Parque Central Valencia    Image: Richard Bloom ©

For anyone travelling to Europe this summer there is a huge choice of landscaped parks to visit, here we take a look at some of them. Our pick of some of the best places includes Parque Central Valencia (pictured above), a new 11.5 hectare urban park in Valencia, Spain.

Landscape architect Gustafson Porter + Bowman has completed the first phase of the development which provides a new green space for a range of age groups and community uses.

A range of multi-level gardens has been created as a series of large ‘bowls’ formed from sculpted landforms. They define the six areas of the park: the Children’s Garden, the Romantic Garden, the Flower Garden, the Orchard Garden and the Dementrio Ribes Arts Plaza.

The new park has been built on former industrial land. It is part of a larger project that once completed will see the city’s main trainlines relocated underground to free up a total of 66 hectares of land.

More than half of the area will be planted, and the completed 23 hectare park will help to resolve important problems by reintroducing biodiversity, creating new public space, providing cultural and office facilities, reversing physical and social segregation, improving the quality and supply of water, and increasing mobility and accessibility among the surrounding residential neighbourhoods.

 

2) Parco del Portello – Milan, Italy

© Comune di Milano

Parco Industria Alfa Romeo Portello – known as Parco del Portello – was completed in 2017.

The green area of 70,000 sqm occupies part of the area of the historic automobile industry factory, which for 110 years characterised the productive soul of the neighbourhood, giving work to tens of thousands of people and contributing to the economic and social development of the city and the country.

Designed by Charles Jencks and Andreas Kipar and developed by the LAND studio, the park was commissioned by Iper Montebello SpA.

The green area has been designed to be in continuity with Monte Stella, the historic artificial hill created by Piero Bottoni after World War II.

 

3) Nelson Mandela Park – Amsterdam, Holland

 © Mecanoo

Nelson Mandela Park (formerly known as Bijlmerpark) has been transformed into a true city park containing six hectares of sports facilities and 700 residences that wind along the park perimeter.

The transformation of the park forms part of a large-scale renewal of the Bijlmermeer district that aims to boost the quality of public space and safety on the street.

Footpaths through the hilly park connect the cultural northern end with the natural, ecological southern end. A wide range of distinctive trees and magnolia fields creates a different experience in the park with each changing season. The lookout hill (pictured above) is covered with butterfly-friendly plant.

 

4) Turia Gardens – Valencia, Spain

©VisitValencia  Photographer: Pablo Casino

Turia Gardens is one of the largest urban parks in Spain and runs through the city along nine kilometres of green space and features footpaths, leisure and sports areas.

The vast gardens are built on the former riverbed of the Turia, whose course was altered to prevent constant flooding in the city. After a devastating flood on 14 October 1957, the Turia’s course was diverted south of the city, leaving a huge tract of land that crosses the city from West to East, bordering the historical centre.

A number of urban planners and landscape architects designed different sections of the park, recreating the former river scenery. Officially opened in 1986, the gardens includes palm trees and orange trees, fountains and pine woods, aromatic plants and ponds, sports facilities and rose beds.

 

 

5) Egapark – Erfurt, Germany

Image: Steve Bauerschmidt

© Egapark Erfurt

The Erfurter garden and leisure park – also known as Egapark – is one of the largest garden and leisure parks in Germany covering more than 36 hectares. Egapark reflects the long horticultural tradition of the flower city Erfurt. The park area is located in the southwest of the city on the site of the former fortress Cyriaksburg.  The site features show and theme gardens, plant showcases, an observatory and observation tower, a children’s playground and a horticultural museum. Highlights include Europe’s largest ornamental flowerbed, the cherry blossom in the Japanese Garden and the tropical butterfly house.