The best places to visit in spring

written by Rough Guides Editors

updated 19.03.2021

Spring lifts the spirits of travellers all around the world, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom. For many, there's no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are our editors' picks of best places to visit in spring. Planning a British break? Discover the best UK places to visit in spring.

The information in this article is inspired by the The Rough Guides guidebooks — your essential guides for visiting the world.

1. Osaka, Japan

Spring in Japan is simply stunning, and the cherry on the cake is the annual hanami (cherry blossom) celebrations. Head to Osaka in early April to see the city's castle rise high above a sea of petals, or walk through the Expo 70 Commemorative Park beneath a canopy of pink.

What to do:

Explore Osaka with a local foodie and indulge in local delicacies such as oden or okonomiyaki. Also, note this tailor-made trip to Japan highlights: Tokyo to Osaka. View a sumo session, visit ancient temples, and climb the Tokyo Skytree tower. Explore the resort town of Hakone in Mt Fuji’s shadow, savor a tea ceremony in Kyoto, and see cherry blossoms, in season, to complete a wonderful trip.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Osaka


The view of Osaka Castle surrounded by cherry blossoms makes Osaka one of the best places to visit in spring © Shuttertong/Shutterstock

2. Alentejo, Portugal

Portugal is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, with Lisbon and Porto leading the way. Cities aside, spring 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 – that passes through charming towns, or the sea-scraping Fishermen’s Trail.

Along the latter, cliff-top paths offer stunning ocean views, lined by aromatic shrubs and flowers. In the sky above you might spot the odd huge silhouette – the native storks should be returning from their winter holidays around now too.

What to do:

If you're staying in Lisbon, make use of one of the many day tours to Alentejo, such as this full-day tour to Evora and the Megaliths.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Alentejo


Porto Covo beach in Alentejo, Portugal © Vitaly Fedotov/Shutterstock

3. New Orleans, USA

Mardi Gras isn't the only reason to make a trip down to New Orleans. Louisiana’s capital is just as enchanting once carnival comes to an end. Spend a day soaking up the faded beauty of the French Quarter’s backstreets in the sunshine. Then, head to Frenchmen Street in the Marigny for a night of live jazz and cocktails.

What to do:

New Orleans is famous for its music scene. After spending a night on Frenchmen Street for Live Jazz, take a cruise for the next night - a unique experience onboard a steamboat listening to cool jazz and enjoying a delicious dinner.

Also find more accommodation options in our guide to where to stay in New Orleans.


One of the French Quarter's many beautiful buildings, New Orleans © Philmythen/Shutterstock

4. Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam really comes to life from April onwards, as cafés and bars spread out over the cobbled streets. Tourist numbers are lower than in the summer months too. Get to know the city's ins and outs in a canal-boat ride, or take a trip including fast-track to the unforgettable Keukenhof gardens. 25km out of town, tulips bloom in spectacular colours from late-March to mid-May in beautiful ornamental arrangements.

What to do:

What would Amsterdam be without it's canals? Take either a day or night cruise (or both) to explore the city.

Also you can choose an accommodation option with our guide to the best area to stay in Amsterdam.


Keukenhof gardens © MarinaD_37 /Shutterstock

5. The Wye Valley, Wales

The Wye Valley is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and for good reason. The river itself is fantastic for canoeing and kayaking, and the hills will please walkers. And, even if you're not into birdwatching you'll rejoice at the sight of the gorgeously flecked goshawk engaging in its so-called ‘sky dance’. Its mate-attracting display of flying prowess is a spring phenomenon.

What to do:

Explore the best of South East Wales on this full-day tour to Wye Valley and Brecon Beacons. Visit Roman towns, admire the ruins of Tintern Abbey, travel through the upper Wye gorge, and enjoy the delights of the Black Mountains.

Find more accommodation options to stay in the Wye Valley region


The rolling green hills of the Wye Valley © Matthew Dixon/Shutterstock

6. The Romantic Road, Germany

Travelled on foot, by bike or car, the scenic 400km Romantic Road from Würzburg to Füssen takes in medieval walled towns, traditional villages with half-timbered houses, vineyards and the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein. It's undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in spring in Europe.

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. Go in spring instead and enjoy the bright greens and chilly mornings.

What to do:

Neuschwanstein is an easy day tour from Munich and can also be combined with the beautiful Linderhof castles. Also try our tailor-made trip to the best of Germany. Germany has a lot to offer to visitors: history buffs will enjoy guided tours in Berlin and Dresden, children (and those at heart) will marvel at Schloss Neuschwanstein, scenery lovers will appreciate Rothenburg and the Black Forest.

Find more accommodation options to stay along the Romantic Road


Neuschwanstein castle surrounded by forest, Germany © Francesco Carucci/Shutterstock

7. Cornwall, England

Cornwall is packed with good restaurants – and plenty of activities to help burn off all that delicious food. Set out for a wander on the moors as spring flowers bloom, or go a dip in the sea if you're brave (or mad). Don't worry if a spring storm rolls in while you're visiting – the waves make for an incredibly dramatic scene.

