Whether you’re staying close to home or venturing further afield, spring is a wonderful time to visit many of our favourite destinations. Like a butterfly emerging from its winter cocoon, spring sees these destinations decorated with lush green foliage, incredible floral displays and the gentle touch of spring sunshine (and sometimes, soft spring rain) – here’s a selection of our favourite spring destinations.
Fancy a little spring skiing? The tiny Swiss town of Zermatt has a permanent population of less than 6,000, but its location at the foot of the Matterhorn and its easy access to four surrounding ski areas makes it a fantastic option for a snow holiday – especially in spring, when the temperatures are mild and the days are longer. The village itself is almost entirely free of combustion vehicles to protect the purity of the mountain air and clarity of its views to Europe’s highest peak. As the season progresses and the snow melts, there are plenty of other outdoor activities to try, such as mountain biking and paragliding.
During the summer months of June, July and August, daytime temperatures typically hover around the mid-30s, while night-time winter temperatures can plummet to below freezing. During the spring months of April and May, however, temperatures are mild, the skies are typically clear and the High Atlas mountains are still capped with snow. All this combines to create one idyllic and exotic destination: a walled city built from red sandstone that was founded in 1062 and still knows how to draw the visitors. A visit to its ancient medina and its vast market square is essential – wander the stalls, soak up the sights and smells and maybe pick up a few souvenirs to take home with you.
This section of the Columbia River snakes for 130 kilometres through the Cascades Range and acts as the state border between Washington on Oregon in the United States’ Pacific Northwest. A fantastic destination for outdoor pursuits including hiking, climbing and fishing, in spring it becomes even more popular thanks to the snow-fed waterfalls and spectacular wildflower displays.
Japan is renowned for its incredible annual cherry blossom display, and although you will find streets and parks festooned with blooming sakura all over Japan, the ancient city of Kyoto is one of the most popular places to sample the full hanami experience. Take a walk through the Botanic Gardens, stroll the canal-side Philosopher’s Walk or enjoy an evening picnic in Maruyama Park – the city’s oldest park, its central attraction is a huge, weeping cherry tree which is lit up spectacularly at night.
While we’re on the subject of flowers, no-one does a better job of celebrating spring flowers than The Netherlands, and one of the best places to see the mass tulip plantings for which this country is famed is the Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, just a short drive to the south-west of central Amsterdam. Established in 1949 in the grounds of a 17th century country house, the 39-hectare park is divided into various sections, each with their own style, which between them are host to around seven million flower bulbs. The best time to view the tulips varies from year to year depending on growing conditions, but the park is open for tulip-loving visitors from mid-March to mid-May.
Of course, you don’t have to venture far from home to experience the best of spring – Canberra’s Floriade festival is Australia’s biggest celebration of spring. Held every October in the city’s Commonwealth Park, this year more than a million blooms will be on display when it opens to the public. Better yet, entry is free so you can return as many times as you like. You’ll also find an impressive variety of music performances, cultural celebrations, market traders, artistic displays, and recreational activities, so there’s plenty to keep the whole family happy.
Spring is a great time of year to avoid the summer crowds, enjoy mild weather and take advantage of longer daylight hours. Whichever destination or experience appeals to you, your personal travel manager help your dream spring break a reality.