While Hamburg has no shortage of greenery, the most beautiful stretches are these four adjacent, meticulously maintained parks and gardens west of the Altstadt and Alster Lake. Planten und Blomen (Plants and Flowers), laid out in 1936, contains the largest Japanese garden in Europe, with rock gardens, flowering plants, miniature trees, and winding pathways. The Alter Botanischer Garten (Old Botanical Garden) south of Planten and Blomen nurtures rare plant specimens in greenhouses bursting with tropical flora. The Kleine (small) and Grosse (large) Wallanlagen parks are geared to recreation, with a roller-skating rink, playgrounds, and an ice-skating rink in winter. You can chug through the quartet on a miniature railway and cap off a summertime visit with an evening concert in in the Planten und Bloomen, where colorfully illuminated fountains keep time to classical and pop music; daily from June to August at 10.
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