You’re sick of winter and you’re not alone. I think we can all agree that the winter blues have officially set in. And they’ve set in hard.
So much so, that this very moment you’re probably daydreaming of days filled with more sunlight, temperatures that don’t require every possible layer of clothing you own and mornings that don’t involve scraping ice off your car windshield or putting on a god-awful pair of ‘functional but not fashionable’ winter boots.
Well my winter blues friends, as the old saying goes, the best way to get over winter is to plan a spring trip. (Okay, maybe that’s not exactly a saying, but I think that we can all agree that it should be.)
So, to help you get over your winter blues just a little bit quicker, I’ve asked travel experts, photographers and the coolest influencers from around the globe for their favorite places to travel to when the days start to get just a little bit longer and a whole lot warmer.
And from cheaper shoulder season rates and less crowds to fields of blooming flowers and well-manicured vineyards, each of these places has something particularly special to offer you this spring.
Where: Geneva, Switzerland
Recommended by: Lucie Josma, Content Creator and Social Media Manager
Why: From frolicking through flower fields to bike riding from vineyard to vineyard, Geneva, Switzerland has tons of activities for the adventure traveler in you. For those looking for an activity you can eat, check out various chocolate making and fondue cooking classes offered throughout the city. And while Provence is known for its lavender fields, and the Netherlands for its tulips, Geneva and towns throughout Switzerland boast the most dramatic fields of yellow Rapeseed flowers in the spring. With some fields stretching for acres, it’s one of the most dramatic scenes that Mother Nature puts on each spring season.
Pro Tip: The city of Geneva is actually really easy to reach when visiting other major European cities. It’s only a four-hour train ride to either Paris, France or Milan, Italy, and smaller towns such as Annecy and Gruyères can be reached in only two hours. To get the most out of a visit to Geneva I’d highly suggest booking a Eurail train pass allowing you to travel between cities or countries in just mere hours.
Where: Banff National Park
Recommended by: Jade Broadus, Vice President Influencer Marketing at Travel Mindset
Why: Don’t put away your skis or snowboard just yet. Spring is Canada is still a snowy playground, except the temperatures have started to rise, the sun stays out longer and the crowds have all gone away. My favorite getaway is Banff National Park, where with a SkiBig3 pass, you can ski three mountains in three days for cheaper than most one-day tickets in the US. The terrains at Lake Louise and Norquay are some of the most unique in the Rockies, and it’s difficult not to fall in love with the outdoors while inhaling that crisp mountain air. After skiing, you’ll have plenty of time to hike to Johnston Canyon’s waterfalls or soak in the hot springs.
Pro Tip: Split your trip into two hotel stays, with half at the “castle in the Rockies,” Fairmont Banff Springs, with an incredible mineral spa and skating rink at the hotel, and the other days at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, with snow globe views of magical Lake Louise outside your hotel room window. I promise you’ll never want to leave.
Where: Tel Aviv, Israel
Recommended by: Ross Belfer, Founder, Eager Tourist
Why: Life in Tel Aviv is in full bloom once springtime comes around. Outdoor bars, cafes, restaurants and nightclubs are filled with mostly locals, as tourists tend to visit city during peak travel months, creating a more accessible first dive into the city’s creative culture. While the rain subsides as springtime trickles in, there is an intangible sense of excitement in the change of weather that inspires one dramatic energetic change: the mass migration of locals that hit the city’s Mediterranean beaches any chance they can.
Pro Tip: Street food in Tel Aviv rivals just about any self-proclaimed foodie city in the world. While Tel Aviv is home to world-class restaurants, grabbing a sabich (a warm pita filled with fried eggplant, salads and hard-boiled egg), hummus or shakshuka won’t break the bank but still leave you satiated and inspired by the amalgamation of produce, tastes and flavors that are commonplace in Tel Aviv. Just dozy on over to the Carmel or Levinsky Markets come day time and finding a worthy spot to eat will become the least of your life’s worries.
