Spring is the perfect time of year to admire the rapidly blooming blossoms and flowers all around the world. Different destinations are renowned for particular blooms, and some have become so famed for their flowers that people flock there just to see and photograph the sight. So where should you head (and when) to witness the best blooms in the world?
Kyoto, Cherry Blossoms
One of the most famous blossoming sights in the world, Japan comes to life in a sea of pastel pink cherry blossom early each spring. Kyoto is one of the best destinations in the country to see thousands of sakura trees in bloom simultaneously. The Japanese adore this time of year, and have been celebrating their abundance of sakura trees with their Cherry Blossom Festival since as early as the year 894. Although the blossoms only last a few short days, locals make the most of the beautiful sight by picnicking beneath the trees and illuminating them at night. Witnessing this extraordinary sight can be tricky, as the trees can blossom any time between the end of March and middle of April, and unpredictable heavy rains can bring the petals down earlier than expected.
Holland has always been renowned for its colourful tulips, forever immortalised in the song ‘Tulips from Amsterdam’. Blooming brightly across the countryside from March to May, visit mid-April to witness the peak of the Netherlands’ tulip season. Arranged neatly in rows according to colour, the tulips become a vibrant rainbow when viewed from afar, creating a majestic sight. Most of the country’s tulip farms are located in the northeast, in the province of Flevoland and in the area known as the Kop, and are best seen during a traditional Dutch cycle ride past working windmills. For a truly spectacular sight, visit Keukenhof Park to see over seven million tulips in bloom together.
From June to August, visitors flock to Provence in the south of France to walk through lavender fields, smelling their delicate scent and admiring their soft purple hue. Driving through the region, you will find yourself constantly stopping to appreciate and photograph seemingly never-ending purple prairies. The area’s lavender farms are a joy to explore, allowing visitors to walk along the rows, admiring the flowers and purchasing lavender-scented soaps and cosmetics. Visit from June to mid-July to admire the fields in full bloom, as harvesting and the accompanying festivities take place mid-July to August.
Carlsbad Flower Fields, Ranunculus Flowers
Located in between Los Angeles and San Diego, this Californian flower farm is famed for its large array of colourful ranunculus flowers. From the beginning of March to the beginning of May, the fifty-acre flower fields draw in huge crowds. The huge vibrant buds herald the beginning of spring for many Californian locals, and you can even get married amongst the blooms. The carpets of flowers are arranged by colour, the patches of pink, red, yellow, white and orange enticing you as you approach the fields.
One of the most dramatic floral sights has got to be a field full of sunflowers, their heads all pointing in one direction towards the sun. There are many places across Europe where you can stumble across fields filled with the tall yellow flowers, but it is in Tuscany that you will find them in great abundance. Sunflowers typically bloom from June to August, but if you want to discover them in full bloom, plan your visit for mid-July. At the height of summer, they are everywhere in the Tuscan countryside, and as you drive along small country roads, you will be bombarded with acres of vibrant yellow.
England may be famed for traditional country gardens teaming with roses and wild flowers, but it is the carpets of bluebells that line the floors of forests from April to May that is the most spectacular sight. Every town and village will have their own bluebell woods, where locals go to admire the vibrant indigo flowers that spring up each year. It isn’t just England, however that is famed for its bluebells. Cross the border to Wales and visit the island of Skomer off the coast of Pembrokeshire to see bluebells cascading dramatically down the cliffs.
Antelope Valley, Poppies
The Mojave Desert may not be the first place that you think of for viewing spectacular natural floral displays, but during spring, Antelope Valley comes alive with 1,745 acres of vibrant orange Californian poppies. The Poppy Reserve is usually in full bloom throughout spring, from mid-February to mid-May, with mainly poppies and a scattering of other colourful wildflowers. The sheer amount of poppies is quite staggering, and most visitors like to casually amble along the seven miles of hiking trails that weave in and out of the floral fields.
Cape Floral Kingdom, Wildflowers
A UNESCO World Biodiversity hotspot, Cape Floral Kingdom contains 20% of all fauna on the African continent, including over 9,000 plant species that are mainly endemic. Visit in spring to see the area in full bloom, when wildflowers carpet the floor in every direction for miles on end. The spectacle of seeing a rainbow of flowers blooming in the African landscape is akin to no other collection of flowers anywhere in the world.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.