11 of the Best Spring Holiday Destinations in Europe and Beyond

11 of the Best Spring Holiday Destinations in Europe and Beyond

I don’t know about you, but for me the arrival of spring gives me a much needed burst of energy as well as sudden urge to book a holiday! Many of my spring trips are usually weekend breaks, but depending on your interests and annual leave allowance, you might be able to head off on a weeklong holiday or even a mighty two-week spring vacation!

Travel tip – March, April and May, often considered a ‘shoulder season’, are some of the best months for US and European city breaks, as they offer the most comfortable temperatures for hitting the streets and exploring cities by foot. I’ve put together a little guide to some of the top destinations to visit in spring – including a lot of great city break options  – but also a couple of far-flung destinations I’d recommend.

Hopefully they’ll provide you with some good travel tips for any holidays you’re planning over the next few months…

Barbados

Barbados

Barbados is a beautiful destination all year round but especially so in spring as the island celebrates its high season with average temperatures of 30.

There’s something for everyone here from day tours around the island sights to just chilling on tropical white beaches.

Nature lovers should definitely take the time to visit Welchman Gully, a jewel in the heart of the island, that’s home to rainforest trees and playful monkeys as well as the Barbados Wildlife reserve.

Animals roam freely through four acres of mahogany forest, and its great to hear about the research and conservation work that’s underway on the island.

For the more adventurous you could have a go at surfing, diving, horse riding along the beach, off-roading and even spelunking or jetpacking.

Lou reckons Barbados is the perfect destination for a holiday with friends – not only did she make some lifelong friends thanks to a trip there, she ended up getting together with her now hubby!

Budapest, Hungary

Visit Budapest: Looking up at the Fisherman's Bastion, found in the Var district on the Buda side of the Danube.

Budapest is one of my favourite European spring destinations to date, so much so that I wrote this epic guide! There’s so much to see and do from the quirky Hospital in the Rock and beautiful Parliament building through to the Buda Hills and a little further afield the roman ruins of Aquincum.

Of course, the highlights of any trip to Budapest are evenings in the city’s ruin bars and days at the spas. Even better, many of the outdoor spas open in spring, making this the perfect time to come!

Visit Budapest: Szechenyi Spa Baths - the largest of many thermal baths found across the city of Budapest.
Szechenyi Spa Baths – the largest of many thermal baths found across the city.

Want to read more about Budapest? Then check out my 3 day itinerary for Budapest and my list of the 15 things all first time visitors have to do.

Castellon, Spain

View from Peniscola Castle
View from Peniscola Castle

Castellon is an area full of culture, history, good food, green hills and beaches for every taste.

If you’re a history fan like you’ll love Peñiscola’s castle and old town. Entering through one of the three gates that pierce the defensive walls, it’s a pleasant walk through the 27 streets and 527 buildings that make up the old town.

Then there’s Morella, regarded as one of the most beautiful towns in Spain. This ancient walled city with its castle perched right at top is mostly car free, making it peaceful to explore by foot.

Find out more about these and other destinations in the region by checking out Emma’s article Highlights of Castellon, Spain.

Funchal, Madeira

Funchal might be the best destination to visit in May because it becomes awash with colour thanks to the annual Madeira Flower Festival. A celebration of spring coming to the island, the festival begins with the building of the famous Wall of Hope flower mural at the Largo do Colegio on the Praça do Município.

“The wall is built throughout the day by the islands’ children, using blossoms from across the globe to symbolise the hope for a better and more peaceful world,” explains Paul Bunn from Archipelago Choice.

You’ll also see carpets of flowers laid throughout the city, covering almost every street and there’s even a competition for the best decorated shop window. There are concerts and dances, but the big event is the main flower parade where 1,500 residents in spectacularly colourful costumes parade down the Avenida Sá Carneiro on floats lavishly adorned with flowers.

Japan

Cherry blossoms japan spring

When Japan and spring are used in the same sentence it can only mean one thing – cherry blossom!

