The best places to visit in spring

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 07.03.2024

With its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, spring lifts the spirits of travellers all around the world. In fact, for many, there's no better time to travel. So, 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.

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 .There are plenty of reasons this blossom-rich beauty should be on your radar.

Editor's tip: to take in a host of Japan's wonders — from Tokyo to Osaka — check out our customisable Japan highlights trip 

Where to stay:

Find more accommodation options in Osaka


April's 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 — native storks should be returning from their winter holidays around now.

Editor's tip: relish the thought of fine food and world-class wine? You'll love our customisable Cuisine and Culture from Porto to Lisbon itinerary.

Where to stay:

Find more accommodation options 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.

We also suggest spending a night on Frenchmen Street for Live Jazz, and taking a music-themed steamboat cruise that'll have you listening to cool jazz while you tuck into a delicious dinner.

Editor's tip: read our guide to where to stay in New Orleans, with some options highlighted below.

Where to stay:


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 on a canal-boat ride, or take a trip to the unforgettable Keukenhof gardens. 25km out of town, tulips bloom in spectacular colours from late-March to mid-May in beautiful ornamental arrangements.

Editor's tip: interested in exploring beyond Amsterdam? Browse our customisable Netherlands itineraries for inspiration.

Where to stay:

You might also want to read 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 for good reason. While the river itself is fantastic for canoeing and kayaking, the hills will keep walkers very, very happy.

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.

To make the most of your time in the area, we suggest taking a tour that takes in the Wye Valley and Brecon Beacons. You'll get to visit Roman towns, admire the ruins of Tintern Abbey, travel through the upper Wye gorge, and enjoy the natural magic of the Black Mountains.

Editor's tip: want to travel better? Download The Rough Guide to Responsible Wales for FREE.

Where to stay:

Find more accommodation options 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, 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. So visit in spring instead to enjoy the bright greens and chilly mornings with fewer crowds hampering your style.

Editor's tip: our customisable Best of Germany trip will takes in cool Berlin, historic Dresden, romantic Rothenbug, Schloss Neuschwanstein, and much more.

Where to stay:

Find more accommodation options along the Romantic Road


Neuschwanstein castle, Germany © Francesco Carucci/Shutterstock

7. Cornwall, England

Come spring, there's something pretty special about Cornwall's bluebells. Among the best places to see them are in the woodlands of St Loyes, Tehidy and Luxulyan, and Enys Gardens near Penryn.

Alongside setting out for a wander on the moors as spring flowers bloom, you could 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.

After you've had your fill of outdoor adventuring, Cornwall is packed with excellent restaurants serving fresh local food. 

Editor's tip: love exploring the epic outdoors? Check out our hiking in Northern Cornwall trip.

Where to stay:


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 in early spring, while out in the vineyards buds are starting to burst and wildflowers are cropping up along the riverside. 

Beyond being wowed by the region's natural beauty, you could follow in the footsteps of French nobility on a full-day tour of the Loire Valley that includes Châteaux Chambord, Chenonceau, and Cheverny.

All that considered, 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.

Editor's tip: more fragrant French experiences can be found in our customisable Walks in the Alpilles and Lavender Fields trip.

Where to stay:

Find more accommodation options in the Loire Valley


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

9. Essaouira, Morocco

For active types, Morocco's 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.

Then, for an exhilarating adventure-meets-nature experience, escape the city to explore the sand dunes on a quad bike.

Editor's tip: want to venture from the cities to the desert? You might be interested in our Moroccan Cities and Ultimate Sahara trip.

Where to stay:

Find more accommodation options in Essaouira


The walls of Essaouira at sunset © Ruslan Kalnitsky/Shutterstock

10. Brittany, France

The jagged Brittany coastline is a wonderful place to explore in spring — think secret coves, quiet beaches, and scenic spots to sup cider and watch the world drift by.

Springtime is a particularly appealing season to enjoy walks on the wilder side. For example, head to the charming Monts d’Arrée, where romantic ridges, rocky outcrops and moors await.

We also recommend taking a boat to the Îles de Glénan for a spectacular display of colour, before enjoying a well-earned snack in a cosy crêperie.

Editor's tip: fancy taking in romantic Paris and the beaches of the wild Atlantic during one glorious trip? Check out our customisable Northern France Tour: City to Coast.

Where to stay:

Find more accommodation options in Brittany.


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 infectious energy. 

From the café-packed side streets around Grafton Street, to the traditional street traders on Moore Street, Dublin is one of the best places to visit in spring if you love exploring cities on foot.

While in town, be sure to take advantage of all the great things to do in Dublin for free — from strolling Phoenix Park — one of the largest city parks in Europe — to touring the National Botanic Gardens, both of which are especially glorious in spring.

Editor's tip: to experience a range of Ireland's natural attractions and Dublin, book our customisable Castles and Cliffs in Ireland trip.

Where to stay:

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

Docklands of Dublin City, Ireland © AdobeStock

Docklands of Dublin City, Ireland © AdobeStock

12. Palermo, Italy

Capital of Sicily, the city of Palermo is a synthesis of sumptuous Arab-Norman and Baroque splendour, interspersed with a distinctive Moorish streak.

Once the most multi-cultural city in Europe, today Palermo presents itself as a jumble of periods and styles. Put simply, you can't escape history in Palermo. The city is packed with Arabic cupolas, baroque facades, byzantine mosaics and Norman relics. 

Beyond visiting the city's top attractions — among them the Catacombe dei Cappuccini and the Cattedrale di Palermo — Palermo is a great base for exploring the wider island.

For example, take day trips to the Roman site at Solunto, and Monreale's stunning Norman-Byzantine cathedral. You could also hop on a train to Cefalù — one of the best beaches in Italy.

Editor's tip: explore the whole island on an immersive tailor-made tour of Sicily.

Where to stay:

Find more accommodation options in Palermo

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

Piazza Pretoria, Palermo, Sicily © Shutterstock

If you're on a tighter budget, read up on the cheapest places to travel in spring. Wherever you decide to go, there's likely to be a Rough Guide to help you plan your trip.

Not keen on planning? Talk to our local travel experts.

We may earn commission when you click on links in this article, but this doesn’t influence our editorial standards. We only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Top image © Shutterstock

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