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In Full Bloom: A Traveler’s Guide to Must See Flower Festivals Around The World

Flower festivals are celebrated around the world to admire the beauty of tulips, roses, cherry blossoms and all kinds of flowers in full bloom. These festivals often feature vibrant displays of varieties, as well as cultural events, music, food, and more. Here are some notable festivals from different parts of the world. Have you attended any? Time to go! Note that due to global warming, dates have been changing, and of course the height is always going to vary. Check with local organizations to plan your trip. We have organized the article roughly in calendar month order.

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms in Japan.
Image credit Sean Pavone via Shutterstock.
  • Locations: Various cities worldwide, including Tokyo (Japan), Washington D.C. (USA), and Seoul (South Korea).
  • Dates: Typically, in March or April, depending on the region.
  • Reason to go: Cherry blossom festivals celebrate the blooming of cherry trees, symbolizing the arrival of spring. These festivals often feature cultural events, performances, food stalls, and illuminated evening displays under the blossoms.

About Cherry Blossoms

cherry blossoms in DC.
Image credit f11photo via Shutterstock.

Known for their delicate pink or white flowers that bloom in spring, they symbolize the fleeting beauty of life and the arrival of spring. Associated with Japanese culture and the tradition of hanami (flower viewing) picnics under blooming cherry trees.

Tulips in the Netherlands

Tulips. I
Image credit Anton_Ivanov via Shutterstock.
  • Location: Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse, and various locations throughout the country.
  • Dates: Typically, from late March to mid-May.
  • Reason to go: The Netherlands is renowned for its tulip fields, and the Keukenhof Gardens showcase millions of tulips in different colors and varieties. It’s one of the largest flower gardens in the world and attracts thousands of visitors annually.

Tulips in Turkey

Tulips in turkey.
Image credit Birol Bali via Shutterstock.
  • Location: Istanbul, Turkey, Emirgan Park.
  • Dates: Usually in April.
  • Reason to go: The Istanbul Tulip Festival features over 100 different tulip varieties planted across the city’s parks, particularly Emirgan Park. It celebrates the historical significance of tulips in Turkish culture and their symbolism of beauty and abundance.

Tulips in the United States

Skagit Valley Tulips.
Image credit Amber Walker via Shutterstock.
  • Location: Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Mount Vernon, Washington.
  • Dates: Typically, throughout the month of April.
  • Reason to go: The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival showcases hundreds of acres of colorful tulip fields against the backdrop of the Cascade Mountains. Visitors can enjoy tulip displays, farm tours, art shows, and other related events.

About Tulips

rows of tulips.
Image credit Dave Z via Shutterstock.

Tulips are known for their vibrant colors, elegant shape, and variety of blooms, with estimates ranging from 3,000 to 7,000 different cultivars. These varieties come in a wide range of colors, shapes, sizes, and bloom times. Some common types include single early tulips, double late tulips, parrot tulips, fringed tulips, and lily-flowered tulips. They symbolize love, prosperity, and springtime renewal.

Bluebonnet Festivals

Image credit Dean Fikar via Shutterstock.
  • Location: Texas Hill Country, USA.
  • Dates: Typically, in April.
  • Reason to go: Bluebonnet festivals celebrate the state flower of Texas, the bluebonnet, which blankets fields and roadsides in vibrant blue hues during spring. Festivities often include bluebonnet-themed photography contests, arts and crafts, live music, and opportunities for scenic drives through bluebonnet-covered landscapes.

About Bluebonnets

Image credit Roschetzky Photography via Shutterstock.

Known for their striking blue-purple color and distinctive shape, they symbolize the spirit of Texas and the beauty of the state’s natural landscape. Considered the state flower of Texas.

Tulips in Canada

Tulips Niagara.
Image credit NelzTabcharani316 via Shutterstock.
  • Location: Canadian Tulip Festival, Ottawa, Ontario.
  • Dates: Usually in May.
  • Reason to go: The Canadian Tulip Festival commemorates the gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs from the Dutch royal family to Canada during World War II. It features millions of tulips blooming across Ottawa, along with cultural performances, art exhibitions, and fireworks.

Tulips in Japan

Tulips in Japan.
Image credit onemu via Shutterstock.
  • Location: Tonami Tulip Fair, Tonami City, Toyama Prefecture.
  • Dates: Typically, in late April to early May.
  • Reason to go: The Tonami Tulip Fair is one of Japan’s largest tulip festivals, featuring over 2 million tulips in various colors and patterns. Visitors can enjoy tulip displays, live music, traditional dance performances, and local food stalls.

