As spring comes into view, we’re looking forward to welcoming longer daylight hours, warmer weather and more opportunities for adventure. During these months, you can explore some of the world’s best architectural gems without the crowds and admire flowers like wisteria and bougainvillea as they start to line the streets in Greece and Italy. Or head further afield to Japan to celebrate its sublime Sakura season, where cherry blossom is scattered like a blanket of pink confetti around its zen gardens and parks. Spring is also a great time for wildlife viewing in the likes of Sri Lanka where Whales can be easily spotted off the coast of Mirissa. So, before the season truly kicks off, we’ve collected 5 of our top favourite trips to inspire your next adventure this spring.
1. Watch whales breach off the coast of Sri Lanka
On our Wild Sri Lanka adventure, you’ll have the opportunity to head out on an optional whale-watching tour off the coast of Mirissa on day nine. And wildlife experts say, to enhance your chances of viewing Blue, Humpback, Bryde’s and Sperm whales breaching in the wild, you should visit Sri Lanka’s shores during March. Why? Because there’s an annual migration of Sperm and Blue whales between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, that passes by the coast of Sri Lanka and is hailed as one of the greatest cetacean migratory routes in the world!
Our group has an optional activity plotted here in Mirissa for a reason, as it’s arguably one of the best places to go whale-watching in the country. This is thanks to its geographical position. It’s a prime spot because this is where the continental shelf is at its narrowest, with water depths reaching only 1km a few kilometres offshore.
There are plenty of tours available from here, but rest assured your expert local guide will help you to arrange a tour with the most eco-friendly and safety-conscious provider. Whale-watching aside, this action-packed trip is perfect to book at the beginning of spring, in March, before the monsoon season starts as you’ll experience optimum weather conditions throughout Sri Lanka and have more opportunities for spotting wildlife like Leopards in Yala National Park, where hotter temperatures attract them to the watering holes.
2. Spot birds and butterflies walking through Sicily
On our enchanting Coastal Walks of Western Sicily trip, you’ll get to explore the picture-perfect coves in the Zingaro Natural Reserve, take a hike up to the summit of Monte Monaco and enjoy a wander through the narrow, medieval streets of Trapani. And what better time to plan a trip to Sicily’s turquoise shores than in springtime? Not only do you dodge the crowds travelling in shoulder months, but you also get to see flashes of marigolds, wild iris, yellow broom and red poppies on the roadside as you walk.
The mild climate and sunny days this time of year also bring sightings of early spring butterfly species such as Green Hairstreak, Little and Holly Blues, Clouded Yellow and Southern Festoon. Keen birdwatchers may also get the chance to see Sardinian warblers, Woodlarks, Stonechat and Hoopoes.
3. Experience Zion National Park, USA at its best
If you’re looking to cast your eyes on some of the most other-worldly landscapes the USA has to offer, our National Park Walk trip won’t disappoint. And surprisingly, one of the best times to explore this area is during the spring months. Discovering spectacular hiking trails and rock formations in Bryce, Arches and the Grand Canyon National Parks, you’ll also get to head out on a backroads tour led by a Navajo guide in the Monument Valley. The trip also gives you the opportunity to experience driving down a section of the iconic Route 66 before ending the adventure by taking in the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip. But one of the key highlights of this trip, when you head out in springtime, is trekking through Zion National Park.
After the winter months, the snowmelt creates a rush of spring runoff, so waterfalls begin to appear – and Zion is one of the best places to find them. Keep a look out for the trio of waterfalls at the Upper Emerald Pools, the Lower Emerald Pools, and the iconic waterfall at the Temple of Sinewava.
Aside from waterfalls, you’ll see cottony-soft tufts on Zion’s cottonwood trees, and wildflowers including desert marigolds, deep red Indian paintbrush and pink and yellow western Columbine, against Zion’s red rock backdrop. The Zion’s lush hanging gardens that adorn Weeping Rock, are particularly colourful this time of year too. Spring also brings new wildlife to the area such as deer fawns, wild turkey chicks, and baby bighorn sheep. Temperature-wise, it’s the perfect time of year to trek through the national parks that might otherwise be too hot to trek in the summer.
4. Tuck into the freshest seafood in Portugal
Portugal is blessed with an average of around 300 days of sunshine per year, so the springtime months are a fantastic time to visit. During these shoulder months, its coastlines and natural reserves are blanketed with wildflowers, while the mild, sunny days from March onwards offer the perfect conditions for cycling.
