As soon as January rolls around I start the search for our next “spring break” destination. Generally I love spring—the sun comes out, the days get longer, the flowers are blooming…but the weather can be totally unpredictable in March, April and May. For this reason you‘ve got to choose your European itinerary wisely. My advice is to avoid “beach” destinations for the most part, and stick to places you can enjoy regardless of the weather. Below you’ll find some of my favorite spring trips, as well as the ones I wish we had taken in spring—learn from my experience and get the most out of your next European adventure!
1. Golden Triangle of Andalusia – Seville, Cordoba & Granada
The thought of someone visiting Spain and not seeing the Golden Triangle of Andalucía makes me cringe. Madrid and Barcelona are great, but there‘s nothing like the Alhambra of Granada, the Mosque/Cathedral of Cordoba or the Alcazar of Seville! Plus, these cities are totally scorching in summer…without a doubt the best time to visit is spring. Did I mention all of the exciting events that go on too? My favorite springtime events are Holy Week in Granada (March/April), Feria de Abril in Seville (April), and the Cruces de Mayo + Flower Competition in Cordoba (May).
Note: I know we‘re talking European destinations, but I just want to say spring is the perfect time to visit Morocco too. If you‘re in Andalusia it‘s only a ferry ride away!
Istanbul is one of my all-time favorite spring break trips we’ve taken since I moved to Europe. The city is overrun with bright, blooming tulips and the weather is nice and cool during the day. Although there are tourists this time of year we had a local hookup who helped us skip the lines and get entrances to a lot of the attractions. If you ever have the chance to go, I would definitely recommend visiting this enchanting city in spring.
3. Mainland Greece – Athens, Delphi, Olympia, & Meteora
We visited Greece in winter, but if I could choose any time to go I would definitely travel in spring. This is the best time to visit mainland Greece because the weather is usually good and you get to avoid summer crowds. Make sure to check out Athens, Delphi, Olympia, and the mysterious Meteora! Keep in mind if you want to visit the islands it‘s best to go in summer as the water isn‘t warm enough for swimming until end of June.
4. London + Stonehenge & Bath
I‘ve always enjoyed visiting London, but especially in spring. It’s the most comfortable time of year to enjoy the sights as winters tend to be freezing, and summers in the city can be muggy (I recall profusely sweating on the tube in the summer heat…ew). Be sure to look into day trip excursions to nearby destinations like Stonehenge and Bath too!
5. Dubrovnik + Mostar & Kotor
This year Javi and I spent spring break in Dubrovnik. One of the main benefits of visiting Dubrovnik in spring is the fact that you can avoid the summer crowds—especially the hundreds of “boat people” that swarm the city when their cruise ship stops for the day. The weather this time of year is a bit unpredictable, but we had warm, sunny weather with just one day of rain. It was also hot enough to lay out and tan, but the water was a little chilly for swimming. We really enjoyed taking day trips to the nearby countries of Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina too, which are just a two-hour drive from the city!
6. Eastern Europe – Prague, Budapest, Bratislava & Vienna
Don’t make the same mistake I did and try to visit Eastern Europe in winter. I completely underestimated my cold tolerance and I didn’t pack the proper winter clothes—go figure, a Floridian living in sunny Spain can’t stand the cold. 😉 Although I’m so happy we took this trip, and these countries are definitely worth visiting, I think spring or summer would be the best time to go. Prague was surprisingly crowded considering the freezing weather in December, so I can only imagine how packed this city is in summer. Check out my post on how we fit 4 countries into 8 days and my favorite activities from each destination.