The recent weather in the UK may have made us all feel like spring is a long way away, but with warmer days just around the corner it will soon be time to put that big winter coat away for another year.
Spring is a wonderful time to travel, especially if you love nature. Not only do you avoid the large crowds of the summer months, you also get to see landscapes burst into life with the colours of beautiful flowers. But what are the places that can provide this better than anywhere else? Here are some of our favourites.
Keukenhof Gardens, Amsterdam
The Netherlands is most famous for its stunning tulip display that attracts people from all over the world at this time of year. One of the best places in the country to see them in all their glory is at the Keukenhof Gardens, just outside of Amsterdam. The park is home to 79 acres of tulips in every colour imaginable and planted to create interesting patterns – that’s around 7 million bulbs all waiting to burst into life.
There are indoor displays, areas dedicated to other flowers such as orchids, competitive flower growing and serene waterside walks to enjoy. All of which means you will definitely need to set aside a whole day to make the most of your trip. Luckily, it’s the perfect excursion during an Amsterdam city break. The best time to go is usually the middle of April, but the cold snap we’ve been experiencing recently may mean that the tulips come to life a little later this year.
Mainau Island, Germany
Known as the flower island, Mainau sits in the middle of Lake Constance, on the German border with Switzerland. The sheer volume of blooms means that there is always something to see, no matter when you visit, but springtime is arguably the most spectacular.
As visitor numbers start to increase, the Palm House hosts an orchid exhibition that really catches the eye. Throughout April and May, tulips, crocuses, roses and many other varieties open up to the warm weather, creating beautiful surroundings to explore. Plus, the butterfly house, Baroque castle and mini farm mean there is plenty to do if you ever tire of the floral displays.
As the weather starts to warm up, inspiring pictures of Japan’s cherry blossoms begin to fill social media feeds and online blogs – and for good reason. During spring, urban and rural areas are bathed in varying shades of pink, creating picture postcard views in all directions. Known as Hanami, the annual trend of viewing the sakura (cherry trees), and picnicking under them, takes place across the whole of the country, but there are certain areas which give you better views of the flourishing flowers than others.
Blooming occurs earlier in the year the further south you go. So, if you want to combine your Hanami with a chance to see the neon lights of Tokyo, it’s best to visit places such as Shinjuku Gyoen and Ueno Park in late March or April. However, if you would prefer to visit Hirosaki or Sapporo, then late April and early May are the perfect times to travel. This extremely useful interactive image will help you decide when and where to see this natural phenomenon.
Umbria is a region of Italy located next to Tuscany famous for sumptuous cuisine, art and…flowers. Around the end of May, the rolling hills of the Piano Grande plain become a carpet of colour that seems to change from one week to the next. Narcissi, orchids, poppies, crocuses, hyacinths and many others can all be seen opening their petals to the sun. You may even be lucky enough to see some snakes’ head fritillaries make an appearance.
There are many towns and villages in the area that offer a laid-back and quiet place to base yourself. From there, you can drive up to the plain or hike one of the many trails to see what is waiting for you when you reach higher ground.
Death Valley, California
The name Death Valley may lead you to believe that not much grows in this part of the USA. However, even in these dry landscapes, pretty wild flowers sprout out from the arid ground for a short window of time at the end of March and the beginning of April. Yellows, purples, reds and oranges can all be seen in the Death Valley National Park, spurred on by cool winter storms in the previous months.
If you would like to see any of these destinations in the spring, our expert team will be happy to find you the perfect holiday for this year or 2019. Simply call us on 0800 021 3237 or click here to submit your enquiry online.