It’s nearly the end of February and you’re starting to think winter is overrated. We can’t blame you. It has a tendency to overstay its welcome.
Ideally, it should leave after the end of new year celebrations. Once everyone’s had their white Christmas, every snowman, snowflake and bad winter driver should politely pack up and return to the frozen hell they came from… but that doesn’t happen, does it.
Thankfully, we don’t have to grit and bear it much longer. In a few weeks, Spring will be here to chase the chills away and if you’re bit by the travel bug around that time, Europe is one of the most beautiful destinations you can head to. So this week, we’re sharing some of our favorite European destinations for spring to help you shake off those winter chills.
Spain is beautiful in Spring and we could have put any of its cities on the list but for the sake of discovery, we’ll talk about Deia. A little town on the coast of Mallorca that, in an odd twist of circumstances, became a pilgrimage site of English literature when poet and novelist Robert Graves decided to call it home. A haven for artists in search of the bohemian lifestyle, Deia’s landscape is conducive to contemplation and its atmosphere will leave you charmed even if you aren’t looking for a muse. If you decide to go and have nowhere to stay, we highly recommend the Belmond La Residencia for its excellent spa and expansive sculpture garden that’s a pleasure to explore.
Walking through Vienna in Spring is like falling for your partner all over again. It’s the city’s version of the “come-hither look”, colorful flowers dot its numerous manicured lawns, warmer temperatures and longer sunlight hours make the Viennese rush to the street side cafés, and the buildings are resplendent in the spring sunshine; you’ll quickly forget its three month sulk. If you’re in town during March, be sure to check out the colorful Easter market held on the Schonbrunn Palace’s grounds where glass art, woodcarvings and of course, colorful easter eggs, are available for purchase.
We talked about Florence last week but since too much of a good thing is never enough, why stop there? The city really comes into its own during spring and in the early months of the season, it’s still relatively tourist free, meaning spots such as the Giardino delle Rose (a rose garden with exceptional views over the city) aren’t a crowd bath. If you’re in town in for Easter, be sure to catch the explosion of the cart in the Duomo’s cathedral square, where a three storey high wooden cart, packed to the rafters with fireworks, is set on fire. Truly amazing stuff.
Believe it or not but there’s more to Portugal than cocky and talented footballers. For one, it’s got history – the city is older than Rome itself -, there’s a 19th century Disneyland with fantasy castles built in it, and of course Lisbon, as you may have guessed, is a stunning place to visit during spring. A warmer climate means al fresco dining isn’t torture and doing so from one of the Miradouro’s (viewing spots) allows for picturesque backdrops of red tiled roofs and the blue ocean that you’ll fill your smart phone’s memory card with. The bohemian side of the city is the Bairro Alto, a network of narrow cobbled streets filled with the city’s best restaurants, bars and artisan workshops. If you’re interested in a visit this is the best place to stay.
Budapest is a great springtime destination because whenever we’re there soaking in the Art Nouveau architecture or soaked in the hot baths, we can’t help but feel like it’s the world’s best kept secret. Tourists shy away from the city during early spring and as the locals gradually reclaim the seats of the streetside cafés and public places lost to winter, you can’t help but feel like you’re getting an authentic glimpse of the local lifestyle before everyone else flocks in.
Aix -En-Provence is a slice of Paris in the south of France except that the weather, and the people, are warmer. A blend of 18th century architecture, chic boutiques and university student atmosphere make this provincial town the ideal spring escape. The town’s thoroughfare, le Cours Mirabeau, is a sight to see when in bloom and even if you’re not in the mood for buying, the open air markets are well worth checking out for an authentic Mediterranean vibe. Make it a point to visit the Aquae Sextiae thermal springs (a favorite of the Romans) and if you don’t mind a bit of travel, the lavender fields, mountains, award winning vineyards nearby are worth your time.