7 beautiful botanical gardens in Switzerland
Looking for something fun to do in the summer sun? Why not check out some of these stunning botanical gardens in Switzerland? From alpine gardens to fabulous water exhibitions, Swiss botanical gardens are truly unique and offer the perfect space to have a relaxing stroll on a warm summer day.
Best botanical gardens in Switzerland
Botanical gardens in Switzerland are often based around themes, or have a number of different gardens, exhibitions and greenhouses dedicated to different climates, countries or landscapes. There are a number of different botanical gardens in Swiss cities, hosting both exotic plants from across the globe, and home-grown Swiss plants too. Here are a few of our favourites!
Botanical gardens in Zurich
There are plenty of great botanical gardens to visit in Switzerland’s most populous city, Zurich. The city is home to one of the country’s most well-known gardens hosted by the local university, as well as a Chinese garden and a baroque-era fortification that is now home to a botanical garden.
University of Zurich Botanical Garden (Botanischer Garten der Universität Zürich)
One of Switzerland’s most famous universities, the University of Zurich, is not only the home of books, libraries and research galore, but also has its very own botanical gardens. This garden has its best exhibitions on show in the spring and early summer, but thanks to its tropical greenhouses, the gardens can also be visited in bad weather as well.
The Botanical Gardens at the University of Zurich have over 7.000 species of plants and boast several pretty ponds and lakes with aquatic plants. One of the best features of this Zurich garden is that entry is free, and thanks to multilingual guides you can be sure there is someone on hand to answer your questions about the plants.
Chinese garden Zurich (Chinagarten Zürich)
The Chinese garden in Zurich was gifted to the city by its Chinese partner city of Kunming and is dedicated to the theme of the Three Friends of Winter. The Three Friends of Winter is a Chinese art motif that is made up of pine, bamboo and plum and first appeared in Chinese culture during the Tang dynasty.
The garden was gifted to the city as a token of gratitude for Zurich’s technical assistance in the development of Kunming's water supply and drainage infrastructure. The gardens are centred around a pond and feature traditional paintings and buildings inspired by the culture and heritage of Kunming.
Old botanical garden Zurich (Alter Botanischer Garten)
Located near the Sihlporte in the city centre of Zurich, the old botanical garden of Zurich is situated on the Bollwerk zur Katz - the remnants of the city’s 17th-century fortifications. The garden is both a botanical garden and an arboretum. The Gessner-Garten is dedicated to Swiss herbalist Conrad Gessner, who founded the original site, and showcases more than 50 medicinal plants, each with a citation from 16th-century healers.
The garden is listed in the Swiss inventory of cultural property of national and regional significance as a Class A object of national importance. The garden’s arboretum also features an impressive collection of Swiss and foreign trees.
Conservatory and Botanical Garden of the City of Geneva (Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève)
In the heart of French-speaking Switzerland, it is unsurprising that Geneva has brought French gardening culture over the border and into the city. The Conservatory and Botanical Garden of the City of Geneva is home to more than 12.000 species of plants and trees. It was the first botanical garden founded in Geneva and was opened in 1817 at the height of the naturalist trend. The garden features a herbarium, which is one of the largest in the world, occupying around 28 hectares.
The herbarium has more than 6 million samples of herbs and lies next to Lake Geneva and the park of the United Nations Office at Geneva. The herbarium remains one of the five most important herbariums in the entire world.
Botanical gardens in Bern
Bern, as Switzerland’s de facto capital, has a great selection of stunning parks, and the city’s botanical gardens are no different. Check out some of our favourite botanical gardens located in the city and canton of Bern!
Botanical garden of the University of Bern (Botanische Garten der Universität Bern)
A site with a number of themed gardens, the Botanical Garden of the University of Bern has something to offer for everyone. Highlights of this garden include more than 5.500 species of plants and trees and themed gardens from the tropics, the Alps and even parts of central Asia.
The centrepiece of the gardens, the Alpinium, features plants from the Pyrenees, Alps, Balkans, Caucasus, Himalayas and Rocky Mountains as an exhibition of what flowers the mountains have to offer. There is also a garden featuring native Swiss alpine plants, with more than 1.500 species of Switzerland’s very own mountain plants.
Image credit: Redactionele bronvermelding: Michael Derrer Fuchs / Shutterstock.com
Schynige Platte Alpine Garden (Alpengarten Schynige Platte)
A true Alpine garden, the Schynige Platte Alpine Garden in Canton Bern is located at an altitude of 2.000 metres above sea level and specialises in researching high-altitude plants in Switzerland. Thanks to its special location, the garden has a display of over 600 plants that are native to the Swiss Alps.
The garden has existed since 1928, when an area of alpine pasture was fenced off and opened to the public the following year.
The gardens are also home to one of Switzerland’s only courses on Alpine botanics under the direction of the Institute of Plant Sciences at the University of Bern. There is a railway that runs near the gardens, with an option to purchase a combined railway and garden entrance ticket.
Botanical Garden University of Basel (Botanischer Garten der Universität Basel)
Basel is a city where cultures collide and this can be seen not only through the diversity of the city, but also through its architecture and landscaping design. Basel boasts several fantastic parks with beautiful flower displays and is also home to the renowned Botanical Garden at the University of Basel.
The botanical garden dates back to the 16th century, making it one of the oldest in the world. One of the highlights of the Botanical Garden at the University of Zurich is the dome-shaped Viktoriahaus, made specifically to accommodate the giant Victoria water lily in 1898.
The garden consists of many different exhibitions and gardens, each with its own theme and type of plants. The Botanical Garden at the University of Basel is also free of charge to enter.
Visit a botanical garden near you
As the summer weather peaks, it’s a great time to visit one of these fantastic botanical gardens in Switzerland. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your own garden at home, or if you simply want to enjoy a walk in some beautiful nature, these botanical gardens really do offer something for every visitor.