Ahh…flowers! For those of us who simply can’t get enough of these colourful plants, the thought of spending a holiday visiting flower festivals, flower shows and flower markets is almost too good to be true. And we’re pretty certain that we’re not the only ones who are feeling this way. Flower or gardening fanatics who have been bitten by the travel bug will jump at the opportunity to visit some of the many horticultural events taking place across the globe. For a touch of the unusual with plenty of ‘up-and-coming’ recently introduced plants, a taste of high-style garden design and an abundance of beautiful plants, a holiday inspired by flowers is a dream coming true for many.
Fortunately for all of us flower-lovers, in many parts of the world people celebrate flowers by holding special events in their honour…and you can visit! Whether you’re looking to visit one of the world’s most famous garden markets, hoping to catch a scent of a top flower festival or looking for new inspiration at a flower or garden show, we at HolidayChic.co.uk have searched the planet for the top flower-inspired holiday options. And we think we have come up with some real crackers!
Market – Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam, Holland
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to any flower enthusiast that the Dutch have splendid displays of flowers across the country. But the most striking is the Bloemenmarkt in the capital of Amsterdam. This is a floating market situated along the Singel canal in the south of the city. The market is a major tourist attraction and one of the most famous in Europe. It consists of 15 florists and garden shops as well as souvenirs and gifts. The market is constructed from flowers on houseboats which include tulips, a typically Dutch flower, as well as bulbs and other flowers. Bulbs can be taken home and planted and the market even sells Christmas trees in December!
Festival – Feria de las Flores, Medellin, Colombia
Medellin, a city known not too long ago as the headquarters of Pablo Escobar, the most notorious drug-lord that ever lived, is now internationally famous thanks to Feria de las Flores, one of the top horticultural events in the world. Probably not the first place you think of when you’re planning your flowery escape but this spectacular festival, which began in the mid 1950s as an inspiration to the flower-growers in the area, has become one of the greatest flower events in the world. The week-long festival boasts large, intricate arrangements called Silletas that are carried around the city. Held at the beginning of August, the annual festival is attracting an increasing number of tourists each year. They come to admire the beautiful Silletas and to have fun at the many street parties held each day of the festival. Medellin is located in the flower heartland of Colombia, a country that supplies more than 70 per cent of the flowers to the US.
Festival – Panagbenga Flower Festival, Baguio, Philippines
Panagbenga means ‘season of blooming’ and began as a tribute to the flowers of the city and a way to recover from the Luzon earthquake that ravaged the area in 1990. Unlike any of the other popular flower festivals, Panagbenga is a month-long event, with peak-points on the weekends. The streets are filled with giant flower-decorated floats and street dancers that pay homage to the beautiful flowers Baguio is world-famous for. The festival was first held in 1995, but it soon became internationally known, and tourists started coming-in from around the world. Now it is an important destination on the Philippines tourism map and it also gives younger generations a chance to discover the traditions of old.
Show – Chelsea Flower Show, London, England
Close to home, the Chelsea Flower Show is without a doubt the world’s most famous flower show. Held for five days each May on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, the flower show is run by Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society and features more than 20 show gardens created by designers from across the globe. The show is particularly famous for dramatic blooms, spectacular designs and plenty of gardening inspiration. The show has also become an important venue for watching trends and new plants are often launched at the show. It is no surprise that Chelsea Flower Show has been described as the garden design equivalent of a catwalk at a fashion show!
Festival – Madeira Flower Festival, Funchal, Madeira
As spring settles in and the flowers start to bloom, releasing their incredible perfume, Madeira hosts its biggest tourist attraction, the Flower Festival. Held every April, the festival invites visitors from across the globe to enjoy four intense, fun days in the capital of Madeira, Funchal. An event that will stay with you for years to come! Flower arrangements fill all shops and houses, and the city streets are covered by long, aromatic flower carpets. There’s no doubt that the highlights of the festival are the Children’s parade (held on the first day), the main parade, when tens of flower-decorated floats and costume-dancers make their way through the streets of Funchal and the ‘Wall of Hopes’, a wall decorated with flowers by children, in hope for a peaceful, better world.
Market – Bangkok Orchid Market, Thailand
The Bangkok Orchid Market is a fresh flower, fruit and vegetable market in Bangkok and is the largest fresh flower market in the city. Orchids as well as other flowers such as roses are sold throughout the night when the air is much cooler and more pleasant, allowing visitors the opportunity to view the flowers in comfort under fluorescent lighting. The best time to visit is in the evening or the early morning when trucks and boats on the Chao Phraya River deliver the flowers to the market as along with fruit, vegetables and spices. The busiest time is between two and three in the morning! So, if you want to avoid the crowds, stay in bed a few more hours...
Show – Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Australia
For a magnificent gardening expo, head to Australia this April. The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is the largest such event in the southern hemisphere and has been taking place for 13 years. Held in the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens in Melbourne, the location itself is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Each year event organisers work hard to blend the site’s historical importance and beauty to the show’s theme and mission. Visitors can expect to be awed by the designs of cutting edge floral and landscape design professionals.
Life in colour
Even if you’re not a flower fanatic, any of these flower festivals, markets or shows can easily be experienced as part of a chic holiday, where you combine ultimate relaxation with a day or two at one of the many flower events the world has to offer. Or if you are a true flower lover, head to any of these events and let yourself submerge in this spectacular world of floral scents, colourful decorations and vibrant spectacles. Any of these events are simply too good to be missed – flower fanatic or not!