What to do:

The final series for Doc Martin has been confirmed - visit the fictional seaside village of Portwenn and discover the main locations of this popular TV show.

Also Northern Cornwall is a hiker's paradise and this tailor-made trip to hiking in Northern Cornwall includes the most scenic parts. You will start your journey in London with some unique activities to get to know the city, before setting off on a 5-day walk across Cornwall. End your trip in Bath and explore the backdrop of Bridgerton.


Bedruthan Steps in northern Cornwall © PJ photography/Shutterstock

8. The Loire Valley, France

The Loire Valley’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 a truly memorable cuvée or the most magnificent château, the Loire Valley is one of the best places to visit in spring in France.

What to do:

Follow the kings, queens and nobility into the heart of France with this full-day tour of the Loire Valley. With visits to Châteaux Chambord, Chenonceau, and Cheverny, you will be swept off your feet by the finest sights of the French Renaissance.

Find more accommodation options to stay in the Loire Valley


Chaumont-sur-Loire castle, France © Mistervlad/Shutterstock

9. Essaouira, Morocco

For active types, the popular seaside town of Essaouira makes for a perfect long weekend getaway in spring. With pleasant temperatures and strong winds – locally known as the alizee – it's a prime location for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

It's one of the best places to visit in spring for adventure enthusiasts. 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.

What to do:

Get out the city and explore the sand dunes on a quad bike. Adventure meets nature! You might also be interested in our tailor-made trip to Moroccan Cities and Ultimate Sahara. From the cities to the desert - follow the footsteps of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, discover the blue and whitewashed buildings of Chefchaouen before heading on to Fez and consequently the desert.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Essaouira


The walls of Essaouira at sunset © Ruslan Kalnitsky/Shutterstock

10. Brittany, France

The jagged Brittany coastline is a wonderful place to explore – full of secret coves, quiet beaches, and spots to sup cider and watch the world drift by. Springtime is a particularly appealing season. Charter a boat and head to the Îles de Glénan for a spectacular display of colour, then enjoy a well-earned crêpe complete in a cosy crêperie.

What to do:

Experience the best of Northern France and spend some quality time in romantic Paris, too. Visit Brittany and Normandy for pretty port towns and sombre historic sights. Discover galleries and gourmet restaurants, and explore the beaches and scenery of the wild Atlantic coastline on this tailor-made Northern France Tour: City to Coast.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Brittany region


Camaret-sur-Mer with wildflowers in Brittany, France © Bouchigny Claire/Shutterstock

11. Dublin, Ireland

With its vibrant mix of traditional pubs, hip bars, elegant Georgian architecture, cool shops and a colourful cultural scene to rival any European capital, Dublin bubbles with an infectious energy. Dublin is the best place to visit in spring, with the café-packed side streets around Grafton Street to the African and Asian stores that rub shoulders with traditional street traders on Moore Street.

Dublin delights in its superb setting. The city sits on a wide plain, beautifully bisected by the River Liffey, overlooked by hills and headlands and facing a broad sweeping bay. Mountains are visible from the urban centre, which has changed dramatically during the last two decades. The city is now a mishmash of glorious architecture which sits alongside dilapidated, sometimes derelict buildings, and tacky neon and plastic signage.

What to do:

During this tailor-made trip to Castles & Cliffs in Ireland, you'll discover Dublin – Ireland’s beautiful capital – and many more spectacular places that this country has to offer such as the Cliffs of Moher and Glendalough. Furthermore, you'll get a chance to visit King John’s impressive castle in Limerick and the medieval town of Kilkenny.

Find more accommodation options with our guide to where to stay in Dublin

Docklands of Dublin City, Ireland © AdobeStock

Docklands of Dublin City, Ireland © AdobeStock

12. Palermo, Italy

Sicily’s capital is a synthesis of sumptuous Arab-Norman and Baroque splendour interspersed with a distinctive Moorish streak. It was after Arab colonisation in the 9th century AD that Palermo prospered as the most multiracial city in Europe. The city was home to Jewish merchants, Greek craftsmen, Persian artists and Berber slaves. Palermo remains an exotic jumble of periods and styles.

What to do:

A picturesque Mediterranean island just off the ‘toe’ of Italy’s ‘boot’, Sicily was once the centre of the known world. Today, the island’s winding coastal roads, charming towns, and picture-perfect scenery make it ideal for exploring by car on this tailor-made tour of Sicily.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Palermo

Famous fountain of shame on baroque Piazza Pretoria, Palermo, Sicily, Italy © Shutterstock

Famous fountain of shame on baroque Piazza Pretoria, Palermo, Sicily, Italy © Shutterstock

For more inspirational travel tips for your future trips check our Rough Guide books.

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Top image © Shutterstock

Rough Guides Editors

written by Rough Guides Editors

updated 19.03.2021

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