Best Places to Visit in the World in Spring
Spring is the season of fertility, the season of ice sheets cracking to give rise to the first blooms of nature. Since time immemorial, the season of spring has been celebrated by various cultures and civilisations; from the Beltane Festival of Scotland to Sakura in Japan, Basant Panchami in India to Cherry Blossom in Turkey - Spring is a time of happiness and cheer and flowers and nature. Then how is it that the heart wouldn’t crave some globetrotting, some vacation, some culture sighting this time around?
What’s even more exciting about spring travel is the fact that it is a shoulder season in most European and Asian countries, thereby ensuring that you get good deals and discounts on things from food to accommodation to flight tickets. So what are you waiting for? We have a list here for your holiday itinerary, layered with blooming tulip fields of Netherlands and cherry blossom lanes of Japan, Italy’s Amalfi Coast and Dubai’s shopping fest. Come, read on!
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
It is believed that Amsterdam is a year round destination, which is truer than true. But what is hidden among those travel brochures and un-solicited advices is the fact that Amsterdam is even more beautiful and even less crowded in the months from April to June, when spring is upon its canal-clad lands. The tulips come to full bloom and you can spend your mornings in the many museums, followed by bike rides to windmill farms and tulip gardens in the afternoons. The temperature is at its best, not too cold but neither too warm. You will need light woollens. But that’s it. Also, do not miss the annual King’s Day Parade or Koningsdag on the last Saturday of April!
Spring in this Japanese capital is all about white and pink cherry blossoms arcing the boughs of trees, deserts of cream and cakes that are light and airy, sceneries so beautiful that you will never get enough photographs, and weather so amazing that your body and soul will find blessed peace. When in Tokyo for spring season, make sure to visit all the usual sights like Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen, Senso-ji and Tokyo Skytree in addition to 'sakura' gardens, the special places of public commune where the people of Japan come together and celebrate the season of sakura or cherry blossom with special treats of deserts, snacks and songs. Go for hanami, which means ‘looking at flowers’ and celebrate with their delicious teas and fluffy cakes.
Oman has some hot summers and excruciating dry and cold winters. Spring season though, is all about blooms bursting in the dryness and damask roses coming to life around Jebel Akhdar. Farms and orchards (yes, Oman is not all desert) burst with pink shrubs and perfume manufacturing is at its peak. This is one of the best times to visit Oman to explore its perfumeries, date farms, enjoy the mild nip left over in the air by winter and roam around cities like Muscat and Salalah.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Italian Coast of Amalfi is beauty personified. What with its bending meandering roads and small villages dotting the passes, the sea tumbling past the shore all pristine aqua and white, while the sky is a bright Cobalt. No postcard could be better than the orange orchards in valleys and jasmine blooms on idle pastel-coloured balconies. If a place could be lyrical, Amalfi would be it during the spring months from April to June. May is the best time to be around as the weather is warm, the sea welcoming for water sports and fruit and flowers ripe for the picking.
San Diego, California
Well, for most geeks out there, San Diego is largely synonymous with Comic Con. One of the best showcases of Comic Con, in fact. But what most travel gurus don’t tell you is that San Diego is one of the finest destinations in America for beaches and spring fun. From a heavily influenced Mexican cuisine to caves by the sea that are explored in groups, from the bright pink drinks that are so lethal you may be hungover for a whole year to amazing zoos, parks and aqua world parks; San Diego is perfect for a spring vacation by the Pacific.
April-May is the best time out of the amazing year-round span to holiday in Maldives. Why? Because this is your last chance for a perfect than perfection tropical holiday here as by June the summer sets in. The cluster of islands that is Maldives, rests easy in the Indian Ocean, and makes for a very coveted honeymoon as well as couple’s destination. With its beaches, sapphire waters, lagoons and islands, this country is everything a beach baby would want. And spring time is the best time the said baby could grab it!
Greece is a paradise for lovers of beaches, islands, heritage, Roman remains and everything that deals with mythology. What’s more attractive in this country than all the above is its food. Moussaka and crisp salads of the best cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes and feta, pastas, olives, cheeses and of course, the legendary Greek yogurt. And when is the best time to enjoy all of this? Spring of course. Though summer is the assigned high tourist season here, the months from March to June are the shoulder season and ensure you have the best time in places like Crete, Santorini, Athens and Mykonos without having to shell out an exorbitant amount.
Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is usually best visited in its happy glorious summer just like its neighbouring Nordic countries. But spring is also a hidden treasure of time to explore this city. If you visit Copenhagen in March or April then you will find yourself protected from the winter chill of North, at ease with the mild warmth and get tables at the best cafes and restaurants that you otherwise wouldn’t in the high season. The famed liquorice festival of Denmark also falls in March end (24th-25th), so you also get to enjoy this weird sweet & salty treat with the rest of the Danes. And keeping in tandem with countries like Japan and Turkey, Denmark also sees a blooming burst of pink blooms, making everything more attractive than it already is.
Did anyone say shopping? My bad, I heard Dubai. Because hey, aren’t they one and the same? Especially in the spring months from January-February to March, when Dubai hosts one of the biggest shopping festivals of the world. While the weather is perfect and restaurants and cafes all decked up to welcome tourists, it is the shopping fest here that should be your target for a spring break. The Dubai Mall hosts one of the craziest month-long sales and you get massive deals on everything from apparel to brands, gadgets to homeware. The Dubai Food Festival and Dubai International Kite Fest also follow and you basically get bonus things to do here in addition to the usual Burj Khalifa and desert safaris.
