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Traveling to see the world’s natural wonders should of course include flying across the globe to see the likes of Iguazú Falls or the Grand Canyon. But experiencing what mother nature creates with each new season is just as impressive, from foliage-related travel to floral-inspired travel like seeing the cherry blossoms in D.C. or Kyoto or hunting down a desert super bloom. For mother nature-inspired travel this spring, visit one (or all) of these seven tulip festivals around the world.
Canadian Tulip Festival, Ottawa
Interestingly, the Canadian celebration of tulips is actually tied to the Netherlands’ tulips. As a show of thanks for the “role of the Canadian troops in the liberation of the Netherlands and Europe” in World War II, the Dutch gifted tulips to Canada. The Canadian Tulip Festival, which runs from May 8 to 18, 2020, celebrates the gift from the Dutch and the shared friendship between the two countries. The non-profit festival is held in Ottawa and features a brand-new Tulip Pavilion with a virtual reality installation. Visitors can also stop by The Garden Workshop Area for some hands-on tulip interaction, take a Tulip Legacy Walking Tour to learn more about the festival’s heritage, or head to Preston Square’s Art in the Tulips to see local art displayed among the flowers.
Tulip Festival Amsterdam
Called the “Tulp Festival” locally, Amsterdam’s tulip fest is known for their 85 tulip-blooming locations around the city. To be in Amsterdam in the spring is to be completely surrounded by tulips—like a springtime Instagram activation that even the most over-the-top brands couldn’t dream up. The Tulp Festival goes for the entire month of April—which is also peak blooming season, of course—and visitors can choose to see the tulips only in public areas, or at ticketed museums. While in the Netherlands during tulip season, catch the Dutch Flower Parade, which will be held on April 25, 2020 and moves from the coastal town of Noordwijk to the famed Keukenhof Gardens to the historic Dutch city of Haarlem.
Indira Gandhi Tulip Festival, Kashmir
Named for former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Kashmir’s annual tulip festival is set to begin on April 1, 2020 and run through April 30. The largest tulip garden in Asia, Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden sits in full view of Dal Lake. Located in Srinagar, the gardens boast seven terraces and flower species like daffodils, hyacinths, and ranunculus. The tulips, of course, are the main event—keep your eyes peeled for Fosteriana, Rembrandt, and Triumph tulips, among many other varieties. Because of the region’s political challenges, Kashmir is largely overlooked as a tourist destination, and their tulip festival and awe-inspiring gardens have been a means of encouraging tourism in this stunning area.
International Istanbul Tulip Festival, Turkey
Turkey is credited as the birthplace of the tulip, because the Ottoman Empire adorned Constantinople with the vibrant flower. So it’s not surprising that Istanbul still hosts a 300-year-old festival in one of the city’s largest parks. The International Istanbul Tulip Festival’s central hub is in Emirgan Park, but the spring tulips can be seen all around the city. Some of the best viewing areas are the European side of Yıldız Park or Sultanahmet Square.
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Washington
Venture to the Pacific Northwest for Washington’s annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. The festival runs April 1 to 30, and the millions of tulips bloom “according to their own schedule sometime during the festival.” The festival events and activities are held throughout Skagit Valley, and the tulips themselves are planted in various locations which rotate each year. Most festival-goers take a driving tour of Skagit Valley in April, as there are so many blooming sites to visit. Guests can also book any number of festival activities, like the popular Tulip Country Bike Tour.
Tesselaar Tulip Festival, Victoria, Australia
The largest flower festival in Australia, Tesselaar Tulip Festival happens annually outside Melbourne. The tulip festival has been a Victoria staple since 1954, showcasing nearly a million tulips in Dandenong Ranges National Park. The festival is a month long, running in 2020 from September 12 to October 11 and is always held in Silvan, about an hour drive from Melbourne.
Tonami Tulip Fair, Japan
In the Toyama Prefecture of Japan, the Tonami Tulip Fair runs from April 22 to May 5, 2020. Admittance to the fair allows visitors to see the Tonami Tulip Gallery, as well as visit the Tonami Art Museum, Tonami Provincial Museum, the Old Nakashima House, and the Tonami Culture Hall. On the first day of the festival, the fair hosts an opening ceremony and events throughout, like a tulip parade and brass concerts put on by the local high school’s band. With 250 tulip varieties and more than three million blooms each year, it’s well worth the three-hour trip from Tokyo. Take the bullet train from Tokyo—specifically, Shinkansen Hakutaka—to Toyama Prefecture.