Where: Mexico City, Mexico
Recommended by: Daniel Schwartz, Photographer and Editor at Fathom
Why: The word’s out on Mexico City. If you haven’t yet been, spring is the time to go. The weather is nothing short of idyllic – think California climes, plenty of sunshine, and flowers in full bloom. It’s the perfect setting to explore the city. Stroll the tree-lined esplanades – my favorite are in Colonia Juarez, where third wave coffee shops and indie art galleries border French-inspired mansions and abandoned buildings. Make an outing to Casa Luis Barragán and the Frida Kahlo Museum. And eat a bunch of tacos, or tamales if you wake up early enough.
Pro Tip: Speaking of tacos, Molino El Pujol, Enrique Olvera’s new tortilleria throwback, is a can’t miss. The corn-focused menu underscores the larger landrace corn movement going on in the country, which aims to revive old methods of farming and preparing maiz.
Where: Virginia Beach, USA
Recommended by: Michelle Halpern, Travel Blogger and Founder of Live Like it’s the Weekend
Why: For foodies and families with kids, a must-visit is Virginia Beach, which draws hordes of visitors in spring during their primetime strawberry season. Local farms in the Pungo agricultural district allow visitors to bring home fresh-picked strawberries by the bushel that can then be frozen and used in treats throughout the year. May is the best month to visit for strawberry picking, but schedule your farm visit on a week day if possible, to avoid arriving after the crops have been too over-picked.
Pro Tip: Many cafes and restaurants in Virginia Beach utilize farm fresh ingredients from the Pungo area in menu items throughout the year, but you can’t miss the Iced Pungo Latte during strawberry season from Three Ships Coffee Roasters. They use the berries to sweeten the latte. I was skeptical at first, but trust me – it’s incredible!
Recommended by: Emmett Sparling, Travel Photographer and Videographer
Why: While Indonesia is in the Southern Hemisphere, its most beautiful season is during the Northern Hemisphere’s spring months. From March to July, you will experience much better weather, full green rice terraces (they harvest them at the end of the summer and then they become mud fields), and an influx in tourism. The influx in tourism might sound like a bad thing, however it makes it much more fun to travel as a young person. You will meet awesome, like-minded backpacker types, and likely end up travelling with your newly made friends.
When most people hear Indonesia, they think of Bali. While it has a lot to offer in terms of exploring, Bali also makes a fantastic home base from where you can explore the rest of Indonesia.
Pro Tip: Learn to drive a scooter. Bali can be quite chaotic, which means getting around by car will take significantly longer than a scooter. While a scooter is more dangerous, I would definitely recommend it. If driving a scooter isn’t for you, I would download the GoJek app. It’s like Uber but it’s a motorcycle ride-hailing phone service. Very handy!
Where: Bariloche, Argentina
Recommended by: David Duran, Freelance Travel Writer and Influencer
Why: The extremely winter popular Bariloche, which makes most skier’s bucket list, is not to be missed in the autumn (our spring), as the fall foliage is painting-worthy. While there, experience the stunning views of Lake Nahuel Huapi from atop Cerro Companario, accessible via a chair lift, hike the 6,500 foot Mount Catedral, and tour Circuito Chico, a traditional tour in Bariloche that leads you through the city, into the woods and onto the lakes and mountains that encompass the beautiful city. Also, in the town of Bariloche, there are over 25 craft breweries vying to prove the worthiness of Patagonian beer, something that is very easy to do.
Pro Tip: Since it’s low season and there is no need for advanced reservations, splurge at Cassis Restaurant. Located about 15 minutes outside of town, deep in the forest, is the wife (chef) and husband (manager) team of this exquisite fine dining establishment. The tasting menu, perfectly paired with their wine selections will make for an unforgettable dining experience.
Where: Istanbul, Turkey
Recommended by: Sinan Sökmen, Founder and Managing Director of Istanbul Tour Studio
Why: Spring brings an abundance of color and a burst of life to Istanbul, the centuries-old capital of grand empires. Judas trees start to bloom in April and paint the hilly shores of the Bosphorus in beautiful layers of pink and purple. Millions of colorful tulips spring up throughout the city’s wonderful parks and groves. To top it all, the arrival of spring is celebrated by the famous Hıdırellez festival all around the historical neighborhoods, which means fire jumping, dancing, food and music. This is the only time of the year even I dance on the streets of Istanbul!
