Spain has earned a reputation as a country of extraordinary creativity in many fields. Garden making and landscape design are now catching up, and this six-day tour, based in Madrid, is an opportunity to see several different aspects of the country’s gardening life.


The Iberian Peninsula is very rich botanically, and Spain has the second largest number of plant species in Europe. In late May the wildflowers should be at their colourful best, and a number of short walks in the region of the Sierra Guadarrama, north of Madrid, are planned to appreciate this rich flora, and to understand the natural vegetation of the country’s interior.

We will visit several of the area’s classical historic gardens, such as Parque El Capricho de la Alameda de Osuna and the gardens of Palacio Real de La Granja de San Ildefonso, as well as the Real Jardín Botánico in Madrid. We’ll meet two of the country’s leading garden designers, Miguel Urquijo and Fernando Martos (both of whose work has featured in Gardens Illustrated). They will accompany us to some of the private gardens they have created, discussing with us the challenges of developing a new garden form for a traditional garden culture and of plant selection for a difficult climate. We will also visit the experimental garden of Miguel Recio in Segovia.

Fernando Martos Spanish garden. Photo by Claire Takacs.
This Spanish garden, near Madrid is a private family garden with planting inspired by English gardens. It has been designed by Fernando Martos, one of the garden designers you will meet on the trip. Photo by Claire Takacs.

Tour leader
Noel Kingsbury is regular Gardens Illustrated contributor and a garden writer, researcher, lecturer and teacher. He is well known for his expertise in sustainable planting design.

Booking details
Price per person, based on two people sharing: £2,480 (a single supplement of £460 is levied by the hotel).

Price includes: six nights dinner, bed and breakfast at Hotel Liabeny in central Madrid. The price does not include hotel extras or travel insurance, or international flights, although these can be arranged through Distant Horizons if required. For more details and for a full in-depth itinerary with details of day-to-day visits, meals, etc, please contact Distant Horizons.

For more information or to book please contact
Distant Horizons, 13 Melloncroft Drive, Caldy, The Wirral, Cheshire CH48 2JA, UK.
Telephone +44 (0)151 625 3425 email


This tour has been arranged exclusively for readers of Gardens Illustrated by Distant Horizons, organisers of cultural and garden journeys since 1996. Please note that itineraries may be subject to change for reasons beyond Gardens Illustrated’s control.