10 of The Best Tourist Spots for Landscape Architecture in Europe
Article by Sophie Thiel
We take a closer look at landscape architecture in Europe that also makes for great tourist destinations.
We all know Hyde Park in London or Place de la République in Paris, but there are so many other landscape architecture projects worth visiting in Europe.
The aim of this article was not to create a compilation of the 10 best-known tourist destinations in Europe, but to surprise you with relatively unknown landscape architecture projects to visit during your next trip.
This list expands upon a previous article by Michelle Biggs: 4 incredible Tourism Projects of Landscape Architecture. Our new list features 10 must-see landscape architecture projects in Europe. Future articles will share projects from every other continent. So please enjoy reading and start planning where you would like to go first:
10. Park of Monsters – Bomarzo, Italy, by Vicino (Pier Francesco) Orsini, Pirro Ligorio & Simone Moschino
Italian landscape architecture offers more than just some Renaissance parks. The Park of Monsters was built after the death of Vicino Orsini’s wife, Gulia Farnese, and was dedicated to the great love between the couple. However, this is not a romantic park full of roses to underline Orsini’s heartache. And it isn’t a garden designed to please; rather, it is meant to astonish.
This Italian garden is populated by 17 different sculptures (the monsters) and two monuments, nestled among natural vegetation. It was created in the 16th century, a time in which alchemy, astrology, and magic attracted the minds of intellectuals such as Orsini, and mirrors that theme in every dramatic expression of the sculptures, making this place magical in its entirety.
9. Zorlu Center – Istanbul, Turkey, by DS Architecture, Carve & WATG
In this city between two continents, Zorlu Center unites private and semi-public gardens, facades, and residential terraces with a complex green roof in order to create a modern location. On the playground that belongs to the building complex, children enjoy the different opportunities for adventure and play offered throughout the park. It’s a playground where imagination comes to play.
Do you want to know more about Zorlu Center and its playground? These two articles by Ruth Coman and Alexandra Antipa are packed with loads of information about this project:
- How Landscape Design Became the Most Important Feature of Zorlu Center
- Zorlu Center, The Playground Where Imagination Comes to Play
8. Dania Park — Malmö, Sweden, by Thorbjörn Andersson and Sweco Architects
Dania Park is one of two seaside parks at the Western Harbour (Västra Hamnen), and therefore a part of the modern neighborhood of Malmö.
Given this park’s poetic play with the sea, the wind, and the sky, it’s no surprise that this vast landscape is a favorite destination for residents and tourists throughout the year. At the various viewing points of Dania Park, people take a break from everyday life, unwind, and enjoy the spectacular sunsets in summer or the rough sea and troubled sky in winter.
The Western Harbour – including Dania Park — is listed as the Number 1 tourist attraction on “Malmotown”, the official visitor’s site of Malmö. Dania Park is also suggested as the top seaside park of Malmö on “Visit Sweden”, the country’s official website for tourism and travel information.
7. Mariahilfer Strasse – Vienna, Austria, by Bureau B+B & Orso.Pitro
When visiting Vienna as a tourist, you will definitely go for a stroll on Mariahilfer Strasse. This street is not only the longest shared space in Europe since reconstruction ended in summer 2015, but also provides a vibrant atmosphere to all of its pedestrian visitors.
With all of the colorful impressions, it seems easy to get lost in time on this urban axis. But time doesn’t matter, since you can spend all day on Mariahilfer Strasse, eating breakfast or brunch at one of the innumerable cafés, going shopping for hours and hours, watching a movie or a play, visiting museums, having dinner, and going to some bars or clubs – all on one street. This urban project was also featured in our Top 10 Landscape Architecture Projects of 2015 by Erin Tharp.
6. C-Mine – Genk, Belgium, by HOSPER & Atelier Ruimteliijk Advies
A former coal mine turned into a buzzing cultural hub? Yes, it is, and that is what makes the city of Genk a must-see destination for unconventional travelers. If you’ve been there once, you will share the emotional value of the mine site with the Genk community.]
