In spring, European cities are tinged with wonderful colors and sometimes with oriental nuances like the ones of cherry trees. Yes, you read that right. If you cannot travel to Japan (land of cherry blossoms) at the moment, you could surround yourself with cherry trees in some European cities. Some well known, others less so. I’ve always been fascinated by the beauty of these flowers that last a few days and that often make me think of the beauty you can live in a moment. Grab the beauty around you before it vanishes!
Hanami is the Japanese tradition to admire the blossoming of flowers in spring, especially the delicate cherry blossoms. It dates back to the Heian period. The term, however, refer to the cherry blossoms (sakura), symbol of the Japanese culture. The true meaning of this tradition is not observing flowers blooming passively, but rather in living the journey of these beautiful flowers coming off the trees by the spring breeze. Cherry blossoms are not only symbols of rebirth and wealth, but also of the samurai’s qualities: loyalty, honesty and courage. Hanami is also an opportunity to meet friends, planning parties, picnics and karaoke sitting under the cherry blossoms trees. It is amazing admiring a rain-scented flowers.
Enjoy this awesome haiku by the poet and painter Yosa Buson:
Falling cherry blossoms
over water in the paddy: stars,
the glow of a moonless night.
Here are 25 best cities in Europe to enjoy cherry blossoms.
Paris is beautiful all year round. I love it in spring because watching the cherry blossoms with the background of the Eiffel Tower is super romantic and there is a nice breeze. If you are visiting Paris, don’t miss these places!
– The Parc du Champ de Mars, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower;
– Notre Dame Cathedral;
– Just outside the Louvre, inside the Tuileries Gardens;
– Japanese gardens at the Jardin Albert Kahn, which is 30 minutes from Paris.
London has many parks where you can enjoy cherry blossoms trees.
– The Kew Gardens are one of the best places to see cherry blossoms trees in London. The only drawback of Kew Gardens is that the admission is £15, but it is a place of total relaxation and also meditative. The Kew Gardens have four entries. Enter the Victoria Gate. Head to the Japanese garden where you will find a wonderful white cherry tree next to the Chokushi Mon. The highlight area winds through the Rose Garden behind the Palm House, the King William’s Temple and the Temperate House.
– St. James Park. In this park trees are a bit scattered. I really liked those I found next to the pond.
– Regent’s Park. I have literally fallen in love with those in the south at the end of Avenue Gardens.
– Greenwich Park. This lovely park has a fab avenue of cherry blossoms leading up to the rose garden at Ranger’s House (at the top of the hill, not far from the Observatory). This is the most romantic park for lovers of cherry blossoms to me.
– The Meadows. There are cherry trees in blossom on Jawbone Walk in the Meadows, just a few hundred yards from the city center;
#4. SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND. Go to the North West suburbs of Sheffield, where there is a row of 1930’s built semi-detached houses and enjoy amazing cherry Kanzan trees.
#5. CHESHIRE. Visit the Japanese Garden cherry blossom trees at Tatton Park.
#6. ALEXANDRA GARDENS, CARDIFF. These gardens are rich in flowers and trees, placed between Edward VII Avenue and Museum Avenue.
#7. THE STRAY, HARROGATE. This amazing place is wonderful for a picnic in the shade of a cherry blossom. The Stray wraps around the “old town” of Harrogate.
#9. BONN. Here is perhaps one of the most famous street lined with cherry trees, located on Heerstraße street. Walking in this street is something you have to try.
#11. HOLZWEG, MAGDEBURG. Here, cherry blossoms canopies line the street.
#12. KIRSCHBLÜTENFEST, HAMBURG. It is a festival dedicated to Japan, another opportunity to find some cherry trees and to be with other people who share a passion for Japan. The festival begins in May and the ticket is €29. Hamburg was given hundred cherry trees in the 1960s. Fireworks and parties are organized in Japanese style.
#13. BERLIN. Marzahn-Hellersdorf is a green area in Berlin. Garten der Welt has theme gardens from the Orient, Asia and Europe.
#14. HASSELT. There is a Japanese garden considered the largest Japanese garden of Western Europe, built about 20 years ago, in Hasselt. Waterfalls, a temple small streams and cherry trees. A place of peace, calm and serenity.
#15. COPENHAGEN. Sakura Festival takes place in Copenhagen around April 26 to 27. This is a great opportunity to enjoy to experience the atmosphere of Japan in a beautiful northern city like Copenhagen. If you don’t know what to do in Copenhagen check out my travel itinerary.
#16. AMSTELVEEN. Cherry Blossom Park is a real gem of oriental charm. There are many Japanese people who live Amstelveen. In 2000, the Japan Women’s Club donated 400 cherry blossom trees to the city. You can find them at Amsterdam Wood, a big park that borders Amstelveen and Amsterdam. If you are visiting Amsterdam in spring, don’t miss this park!
CURIOSITY: every tree has a name, the first 200 have a Japanese female name while the other 200 have a female name Dutch.
#17. STOCKHOLM. Relax at Stockholm‘s Kungsträdgården (King’s Tree Garden), a park in the center of the city and admire beautiful cherry blossoms trees.
#20. JERTE VALLEY, EXTREMADURA. The Jerte Valley, in Extremadura, celebrates the blooming of cherry trees every year, with different events. This year’s event takes place from March 21 to May 3. There are exhibitions, medieval markets, tasting events which take place in towns in the provinces of Cáceres such as Jerte, Valdestillas, Tornavacas, El Torno, Cabrero.
#22. KAPOSVAR. Kaposvar is very nice in spring. There are not only cherry blossoms trees but also magnolia trees.
#24. ROME. Why don’t you visit Rome in spring? If you go to the Parco Lago dell’EUR you can enjoy the blossoming of Sakura, the Japanese cherry. Photo courtesy repubblica.it.
This is my top 25 of the best cities in Europe to admire cherry blossoms.
Do you love cherry blossoms trees just like me? Have you ever seen them? If yes, where? 🙂