Seeing the Japanese cherry blossoms in full bloom is one of my travel dreams. Cherry blossom season is mainly from March until May, and follows spring’s arrival across the country, with sakura blooming earliest in the south and moving northwards.

For those interested in seeing the cherry blossom at its peak, the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JTNO) has a great guide to where and when to see cherry blossoms in Japan.

Kaunas, Lithuania

What not to miss in Kaunas, Lithuania

Lithuania is a great destination for a spring escape. Until recently Kaunas hadn’t been on many travellers’ radars, but the word is now out about this ‘city of design’ and it’s becoming evermore popular. However, it’s still a great destination for the budget conscious as both accommodation, food and activities are quite cheap.

Its architecture is amazing with the old town and medieval castle juxtaposed with modernist and art deco buildings across other parts of the city.

Food lovers will enjoy the variety of restaurants around the city, and history lovers will particular enjoy visiting the 14th century castle and the Pazaislis Monastery. Kaunas also has a rather large number of museums for a city of its size.

Both Karis and I have visited Kaunas, but sadly only during winter months (also great in their own way!). However, we’d love to go back to experience their Easter celebrations as it appears that Lithuanians celebrate by decorating the streets and squares with large Easter eggs. How cool!

Discover what not to miss in Kaunas.

Lisbon, Portugal

travellers guide to Lisbon, Portugal | Ladies What Travel

Lisbon is unlike any other European capital you’ve been to. The perfect blend of modern and traditional, Lisbon welcomes all to join in the celebration of art, culture, food, nature, architecture, and the beauty of life itself. An absolute gem spread across seven hills, Lisbon is a city you’ll never want to stop exploring.

And the best part of it all: you don’t have to spend much to have a good time. Lisbon is known for being one of the most budget-friendly cities in Europe.

Interest piqued? Then I recommend you take a look at this epic traveller’s guide to Lisbon. Also, if you visit I really hope you get to check out the quirky ‘pharmacy’ themed restaurant Pharmacia.

Madrid, Spain

What to see and do in Madrid

Madrid is a feast for the eyes, brain and belly – there truly is something for everyone whether you’re a foodie, football fan or culture fiend. Similarly to New York, the weather’s at its best for exploring Madrid in spring as you avoid potential winter snow and the stifling heat of summer.

If you have a bit of bad luck and have to deal with a spring shower or two worry not – the city’s also got a great selection of museums you can visit to shelter from the rain!

You’ll only ever be able to scratch the surface of what Madrid has to offer in one trip, but to get a good feel for the city we put together our top 12 recommendations for visitors.

Want more Madrid goodness? Check out Madrid – 12 of the best things to see and do and 8 of the Madrid’s best tapas bars.

Matera, Italy

matera- where to visit in 2019 and why - Ladies What Travel

Also highlighted in our Best Places to Visit in 2019 article, Matera wasonce a sleepy, run-down town. Now however, tourists flock to see the ‘sassi’ – old cave dwellings that include rock-hewn churches with frescoed interiors.

Head there early in spring to avoid the worse of the crowds…

New York City, USA

Laura on Brooklyn Bridge
The views from the Bridge were great, despite the moody weather!

NYC is amazing anytime of year but there’s a great vibe to New York in the spring. It’s just the best time to wander through Central Park as tourists and locals alike make the most of the returning sun and warmer days.

Just like the Goldilocks tale, in spring the weather’s not too hot and not too cold, making it the perfect time to see the city in the best possible way – hit the streets!

Wander through Greenwich Village, walk over Brooklyn Bridge, get some great views of the city from the Top of the Rock, head over to Lady Liberty or Roosevelt Island – springs the great time to traverse the city by foot.

Got a sweet tooth? Then you’ll want to check out Laura’s article about New York’s sweet side. For those with more of a savoury palate then you might enjoy my guide to where to eat in New York, which includes the city’s best pizza (full disclosure – there’s lots of sweet stuff in there too!).

Ontario, Canada

Parliament Hill Peace Tower Tulips Image credit Ottawa Tourism
Image credit Ottawa Tourism

Ontario has been labelled one of the ‘must-visit’ spring destinations. Why? Because when the winter snow melts and the flowers begin to bloom it becomes home to Canada’s largest tulip festival.

