Where to go for your spring adventure
Avoid seasonal extremes, enjoy sweet-scented blossoms and spend Easter somewhere new, when you travel in spring.
As winter thaws and new life blossoms, many of us emerge from hunkering down to heading out into the world. Spring is a wonderful time to travel, offering a tapestry of delights across the globe. In particular, it’s a great choice for those wishing to avoid extremes of weather in a range of excellent destinations, and to spend Easter somewhere special.
Read on to discover six of the best destinations for future springtime travel, from a Far Eastern country with spectacular blossoms to a South American archipelago boasting wildlife aplenty. You can explore further destination options with Cox & Kings’ month-by-month travel planner.
Although technically a young country, Israel was founded on lands rich in ancient treasures. It is a place of pilgrimage for followers of the three major Abrahamic religions; after all, this is the home of Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee and the millennia-old city of Jerusalem. Israel isn’t without its modern attractions, however, as the sleek metropolis of Tel Aviv attests.
Summer in Israel is usually hot – at times, enough to challenge even the most avid sun seeker. Winter is more comfortable, but showers are more likely to dampen the mood. The liminal months of March and April, meanwhile, often strike just the right balance for exploring. The mineral-rich Dead Sea boasts a balmy average temperature of 29°C in April – ideal for a relaxing float. If you’re heading to areas in the cooler north, such as Galilee, be sure to pack layers to be on the safe side. Also be wary of the week-long Passover festival, as it’s typically a busy and expensive time to visit.
Malta impresses with its colourful history, medieval churches, charming marinas and unique blend of Mediterranean and British traditions. This small collection of islands has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and played host to colonies from various stripes of empire, from the Phoenicians to the Romans.
The year-round warmth of the Maltese climate makes the country an attractive prospect, whatever the season. However, there is no more atmospheric time to visit than during a Catholic holiday, especially Easter in springtime. Easter celebrations begin on Good Friday with solemn street processions between churches, before the Sunday sees lively celebrations, gift giving and outdoor music. Simply being amongst the festivities is a great way to immerse yourself in Maltese culture.
Still associated with old tales of Transylvanian vampires, Romania has so much more to offer the discerning traveller than folklore. Here, the Carpathian Mountains provide a breath-taking backdrop for your journey. Amidst these peaks lie sprawling forests, Saxon churches, fantastical castles and tucked-away villages where long-held traditions beguile. It’s a romantic setting for an outdoor adventure.
If you’re seeking comfortable conditions for an active holiday, April (before or after Easter) is a good time to visit Romania. The wildflowers are in bloom and temperatures are pleasant for hiking the mountain trails and touring the villages. You also dodge the summer crowds, enjoying swathes of the majestic landscape in relative peace and quiet.
Whether you’re drawn to the iconic sights, bright lights and famous bites, or curious to experience more understated attractions: Japan delivers. Tokyo’s hyper-modern cityscape, a vast tapestry of distinctive neighbourhoods, is destined to dazzle. Meanwhile, Kyoto offers a tempting contrast, with its ancient temples and cherished traditions. But much of the country warrants exploring beyond these two famous cities, not least the tropical southern islands.
Springtime in Japan is synonymous with hanami – cherry-blossom viewing – celebrated by locals and visitors alike. For around two weeks between May and March, the country’s sakura trees explode into frothy displays of pink and white petals, which eventually cascade like snow flurries on to the scenic avenues below. At night, lanterns add to the atmosphere, and people drink and picnic beneath the fragrant blossoms. It’s a popular time to visit, and many of the best-positioned hotels are booked early, so be sure to plan well ahead.
There is nowhere quite like Uzbekistan. The face of this landlocked country within Central Asia is characterised by sweeping desert, open steppe, lush river valleys and fertile oases. But it is perhaps the country’s culture and ancient history that sets it apart. Here you can see the ornate remnants of ancient cities that prospered from their position on the Silk Road, such as UNESCO-listed Samarkand, juxtaposed with Soviet-era landmarks and grandiose mosques.
Temperatures in summer can soar to more than 40°C, whilst the winter months can descend well below zero. Visit between mid-April and early June for the most pleasant conditions for exploration. In the foothills of the Tian Shan mountains, colourful wildflowers vivify the landscape. Equally colourful are the spices and silks traded in Bukhara during the city’s May festival, a celebration of local culture and crafts. For a truly unique experience of Uzbekistan, consider spending the night in a yurt, set in the Kyzylkum desert.
The Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Strewn across a remote corner of the Pacific Ocean, 906 kilometres off the coast of Ecuador, is the famed volcanic archipelago of the Galápagos. These rugged islands preserve a unique ecosystem, with countless endemic species of flora and fauna – the likes of which helped to inspire Darwin’s evolutionary theory, and continue to attract visitors the world over.
With warm temperatures throughout the year, the islands can be visited on any given month. However, May is an excellent choice due to consistently blue skies and calm seas – perfect for cruising and snorkelling. This is also an active time for the islands’ native wildlife; the eggs of sea turtles and marine iguanas start hatching, while many types of bird, such as the distinctive blue-footed booby, begin their courtship rituals. Visiting in spring also allows you to avoid the peak tourist season, which begins in June.