, the Russian Museum or Ethnographic Museum, or simply to Nevsky Prospekt.

Haven’t had enough city parks?  Check out four more recommendations in my post on Hanging with the Locals:  our Favorite Urban Parks in Europe, over at EuroCheapo blog.

photo credits:  flickr/Welshdan; flickr/CrispyRice

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