Tim Chester, Senior Web Editor: The jagged Brittany coastline is an immense place to explore at the best of times – full of secret coves, quiet beaches, and spots to sup cider and watch the world drift by – but in the springtime it blooms. Charter a boat and head to the Îles de Glénan for a spectacular display of colour.
Wye Valley, Wales
Neil McQuillian, Editor: This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has never wanted for visitors, and for good reason. The river itself is fantastic for canoeing and kayaking, while your inner twitcher will rejoice at the sight of the gorgeously flecked goshawk engaging in its so-called ‘sky dance’, a mate-attracting display of flying prowess that is a spring (and late-winter) phenomenon in the Wye Valley.
Helen Abramson, Editor: Amsterdam really comes to life in the spring, as cafés and bars spread out over the cobbled streets. Get to know the city’s ins and outs in a canal-boat ride, or take a trip to the unforgettable Keukenhof garden, 25km out of town, where tulips bloom in spectacular colours from late-March to mid-May.
West coast of Portugal
Neil McQuillian, Editor: This is a beautiful time of year for the Rota Vicentina, a network of walking trails on the west coast of Portugal’s Alentejo region. There’s an inland route – the Historical Way – but I’d plump for the sea-scraping Fishermen’s Trail: the cliff-top paths afford stunning ocean views; the shrubs and flowers are aromatic beyond belief; and the native storks should be returning from their winter holidays around now too.
The Romantic Road, Germany
Rachel Mills, Editor: Travelled on foot, by bike or car, the scenic 400km Romantische Strasse from Würzburg to Füssen takes in medieval walled towns, traditional villages with half-timbered houses, vineyards and the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein. This picture perfect route through Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg was created to attract visitors after WWII – more than sixty years later it’s hugely popular and often overrun by the summer months.
Andy Turner, Senior Editor: Looking like a kids’ lego experiment, the spanking new Disseny Hub arts centre in Barcelona brings four museums under one roof and is set to open its doors this spring. After all that culture grab a burger at Makamaka, a beach cafe where Hawaii meets Catalonia.
New Orleans, USA
Eleanor Aldridge, Editor: Mardi Gras might be over, but that’s all the more reason to make a trip down south. Louisiana’s capital is at its most entrancing when things quieten down. Take your time soaking up the faded beauty of the French Quarter’s backstreets before heading to Frenchmen Street for a night of live jazz and cocktails.
Andy Turner, Senior Editor: If you needed another excuse to visit Croatia this year, Rovinj, the pick of the resorts on the west coast, hosts the barnstorming Red Bull Air Race this April. Apart from the magnificent men in their flying machines, there’s plenty of chic hotels and Venetian architecture to enjoy.
The Loire Valley, France
Eleanor Aldridge, Editor: The Loire’s sleepy villages are just shaking off their winter chill around now, while out in the vineyards buds are starting to burst and wildflowers are cropping up along the riverside. Whether you’re in search of the most memorable cuvée or the most magnificent château, spring’s a great time to come.
Lottie Gross, Web Editorial Assistant: For active types, this popular eighteenth century port makes for a perfect long weekend getaway in spring. With pleasant temperatures and the high winds – locally known as the “alizee” – it’s the prime location for windsurfing and kitesurfing along Morocco‘s Atlantic coast. And if you’re not drawn to the waters, you can enjoy afternoons strolling past the whitewashed and blue-shuttered houses, nipping into art galleries and sipping on mint tea.
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