As winter’s grip loosens and the first buds appear on the trees, ignoring the infamous travel itch gets progressively harder. You’re packing your light jackets and your comfy sneakers, maybe even sunscreen, but you’re still unsure where to go? We know, there’s just so many options! To make it easier for you, we bring 10 awesome ideas for your European spring getaway before the sweltering summer heat takes over.
San Sebastián, Spain
One of Basque Country’s three capitals, San Sebastián rests on the northern coast of Spain. Being able to leisurely explore the city in the spring, before the summer crowds, is crucial for getting the most out of San Sebastián. And the city offers a lot: award-winning dining establishments, long stretches of sandy beaches, diverse architecture, and so on. The area’s cultural identity is famously strong, and the Basques love celebrating it. Be it a colorful festival, a game of pelota, or simply a friendly conversation in the one-of-a-kind Basque language Euskera, opportunities to immerse yourself in the local life are endless. While you’re at it, don’t forget to try as many varieties of pintxos as possible. This finger-food specialty is ever-present all over Basque Country, but San Sebastián dominates the scene. Find the most popular routes below:
|Bilbao to San Sebastián||Biarritz to San Sebastián||Pamplona to San Sebastián|
It may not be your first time visiting the French capital, but have you ever experienced it in the springtime? And if you have, was it really enough? It’s hardly surprising that Paris has for centuries maintained the reputation of a fairytale metropolis, bursting with multicultural beauty, from ridiculously elegant to alluringly bohemian. Fill your itinerary with as many parks as possible, and take your time strolling along the Canal Saint-Martin. Sure, you can dine on the most famous cuisine in the world, but you can also dip into Indian or Chinese markets, overflowing with mouth-watering groceries. And sure, you can climb the Eiffel Tower, but how about the Montparnasse tower for an even better view? Ditch the standardized city guide and get creative! You can’t go wrong in the most beautiful city in the world.
|London to Paris||Budapest to Paris||Amsterdam to Paris|
Umbria warrants no introduction. Countless historic towns are scattered around the ‘green heart’ of Italy, with Perugia as the region’s capital. The cutest mini-metro you’ve ever seen helps you get around the city. There’s no shortage of historic landmarks in this hilltop settlement, from the ancient Etruscan Arch to basilicas of Saint Dominic and Peter. The central Piazza IV Novembre is the main gathering point, where you can lounge on the steps and enjoy world-renowned paninis. The piazza is where one can find the Gothic Fontana Maggiore and the city’s most impressive architecture. Step into underground Perugia for exhibitions held in the remains of a former fortress, or plan a day trip to the town of Assisi. At sunset, head towards the Giardini Carducci, a park that serves as the ultimate viewpoint for soaking in the beauty of this Umbrian stunner.
|Rome to Perugia||Florence to Perugia||Milan to Perugia|
This little gem is found on the coast of Lake Constance, Germany’s largest lake and one that borders Austria and Switzerland as well. Lindau’s Old Town juts out into the lake, creating an enchanting island atmosphere you are unlikely to find elsewhere. The brightly colored medieval buildings contrast perfectly with the deep blue shade of the lake, and the scene is topped off with glorious alpine backdrops. When you’re done walking through the island with its timber-framed Old Town Hall and the Baroque Haus zum Cavazzen, hop onto a ferry. You can cruise the lake, or tour the nearby villages! The neighboring flower island of Mainau is an explosion of color in spring, and has a tropical greenhouse with thousands of butterflies. Lindau is often overlooked in favor of larger lakeside towns, which is why it is ideal for a peaceful vacation.
|Munich to Lindau||Milan to Lindau||Zurich to Lindau|
Don’t let the size of this country fool you. The magnificence of Slovenia’s nature is up there with that of countries 20 times its size. Ljubljana, the capital, is impossibly romantic. Roam its cobblestone streets lined with fantastic cafés and restaurants, and cross picturesque bridges spanning the Ljubljanica river to reach the buzzing Central Market plaza, where the majority of Ljubljana’s innumerable events takes place. Hoards of locals and visitors alike pour in to join the festivities. Ljubljana is characterized by a charming combination of influences across all domains, from architecture to local dishes. Find dragon imagery scattered around the city, decorating lamp posts or guarding the Dragon Bridge. Some are found at the entrance to the Ljubljana Castle, a must-see monument towering over the city. For an urban touch, stop by Metelkova Mesto, a haven for artists and free spirits.
