It’s amazing the optimism spring brings with it. Not only does it mean winter is behind us, but also that our days will soon be filled with blooming flowers, thriving greenery, and gentle showers in the afternoon. Spring is also one of the best times to travel. Many destinations are at their loveliest in spring. The weather is temperate, but comfortable, crowds a bit smaller than they are in summer (except for in a few key spots), and the natural world is budding anew.
Inspired by the optimism of the season, we’ve put together a list of six great destinations to visit in the spring. Some of these picks are obvious, while others may have you scratching your head for a second, but they’re among the loveliest spots to visit in the spring months. These are six of the best spring getaways.
Smell the Tulips in Amsterdam
No flower embodies spring more than the tulip, and no destination is more defined by tulips than the Netherlands. Amsterdam is particularly lovely come spring, when the atmosphere of rebirth invigorates the population and sees people flock to the outdoors just as these iconic flowers start to sprout through the thawing dirt.
Tulips overwhelm Amsterdam and the surrounding countryside of the Netherlands. You’ll find tulips everywhere, from pots on the windowsill to planters on boulevards to parks like Vondelpark and Oosterpark. If you really want to indulge in tulips viewing, head to Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse to the southwest of Amsterdam and prepare to be stunned by the endless rows of tulips of all colours. Every April, the park hosts the Tulip Festival, which is the world’s foremost celebration of tulips. Bask in the glory of tulips and windmills.
If you can believe it, there’s more reason to visit Amsterdam in spring than simply the tulips. For one, King’s Day falls each spring, which celebrates the royal family and sees the Dutch population dress up in orange and celebrate in the streets for a one-day joyous party. If you want to join in the fun, grab an orange shirt and meet some new Dutch friends. As well, while the popular adage goes that “April showers bring May flowers,” April is actually the driest month of the year in Amsterdam, meaning you can enjoy the floral bloom without worrying about the damp and wet. It’s all the more reason to head on a spring getaway to the Netherlands on a Europe vacation.
Wander Through Vineyards in Provence
You may sense a trend that Western Europe is the place to be, come spring, because it’s true. France may not be as warm in spring as Mexico or the southern United States, but it makes up for it with unbeatable atmosphere. And while Paris is popular in spring, it can also be cold and wet. The south of France, particularly Provence, makes for a much more appropriate spring getaway.
In spring in Provence, the beaches begin to open and the region starts to show the floral bloom that captures many travellers’ hearts. Around Easter, French tourists from the north begin to head on vacation again, but not nearly as many as in summertime, so you can expect off-peak rates at hotels in most cities and towns. Furthermore, it’s sunny outside and warm, but not too warm, making it perfect for hiking and time spent outdoors.
While the lavender bloom doesn’t come until June, you’ll find other flowers like red valerian and poppies covering the countryside. Provence is also one of the world’s most famous wine regions, so you can spend your spring getaway visiting wineries and sampling last year’s vintages just as winemakers start the new growing season. And if you love movies and glitz and glamour, May brings the Cannes Film Festival, where the world’s greatest filmmakers compete for the Palme d’Or and walk the famous red carpet. No matter whether you spend time in Cannes, Aix-en-Provence, Marseilles, or Nice, spring in Provence is spellbinding.
Have a Hanami Party in Tokyo
This is the most obvious choice on the entire list, but it’s also the most essential. You can’t have a list of the best spring getaways without including the cherry blossoms, or sakura, that define Japanese culture and enchant onlookers like no other flowers. In late March and early April, the cherry blossoms come out all across Japan, precipitating the most popular season to visit the country. Unlike in some other destinations, spring is not the shoulder season in Japan. It’s high season, so you need to book well in advance, but it’s also one of the most breathtaking experiences you can have visiting anywhere in the world.
