Forget Japan, cherry blossom lovers can get their fix in Paris, Berlin and Prague this spring

Get among the best of Europe's cherry blossoms with our handy guide
Get among the best of Europe's cherry blossoms with our handy guide Copyright Antonina Bukowska via Unsplash
By Saskia O'Donoghue
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Discover the fascinating stories of how European cities got their cherry blossom trees.

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If you’re a sakura - or cherry blossom - lover, you’ll likely have Japan and Washington DC on your travel bucket lists. But did you know there are countless places across Europe with equally impressive pink blooms to take in this spring?

If you don’t want to fly long haul but are still keen to see some cherry blossoms as the weather warms up, here are our suggestions for some of the very best destinations to catch them.

Pay a visit to Kersenbloesempark - or Cherry Blossom park - in Amsterdam

While the Netherlands in the springtime may be famous for the millions of tulips popping up, Amsterdam in particular is increasingly attracting tourists keen to see its beautiful cherry blossoms.

Sakura are very much on display at Keukenhof - the Dutch home of tulips just outside the capital - but there’s an alternative place to head to see the very best of the pink trees.

Why not pay a visit to Kersenbloesempark - meaning Cherry Blossom Park - in the Netherlands which boasts 400 of the pink trees
Why not pay a visit to Kersenbloesempark - meaning Cherry Blossom Park - in the Netherlands which boasts 400 of the pink treesPeter Dejong/The AP/File

Between mid-March and early April, the suburb of Amstelveen, south of Amsterdam, comes into its own.

Known locally as Kersenbloesempark - meaning Cherry Blossom Park - 400 trees blossom and bloom, providing a sensational view.

The trees were donated to the municipality of Amstelveen by the Japanese Women’s Club in 2000 and each now has a Japanese or Dutch female name.

It’s an unspoilt spot, with picnics under the blossom only allowed on weekdays to avoid overcrowding.

See images of the destination - and other European favourites - in our photo gallery here:

See the Eiffel Tower through cherry tree branches in Paris

Paris has different identities in every season, but spring is a particularly good time to visit.

Head over to the French capital in late March or early April and you’ll likely be delighted by pops of pink trees everywhere.

Unsurprisingly, the Jardin des Plantes in Paris’ 5th Arrondissement is one of the best spots to see the blooms. This 60-acre botanical garden, which dates back to the 17th century, boasts some of the city’s oldest cherry trees. It’s a favourite of locals as well as tourists, too, so you’ll be in good company.

Even if you’re a regular visitor to the city, you’ll likely visit the Tuileries Garden, the iconic park between the Louvre Museum and Place de la Concorde.

Paris' beautiful streets turn pink as the sakura trees blossom
Paris' beautiful streets turn pink as the sakura trees blossomFelix Fuchs via Unsplash

Famously manicured and typically French, its vistas are set off in even more stunning style by the cherry blossom trees which frame its many statues in the spring.

Usually, we wouldn’t say a visit to the Iron Lady is an absolute must, but the Eiffel Tower is absolutely worth the trip in the spring, as the cherry blossoms bloom.

For the ultimate photo spot for Paris in the most beautiful season, you’ll want to head to the Trocadero Gardens in the 16th arrondissement.

The Eiffel Tower looms up majestically behind the sakura and is a sight everyone should see once. Why not have a picnic under the trees for the ultimate spring day in Paris?

Imagine you’re in Japan thanks to Copenhagen’s Sakura festival

Out of all European nations, Denmark arguably takes cherry blossom season the most seriously.

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Every year, they put on a two-day Sakura festival in Copenhagen and 2024 is no different.

Set to be held on 20 and 21 April, visitors can head to Langelinie Park - home of the city’s famous Little Mermaid statue - to see around 200 powder-pink cherry blossom trees in full bloom.

The trees were donated by the Japanese Honorary Consul of Denmark and line the path to the Gefion Fountain. They’re such a big part of Copenhagen in the spring, the pink blooms are even visible by boat as part of a city canal tour.

Diving deeper into Japanese culture, the Sakura festival offers free entry and visitors can enjoy tea ceremonies, haiku and origami workshops as well as indulging in treats from sushi and mochi to sakura-themed favourites.

Japanese cherry trees stand in full bloom in Copenhagen
Japanese cherry trees stand in full bloom in CopenhagenMads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP/File

Celebrate Cherry Blossom Day in Stockholm

Staying in Scandinavia, you could do worse than pay a visit to Stockholm, home to some of Europe’s most beautiful sakura.

