While springtime is considered a shoulder season at many destinations around the world, it is also one of the most overlooked and underrated times to schedule a vacation. Prices are generally lower, and cities are springing back to life after a winter of hibernation. Flowers are in full bloom, days are getting longer, and beaches are once again bustling with activity. Get ready to pack your bag, these are some of the best spring vacations.
From April through June, the weather in vibrant Buenos Aires is mild, and the crowds are nonexistent. Peak tourist season runs from January through February — their summer — and ushers in high room rates and a large number of tourists. June through July — their winter — is cold and rainy. The shoulder seasons are prime times to visit this lively city.
Argentina’s capital city comes to life during our spring months. The average high temperatures are between 60 and 73 degrees, and the summer humidity dissipates. Colorful foliage envelops the city, and room rates decrease. Plus, there are numerous fall festivals, including an international film festival and an art festival.
Like Argentina, our spring months are Australia’s autumn months. The summer crowds disperse, but there is still plenty of pleasurable weather left to be enjoyed. Plus, airline prices tend to drastically decrease during the shoulder seasons. In Sydney, the average temperature during our spring months ranges from around 64 degrees Fahrenheit to 74 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is only slightly wetter than peak season months. While Australia offers plenty of activities during every month of the year, their autumn season ushers in some of the locals’ favorite events. Visit either the Byron Bay Bluesfest at the end of March through early April or the Taste of Sydney Food Festival in March.
The dry season in Costa Rica runs from the end of November through the end of April. March and April are prime times to visit this beautiful country, but the attractions and natural wonder of Costa Rica do usher in spring break crowds. While more expensive and busier than other times of year, this Central American hot-spot springs to life during spring break. The nightlife is hard to match, and the resorts are hard to top. The beaches are meccas of activity, and the food is superb.
To avoid spring break crowds, head to Costa Rica at the end of April or in May. While May technically marks the beginning of the wet season, it usually starts off with April-like conditions and only gradually gets slightly wetter and colder. If an occasional afternoon rain shower doesn’t scare you off, May offers cheaper prices and significantly less people. Northwestern Costa Rica tends to be the driest part of the country, and May is no exception. Sunny days dominate the forecast near the Nicaraguan border.
While France is magical throughout the entire year, spring is especially memorable. After the dreary winter months, the country springs back to life. People swarm outdoor Parisian cafes, and the banks of the Seine River are speckled with picnickers. The capital city’s over 100 gardens are also in full bloom. Meander around the cherry blossoms at Parc Monseau and the famed Tuileries Gardens. For special days trips during the spring, visit the impressive gardens at Versailles and Monet’s historic home in Giverny. The annual French Open also occurs in May.
Down south, Provence and the Mediterranean coastline similarly wake back up after quiet winter months. The weather is warm, and the beaches are once again active. The sudden burst of color is truly extraordinary. Plus, the world-famous Cannes Film Festival also occurs in May.
Just like France, Greece bursts back to life during the spring months. While March weather can be a bit iffy, April onward is a spectacular time to visit Greece. When visiting during the spring months, you will inevitably avoid the hordes of tourists and high prices of the summer months. In many instances, the spring weather in Greece is, in fact, better than summer weather. Summers in Greece — especially August — can be scorchingly hot. In April, the ferries to the islands once again become regular and the shops and restaurants on those islands begin opening back up. While not every retail store is open in the early spring months, there are more than enough open to cover any tourist’s needs. However, avoid visiting over the Easter holiday. As Easter is Greece’s most celebrated holiday, Easter weekend is usually booked up a year in advance.
Hiking in Greece during the spring months is especially beautiful. Worn stone paths meander through mountainous villages, secluded beaches, and ancient Greek sites. The blossoming wildflowers will leave you speechless.
For the Japanese, the blossoming of cherry trees represents human life. This magnificent occurrence only happens for about one full week at the end of April through early May, depending on each year’s weather. At the end of this week, the pink and white petals of the cherry blossoms flutter to the ground, and this is when its said to be the most beautiful.
There are numerous parks in Tokyo to view the cherry blossoms, but they are inevitably quite crowded. To avoid some of these crowds, try visiting on these top spots outside of the city:
- Takada Park in Nilgata. This beautiful park features around 4,000 cherry trees, which are illuminated at night.
- Hirosaki Park in Aomori. Visit during the Cherry Blossom Festival at the end of April.
- Matsumae Park in Matsumae. This prime location offers approximately 10,000 cherry trees in 250 separate varieties.
- Ka-Jo Castle Park in Yamagata. Another one of Japan’s premier cherry blossom locations, this park features 1,500 trees that are lit up at night.
Springtime in the Netherlands means that the days are getting longer and outdoor patios are once again bustling with activity. It also means that the flowers are in bloom. Spring in the Netherlands is also known as “tulip season”. From mid-April through the first week in May this European country becomes a colorful patchwork quilt of tulips. This remarkable event is preceded by crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths beginning in mid-March. To take full advantage of the vibrant beauty of flower season in the Netherlands, visit the Keukenhof Tulip Festival in Lisse. An amazing 7-million tulips blossom around the park each year.
With pleasant temperatures and plenty of sunshine, spring is the perfect season to visit Portugal. It is generally less crowded than the summer months, and the prices are cheaper, too. To top it all off, the rolling countryside becomes awash with blossoming flowers, and the almond groves sprout beautiful pink flowers. For outdoor patios and historic sites, visit the cities of Lisbon or Porto. To relax on one of Portugal’s renowned beaches, head to the Algarve.
Spring is a remarkable season to schedule a trip. With cheaper airfare and lower room rates, vacations are often more affordable, but you do not have to sacrifice enjoyable weather or outdoor activities. Festivals begin popping up, and patios spring to life. The aforementioned best spring vacations are just the tip of the iceberg.