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Top 8 Urban Parks of Europe

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Photo: Ukraine - Uman. Sofiyivka Park  Source: blog.reikartz.com
Photo: Ukraine - Uman. Sofiyivka Park Source: blog.reikartz.com

In the sea of skyscrapers, kilometres of concrete, traffic jams, and smog, Europe boasts oases for residents and tourists alike, where one can enjoy nature and escape from stress. We are talking about urban parks with abundant greenery, trees, flowers, meadows, and rivers awaiting you throughout the year in Europe. Many of these parks are also filled with museums and landmarks, which are key to the city's heritage.

Europe offers splendid urban parks for your enjoyment. We have compiled eight of them that you will definitely love.

Spain - Madrid. Retiro Park

Retiro Park is part of the historical urban and botanical heritage. Once a leisure area for the royal family, it has now become a gem of Madrid. The first mention of this park dates back to the era of the Catholic monarchs "Reyes Católicos", who led Spain after the unification of all provinces during the Reconquista. The founders of Monasterio de los Jerónimos used a part of the park as royal residence, known as the "quarters." This transformed the area into a temporary royal residence. During Felipe II's reign, the park became a place to escape from court life.

Photo:Spain - Madrid. Retiro Park Source: esmadrid-com

Ukraine - Uman. Sofiyivka Park

Ukrainian Eden, the dendrological park "Sofiyivka", is a garden-park and architectural masterpiece. It is visited annually by hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world. The park was founded in 1796 by the Polish magnate Stanislaw Szczesny Potocki in honor of his wife, the Greek beauty Sofia, and presented to her as a birthday gift in May 1802. The idea of building the park in a romantic style using Roman and Greek mythology belonged to Sofia herself. The project was led by the talented Polish military engineer Ludwig Metzel.

Here you can walk through the English Park and cross the Kamianka River via the Venetian Bridge. Take a stroll along the Elysian Fields and peek into the "Diana's Mirror" grotto, and take a boat trip to the realm of Hades through the underground canal. Here you can also ride in a real carriage or on horseback, on catamarans, ferries, the ship "Sofia", boats, and gondolas.

Photo: Ukraine - Uman. Sofiyivka Park Source: sofievka.org

Romania - Craiova. Nicolae Romanescu Park

Nicolae Romanescu Park is considered one of the largest natural parks in Europe. It was designed by the French architect Eduard Redont at the beginning of the 20th century and won a gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900. The park covers an area of about 100 hectares and is located in the southern part of Craiova. Alleys, springs, waterfalls, a charming castle, a suspension bridge, a hippodrome, a velodrome, a pier, and a zoo - all immersed in the lush vegetation. More than 100 years after its opening, Nicolae Romanescu Park has regained its splendor thanks to the reconstruction of the zoo, Bibescu House, and the summer theater - the largest open-air exhibition hall in Craiova.

Photo: Romania - Craiova.Nicolae Romanescu Park Source: primariacraiova-ro 

Croatia - Zagreb. Maksimir Park

Maksimir Park, initially formed on the outskirts of Zagreb in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, is now completely surrounded by urban buildings. In this new environment, Maksimir Park still serves as a refuge for many plant and animal species, despite its relatively small area of only 316 hectares. Maksimir Park is home to over a hundred species of birds. Meadows, lakes, and streams contribute to its biological diversity.

Photo: Croatia - Zagreb. Maksimir Park Source: visitzagreb-hr

Hungary - Budapest. City Park

Budapest's City Park boasts the largest artificial ice rink in Europe, Városligeti Műjégpálya, and is the center of Hungarian bandy. The City Park is home to one of Budapest's world-famous resorts, Széchenyi. In the 1950s, car races even took place in the park. In 1985, despite serious plans, the city authorities decided not to hold the Hungarian Grand Prix races in the park.

Photo: Hungary - Budapest. City Park Source: budapest-org 

Italy - Rome. Villa Borghese

Villa Borghese is a large English-style landscape garden in Rome. It houses a number of buildings, museums, and monuments. It is the third largest public park in Rome (80 hectares) after Villa Doria Pamphili and Villa Ada.

The gardens of the park were developed for Villa Borghese Pinciana, built by architect Flaminio Ponzi from sketches by Scipione Borghese, who used it to house his art collection.

Photo: Italy - Rome. Villa Borghese Source: romesite-com

Belgium - Brussels. Mont des Arts Garden

Mont des Arts was conceived by King Leopold II, who wanted to surround his palace with beauty. In the park, there is now plenty of it: the Magritte Museum, which showcases the world's largest collection of works by the famous Belgian surrealist artist; the Royal Museums of Fine Arts - a meeting place for visitors from all over the world, preserving over 20,000 ancient and modern works of art; the Palais des Beaux-Arts - BOZAR - the Brussels concert hall and visual arts center, which organizes events, exhibitions, and festivals, combining art from the past and present.

Photo: Belgium - Brussels. Mont des Arts Garden Source: visit-brussels

Netherlands - Amsterdam. Vondelpark

Vondelpark is the most popular park in Amsterdam, attracting tourists and city residents alike. The park features a variety of restaurants and cafés, including Blauwe Theehuis, Café Vertigo, and Groot Melkhuis. You will also find skate rental, an open-air theatre, and a rose garden with over 70 types of roses in the park. Vondelpark was designed by landscape architect Zocher and has been designated as a national heritage site.

Photo: Netherlands - Amsterdam. Vondelpark Source: GettyImages

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