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This year’s annual Cherry Blossom Day will be held on 28 April and centres around the beautiful blooms which cover the 15th-century Kungsträdgården - or King’s Garden.

Sweden and Japan have a special relationship, with the trees gifted to King Carl XVI Gustaf by Japan in 1998.

The nation has embraced the Asian country’s culture and this year’s Cherry Blossom Day will feature martial art displays, workshops focussing on Japanese culture and plenty of food to try.

Just a few cherry blossoms on display in Stockholm's city centre
Just a few cherry blossoms on display in Stockholm's city centreTushar Mahajan via Unsplash

Learn about Berlin’s history while the blossoms delight you

If you like your sakura with a side of history, Berlin is the perfect place to head this spring.

It's been 35 years since the Berlin Wall came down - and 35 years since Japan gifted the city their now-iconic cherry blossom trees.

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Sakura is often seen as a symbol of rebirth and new beginnings - and the fact that many of them were planted close to where the divisive Wall once stood is a perfect reflection of that.

Berlin is home to several varieties of the trees, meaning you’ll often be able to see them from late March to early May, depending on which area you visit.

Walk 2km under rows of blossom in Berlin's Mauerpark
Walk 2km under rows of blossom in Berlin's MauerparkMaud Bocquillod via Unsplash

Best known for its Bearpit karaoke show and Sunday flea markets, Mauerpark - or ‘Wall Park’ - in the city’s Prenzlauer Berg district is even more of a destination in the spring.

Formerly divided by the Wall, the park and surrounding areas have some two kilometres of blossoms to walk or cycle underneath.

At the Gardens of the World park in Marzahn, there’s an entire Japanese garden with around 80 cherry trees. It hosts a Cherry Blossom Festival every year, although dates for this year’s extravaganza have yet to be released.

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It’s worth a visit anyway as it’s the perfect place to find some zen in the middle of the bustling German capital.

Live your fairytale fantasy under the blossoms in Prague

Prague is well known as one of the most affordable destinations in all of Europe - but it’s also one of the prettiest, especially in the spring.

For scenes that look like they’ve been lifted out of a fairytale, head to Petřín Hill, which comes into its own as the blossom blooms.

In fact, the park has so many trees, it’s possible to see the pink from the other side of the Czech capital’s river, the Vltava.

Head to the hill in the early morning to see the blossom in gentle light - and avoid other tree peepers - and to snap photographs of the natural beauties alongside impressive architecture.

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Sakura trees are - literally - everywhere in Prague in the spring
Sakura trees are - literally - everywhere in Prague in the springAnna Gru on Unsplash

If you walk further along the Vltava, you’ll come to Kampa Island. It’s famous as one of the most picturesque areas in all of Prague and the blossoms pop with the river as a backdrop.

Prague Castle is a must visit when travelling to the city and has become one of the most iconic, too, for cherry blossom viewing.

The 9th century edifice is surrounded by gardens, all filled with sakura. Again, we’d recommend an early morning visit to avoid the crowds and take advantage of the soft light.

If you have more time in Czechia, we’d also suggest a trip to nearby Karlovy Vary. Famed for its thermal springs and pastel-coloured buildings, it’s especially beautiful in cherry blossom season, with the trees making its beautiful streets even more stunning.

Catch pops of pink later in the season in Edinburgh

While much of the blossom has fallen, carpeting the surrounding areas in pink petals by the end of April, Edinburgh is rather different.

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Due to chillier temperatures, the cherry trees bloom a little later than much of the rest of Europe so if you haven’t managed to see any of the pink beauties by then, you’re in luck.

Even into early May, a visit to the Scottish capital will likely reveal the city in blush pink hues - and it really does transform all of Edinburgh.

Your first stop should be Meadows Park, a large public space with always-pretty cherry tree-lined paths and a view of the iconic Arthur’s Seat.

Cherry blossom pictured just off Edinburgh's iconic Royal Mile
Cherry blossom pictured just off Edinburgh's iconic Royal MileAdam Wilson via Unsplash

Next up, head to the Princes Street Gardens, right in the city centre. There you’ll see Edinburgh Castle framed by the branches of cherry trees, which makes for a truly evocative sight.

Last but not least is the Kyoto Friendship Garden. This destination is very much under-the-radar, even for many locals, but those in the know say it’s one of the best Japanese gardens in the UK.

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Situated in the grounds of Lauriston Castle, it was gifted by Kyoto to Edinburgh after the two cities became twinned in 1994, to celebrate the enduring relationship between the two cities.

With its Japanese influence, it has some of the best sakura trees in all of Scotland and is well worth adding to your schedule on a trip to Edinburgh.

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