If you’re backpacking, or on a leisurely vacation, chances are you want to experience the destination in all its glory. Often the first places that enthused travelers are itching to check out are historical monuments, museums, clubs, bars, and restaurants. However, there is one destination that is truly underrated: parks. All across Europe and the U.S. breathtaking parks are open to the public. Visiting these parks allows one to experience serene, natural, beauty and provides an idyllic getaway to the craziness that sometimes consumes traveling and exploring. Here are the 10 most incredible parks you can’t miss when abroad.
There is a wide variety of things to do in Amsterdam, and visiting some of the many parks is often a popular choice. Grab a bottle of wine and some snacks before visiting Vondelpark, where you can experience live music and theater performances on the weekend. This park features lakes, wildlife, and rose gardens away from the canals and restaurants.
One park in particular that is both inspiring, as well as an adequate exercise is Park Güell in Gracia, Barcelona. Get a unique, art-fix here while adventuring through the windey trails you will encounter various Gaudi designed statues, foundations, sculptures, pillars, and of course the famous gingerbread houses that bring you back to your childhood memories of playing Candy land.
The High Line
Considered an educational hotspot, with its nature and art tours, The High Line park in New York was once an old, abandoned railroad track. Today however, it has been transformed with lush grasses, trees, flowers, and bushes, additionally, the original railroad tracks have been incorporated into the design. The concrete slants and various artist booths alongside extravagant plants and trees is a unique experience you can’t pass up.
Home to the Taste of Chicago Food Festival, the Summer Dance festival, and of course “The Bean” (Cloud Gate), Grant Park, Chicago offers sports, arts, concerts, and plenty of sunshine in the “Windy City.”
Spectacular in length, The Grand Entrance to London’s Hyde Park features massive columns and iron gates leading to the three hundred and fifty acre Park, equipped with meadows, tennis courts, british bowling, and putting greens. Rent a boat and tour the grounds by water while making your way to the adjacent Kensington Gardens.
Away from the normal rise and grind of Los Angeles, Griffith Park is the largest stretch of nature in Los Angeles, reaching 4,000 acres of adventure including: horseback riding, swimming, and the Griffith Observatory. A short walk up Canyon Drive leads to The Bronson Caves, an outcropping where dozens of movies, and TV shows (Batman!) have been shot.
El Parque del Buen Retiro
A vivacious, urban playground, El Parque del Buen Retiro, Madrid has ample romantic architecture and dynamic musicians, fortune tellers, vendors. On Sunday evenings, young bohemians are often present jamming away on their bongos and enjoying endless bottles of wine and a sunset.
The Englischer Garten in Munich is one of Europe’s largest municipal parks, equipped with beer gardens, a lake, bike and jogging paths, and at times, nude sunbathers. If you’re looking for something different; enjoy a traditional tea ceremony at the Japanese tea house.
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
Away from the typical manicured gardens, Buttes-Chaurmont’s plants are untended and lush. One of the biggest parks in Paris, Buttes has various panoramic views, but for the best, guests should venture to the park’s central lake and then to the historic Temple of Sybil – a stone gazebo modeled to replicate an ancient Roman temple-that sits quietly atop the island in the middle of the water. Venture further and encounter a quaint bridge that provides access to a cave and witness one of the most awe-inspiring and romantic views of Paris.
Golden Gate Park
The meadows of The Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California harbor the epic festival Outside lands, eight lakes, and the de Young Museum, an incredible building with all the aspects of a fairy treehouse, encompassing a living roof with almost two million plants and a four-story rainforest, bustling with the life of thirty-eight thousand animals!
Daniel Hogan is a writer at Party Earth – a global media and entertainment company that publishes reviews and listings of the best social experiences around the world including: bars in Paris, pubs in London, things to do in Barcelona, beaches in Los Angeles, festivals and concerts everywhere, and more.