Pro Tip: To enjoy the best views of Judas tree season, take a boat along the Bosphorus and cruise up to Rumeli Fortress and the neighborhoods of Aşiyan and Emirgan. Most wanderlust pictures of Istanbul Tulip Festival can be taken at Emirgan Grove, a short walk uphill from the pier. To feel the real heart and soul of Hıdırellez, you should join the Ahırkapı festivities on the night of May 5th. Right before leaving Ahırkapı, do not forget to draw your wishes on a piece of paper and throw it to the sea. Prophet Hidir will make your wishes come true!
Where: Zion National Park
Recommended by: Maren Engh Max Jallifier aka Voyager Guru, Travel Bloggers
Why: Zion National Park’s geography is absolutely jaw-dropping. The fire-red sandstone walls tower thousands of feet above the crystal-clear Virgin River. We fell in love with Zion’s endless opportunities for activities like canyoneering, hiking and biking. We recommend a trip to Zion in the spring due to the moderate temperatures, beautiful fauna and shoulder-season crowds. The shuttle bus runs from April onwards, allowing you to easily move between hikes and activities throughout the six-mile scenic drive.
Pro Tip: Since Zion is only a short 2.5-hour drive from Las Vegas, you can split up your trip by spending a night or two in the plush comfort of a Vegas Hotel. Then head up to the national park to camp at one of the many campgrounds, stay in a local hotel or “glamp” at Under Canvas Zion.
Where: Lisbon, Portugal
Recommended by: Taylor Tippett, Traveling Flight Attendant and Blogger
Why: Lisbon is my favorite place in all of the world. It is truly magical year-round, but it shines the brightest in the spring. It’s early enough in the season to beat all the summer crowds and tourists. Other pros of visiting Lisbon during this time includes the flowers, music festivals and the many free activities and life happening all over the city.
Pro Tip: I didn’t really consider how hilly and inclined Lisbon was. When packing to head to Lisbon, make sure you pack extremely comfortable shoes and I would also suggest not packing in a rolling luggage but a backpack. It wasn’t a pretty sight trying to run uphill dragging a bag behind me.
Where: Beaver Creek, Avon, Colorado
Recommended by: Jessica Kirby, Lifestyle Influencer
Why: You might not think of snow when you think spring, but Beaver Creek will quickly win your heart. Think fluffy snow, blue bird skies and wide-open trails. Get the best snow conditions without freezing cold temperatures. A bit more mellow and less crowded than its neighbor Vail, Beaver Creek has 23 lifts and 150 trails, plenty of terrain to explore.
Pro Tip: Book a guide to explore Beaver Creek’s McCoy Park, a dedicated Nordic trail system. Nestled above the mountain’s ski trails, McCoy Park has stunning views of 3 mountain ranges at 10,000 feet. After, enjoy a beverage and grill your own lunch on the sundeck at Mamie’s.
Where: Stavanger, Norway
Recommended by: Andreas B. Heide, Sailor and Conservationist
Why: The Stavanger region is highly diversified with long sandy beaches, steep fjords and everything in-between. It’s also home to the two famous landmarks, the Kjerag bolt and the Pulpit Rock. Spring is my favorite time – nature shakes off the cold winter and comes back to life. The trails reopen and you will have them mostly to yourself, as its outside the tourist season.
Pro Tip: Rent a car. Drive along the beaches facing the North-Sea and go for a hike in the surroundings of the Fjøløy Lighthouse and enjoy the company of sheep in the green grassy landscape. The short hike to the top of the abandoned coastal fort Fjøløy offers one of the best views of the region. Next, go by car to hike the Pulpit Rock, the Kjerag bolt or both. The hidden gem of the region is the settlement Flørli where you will find the world’s longest wooden stairs. It accessible by ferry-boats, and cheap accommodation is available. The change in weather gives character to the region. On a cloudy day its best to stay alongside the coast. Use the best weather days to explore the mountains and fjords and download the UT.no app to help navigate your hikes across Norway.
