The days are longer; the air is warmer and faint rays of sunshine begin to break the veil of dull clouds. This can only mean one thing: Spring is here, bringing with it aromatic scents that waft from gardens of vibrant colours.
The Chelsea Flower Show is one of the most prestigious floral exhibitions in the world and it attracts over 150,000 visitors every year. It’s also one of the most exclusive. Tickets, particularly for weekend entry, sell out fast and many are gobbled up by greedy ticket touts who can charge anywhere up to 36 times face value. One pair of tickets went on sale for an eye watering £2,362!
If you’re one of the many unable to get a ticket, or your priorities lie elsewhere, we have you covered. Europe is blessed with many of its own unique flower shows in the likes of Portugal, Spain and Greece and we’ve collected 5 of the best right here.
Flower Parade of the Bollenstreek – Noordwijk, South Holland – April 19th to April 23rd
Now in its 70th year, this mouthful of a flower parade drifts along a 40km stretch from Noordwijk to Haarlem in South Holland. The procession is made up of wagons decorated with an abundance of colour and floats adorned with bulb flowers that are made to represent fun characters and shapes.
Kifissia Flower Show – Athens, Greece – April 27th to May 14th
The Kifissia Flower Show has a more traditional air compared to its European counterparts. Surrounded by the towering trees of Kifissia Park in Athens, the show is a celebration of botanical beauty and the changing of the seasons. Fill your day with nature speeches, herb cooking in the outdoor garden, theatre performances and musical events.
Festa da Flor – Madeira, Portugal – May 4th to May 21st
Like a floating petal caught by a persistent wind, Madeira is separated from the Portuguese mainland, basking in a subtropical climate. The ‘island of flowers’ as it was once known, is an archipelago that shares a special connection to its flora. The capital, Funchal, hosts the yearly Festa da Flora, an explosion of colour and pleasurable aromas. Here you will see the vibrant floats, the animated shapes of the flower carpets and the many flower exhibitions.
Girona Flower Festival – Girona, Spain – May 13th to May 21st
For 8 days in the month of May, Girona becomes a blank canvas for the Girona Flower Festival. Streets are commandeered by beautiful flower displays and transformed into their own exhibitions. Its museums, galleries and cobbled lanes are also given a fluffy floral makeover. In total, the festival showcases more than a hundred individual flower displays, each reflecting the unique personality of every contributing Catalonian.
The flower festival is a highlight on Girona’s calendar and is a great way to explore the array of backstreet cafés and shops.
Flowertime – Brussels, Belgium – August 12th to August 15th
Did you know Brussels is the proud host of two flower shows? You probably already know of the magnificent Flower Carpet ceremony that is hosted biennially. But on alternate years, the Grand Palace and city hall are adorned in artistic flower arrangements for the aptly named Flowertime. Reception rooms, statues, entrances and all other manner of areas are turned into an impromptu garden of colour and aromas.
The show is only in its third edition and is held from the 12th to the 15th of August. Children under the age of 10 receive free entry.