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Botanical bliss: The countries & gardens you should add to your botanical bucket list


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Every traveller explores the world in search of something different, from wildlife to marine life, local culture or ancient history. If seeing some of the world’s most unique and fascinating plants is what drives you to travel, there’s a whole host of locations to choose from, before you can buy your travel insurance and hop on that plane.

With more and more people travelling with their plant plans in mind (a trend known as botanical tourism) and over 400,000 different plant species in existence, we wanted to investigate which countries around the world offer the best experience for plant lovers, as well as revealing the most highly rated gardens on the planet.

To do this, we analysed data points including: the number of plant-related Instagram posts, Google searches for the country’s gardens, the number of botanical gardens in the country, as well as each country’s total number of plant species, to find out where plant lovers should head to first.

Atlanta Botanical Garden, USA

In order to also reveal which gardens travellers should be adding to their botanical bucket lists, we also analysed four- and five-star online reviews for 100 of the most popular gardens worldwide, revealing which gardens are most loved by the world’s botanical tourists.

Here’s what we learned…

Which countries are best suited for plant-loving travellers?

We analysed over 50 countries that are home to at least 10 botanical gardens and studied each one using the following metrics: the number of plant species, Google search data for the country’s gardens and Instagram data for garden and plant related hashtags. The total area of each country was also used to assess how many botanical gardens can be found per square mile. A score was given for each of these factors, and a weighted formula was used to provide an overall ‘Botanical Bliss’ score for each country.

Almost half of the countries with the highest botanical bliss scores hail from Europe, a continent known for its vast range of climates which offer an array of habitats for a variety of plant species, as well as being home to some of the oldest and most prestigious botanical gardens in the world. Meanwhile, over a quarter are in Asia, a continent with incredibly high biodiversity, unique botanical gardens that showcase rare and exotic plants, as well as a long history of ancient botanical traditions.

The top 20 best countries for plant lovers to visit

Rank Country Instagram Score Google Searches Score Botanical Gardens Score Plant Species Score Total ‘Botanical Bliss’ Score /100 
United Kingdom (UK) 25 22 24 79 
Japan 24 24 17 13 78 
=2 United States (USA) 21 21 15 21 78 
India 22 24 11 20 77 
=4 Malaysia 23 22 13 20 77 
Australia 22 23 22 73 
Italy 19 17 22 12 70 
=7 Mexico 17 20 10 23 70 
Thailand 23 18 11 15 68 
10 Costa Rica 15 12 22 18 67 
11 China 13 25 24 66 
12 South Africa 13 18 23 61 
=12 Greece 10 23 16 11 61 
14 New Zealand 20 19 16 60 
15 Canada 24 21 10 58 
16 Netherlands 16 14 24 57 
17 France 12 16 18 10 56 
18 Ecuador 17 14 21 55 
=18 Brazil 18 11 25 55 
=18 Germany 21 21 55 
19 Austria 11 17 20 54 
20 Turkey 15 15 17 51 

1. United Kingdom – ‘Botanical Bliss’ score of 79

The number one botanical destination is the United Kingdom. Home to some of the most world-renowned gardens travellers can visit, from Kew Gardens in London to Trebah Garden in Cornwall, the UK has an impressive total botanical score of 79 out of 100. Its high score is largely due to the huge number of botanical gardens that can be found within the nation, as well as the large number of people searching for gardens to visit across the country.

Bluebells in the UK

2. Japan & United States – ‘Botanical Bliss’ score of 78

Only one point behind the UK is Japan and the USA, in combined second place with a botanical score of 78 out of 100. Commonly renowned for its cherry blossom season, stunning natural landscapes and meticulously designed gardens, Japan is a popular place for plant-loving travellers to visit. Kenrokuen Garden (Kanazawa) is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, partnered with Koraku-en (in Okayama), and Kairaku-en (in Mito), and is widely acknowledged for how beautiful it can be in every season of the year.

In the same vein, the USA is also home to many iconic natural landscapes and beautiful botanic gardens, like the Missouri Botanical Garden, Longwood Gardens and the Dallas Arboretum, to name just a few. With the largest overall number of botanical gardens of any country in the world, there’s an exceptional number of spots to put on your botanical bucket list if you want to travel to the states to explore its plants.

A beautiful garden in Japan.

4. India & Malaysia – ‘Botanical Bliss’ score of 77

In combined fourth place is India and Malaysia. Full of rich heritage as well as a bounty of natural beauty, Indian Mughal gardens are extremely popular to visit thanks to their impressive ornamental pools. These gardens are a blend of Mughal and British gardening styles, which offer extensive lawns, flower beds, fountains, and trimmed hedges – and are incredibly impressive to see with your own eyes.

Malaysia is an equally popular country for plant lovers to visit, with the biodiverse country home to a variety of tropical plants. A particular highlight for travellers to the country is the Perdana Botanical Gardens. Formerly known as the Lake Gardens, this expansive park features a variety of themes, including a Hibiscus Garden, Orchid Garden, and a Sunken Garden, a perfect day out for a recharge in some of nature’s most beautiful land.

Tasik Melati or Taman Melati - one of the famous lake park in Perlis Malaysia 30 minute by road from Kangar.

The world’s highest-rated gardens for travellers to visit

From the lush tropical plants littered atop the Monte Palace Garden that sits overlooking the island of Madeira, to the Sonoran Desert in Phoenix which plays host to some of the most beautiful towering cacti and fascinating succulents you can find, there’s something for every lover of botanicals in most countries.

To find out the best reviewed gardens around the globe, we analysed the reviews of over 100 of the world’s most well-known gardens, looking specifically at the green spaces which have the most reviews which are four stars or higher. Our analysis found that the number one garden worldwide is the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Arizona, which boasts an impressive 97.7% of reviews sitting at four or five stars.

