5 refreshing destinations for a spring vacation in Europe

As spring buds begin to bloom, Europe comes to life and its great cities shake off the winter chill. It’s always tempting to book an early holiday, and springtime is an ideal time to travel in Europe, especially if you have a second home. Here are our five favourite places to visit in Europe for a spring vacation.

Hamburg - Why travel to Europe in spring? There's so much to enjoy in our favourite destinations.

1. Historical spring vacation in Rome

The main draws of Rome – antiquities, art, architecture and cuisine – are beautiful in every season. However, a springtime visit to the Eternal City will allow you to enjoy sights like the Vatican, ancient Forum and Colosseum without the throngs of tourists that flock there in summer. The park and gardens surrounding the Villa Borghese will be green and shady if you go in late spring too; Rome’s peaceful green spaces are hidden gems that make it one of our favourite places to visit in Europe.

2. Castles and cafés in Lisbon

Like in Rome, springtime visits to Lisbon present the opportunity to wander the streets and explore the castle without huge crowds. You may even be able to slip into the famous Pastéis de Belém café without having to queue. One top recommendation is a visit to nearby Sintra. This fairytale-like town of twisting streets has an unusually high concentration of castles. The best travel time is spring, when it looks especially fresh and its narrow streets are much less crowded.

3. Phenomenal flowers in Madeira

Madeira is perhaps a less-talked about destination, but is a favourite among walkers. The mountainous landscape has been dubbed the floating garden, and its flower-filled parks, streets and hillsides are best appreciated in all their glory in springtime. More intrepid travellers will enjoy traversing the calderas and levadas (ancient irrigation channels) lined with lush greenery. For a less strenuous day, you can wander the Babylonian botanical gardens and picturesque streets of Funchal, where window boxes spill over and front gardens are packed with a riot of colour.

4. A relaxed atmosphere in Madrid

Whether your spring vacation to Madrid is to view the Cathedral or one of the art galleries in peace, or simply to avoid crowds in the main shopping spots, you’ll appreciate the quieter atmosphere. It’s a good time to get tickets to catch a game, either Real Madrid or Atlético, as their season (la Liga) is just coming to a head. The weather is usually pleasant enough to sit outside in the evenings and, to top it all off, it’s cherry blossom season. The best place to see the spectacle, Quinta de los Molinos, is one of Madrid’s best kept secrets.

5. Springtime celebrations in Malta

Malta is a popular destination in the summer, but there’s lots to recommend a spring vacation here. If you’re staying in St Julian’s or Sliema, it is the ideal travel time as the party season has not yet started. In springtime a visit the silent city of Mdina will give you fantastic views over Malta’s lush lowlands. Island-hop over to Gozo for a day to experience the wayward beauty of the flower-sprinkled cliffs there. There are also a whole host of events during a spring vacation, like the cycling Tour ta’ Malta, the opera festival and the colourful and glorious Easter celebrations, which see city streets turn into carnivals.

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