Discover the world’s most flamboyant celebrations of flora and gardens. Our affinity for the beautiful and delicate transcends borders and has been present throughout history in the four corners of the world. The world’s natural beauty is on full display in the spectacular floral arrangements of the Madeira Flower Festival, the iconic blooming Dutch tulips in the Keukenhof Gardens and the modern twist to gardening in Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay.
1. The Madeira Flower Festival — Portugal
Madeira, the Portuguese island off the coast of Morocco, boasts a sub-tropical climate thanks to the warm Gulf Stream currents that cross the North Atlantic. This beautiful mountainous island houses an impressive variety of tropical plants and flowers. The sheer abundance of which has resulted in the islanders deciding to host an annual flower festival in tribute to their unique climate and flora. During the week-long celebrations, locals dress in themed attire and parade along the streets behind floats entirely decorated in freshly cut flowers. Thousands of children join in the central square where they place flowers on the Wall of Hope, a symbol for peace in the world. The vibrant colours, sweet fragrances and cheerful music have left a lasting impression on all those who experience this truly unique celebration of Mother Nature’s gift.
2. The Gardens of Keukenhof — The Netherlands
The longstanding love-affair the Dutch have had with tulips gave birth to this magnificent love-child of sorts: Keukenhof Gardens. Only open during two short months when the iconic flower blooms, it is home to an impressive seven million flowers planted over 32 hectares. Originally, the gardens were designed to showcase tulip varieties for sale in order to boost the country’s export business. Today, the gardens attract over 800,000 visitors from around the world who come to marvel at the colourful displays and enjoy leisurely strolls through these exquisite fragrant gardens.
The variety of flowers is impressive and so too are the numerous floral displays tastefully crafted to enchant its admirers; floral mosaics, an English garden, a garden maze and also a Japanese garden are just some of the many attractions. For those of you curious to witness one of Europe’s largest flower gardens, embark on our river cruise Dutch & Belgium Discovery.
3. Gardens by the Bay — Singapore
Gardens by the Bay stems from the desire to transform the island-city into a ‘Garden city’ and create a relaxing haven just minutes away from the futuristic skyscrapers that make up the city’s skyline. Spanning 101 hectares on top of reclaimed land, these gardens surprise and inspire its visitors not only by the beauty of the displays but by the creativity of their structures. One such example are the Supertrees and their vertiginous walkway. These innovatively designed tree-like form serve as much for shading during the day, as exploration and plantation: massive yet delicate metallic frames spring out of the grounds of the gardens and come covered with 200 species of plants! This is a vertical garden like no other. The cooled conservatory offers a welcome stroll through a Californian and Mediterranean climate while the Cloud Forest replicates the conditions of tropical highlands, with their misty, cool climate, impenetrable terrain and abundance of orchids. Within this huge greenhouse, you will be stunned by the presence of an artificial mountain 35 metres high, cloaked in lush vegetation and dotted with waterfalls – it even comes complete with an elevator to reach its peak. This unique experience is one of many adventures that await on our cruise from Singapore to Dubai.
There is much beauty in this world and we simply must take the time to observe and appreciate Mother Nature’s gifts. So why not join in the Madeira’s floral festivities, marvel at the vibrant Dutch tulips or let yourself be dazzled by Singapore’s ingenious gardens?