The United States in fact, is home to nearly half (nine out of 20) of the world’s top 20 most highly rated gardens, with the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in first place, and the Missouri Botanical Garden, and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in third and sixth place, respectively.

The top 20 highest rated gardens in the world, according to traveller reviews

Rank Garden Location % of Reviews 4* or Higher 
Boyce Thompson Arboretum  Arizona, United States of America 97.7% 
Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens Anglesey, Wales 97.5% 
Missouri Botanical Garden Missouri, United States of America 97.4% 
Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Melbourne, Australia 96.9% 
Jardí del Túria Valencia, Spain 96.7% 
Bodnant Garden Tal-y-Cafn, Wales 96.6% 
=6 Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Pennsylvania, United States of America 96.6% 
National Orchid Garden Singapore 96.5% 
=8 Trebah Garden Cornwall, England 96.5% 
=8 Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden Hawaii, United States of America 96.5% 
=8 Longwood Gardens Pennsylvania, United States of America 96.5% 
12 Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Sydney, Australia 96.4% 
13 The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University  Massachusetts, United States of America 96.1% 
=13 Villa Taranto Verbenia, Italy 96.1% 
15 Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town, South Africa 96% 
=15 Adelaide Botanic Garden Adelaide, Australia 96% 
17 Naples Botanical Garden Florida, United States of America 95.8% 
18 Kensington Gardens London, England 95.7% 
19 Chicago Botanic Garden Illinois, United States of America 95.5% 
=19 Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Florida, United States of America 95.5% 

1. Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Arizona, United States of America

In first place, with 97.7% of its reviews four stars or higher, the Boyce Thompson Arboretum is the world’s most highly rated garden. Established in 1924, it’s the oldest and largest botanical garden in Arizona spanning over 392 acres and is home to a Cactus Garden and a Eucalyptus Forest, among many other beautiful areas for visitors to explore.

Home to: The Ocotillo plant, which is native to the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico, and is known for its long, spiny canes and bright red flowers.

Desert scenery at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Arizona

2. Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens, Anglesey, Wales

With 97.5% of its reviews being awarded four or five stars, Wales is home to the second most highly rated garden in our study. Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens are a true hidden gem, found on the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales. The historic gardens were restored in the mid 1990’s, but originally date back to the 1800’s, and are clearly still popular with visitors today.

Home to: A stunning collection of magnolias which bloom each spring, Plas Cadnant is known for these trees, which boast fragrant flowers blooming in shades of white, pink, purple and sometimes yellow.

Pink Hydrangea Overlooking the Hidden Garden at Plas Cadnant by Menai Bridge on the Isle of Anglesey, Wales, UK

3. Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri, United States of America

97.4% of Missouri Botanical Garden’s reviews are four or five stars, making it one of the oldest and highest rated botanical gardens in the United States. The garden was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976, and features something called the Climatron, a geodesic dome conservatory that houses a tropical rainforest. Visitors to this garden can also visit the 14-acre Japanese Garden, one of the largest in America, that features koi ponds, traditional bridges and Japanese lanterns.

Home to: The botanical garden showcases many of Missouri’s native species, which include wildflowers, grasses and shrubs, and can all be found in the Native Plant Garden.

Overlooking Lake in Missouri Botanical Garden

4. Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, Australia

With over 8,500 species of plants from around the world, Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens are one of the oldest in Australia, and the most highly reviewed. The gardens cover 94 acres and feature Guilfoyle’s Volcano, a reservoir transformed into a water feature with arid-zone plants. One of Australia’s most popular running tracks, the Tan Track, can also be found encircling the gardens here.

Home to: The Wollemi Pine, a rare and ancient tree that was previously thought to be extinct, until discovered in 1994 – Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens are one of the very few places you can see this species.

Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

5. Jardí del Túria, Valencia, Spain

The Jardí del Túria in Valencia was created within the former riverbed of the Túria River after a disastrous flood in 1957 resulted in the river being diverted. The gardens now function as a beloved public space for Valencians, with the park stretching for nearly 9 km through the city – making it one of the largest urban parks in Spain.

Home to: Carob trees, known for their edible pods and a true characteristic of the Mediterranean region.

Valencia, Spain: partial view of the Jardí del Túria (Túria gardens), a public park with cycle ways, footpaths, sports facilities as well as the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences in the background

If this research has inspired your next botanical getaway, make sure you’re covered for your trip with travel insurance, so you can explore the world’s vibrant plants and flowers without the doubt.


We created a list of 46 different countries, all of which are home to at least 10 botanical gardens, before analysing four different data points: Instagram Hashtags, Google Searches, Botanical Gardens per Square Mile and Recorded Plant Species.

These were then normalised, and weighted, to provide an overall ‘Botanical Bliss’ score out of 100.

Instagram Hashtags – we analysed the number of posts under #[country]+flowers, as well as #[country]+plants

Google Searches – we analysed global annual searches for [country]+gardens, as well as [country]+botanical gardens

Botanical Gardens – we obtained the number of botanical gardens in each country in the study from https://gardensearch.bgci.org/. We then analysed this number against the total area of the country, to get a figure for total gardens per square mile.

Plant Species – we obtained the number of recorded plant species from https://worldrainforests.com/03highest_biodiversity.htm

We then used desk research to collate a list of 100 of the world’s most popular botanic gardens, before analysing the number of four- and five-star reviews to obtain the percentage of reviews four stars and above, to rank the most highly rated gardens worldwide. Gardens with less than 500 reviews were excluded from the study.

All data accurate as of June 2024.