What began as a Dutch gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs has grown into an annual event featuring over three million tulips across the region. Today it the Onatario Tulip Festival features sites along a 15-km Tulip Route…

The best destinations to visit in spring

So there you have it, my handy guide to 11 of the best places to visit in spring. I hope you found some useful travel tips and inspiration here for any spring holidays you’re looking to book.

Perhaps you have some top spring destinations of your own you’d like to share? If so, please pop them down in the comments section below!

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Keri

By day Co-Editor Keri is a freelance journalist and copywriter, but spends most of her free time either travelling or planning her next trip!  A complete travel fanatic, she has a love of tropical climates, wildlife and afternoon tea (hence the creation of her Global Afternoon Tea Challenge!)

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21 Comments

  1. March 11, 2019 / 9:38 am

    Some brilliant suggestions here – Japan has to be up there for me, but also need to get Budapest sorted soon #MondayEscaptes

    • Keri
      Author
      March 22, 2019 / 10:55 am

      Thanks! I’d love to go back to Japan to see the cherry blossom..

  2. March 11, 2019 / 9:50 am

    This is such a great list of inspiration! Spring is a lovely time of year to travel. Lisbon certainly gets my vote 🙂 #MondayEscapes

    • Keri
      Author
      March 22, 2019 / 10:56 am

      It really is, isn’t it. Such a special vibe…

    • Keri
      Author
      March 22, 2019 / 10:56 am

      my pleasure, cheers Lauren! x

  3. March 14, 2019 / 11:45 am

    Lovely list, am intrigued by Kaunas and Matera in particular, they haven’t been on my radar until now #CulturedKids

    • Keri
      Author
      March 22, 2019 / 10:56 am

      Great to hear we’ve introduced you to some new destinations!

  4. March 15, 2019 / 2:52 pm

    Absutely love Budapest, Madrid and Lisbon in spring and Barbados gorgeous beaches would be pretty fine for us all year round thanks so much for all the wanderlust and inspiration linked to #CulturedKids!

    • Keri
      Author
      March 22, 2019 / 10:57 am

      My pleasure!

  5. March 15, 2019 / 10:52 pm

    Lots of great ideas here for a Spring holiday or weekend away! I’d love to visit Madrid again, and explore Matera. #culturedkids

    • Keri
      Author
      March 22, 2019 / 10:57 am

      We visited Madrid in August, would love to go back in spring when it’s cooler!

  6. March 16, 2019 / 6:49 pm

    Matera, Italy was not familiar to me. I would love to see the ruins and explore the caves. You have so many great ideas for spring visits here. And I would go back to Budapest any time of year. I was there in the summer, so the baths were a great way to cool off.

    • Keri
      Author
      March 22, 2019 / 10:58 am

      Thanks Sharon, glad you enjoyed reading this…

  7. March 18, 2019 / 9:10 pm

    All of them please! I love the look of your Spanish and Italian choice .. then there is Lithuania that has piqued my interest too … #culturedkids

    • Keri
      Author
      March 22, 2019 / 10:58 am

      ha ha! Good luck squeezing them all in!

  8. March 19, 2019 / 10:58 am

    All of them please! I’m especially entranced by Amaterasu #CulturedKids

    • Keri
      Author
      March 22, 2019 / 10:59 am

      Pace yourself now lol!

  9. March 21, 2019 / 10:50 am

    lots of good suggestions here. I went to Matera last summer and loved it, it was so uncrowded. I hope it doesn’t change too much with all the publicity it’s getting this year due to being the European City of Culture. I’d also suggest the Côte d’Azur in spring is the best time to visit. #mustseeplaces

    • Keri
      Author
      March 22, 2019 / 10:59 am

      Thanks for the tip Phoebe. Sounds like you were lucky with your Matera visit, I hear its getting very, very popular…

  10. Great round up! I also love NYC in Spring and am heading back next month to experience it again – cannot wait!
    Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

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