Lilac Festivals

Lilac bush.
Image credit YegoroV via Shutterstock.
  • Location: Rochester, New York (USA); Niagara Region, Ontario (Canada); Mackinac Island, MI (USA).
  • Dates: Typically, in May and June.
  • Reason to go: Rochester features the famous Lilac Parade, which showcases floats, bands, and community groups. Visitors can also enjoy live music performances, art shows, craft vendors, food and drink vendors, garden tours, and family-friendly activities. In Niagara, you can look forward to lilac-themed garden tours, concerts, art shows, wine tastings, and culinary events; In MI The festival offers guided lilac walking tours, horse-drawn carriage tours, concerts, art shows, culinary events, and family-friendly activities.

About  Lilacs

Image credit Mr. thanyathep via Shutterstock.

There are over 1,000 varieties of lilacs (Syringa species) cultivated worldwide, offering a diverse range of colors, fragrances, and bloom times. These varieties include different species and hybrids, each with unique characteristics such as flower size, shape, and foliage. Colors range from white and yellow to many shades of purple and pink, as well as bicolor lilacs. 

Locally here in Massachusetts we have Lilacland. A private property opens to the public during the season where you can stroll amongst over 300 different varieties.

Rose Festivals

Image credit KANNOI via Shutterstock.
  • Locations: Portland (Oregon, USA), Istanbul (Turkey), and various cities worldwide.
  • Dates: Vary depending on the region, typically in late spring or early summer.
  • Reason to go: Rose festivals celebrate the beauty and diversity of roses, featuring thousands of rose varieties in bloom. Events may include rose garden tours, floral displays, parades, beauty contests, and educational programs about rose care and cultivation.

About Roses

Rose garden.
Image credit Gary Matuschka via Shutterstock.

Roses symbolize love, romance, and passion, and are known for their beauty, fragrance, and wide range of colors and varieties. Highly regarded in many cultures worldwide for their ornamental value and cultural significance. Estimates suggest there are over 30,000 different types of roses, including hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, climbers, shrub roses, and miniature roses. Roses vary in color, fragrance, petal count, growth habit, and disease resistance, among other characteristics.

Rhododendron Festivals

Image credit Vitalii Herasymenko via Shutterstock.
  • Locations: Various regions worldwide, including Ireland, Nepal, and the Pacific Northwest region of the USA.
  • Dates: Typically, in late spring to early summer.
  • Reason to go: Rhododendron festivals showcase the stunning blooms of rhododendron and azalea plants, which come in a wide array of colors and varieties. Visitors can explore rhododendron gardens, attend plant sales, participate in guided tours, and enjoy cultural events related to these beautiful flowering shrubs.

About Rhododendrons

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Known for their large, showy clusters of flowers in various colors, symbolizing beauty, grace, and resilience. Found in gardens and landscapes worldwide, particularly in temperate regions, and appreciated for their ornamental value and ability to thrive in diverse environments. Rhododendrons come in various colors including pink, purple, white, red, yellow, orange, and blue, as well as bicolor and multicolor varieties.

Lavender Festivals

Lavender fields.
Image credit Nedjat Nuhi via Shutterstock.
  • Locations: Provence (France), Sequim (Washington, USA), and various other regions known for lavender cultivation.
  • Dates: Usually in June and July.
  • Reason to go: Lavender festivals highlight the beauty and fragrance of lavender fields in full bloom. Visitors can enjoy scenic views, pick their own lavender, learn about lavender cultivation and its uses, and indulge in lavender-themed products such as oils, soaps, and culinary treats.

About Lavender

Image credit ol_dmi via Shutterstock.

Lavender comes in various types, with English, French, and Spanish being common. It’s prized for its fragrance and used in cooking, aromatherapy, and skincare. Medicinally, it’s known for promoting relaxation and soothing skin. In gardens, lavender adds beauty and attracts pollinators. It’s harvested for its flowers, which can be dried and used in potpourri or extracted for essential oil.

These spring and early summer flower festivals offer opportunities for people to connect with nature, enjoy outdoor activities, and celebrate the beauty of seasonal blooms in diverse regions around the world. Are you planning a trip?

Bucket List Item: Oregon Outback International Dark Sky Sanctuary

Image credit DarkSky.org

Hopefully all of you have had the experience of gazing into the night sky in dark surroundings, so that you could take advantage of the stars, planets and cosmos. Unfortunately, manmade lights often interfere – it is called light pollution for a reason – but did you know that the U.S. can now claim the largest international dark sky sanctuary? You will have to travel to Oregon to take advantage, but it is worth the trip. READ: Bucket List Item: Oregon Outback International Dark Sky Sanctuary


  • Dede Wilson

    Dédé Wilson is a journalist with over 17 cookbooks to her name and is the co-founder and managing partner of the digital media partnership Shift Works Partners LLC, currently publishing through two online media brands, FODMAP Everyday® and The Queen Zone.

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