We all know that holiday prices can be lower and tourist hotspots are typically less crowded during the spring months but a European break at this time of year is also an opportunity to experience your favourite destination in a different way.
With more locals around and fewer holidaymakers you’re likely to gain a more authentic insight into the place you’re visiting. Plus the warm but not scorching temperatures are perfect for exploring; tackling steep stairwells or dusty cobbled lanes is far more enjoyable in a cooler climate. And if you do encounter an April shower there’s usually a museum, café or cathedral not too far away to make sheltering from the rain all part of the fun.
It’s a great time of year to pick up new flavours if you are looking for some culinary inspiration. Many of the popular open-air European markets open during spring and you might find local, seasonal fruit and vegetables that you just wouldn’t be able to source during the summer.
Europe is arguably at its most beautiful at this time of year. Flowers begin to bloom peppering the continent’s landmark cities, towns and landscapes with a colour that can be absent during more arid months. Plus, the light during this time of year is simply stunning, perfect for capturing those special holiday moments on camera.
To get the most out of European travel during March, April and May, we’ve rounded up our five favourite places to experience spring.
Spring is to Paris what sunshine is to beaches – the two need to be experienced together to get the best out of your visit. Spring flowers soften the city’s dramatic grey landscape to create the romanticism that the French capital is renowned for.
Unlike other parts of Europe, spring in Paris is a popular time for visitors so it will be busy, adding to the cosmopolitan vibe of the French capital. As the city dusts away the remnants of winter, café culture begins to open for business, and what better way to experience the city than to watch the world go by under the spring sunlight, accompanied by the obligatory cup of black French coffee.
Just outside Paris a trip to the Gardens of Versailles will be a memorable experience, particularly in spring when a stunning selection of flora is in bloom. Fashionistas will of course recognise the gardens from Dior’s Secret Garden advertising campaigns.
It’s not difficult to sell Tuscany as a holiday destination at any time of year. The region offers stunning countryside, rich culture, beautiful beaches and an abundance of delicious local produce that contributes to a mouthwatering cuisine.
However many lovers of Tuscany claim May to be one of the best times to visit. The trademark Tuscan hills look their most green, and you might catch red poppies or cherry trees in bloom. You can bask in temperatures of the early twenties – balmy but bearable for all the sightseeing that can be enjoyed in this area.
Seasonal produce is bountiful at this time of year too. Broad beans, a staple of Tuscan cuisine, are in abundance and tomatoes are particularly tasty. Plus the first melons, watermelons, peaches, plums and apricots are ready for eating.
For camping holidays in Tuscany, we have a great range of accommodation options in campsites near Florence, Cecina, Bibbona and San Vincenzo.
France’s Dordogne region has been a firm favourite with holidaymakers for many years and as a result of its enduring popularity can become quite congested during July and August. A trip in May can be just as wonderful and occasionally just as warm, but without the crowds.
In spring the Dordogne’s spectacular scenery becomes even more magical adorned by blooming fruit orchards, while the lilacs and wisteria add extra charm. Plus, the fascinating medieval towns, such as Sarlat or Domme, are better experienced without jostling with tourists through winding alleyways.
Frequently described as France’s gastronomical heart, the Dordogne is a wonderful destination for food lovers and what better time to sample regional specialities than spring, when seasonal goodies are plentiful. Strawberry season begins in May, so you’ll find crates of the fruit everywhere and will not be able to resist consuming vast amounts, accompanied with a chilled glass of Bergerac white wine, naturally.
Camping in the Dordogne is a wonderful way to experience the region.
Springtime in Holland is all about the tulips. From March, each year, the barren fields surrounding Amsterdam gradually transform into a carpet of colour, as tulips begin to bloom. Peak time for catching the tulips in their full glory is mid April, depending on the weather.
Definitely one for the travel bucket list is the stunning Keukenhof Gardens, which opens from 20 March until 18 May. Described as the most beautiful spring garden in the world, here you’ll find more than 7 million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths in 32 hectares of space. You can also take a boat trip or a bike ride from Keukenhof to enjoy the bulb fields surrounding the park.
Camping Duinrell is based just 25 minutes drive from Keukenhof Gardens and is also conveniently located for exploring Amsterdam. You can stay at Duinrell from 25 March.