Tokyo is the most popular destination in Japan and as good a place as any to admire the sakura. You’ll have to contend with crowds, but crowds are a part of any Japanese vacation, and they’re worth braving for sight of the splendorous pink bloom that covers the nation. Ueno Park is the most popular spot for hanami or sakura viewing and can get a little wild, so you may want to head elsewhere to see the blossoms, such as along the Nake-Meguro Canal or in the Imperial Palace East Gardens, which lacks the parties you’ll find in other parks.
There are other advantages to visiting Tokyo on spring getaways. Tokyo can get very hot in the summer, so in spring, you can avoid the heat while also experiencing pleasant weather prior to typhoon season. As well, Japanese cuisine is largely dependent on seasonal ingredients, so you’ll enjoy a lot of spring culinary specialties when you visit. Just be sure to avoid Golden Week in late April and early May, as that’s when most Japanese tourists head on vacation. The country can be a headache to navigate during this week. Otherwise, spring is splendid.
Savour the Lush Greenery of Christchurch
Christchurch is known as the Garden City of New Zealand. Stands to reason that a garden city would be a great spot to visit in the spring. Of course, New Zealand’s spring is not the same as France’s. Spring comes in September, October, and November, but it’s nevertheless a time when the already-green countryside gets even greener and the fruit trees bloom in all their glory.
In Christchurch, daffodils and tulips cover the city’s parks and gardens, and people spend even more time outside. Spring is the shoulder season in New Zealand and one of the best times to visit the country, since crowds are smaller, prices are more affordable, and temperatures are mild. The average temperature shifts between 16°C to 19°C during the spring, so warm enough to spend outside but not so warm that outdoor activities become overly taxing. As well, hiking is best in the spring, as the country air is clean and nature springs into action with flower growth and waterfall flow.
You can spend your days in cafes and restaurants enjoying the spring air or visit the nearby Canterbury region to sample wine vintages and see the pastoral farmlands that define New Zealand. Spring is also when lambs are born, so if you want to see adorable newborn lambs in the country most famous for them, head to New Zealand in spring.
Stroll through Souks in Marrakech
This is the entry where you may scratch your head, but trust us, Morocco is great to visit in the spring. Red isn’t typically associated with the spring, but a visit to Marrakech, the Red City, will have you rethinking what colours look good in spring. Marrakech is one of Morocco’s four former imperial cities and home to one of the best medinas in the Muslim world. Furthermore, it’s not too far from the Atlantic Ocean, meaning you can easily pair a beach visit with a trip through the old city.
In spring, Marrakech is warm, but not too warm, as summer can grow overwhelmingly hot, to the point of being uncomfortable. However, in spring, you can take advantage of the warm days and nights to explore the city and feast on views of the completely blue sky that comes with the season. Spring does tend to be the peak season in Marrakech, but the crowds will never overwhelm you like they might in other destinations around the world. Furthermore, there are few better sights than the red buildings of Marrakech surrounded by blooming roses and lit up by the golden sun.
Head for Spring Break to Belize
Spring break is an inevitable part of the spring, but there are better options than the hedonistic parties of Florida and the Yucatan Peninsula. For a spring break that’s more about weather and the natural world than the non-stop drinking and partying, head to Belize, the small Central American nation that’s quietly one of the best adventure spots in the Americas.
In spring in Belize, you get sunny weather, warm waters, and easy access to the country’s bounty of jungles, ruins, and coral reefs. You can explore caves along the coastline, dive into the coral gardens of the Belize Barrier Reef, hike to remote Mayan ruins, or simply relax on the beaches of the Caribbean coastline and enjoy the warmth.
In Belize, you don’t have to rush, as the country is all about slow pace and laidback atmosphere, unlike some of the other popular spring break destinations. Furthermore, it’s an English-speaking nation, making it convenient for North American travellers, and spring has some of the warmest and driest months of the year, so the weather is as comfortable as possible. Oh, and it’s gorgeous, so why not make Belize your next spot for spring break?
Whichever of these spring getaways you head on, it’ll have all the makings of an unforgettable vacation. Spring is the season of rebirth, of greenery, and of optimism. Take advantage of spring’s natural beauty and head around the world for some of the most beautiful vacations imaginable.