|Trieste to Ljubljana||Pula to Ljubljana||Vienna to Ljubljana|
Scandinavia is often perceived as too cold and dark, and while that might be true in the seemingly never-ending winter months, it’s no excuse come spring. One of Stockholm’s biggest holidays, Valborg, celebrates this season. Prepare for your jaw to drop upon seeing cherry trees bloom in Kungsträdgården. The locals rush outside with the first rays of sunshine, so join them on café terraces and park benches. When you’re done with your fika, or coffee break, get to exploring! For a capital, Stockholm is not a big city, so it’s best to walk or cycle around. The old Gamla Stan district, numerous museums, modern neighborhoods and boat trips will keep you occupied, and soon enough you’ll forget you’re that far north. Make your way up to the beloved picnic area Skinnarviksberget to get a great view of this amazing city.
|Gothenburg to Stockholm||Copenhagen to Stockholm||Oslo to Stockholm|
There’s hardly anyone left who has never heard of Dubrovnik. Croatia’s sunniest coastal city is a backdrop for many famous movies and TV shows, which is just one of the reasons for its popularity. The mighty City walls, the magnificent buildings and the clear sea create a magical environment. While spring sea temperatures may not be ideal for swimming, we highly recommend kayaking. A morning kayak ride provides a unique view of the city. You might spot the Buza Bar, a relaxing place to grab drinks while lounging on actual cliffs! Inside the fortified Old Town a wide array of monuments, museums and restaurants await to fill your days. Pay close attention when wandering around, as each tiny street, courtyard and tiled roof abounds in beautiful details. Catch glimpses of dozens of friendly cats snoozing in the sun and follow suit!
|Split to Dubrovnik||Zagreb to Dubrovnik||Mostar to Dubrovnik|
Karlovy Vary, Czechia
Karlovy Vary was named after the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. This colorful town, nestled in the Emperor’s Forest mountains, is extremely inviting with its vibrant façades and fresh mountain air. Karlovy Vary is a spa town where visitors go to enjoy the thermal springs. Shake away the winter stress and welcome spring through a spa day. Once relaxed, take some time to walk down the three splendid colonnades, and admire the multicolored Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture. If you wish to view the town and the river from above, hop onto the funicular taking you up to the Diana observation tower. The tower is the city’s highest point from which you can see up to 70 kilometres in the distance when the weather allows it. There’s a restaurant, a mini-zoo and a butterfly house in the area.
|Prague to Karlovy Vary||Bratislava to Karlovy Vary||Munich to Karlovy Vary|
Delft, The Netherlands
Home of the painter Johannes Vermeer, Delft exudes charm and culture. The regally old-fashioned mixes seamlessly with the modern. Did you know Delft is famous for its white-blue tiles? Find street art of the same color scheme hidden in the alleyways. If you thought Pisa was the only city with a leaning tower, you were sorely mistaken. The Oude Kerk tower looms over one of many Delft canals. If you find the time, join a tour of the canals to learn more about the history of the city and its landmarks. The Oude Kerk is the old church; do not miss out on the new church, or Nieuwe Kerk, either. Its 85-meter tall tower is the city’s most popular viewpoint. A bonus when visiting in spring is a day trip to the flower fields of Keukenhof, called ‘the garden of Europe’.
|Amsterdam to Delft||Brussels to Delft||Ghent to Delft|
Porto enjoys a climate that is quite unusual for the Iberian peninsula. Thanks to the Atlantic currents, the city never gets unreasonably warm. Porto really nurtures the vintage style, which is obvious from the decoration of its glorious railway station. From the outset you are drawn into the cultural lushness of the city. During the spring months, and even at the height of summer, sea temperatures are for some too low to go swimming, but that shouldn’t stop you from having a fun day on the city’s fantastic sandy beaches. You don’t want to miss out on the famous port wine that originated in this very area. And of course it goes perfectly with the eclectic Portuguese cuisine. The insanely popular and wondrous bookstore that inspired J.K.Rowling to create her masterpieces, Livraria Lello is often crowded, but you can’t miss it!
|Lisbon to Porto||Madrid to Porto||Seville to Porto|