The Best Places to Visit during March/April in Europe
After the gloomy days of winter, it’s great to plan a trip and enjoy the longer daylight hours, Easter festivities, and fresh blooms of spring. Europe has an abundance of fabulous cities, parks, historical sites, and cultural festivals to enjoy before the heat of summer takes hold. Treat all your senses to a feast of color, fragrance, and beauty in one of these outstanding spring destinations!
Temperatures are just about perfect for visiting Barcelona in March and April, ahead of the summer crowds and cruise passengers. Plan a themed trip, ticking off the seven UNESCO-listed projects of modernist architecture by Antonio Gaudi.
With a keen eye for color, the avant-garde architecture of this 20th century Catalan artist can be seen at Casa Battlo on Passeig de Gracia. This iconic mosaic-clad home has a “dragon’s back” roof and tortoiseshell skylights. Neighboring Casa Mila (aka La Pedrera) shows that even an apartment block can be a show-stopper! More Gaudi commissions feature in Parc Güell, but his crowning glory is the magnificent Sagrada Familia Church. The exterior is a breathtaking apparition of sculptures and symbolism while 18 bauble-topped spires are covered in Venetian mosaics. Ride to the top for panoramic city views.
Paris is a very special city to visit at any time of year, but in spring it is decked with pale pink cherry blossom (cerisier in French) throughout the streets and parks. Wander through this city of romance admiring the white and pink blossom trees that shed their petals to lie like confetti on the grass and sidewalks. You’ll find fairytale blossoms near Notre Dame and Montmartre, and around the Sorbonne in the Latin Quarter.
Head to Parc Georges Brassens or Parc Monceau and stroll around photographing the laden boughs of blossom. Best of all, the Champ de Mars is packed with cherry blossom trees providing the perfect setting for admiring the iconic Eiffel Tower in the background.
For many tourists, a trip to the Eternal City of Rome is a pilgrimage of faith, and when better to visit than during the Holy Week of Easter? Gather with around 70,000 worshippers in St Peter’s Square for the Holy Mass and Urbi et Orbi blessing by Pope Francis on Easter Sunday. It’s a very moving experience.
Tickets are free, but you need to apply well ahead. Spend the rest of your time exploring the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and peaceful Villa Borghese Gardens. Don’t forget to toss coins over your shoulder and make a wish at the Trevi Fountain! Feasting on outstanding pizza, pasta and gelato go without saying.
Spain again, this time in the southern city of Seville where temperatures are balmy and skies are bright. The historic city streets are alive with orange blossom in this season. The white flowers may be inconspicuous, but the heady fragrance is unforgettable! Santa Semana (Holy Week or Easter) is celebrated with huge parades featuring religious statues, banners, golden monstrances, and priceless solid silver objects carried through the streets as part of the Passion of Christ.
The sombre mood gives way to merriment as part of the Feria de Abril (April Festival). Locals dress in colorful Andalusian costumes and there is dancing, live music, traditional flamenco performances, eating, and celebrating on the streets. The tasty seafood and aroma of giant paellas sold on the markets are well worth making the trip.
Keukenhof Tulip Fields, Netherlands
The famous Keukenhof Flower Gardens in the Netherlands open from 24 March to mid-May, 2022. Where better to celebrate the tulip season than in one of the largest and showiest flower gardens in the world? Located in Lisse, the landscaped gardens offer a sensational display of over 7 million flowering bulbs, providing a rainbow of color.
Tulips, narcissus, daffodils, hyacinths, iris, and lilies deliver an unforgettable display of nature’s beauty along with a pervading scent of sweet blooms. Once the hunting grounds of Castle Keukenhof, the gardens are now one of the most visited attractions in the Netherlands – and you only have eight weeks to visit and enjoy them.
In Germany, spring is synonymous with new birth and “Ostereierbaum”, which means “Easter Egg Tree”. Wherever you visit in Germany in spring, you will see trees hung with colorful painted eggs. This is a long-standing German tradition, bringing a branch indoors and decorating it with hand-painted eggs. However, this charming celebration has taken on new significance in the town of Saalfield, Thuringia. In 1965, the Kraft family began decorating an apple tree that stood in their garden.
More eggs were blown, hand-painted, and added to the tree until it was laden with over 10,000 pretty eggs! It became a national attraction in its own right after being featured on TV. In 2016, the giant project was taken over by the city of Saalfield and moved to a tree on Blankenburger Strasse outside the Alte Poste Restaurant. You can see more Ostereierbaum trees all over the town and in the castle park. However, the holder of the Guinness Book of Records entry is the Ostereierbaum at Rostock Zoo, with over 76,000 eggs covering a red oak!
The historic coastal city of Dubrovnik is a summer haven for swimming and sightseeing, but for foodies the best time to visit is March. This is the peak season for oyster harvesting and the city has many street fairs and festivals to celebrate in gastronomic style.
Head to the Old Town and nearby Ston and Mali Ston for the best places to find fresh seafood. Not a fan of oysters? Then visit this red-roofed city for the clear blue skies, wildflower meadows, Old Town architecture, and the chance to explore film locations featured in Game of Thrones without the usual crowds!
Make plans for a spring break and you’ll be surprised at how beautiful Europe can be in March and April.
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