Where: Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve Lake Elsinore State Park
Recommended By: Matthew Swartz Amanda Winther aka The Van Project, Photographers and Writers
Why: Southern California is best known for surfing, celebrities and Los Angeles. But did you know that outside the crowded freeways of its urban centers, SoCal hosts one of the most spectacular wildflower experiences in the lower 48? The poppy bloom is a testament to the resilience and vibrancy of the stark desert environment. After soaking up precious moisture during the winter months, billions of wildflowers emerge in the spring, if only for a few days, transforming the barren desert washes and hills into a carpet of neon orange.
Pro Tip: The intensity and length of the bloom (or super-bloom if you’re lucky) depends on multiple factors including winter moisture, sun, and wind. Generally speaking, April is the best time to witness this spectacle of nature, but if you really want to increase your chances of catching the wildflower peak, check in with the Poppy Reserve Wildflower Hotline at 661-724-1180 (it’s updated weekly).
Where: Saõ Miguel Island, Azores
Recommended by: Joanna Riquett, Experience and Travel Designer, Hayo
Why: This is a call for all nature lovers. Saõ Miguel is the biggest island of the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores where you can appreciate endless rolling hills, lush vegetation, deep light contrasts, vivid greens, intense blues, and beautiful wildflowers that clash with the different shades of green that adorn the island.
When the winter is coming to an end, most of the adventure and outdoors activities start picking up. Starting April until June, the migratory routes of most of the cetaceans overlap, including the awe-inspiring Blue Whale which is the largest whale in the world, and it makes an appearance pretty often around the area during these months.
Other activities like relaxing in hot springs, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, kayaking, surfing, diving, birdwatching, amongst others, are the bread and butter of this part of the world. This is paradise for those who enjoy an active getaway, and as if this wasn’t enough, most of the art, cultural, and religious festivities also happen between May and July, so Saõ Miguel Island definitely makes for a well-rounded vacation.
Pro Tip: The town of Furnas in Saõ Miguel is known for its signature tea production, being almost the only tea plantation in Europe producing green and black teas. Though these are plentiful on the island, there’s a unique phenomenon that only occurs in Furnas: the volcanic purple tea. At Chalet de Tia Mercês, curious people come to see when the originally gold-green tea turns purple after being mixed with volcanic spring water. And since you’re already in Furnas, you have to try the Cozido das Furnas, a Portuguese chicken, pork, and vegetable stew cooked in the natural volcanic heat. You have to recharge your energy after all the adventure!
Where: Gal Oya National Park, Sri Lanka
Recommended by: Amanda Ho, Co-Founder and Brand Director of Regenerative Resorts
Why: Trod off-the-beaten path into one of the most remote regions of Sri Lanka that remains beautifully untouched by tourism. Here you will find the eco-chic Gal Oya Lodge, which with nine design bungalows, is the only accommodation in the area spread across 20 acres of private verdant jungle. Embark on one of the most unique wildlife safari experiences in the country with a boat safari across the island’s largest lake and a hike up Monkey Mountain to enjoy Sri Lanka’s rugged landscape in isolation. The driest (and best) seasons in the Northeastern half of Sri Lanka begin in late April and early May so start planning now.
Pro Tip: Take the adventurous (and slower) journey to Gal Oya as the trip cannot be done in a day. After landing in Colombo, opt for the scenic train ride to Kandy where you can reach then Gal Oya in 2.5 hours by car. Your reward? Watching the lush, rolling landscape of Sri Lankan tea country pass by from your window.
Where: Göreme, Cappadocia
Recommended by: Joonas Linkola, Blogger and Photographer
Why: The cold spring air is so fresh and the city of Göreme is quiet, with the exception of the magical sounds from the local mosque, in the spring. The area is famous for its “fairy chimney” rock formations and hot air balloons. Every morning through the year dozens of balloons take off at the same time, and the words are not enough to describe the atmosphere.
Pro Tip: Get to know a local taxi driver, because they can help you find the most beautiful views! Taxi drivers also know where the balloons take off and which locations are best for photographing sunrise. Plus, taking a taxi here is cheap!