Make no mistake, Scotland is going to be cold. And wet. Even in spring. Yes, that’s the beast of the business here. You can’t predict a dry, rain-less day even on a bright summer morning. But what makes spring stupendous in Glasgow is the cultural extravaganza that this city puts forward for incoming tourists. From the National Theatre of Scotland opening its first shows of the year for Scottish Ballet and Opera to the museums and galleries having special exhibitions, the months of March to May are exceptional if you want to do a budget holiday in the city. The temperatures may be a little on the colder side but you get to wear all your warm-gear and style up with boots and coats! Also, April is the time for Beltane, Scotland’s pagan festival to worship the sun.
This Arab nation welcomes visitors almost all year round, even in summer. But winter and spring are decidedly the most beautiful seasons to visit Morocco. Yes, temperature-wise the country is merciful on weary souls in spring, with a Nice 12-24°C range for the start and end of season. You can go hiking in the sand dunes, put up camps and take camel safaris, go explore the souks of Marrakech and Casablanca, pray at quaint mosques and see blue houses.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires, a Southern Hemisphere city of Argentina, sees the season of spring between October and December. This time of the year is specially worth visiting for the blooming jacaranda trees, that turn the green of Buenos Aires to bright purple. The spring temperatures are between 13-22°C and you won’t need anything more than a light sweater after evening. Places like Casa Rosada, La Boca and Plaza de Mayo look stunning in the mid-day sun, while the bloom of lavender trees imparts an otherworldly charm to this city in spring. The Tribeca Film Festival, Nuestros Caballos and BAFICI are some spring culture fests around.
The French Riviera in the South of France is a stretch of extravagant beaches, golden sands, a beaming sun and luxurious resort towns that cater to the rich and famous of the world. Cannes welcomes the glitz and glamor of the world for its annual Cannes Film Festival in summer, while Saint Tropez is all about pristine beaches and spas and high street shopping. Nice is great for long walks on the English promenade and food that melts in the mouth, while Monaco for its world-class casinos and the Grand Prix. Now, you’d be wondering if all of this is affordable for the average human? Well, yes it is. In the just off-season of spring, when the riches of summer haven’t descended yet. March to June are the best and cheapest months to trail along the Mediterranean coast of the French Riviera. Do not miss it.
Glacier Bay, Alaska
Alaska, the northern-most state of USA, is a place renowned for its glaciers and midnight suns, frozen seas and whales jumping out of bays. Spring season is the best to see the thawing snow and spot whales in national parks like Juneau. The grey whales come back home by April-end while humpbacks, minkes and harbor seals return in May to this Alaskan bay. This is the best time to go for whale cruises as the seas have melted enough to allow safe passage. The days are longer than usual but not to the point of 20 and 22 hour sunlight yet. So you can get the best of both worlds, enjoy the nature that's not all snow or sunshine either, and see marine life that will take your breath away.
Sicily is adoringly referred to as the ‘boot’ of Italy as it lies on the southern end of the country. The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily has a culture slightly unique as it differs from the Italian. There is a seamless blend of Greek, Roman and Italian here, and you will find yourself swooning with all the churches, byzantine buildings, Mosaic artworks and the mighty volcanic Mount Etna. Spring season in Sicily is the most useful for a tour as the weather is sunny and warm, while the rates are heavily discounted. Tourists don’t crowd every nook and cranny and you get to have most sights to yourself in peace.
Nepal in spring season is blooming with rhododendrons in the meadows of Himalayas. Also, in Nepal, Gautam Buddha’s birthday is celebrated on the full moon of May every year, making this time of the year extra special. You will experience cultural festivities wherever you go and nature will only shower you with great weather and loads of flowers and blooming trees welcoming you. The trekking routes are rife with carpets of green and most hikes open up again after a frozen winter. Adventure sports are at their best and the Hindu temples celebrate festivals like Basant Panchami and Holi. The average low of 22°C and high of 30°C ensures that you are very well taken care of.
Bahar Geldi! Spring has arrived. This season is a real celebration of love, life and fertility in Turkey as the harsh winter is broken by nature’s warm fingers. Istanbul particularly sees a burst of sunshine along with joy as locals shed their coats and mufflers for stylish warm dresses, shirts and jeans, while the tulips around Hagia Sofia bloom golden yellow and blood red. The parks become lush, seafronts and promenades thaw with gulls coming home again and the neighbourhood streets come alive with food, dancing and music. The special treat of Istanbul is the blooming Judas trees, all pinks and lavenders, canopying lanes and adorning mosque courtyards. 18-22°C is your average for these months.
Straddling River Rhine, Bonn is a beautiful city in Germany. It is known for many things, for being the birthplace of Beethoven and housing museums and houses in his honour, to being the hub of some extravagant churches and palaces along with World War II museums. What makes Bonn a special place for spring holiday is its newly minted cherry blossom festival, inspired by the Sakura season of Japan. This city also sees bright pink blooms in spring months from March to May. The cities of Düsseldorf and Cologne nearby also embrace spring time with open arms and celebrate the blooms with their own patent culture, song, dance and food. Walk through tunnels, go to old towns, and enjoy with the locals when in Bonn for spring.