Seamlessly integrating the great outdoors into cig city life, parks connect natural spaces with built environments, combining beautiful meadows, ponds, lakes and stream with museums and other man-made attractions. And the best part? Most of them are free.
Take a look at our top five of the world’s most beautiful parks:
1. Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
Starting right here at home in Australia, the picturesque Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne spread out over almost 100 acres of colourful tropical flora and fauna. With a significant and diverse collection of 50 000 plants, as well as native black swans, kookaburras and cockatoos, visitors can get a close look at a variety of delicate camellia, cacti and cycads. Peaceful lakes and sprawling lawns make for enjoyable nature tours, while outdoor theatre and exhibitions in the summer months are a must see.
2. Parc Güell, Barcelona
No list of city parks would be complete without making mention of Barcelona’s Parc Güell. Designed by world-renowned architect, Antoni Gaudì, and inspired by natural forms, the park features elaborate, organic-looking architecture, decorated with vibrant, colourful mosaics that is an absolute joy to behold. Gingerbread houses, vaulted colonnades and welcoming benches all work together to create an entirely whimsical effect that encourages the visitor to explore the twisting pathways toward the Casa Museu Gaudí. Situated at the top of a terraced hill, the park overlooks the city and offers a panoramic view of the bay.
3. Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo
Often compared to New York City’s Central Park, Brazil’s Ibirapuera Park was built in 1954 to commemorate the city’s 400th anniversary. World-renowned Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer, designed many of the signature buildings, including the flying-saucer-like planetarium and the auditorium, which is used for concerts. A centre of activity, the park is home to palaces and even an aquarium, and often sees people jogging and cycling along its paths and bridges, or sunbathing near the duck pond with a book from the park’s own library. Offering panoramic views of the city, the park is a vision of rolling lawns and fantastic buildings.
4. Central Park, New York City
Covering 843 acres in the heart of New York city, Central Park is not only one of the world’s most famous parks, having made its appearance in countless movies, but it’s one of the most beautiful too. Providing an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps, visitors can explore meandering pathways and woodland areas, picnic in open meadows, get their exercise in, or even take a rowboat out for a spin on one of its peaceful lakes. The concept of “a shared backyard” has never rung more true than when it comes to Central Park, and no visit to New York is complete without an afternoon spent lounging on its lawns.
5. Hyde Park, London
Perhaps the most famous park in a city full of famous parks, Hyde Park was originally built as Henry VIII’s hunting grounds. One of eight royal parks within London, Hyde Park is one of the biggest and often finds visitors renting a rowboat or paddleboat to explore the legendary Serpentine Lake, or even taking a dip in its waters in the warmer summer months and then soaking up the sun on its shores. Also known for its alfresco concerts and its infamous Speakers’ Corner, take time out to listen to the public opinions of gifted orators. An oasis of green in the midst of a concrete jungle, an urban park is essential to the lifeblood of any city, representing an opportunity to slow down and reconnect with more than just nature, but humanity too.
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