Where to go in Europe for a Spring Getaway

Lauren Hill

Senior Contributor

As spring begins, it's the ideal time to make the journey to parts of Europe that become their most enchanting at this time of year when warmer weather and longer daylight hours entice us to spend more time outdoors. We can't wait to shown you the most beautiful spots for a relaxing spring break!


Blooming landscapes and a burst of activity from festivals and other events give a new lease of life to picturesque pockets of France when spring arrives. Paris is a popular destination at this optimistic time of year – blossom brings a flush of pink to tree-lined streets, squares and, most impressively, green spaces like the Jardins du Trocadéro and Paris’s Jardin des Plantes. Celebrations take place around the Easter period at religious sites such as the Basilique du Sacré Coeur, and in the spirit of this time, Paris’s chocolatiers display ornate chocolate eggs in their shop windows – seek out the boutiques of renowned chocolatiers such as Patrick Roger. In Paris, stay at a legendary hotel like Ritz Paris or a new arrival like Cheval Blanc Paris.

Elsewhere in France, make the most of this exceptionally verdant time by touring the villages, orchards, vineyards and chateaux known for their spectacular landscaped gardens across the Loire Valley where the International Garden Festival, opening each year in April, takes place at Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire. 


Snowy landscapes begin to make way for green hillside and flower fields when spring arrives in this famously picturesque country. Ski season in high-altitude resorts lasts until around late April but lower altitude areas are simultaneously thawing out to make way for warmer weather pursuits such as hiking. Until hiking trails become accessible in each area, the landscape can be explored on one of the country’s scenic train rides. Spectacular journeys through the mountains are possible year-round on trains such as The Golden Pass Line and Glacier Express.

Head to Lake Lucerne or Lake Thun in April or May for slow-altitude hiking and lake cruises as well as scenic drives, taking in impressive viewpoints like that of the canton of Lucerne’s Rigi Kulm. In southern Switzerland, it’s then worth visiting the Swiss canton known for having the mildest climate, Ticino, for its blooming landscape, seen across an abundance of parks and gardens including Gambarogno Botanical Park, as well as for the spring hiking opportunities through the landscape of this winemaking region. Check in to Buergenstock Hotel and Alpine Spa in Lucerne or Hotel Splendide Royal Lugano - both luxurious bases from which to explore.


Warmer weather and flowering parks, along with a series of festivals and the return of outdoor pursuits, make Portugal a rewarding destination at this time of year. Visit the Semana Santa festival taking over Braga at Easter each year or visit the Festa da Mãe Soberana on Easter Sunday in Loulé on the Algarve.

Hiking at this time of year means avoiding the heat of the summer months. Popular trails through the landscape include the long-distance Via Algarviana connecting the Cape of Saint Vincent with Alcoutim. This is also an appealing time to be on the beaches fringing Portugal’s southernmost region, the Algarve, when there are fewer people to share the coastline with. In general, visiting Portugal at this time of year, outside the season’s most popular festivals, means escaping the crowds of peak travel times and relaxing without the hustle and bustle. Enjoy a beautifully luxurious stay overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at Pine Cliffs Hotel on the stunning Algarve.

The Netherlands

A nation that’s easily recognisable for its tree-lined canals and windmills amid fields of blooming tulips, the Netherlands is undoubtedly among Europe’s go-to spring destinations. The warmer weather brings people back into the city’s parks, walking or cruising along the canals and cycling or hiking through the landscape, with the country’s abundance of flowers making it an especially scenic time to visit.

In April and May, see the landscape blooming with tulips in what’s also known as the Garden of Europe, Keukenhof, and follow any of the four scenic Keukenhof cycling routes that are easily navigable owing to their clear signage. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed village of Kinderdijk for its historic windmills, then back in Amsterdam, cycle along the canals, visit the Hortus Botanicus garden and take in the annual King’s Day festival celebrating the Dutch monarch’s birthday. Stay at the luxurious waterfront Pulitzer Amsterdam or Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam’s museum quarter.

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