Spring in the northern hemisphere brings warmer weather, making it an excellent time to soak up the early sun in Marrakesh or take in the rhododendron displays in Sikkim. Over in Australia, you can visit Uluru without the crowds – or the heat. Here are our tips on the best places to visit in April.
Most people associate Nepal with mountains, but a thin southern stretch of the country is resolutely flat. These plains, which are known as the Terai, have two wonderful national parks, Chitwan and Bardia. Both are home to endangered one-horned rhinos, as well as tigers and elephants. The easiest time to spot these majestic creatures is in the spring when the long grasses have been cut down to size.
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April 22nd is Earth Day, and what better place to spend it than immersed in Costa Rica’s spectacular flora and fauna? Indeed, Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse places in the world. You'll find hundreds of species here that don't exist anywhere else on the planet. From rainforest conservation to assisting at a sea turtle hatchery, there are plenty of worthwhile projects to join. If that's not enough, idyllic temperatures make this one of the best places to visit in April.
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Between mid-April and mid-May, head to the rhododendron forests of Sikkim. This tiny, mountainous state is in the northeast of India, sandwiched between China, Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet. In spring the rhododendrons burst into full bloom. They are best experienced on a walk or trek in the state's Singalila region. Here you’ll find the 104-square-kilometre Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, a botanical haven with black bears and red pandas, as well as sublime vistas across a carpet of pink, red and violet rhododendrons to the Himalayas beyond.
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On the 23rd April, St George’s Day is marked with festivities across England, notably at various National Trust properties. Alongside re-enactments of damsel-rescuing and dragon-slaying, expect a selection of quintessentially English activities. This might include jousting displays, maypole and Morris dancing, and of course, cream teas (but hopefully not rain).
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Two pillars of quintessentially Dutch culture combine this month, and each is more than enough reason to make for the Netherlands. Firstly, April marks the last month to enjoy the country’s famed tulip season. Flowers grow in the easily accessible northern regions, where the dull of winter transforms into a vibrant patchwork of rainbow rows. Secondly, April 27th is King’s Day: Holland’s biggest national event. It's one of the best free best parties in the world. Expect concerts, markets, fairs and a sea of orange-clad celebrants flooding Amsterdam’s scenic sidewalks, spilling out onto the boats bobbing on the canals.
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April is (generally) the end of the rainy season in Bolivia. During the rains, the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s biggest salt lake, becomes partly submerged. The blistering white plains – flanked by mountains and smouldering volcanoes – are transformed into a vast, shimmering mirror. It's a truly unique experience, and one not to miss for keen photographers.
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Australia is one of the best places to travel in April, with the start of the month an ideal time to visit Uluru. In April, tourist season has yet to get into full swing and daytime temperatures (which can hit 40ºC in summer) are more manageable. A fine way to experience Uluru is the ten-kilometre hike around the base of the rock, which takes three to four hours. If you’re still feeling energetic, the hike can be combined with the two-kilometre Mala Walk, which passes by rock art, caves and shaded pools en route to the Kanju Gorge.
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With the temperatures hovering around 22ºC, late April is a wonderful time to visit Marrakesh. A visit to the city's famous Jemaa el Fna square really is a fascinating experience. As dusk falls, the square comes alive with an eclectic cast of musicians, storytellers, fortune-tellers, henna-painters, acrobats, medicine men, and snake charmers. Of course, there are a fair few pickpockets and scam artists too so stay vigilant. The innumerable food stalls here are an attraction in their own right. You can try everything from tasty merguez sausages to rather more exotic stewed snails and sheep’s heads.
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Top image: Salar de Uyuni's springtime reflections, Bolivia © Vladimir Mielnik/Shutterstock