On our Porto to Lisbon Atlantic Ride, you’ll enjoy spending time in the historical centres of Porto and Lisbon, the enchanting “City of Seven Hills”, but the majority of your route will be taking on scenic rides through the towering dunes of the São Jacinto Natural Reserve and along the Silver Coast towards the lively seaside town of Furadouro and the fortified medieval village of Óbidos. Here, you can try freshly caught seafood and dishes like “Polvo à Lagareiro” octopus and potatoes, “Dourada Grelhada”, sea bream with rice or “Sapateira Recheada”, stuffed crab shell, made with shallots, boiled eggs and paprika. But what’s so special about having seafood in spring? The Portuguese people have a saying that seafood is at its freshest in the months that have an “r” in them, so it’s a great time to take advantage in March and April.
5. Celebrate Sakura season in Japan
No list of “must-see spring” destinations is complete without mentioning Japan. Arguably one of the most magical times to visit Japan is during the Sakura season. This fleeting pocket of time where cherry blossom trees come into full bloom is treasured so much by the locals, there are numerous sites that track the weather forecasts, estimating which areas and cities in Japan will be the most vibrant and when. And on our Ancient and Modern Japan trip, you’ll get to see some of the country’s most iconic sites in bloom including, the Golden Temple of Kinkakuji and Nijo castle in Kyoto, Nara Park and the Senso-ji Temple in fast-paced Tokyo.
With free days in Kyoto and Tokyo, you can truly soak up the beauty of spring in Japan by getting involved in one of the local’s favourite past-times “Hanami”. Translating to “flower viewing”, Hanami involves the traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of the cherry blossom by arranging picnics under the ethereal pink buds.
The go-to convenient snack we’d recommend is bento boxes filled with Futomaki and Chirashi sushi. In some of the larger parks, you’ll find stalls serving matcha drinks and Sakura-themed delicacies such as cherry blossom rice balls, madeleines, Sakura mochi and Hanami Dango. If you want to experience the beauty of this season in Japan this year, hurry, as there are only limited spaces left on our trip!
6. Admire the monuments of ancient Greece without the crowds
If you travel to Greece in the months of spring, you’ll see beautiful patchworks of poppies and anemones in pink, with yellow daises, gladioli and iris flowers scattered in between on your walks. But another plus of travelling in the shoulder spring months is that you’ll benefit from witnessing some of the country’s most significant archaeological sites without the swarms of crowds you’d expect in the peak of summer. And with average temperatures hovering around 22 degrees in April, spring is the perfect season to explore comfortably on foot.
On our Highlights of Ancient Greece, you get to see big hitters like the Acropolis, the theatre of Epidaurus, the ancient city of Mycenae and Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games in 776 B.C. And travelling in spring with fewer crowds allows for better photo opportunities while also giving you the chance to really soak it in at your own pace. If you’re thinking about exploring Greece’s best archaeological ruins don’t wait to secure your trip as we’ve only got limited spaces available for this adventure on our spring departures.
7. See Semana Santa processions in Andalucia
Spring is undoubtedly one of the best times to visit the sunny region of Andalucia. In Sierra de Grazalema, the first national park in Andalucia, you’ll find Perennial Buckler-mustard flowers high in its rock crevices, while on the ground, you’ll see bugloss flowers blooming in beautiful shades of blue and pink. The cities also come alive with spectacular floral displays in Seville’s elegant Maria Luisa Park and the UNESCO-protected Real Alcázar gardens. But one of the best reasons to head during spring is to witness the colourful Semana Santa processions in Seville.
On our Walking in Andalucia trip, you get the best of both worlds, trekking in Sierra de Grazalema, El Chorro Gorge and completing a circuit around the impressive Peñon while also getting to spend time in the magical city of Seville. From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, the locals energetically welcome Semana Santa (Holy Week) with a number of colourful processions through their narrow streets. If you’re keen to visit during this time, you may see members of religious brotherhoods parade intricate gold effigies of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, accompanied by brass bands, trust us, it’s a spectacle that’s worth seeing. There are only a couple of spaces left on our spring departure during Semana Santa, so be sure to book your place before it fills up!
If this has inspired you to start planning your next spring getaway, take a look at our last-minute departures.