In the middle of an urban jungle, sometimes you need to find a moment of peace and quiet. At these amazing city parks, visitors can explore winding pathways, picnic in open green meadows, or wile away the afternoon next to a pond. But some parks are major attractions in their own right and offer more than just a place to take a break. From a Canadian wilderness retreat with wooded seaside pathways, to a colorful architectural mecca in one of Europe's most vibrant cities, these destinations give new meaning to the words "urban oasis." Here are our picks for the world's most beautiful city parks.
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Royal Botanic Gardens
Picturesque vistas and colorful tropical fauna make Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens one of the world's most stunning city parks. Spread over almost 100 acres, the gardens feature peaceful lakes and a diverse collection of 50,000 plants. Visitors can get an up-close look at camellias, cacti, roses, cycads, and exotic plants from southern China. The gardens are also home to native black swans and bellbirds, and guests can scope out cockatoos and kookaburras on guided nature tours. During the warmer months, the gardens transform into a cultural venue with alfresco theater performances and exhibitions.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Melbourne Guide
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Villa Doria Pamphili
As the largest landscaped public park in the city, Villa Doria Pamphili delights visitors with its elaborate architecture and intricate gardens. Originally the estate of a noble family, the expansive grounds feature neatly manicured gardens with clipped hedges and fountains. Wide gravel pathways are perfect for jogging, and antique statues and vases hearken back to an earlier era. Don't miss the "Arch of the Four Winds," a commemorative monument at the entrance to the park's sprawling grounds.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Rome Guide
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Where: São Paulo
Often compared to New York City's Central Park, Ibirapuera Park is São Paulo's center of activity and recreation. Initially built in 1954 to commemorate the city's 400th anniversary, the park includes several buildings designed by renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer. Visitors can lounge on rolling lawns and take in the panoramic view of downtown. The park also features jogging and biking paths and bridges that overlook the water.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's São Paulo Guide
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