With spring upon us once more, it's time again to look forward to fresh weather, warming temperatures and the delights of new life in the early season. For many, it's the perfect time to start thinking about new destinations to discover, or even take the opportunity of milder climates and calmer crowds to explore on a springtime adventure. Spring is often one of the most scenic times of year to visit, with the awakening of new budding flowers dotting the landscape, and melting snows exposing formerly winter-smothered vistas. Here are our Top 5 destinations for spring around the world, to whet your appetite for springtime travel.
With its sun-dappled streets lined with honey-coloured buildings, Andalucía is soaked in Spanish history and infused with a heady atmosphere, which is perhaps best appreciated alongside a nip of Jerez sherry during an afternoon siesta. Culturally torn between Spain's Catholic traditions and the legacy of early Moorish rule, the independent region has a distinct personality all its own, with centuries of heritage to explore. Highlights include the Alhambra, referred to in Ottoman poetry as 'a pearl set in emeralds', and Seville, a city said to have been founded by Hercules, that is nonetheless spectacular beyond its legendary origin story. Discover Andalucía in April for pleasant warmth with milder evenings.
A destination with a variety of landscapes to explore, Provence has a little something for everyone; from history and architecture to the fresh seasonal flavours of local markets and tucked-away restaurants, to the intriguing wildlife of the Camargue wetlands. Roman ruins are to be found scattered across the region, testament to its former role as part of Gaul, whilst natural wonders include vast fields of fragrant lavender, dark, Mediterranean-style olive groves, and steep cliffs for added drama. Spring sojourns in late April offer milder weather, though those looking to see the lavender are better waiting for a summer vacation, for these late blooms truly arrive in June and last until August.
The 'heel' of Italy's boot, Puglia is known to Italians as 'the wine cellar', boasting rolling vineyards, as well as fruitful olive groves that surround the railway lines, for a picturesque greeting to those travelling by train. Unspoiled by tourism, Puglia offers a truly rustic experience of the Italian countryside, with a plentiful side of regional cuisine to savour. Lecce is a particular delight, featuring Baroque architecture and known in some circles as 'the Florence of the south' - a flattering comparison for any city. Temperatures are already on the rise by the end of April, so time your visit according to your preferences - earlier in the season for milder days, or towards the end of the month to see temperatures in the early twenties.
For Spring sunshine, why not look further afield, and consider the warmth of India? An excellent opportunity to escape the British drizzle, India offers sun-baked cities and ancient attractions like no other. Step back into history with a tour of Delhi, where a heady mix of old colonial buildings rub shoulders with the new, upstart sections of the city and the bustling bazaar, each of the contrasting quarters threaded together with Delhi's natural vibrant charisma. Alternatively, visit the prowling tigers of Ranthambore National Park, for an insight into the country's incredible wildlife. Whatever you do, be sure to take the time to visit the Taj Mahal - as a wonder of the world, this beloved monument is a must-see. Things are already heating up in India by March, making this the perfect early spring getaway.
Perhaps best known for its fields of famous tulips, the Netherlands is an ideal location for flower fans. Horticultural delights are abundant in the spring, the highlight of which is the expansive Keukenhof Gardens. Open for a limited time each year, the gardens play host to an array of carefully-planted displays, showcasing a variety of beds, bulbs and blooms, alongside water features and themed gardens. City breaks are also a pleasure in spring, with Amsterdam's welcoming waterways no exception. From a long and oftentimes dark history, to a wealth of unique architecture, Amsterdam is a fascinating port of call for intrepid travellers. For the best view of the Dutch capital, be sure to take to the water on a guided boat tour. If you have your heart set on seeing Keukenhof in bloom, book your visit between March and May; though temperatures here are similar to the UK for the season, the bright spring blossoms make it well worth a visit.
That rounds up our Top 5 destinations for spring, but we know there are many more charming seasonal retreats out there. Where would you most like to visit in spring? Let us know in the comments section.