It’s always a stunning time in Europe when the sleet and snow of winter make way for the glowing renewal of spring. Parks and gardens blossom and bloom, cities return life again. Ahead of the summer throngs, it’s also a fabulous time to bulk the European crowds, while keeping the back pocket in tact with friendly shoulder-season rates. From the Italian Lakes to Vienna, Budapest to Seville, we take a look at some of the most enticing, exciting and stunning spots for Spring travel in Europe.
Spring Travel in Europe
Let it be said, there’s never a bad time to go to Paris. However, there’s something special about this city of romance and gastronomic delights come spring that makes it particularly fabulous. Dappled wanderings by the banks of the Seine, warm mornings over pain au chocolat and café au lait, husky eves over Pernod and red wine – surrounded by blossoming chestnut groves, blooming Jardins, and truly stunning blue spring days, there’s everything to love about the French capital from April to June (better yet, there’s still plenty of room to swan about, with lines to the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower not nearly as thick as the hectic midyear).
The Italian Lakes District
If you’ve never breathed the crystal air husking off the cool waters of an Italian Lake, this spring would be a very good time to give it a shot. In a word, the Italian Lakes are exquisite. Bordering Switzerland, it’s as much a Swiss alpine affair as it is an Italian one – the best of both worlds. Main lakes include Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano, and Lake Garda, as well as one of the most stunning and sought, Lake Como. Weather is slightly less predictable through April, but brilliant through May and June.
When the grey falls away to spring, the Hungarian capital truly comes to life. Aside from the always visually stunning sights from City Park and the Buda Hills, springtime in Budapest is also party time, with a host of cultural events and exhibitions springing up in the mix. Visitors can lap up the annual Pálinka festival, featuring tastings of over 300 types of brandy, while the Spring Festival, a two-week spectacular, draws in the masses in with its fusion of orchestral, jazz and world music performances.
You might think Austria’s appeal lie in it’s cozy, snow-coated winters, or its balmy, festive summers (and indeed, depending on what you’re into, you’d be right). However, there’s a lot going on in Vienna in the springtime, and it remains one of the best times of the year to experience this fabulous city. April may be less stable, weather-wise, but from May on, Vienna’s days are fine and fresh, with warm highs and decent bursts of sunshine. It’s considerably emptier in spring, and with most main tourist sights open year-round, you’ll be able to appreciate all the very best of Austrian history and culture without breaking into a sweat.
The exciting Andalusian capital explodes with life in the spring: cafes and restaurants buzz with energy, orange blossoms and white citrus leaves bloom, and the cultural calendar starts whirring into gear with the arrival of Easter and the fabulous Feria de Abril. Expect days, and perhaps weeks, of partying, dancing and flamboyant performances in the cobblestoned streets. Become intoxicated with the impassioned sounds and flourishes of flamenco, and get your fill of incredible Andalusian fare.
So much of what Portugal has to offer too often flies under the radar of other more rambunctious and beaten-path Euro destinations. But those who have experienced the stunning Iberian Peninsula are in the know: a stretch of incredible beaches and coastline, fresh seafood, delicious pasteis de nata and world-class wines. The fare and friendliness of Portugal is unlike anywhere else on earth, and Alentejo is one of the finest spots to soak it up. Perched above the sun-soaked southern Algarve, the Alentejo region is a spring road trip delight: rife with olive groves, vineyards, cork oaks, and merry wanderings through hilly, rugged natural splendor.
So, if you are looking for a travel destination before summer, check out one or more of these six great places for Spring travel in Europe.