Spring is finally here! It’s so nice to walk outside and immediately feel that change in the air we’ve all been waiting for. We had such a mild winter here in Central Europe and it looks like the nice weather is continuing into April. It’s already in the low 20s with higher temps coming next week, perfect for a European getaway.
Where to Go in April: The Best of Europe in the Spring
While it’s tempting to head to the warmer weather on the Med, I feel like it’s a bit of a wasted trip as the water will be absolutely freezing. So while the crisp, cool air and few tourists would be nice, taking advantage of the beautiful water would be out of the question.
Instead I suggest a city break where the spring flowers are in bloom and life is returning after the winter slumber.
As a current Budapest resident I can assure you springtime in Budapest is lovely. Gallert Hill is covered with blooming trees, the cafe terraces are starting to open up and the crisp air is a nice contrast while relaxing in one of the famous hot thermal baths. I suspect the forecast of sunny and 24 degrees is a little unusual for the first week of April but I’m not complaining.
In my recent apartment tour post I’ve shared a bunch of my favourite spots in Budapest’s VII and VIII districts which should give you a good starting point for your visit.
Amsterdam is brilliant at any time of the year but I like to visit in April to take a day trip to Keukenhof, the famous tulip festival. If you go in late April you can also stick around for King’s Day (formerly Queen’s Day), a crazy day of celebrations which is basically one huge street party taking place on the 27th April in 2016.
Unfortunately the chance of good weather in Amsterdam in April is low but you can use those grey days to visit the city’s renowned museums like the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum or something more unusual like the Houseboat Museum. iAmsterdam is a great resource for planning a trip.
If you prefer to spend your holidays in Eastern Europe, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the Baltic States. The entire region is fascinating and more beautiful than you might imagine. Riga in particular is well known for having one of the largest Art Nouveau neighbourhoods in the world.
You won’t need many days to visit tiny Riga and you probably won’t feel the need to head outside of the Old Town but you can find plenty to do, spending your days cafe hopping through the cobblestone streets and hitting up the cool bars during the night.
While Riga may not be my personal favourite of the Baltic capitals it’s much loved by others and I can’t deny it’s a cool place for a weekend break, especially if you’re on a budget.
I suggest reading Ferreting Out The Fun for more detailed info on visiting Riga.
Paris is famous for a lot of things but on top of my list of things to do is picnicking in the gorgeous parks in spring. I always loved visiting little bakeries and cheese shops to put together a baguette sandwich then finding a spot enjoy it with a glass of wine. The city spends millions each year on gardening which isn’t surprising when you consider the massive tulip flower beds in the Luxembourg Gardens and Parc Monceau or the more discreet sculpted gardens like the Palais Royal or Jardin des Tuileries.
Paris is hands down my favourite spring destination.
Naples has a reputation for being a dodgy city and in some ways I’m sure that’s a fair assessment but that’s part of what makes it a compelling place to visit. It’s interesting to see what Italian life can be like for those outside of the wealthy north and how it’s almost like being in a completely different country.
Don’t forget to indulge in the Neapolitan specialties like pizza margharita, buffalo mozzarella, pasta e fagioli (pasta with beans), pasta e piselli (pasta with peas), sartu di riso and parmigiana di melanzane (eggplant pie).
Consider day trips to Sorrento, Capri and Pompeii if you have time.
April is a nice time to go to Naples as it can get stinking hot in the summer and it’s probably a little too quiet in winter.
If it’s warmth you’re looking for, southern Spain and in particular Andalusia has some of the warmest spring weather in Europe though not too hot for travelling. There are plenty of places where you could base yourself, Seville, Cordoba, Granada plus you could visit Gibraltar and even take a quick trip over to Morocco.
If you’re planning a trip to Seville in April, consider visiting during Seville Feria de Abril (Seville Fair) a week long fair/party. This year it takes place from the 12th to 17th April.
I’m currently following some travel bloggers on Snapchat who are in Athens and visiting all the historic sites. I’m surprised to see there are plenty of other tourists around this early in the season. I’d say if you want a relatively stress free visit and at least a chance of seeing the sights without mass tour groups blocking the views then you might want to visit sooner rather than later in the season.
Cheap Flights from London & Berlin
It’s not too late to book trips to any of these destinations. Some example flights (one-way) for you:
London to Budapest: £19 – 9th April – Wizz Air
London to Eindhoven (for Amsterdam): £20 – 12th April – Ryanair
London to Riga: £15 – 18th April – Wizz Air
London to Paris: £45 – 20th April – Eurostar
London to Naples: £15 – 12th April – Ryanair
London to Malaga: £25 – 12th April – Ryanair
Berlin to Athens: €30 – 13th April – Ryanair
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