Be part of the C-mine expedition that consists of adventurous activities through the routes formerly used by hard-working miners. Or buy a ticket to one of many events taking place at this special spot on earth. The C-Mine square is also listed in the Top 3 sights of Genk on Tripadvisor, so go there before everyone else does.
Read about the whole success story of C-mine in these two articles by Tania Ramos Gianone and Caitlin Lockhart:
- Transforming a Coal Mining Site into a Cultural Hub
- Top 10 Ex-Industrial Sites Turned Into Stunning Landscapes
5. Vinterbad Brygge – Copenhagen, Denmark, by BIG
Share the special bathing tradition with the Scandinavians at Vinterbad Brygge in Copenhagen. The harbor baths are a landmark for both residents and the city’s visitors. Enjoy the breathtaking view of the Copenhagen skyline while swimming, or appreciate the ceramic mosaics with humorous motifs while sweating in the sauna.
Thermal bathing is an essential part of northern cultures and shouldn’t be missed when visiting Scandinavia, especially not at Vinterbad Brygge.
4. Cardada Viewpoint – Cardada, Switzerland, by Paolo L. Bürgi
Go from sea level to the top of the mountains with this awesome project in Cardada. The project consists of a concrete platform suspended in mid-air that displays a 180-degree window on the unforgettable views of Lake Maggiore. The Cardada viewpoint is a fantastic example of how to integrate a functional project into such a particular landscape as the Alps.
This project was already featured in our article 5 Incredible Displays of Landscape Architecture in Switzerland, written by Maura Caturano.
3. Velenje City Center Pedestrian Zone Promenada — Velenje, Slovenia, by ENOTA
Nobody would expect great landscape architecture in the 35,000-inhabitant city of Velenje, located in the picturesque northeast of Slovenia.
This makes a walk through the garden city all the more surprising for passing tourists. Since 2014, Velenje has a new Promenada in its city center, which functions as a vital city axis. The protagonist of this modern architectural play is the reclaimed River Paka, which now flows through the new amphitheater and becomes the center of activity in this city.
It’s a beautiful restored-river story that has multiple similarities with the famous Cheonggyecheon River Project in South Korea, and is definitely worth visiting.
2. Ika Meditation Spot — Csernaton, Romania, by Batlab Architects and Studio Nomad
Ika Meditation Spot in Csernaton is one of the most unconventional tourism landscape architecture projects of the past year. In the end, the whole project is composed of a simple wooden platform in the middle of the woods. However, this minimalistic design is what captivates its visitors.
There are no unnecessary distractions; it is just you sitting on the blue-painted platform viewing the surrounding nature. I dare to say Ika Meditation spot is one of the few unique projects existing on this planet, and totally worth a visit.
1. The Infinite Bridge – Aarhus, Denmark, by Gjøde & Povlsgaard Arkitekter
“The Infinite Bridge in Denmark is incredible,” the Europe Tourism Board posted on its Facebook page on July 15, 2015. And they were right. Even if Aarhus is a rather unknown travel destination, this town offers remarkable beauty and unexpected landscape architecture to its visitors.
The Infinite Bridge was created to provide an endless panoramic composition of the city and Aarhus bay. The bridge consists of a walkable wooden loop that stretches from land to sea. This project was realized as part of the biennial “Sculpture by the Sea” festival held in Aarhus – another thrilling spectacle to see in this region in early summer. The next exhibition will be held in 2017 under a different name — don’t miss visiting Aarhus and its Infinite Bridge then!
Everybody can visit the most-hyped countries and cities of Europe. Why not break through the conventional stream of tourists and take a day or two to visit some unconventional landscape architecture projects on this beautiful continent full of diversity? Which one of the suggested projects do you want to visit first?
Article by Sophie Thiel
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