When the summer hits the Netherlands, one of the best places to head to to celebrate the sun and the beautiful weather is, no, not the seaside, although there are some lovely places there as well, but the Gardens of Appeltern. Never heard of them? I don’t blame you. They aren’t as touristy as Keukenhof but are equally as beautiful and absolutely worth the visit. So, go off-the-beaten track in the Netherlands and visit the Gardens of Appeltern!Looking for a day trip in the Netherlands? The Gardens of Appeltern are the perfect summer destination!Click To Tweet
What are actually the Gardens of Appeltern?
The Gardens of Appeltern are a permanent exhibition park featuring more than 200 model gardens on 22 ha. No two gardens are the same – small ponds with water lilies, gardens with waterfall features, shady sitting areas, and flowers, lots of flowers. If you are a flower lover, then the Gardens of Appeltern should be on your bucket list. The park has been created 35 years ago and they’ve started only with a few show gardens. Through the years the place has developed into the ultimate inspirational garden exhibition, but still remains under the radar of the tourists, as most people would consider that it is suitable for professional gardeners or garden designers. It could have been so, when they’ve started with the project, but today the Gardens of Appeltern are the perfect destination for a day trip in the Netherlands, wherever you are staying.
What to expect from the Gardens of Appeltern?
There are five different areas in the park and they are marked with different colours on the map. There are also sing posts in the respective colours to indicate the way, so that you can easily walk around. The best part is to get lost – we happened to walk two or three times through the same garden, but because we were entering from different hooks, each time we could discover something new. There were immaculately pruned gardens, beautifully landscaped ones, Japanese inspired settings, but my favorite gardens were the ones with contained wilderness.
The Wilde Weelde Wereld section of the Appeltern Gardens was amazing. Walking through those gardens I had the feeling as if I was that child again wandering through the fields with wild flowers in the village where my great-grandparents lived. It was amazing how natural those gardens looked. We thought at the beginning that we had left the official park and were walking somewhere in the nearby fields.
There were also gardens where the flowers were arranged in stunning colourful explosions: purple, orange, red. They were forming beautiful curvy patterns and I was thinking you should be a bit of an artist to be able to create those shapes and volumes using only flowers.
At the Blue section of the Gardens the natural landscape was used to create lovely places where you can sit and enjoy the water canal that runs through the park.
The Green section of the park, called also the Discovery Island, is a bit different. There are actually no model gardens there. Unfortunately, we didn’t’ have enough time to explore that part of the park. On the other hand, this is a very good reason to visit the park again, isn’t it.
After you have walked for a few hours, you should stop at the café for some refreshments. They have there this irresistible walnut cake that is a perfect match to a cup of cappuccino. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be drinking cappuccino in the afternoon, but hey this is the Netherlands, not Italy, so you won’t be frowned upon here if you sip on a cappuccino in the late afternoon.
What differentiates the Gardens of Appeltern from any other park or garden I have visited, is that it is not just a park or garden, it is much more. This is also what I liked about the Gardens of Appeltern – the project started as a local initiative and remained a such. The Gardens are still privately owned. The various exhibitors – plants and flowers growers, horticulturists, garden designers, suppliers of garden furniture, etc., are also local companies. For each lovely garden there is a plate with the names of the exhibitors, so if you are a local, you can contact the respective company for your garden project. Well, we were there only for the flowers and the beautiful gardens.
Oh, and I shall not forget the garden art that was to be found throughout the park: from just the regular things to witty creations like these.
When walking in the Gardens of Appeltern you can’t miss this tree made from rusty metal with buckets and pots and garden scissors hanging from the branches. It was ‘planted’ there for the 25th anniversary of the Gardens as a protest against acquiring too many objects in our gardens but forgetting the nature and that it’s all about flowers and plants. The sculpture Protest Tree (Protestboom) is made by the Dutch artist Peter Sprengers.
How to get to the Gardens of Appeltern?
The Gardens of Appeltern are located near the small town of Appeltern in the Dutch Province of Gelderland. The best way to travel to Appeltern is by car. Unfortunately, there are no good connections with public transport. Well, you can still reach Appeltern this way, but you will have to change a few trains and buses, which is not quite practical.
You can check the options here:
Where to stay when visiting the Gardens of Appeltern?
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase via one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. This is not a sponsored post. I have paid all costs associated with visiting the Gardens of Appeltern myself.
Although visiting the Gardens can be done in a day trip from virtually anywhere in the Netherlands, you may upgrade this experience to a whole weekend escape with a stay in one of the nearby hotels:
- Bed & Breakfast Appeltern – a lovely B&B, only 400 m from the park;
- t Appelstekje – a holiday home, only 500 m from the park. You can rent a bike here if you don’t want to walk for half a kilometer.
- Moeke Mooren – a nice eco-friendly accommodation with a Green Key label for sustainability. The hotel is located in a picturesque setting on the River Meuse at some 4 km from the Gardens, but don’t worry, you don’t need to walk, as at the hotel you can rent a bike.
Practicalities about the Gardens of Appeltern
The park is open from March to November every day.
- March, October, November – 10:00 – 17:00
- April – September – 10:00 – 18:00
- Low season (March, April, October, November): adults – 12.50 EUR, children (6-12 yoa) – 6.25 EUR
- High season (May-September): adults – 14.00 EUR, children (6-12 yoa) – 7 EUR
- Parking: 3.00 EUR per vehicle, excl. buses
- Discounts: children (0-5 yoa) – free, elderly (65+ yoa) – 2.00 EUR discount, groups – 2.00 EUR discount
The Gardens of Appeltern are accessible for kinder buggies or for people with reduced mobility and they are wheel-chair friendly.
De Tuinen van Appeltern, Walstraat 2a, 6629 AD APPELTERN, The Netherlands
For more information – check the official website of the Gardens of Appeltern.
If you follow my blog, you should have already noticed by now that we love gardens and parks. Wherever we go we always visit the local parks and we can’t be happier if there’re botanical or other gardens in the neighbourood.
Which is your favorite garden or park in the world? Let me know in the comments, so that I can visit it! Do you have questions about visiting the Gardens of Appeltern, ask them below and I’ll be happy to provide you with as much information as possible.
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