Shorter queues, cherry blossom and plenty of excellent weather: the shoulder season of springtime is one of the best times to visit Europe in the entire year. Here’s your ultimate guide to the very best spring destinations in Europe you should consider for your next getaway, including insider tips and what to know before you go!
But first, if you’re still uhm-ing and ah-ing as to whether or not you should book that spring break, some of the best reasons to visit Europe in the spring include escaping to historic attractions without the crowd and marvelling at the tulips at their very best.
Other highlights of an early year trip include snapping pictures of all the spring blooms and seeing the sights that make the continent such a worthwhile destination for yourself. You should also note that a visit to Europe during the spring also often means cheaper rates (both transport and accommodation) than if you were to opt during the summer months…
#1 Bergamo, Italy
Pretty all year round, Bergamo is best enjoyed in the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) thanks to intense heat during the summer months. Head to this pretty little Italian city in the late spring to ensure that all attractions will be open and that you can still avoid the crowds that inevitably flock here later in the year. And with one of the largest international airports in Italy just half an hour from the city centre, Bergamo makes for the perfect city break without breaking the bank!
Read more: Our one week in Northern Italy Travel Guide.
#2 Hallstatt, Austria
The fairytale town of Hallstatt in Austria is almost too pretty to be real. Almost! Picture perfect at any time of the year, the Austrian city really comes to life during springtime when the cherry blossom is blooming and a glass mirror lake reflects the entire scene back at you. Camera at the ready!
#3 Amsterdam, Netherlands
There’s only one word for Amsterdam in Spring, and that word is ‘tulips‘. While Amsterdam is always worth a visit, this is especially so in and around April when the iconic flowers are in full bloom. Head to Amsterdam in the springtime to visit the city with fewer tourists around and to enjoy the beauty of canals surrounded by greenery.
What’s more, if you give yourself just one reason to visit Amsterdam during the spring time, make it the opportunity to visit the
Read more: 10 Reasons to Visit Amsterdam.
#4 Stockholm, Sweden
After a chilly winter, Spring in Sweden is a welcome break from the harsh weather and colder months. In order to maximise the amount of spring greenery you’ll see in the Swedish capital, make sure to visit from April onwards. Highlights of visiting Stockholm include the Bergius Botanical Gardens, cycling paths, and hiking trails up and out of the city.
#5 London, UK
Bustling and busy, although there is never any guarantee of good weather when it comes to the UK, spring is a great time to visit England’s capital, London. Mews streets are always worth a wander down when the wisteria comes out, and spring blossom is abundant in the city’s many expansive parks (Regent’s Park and Hyde Park to name but a few). Head to England’s capital in the spring for fewer queues and generally cheaper prices when it comes to accommodation costs.
#6 Paros, Greece
Greek islands are always worth a visit and Paros is no exception. Filled with history, great food and a horizon filled with the endless expanse of the ocean, this Greek island is best visited earlier in the year, and before the intense heat of the summer months. Head to Paros in late spring to experience a sea warm enough to swim in and plenty of pretty greenery against the backdrop of a Greek paradise.
#7 Dusseldorf, Germany
Daffodil fields, spring blossom and oodles of green space: Düsseldorf makes for the perfect weekend getaway for those wishing to experience nature in a city environment. There are cherry blossom trees everywhere you look, and the ‘longest bar in the world’ (the nickname for the old town of the German city owing to its abundance of pubs and bars in a small area) in the heart of the city. Head to Kaiserswerth to see the ruins of a castle and to one of Duesseldorf’s many museums if you want to soak up a little culture.
#8 Seville, Spain
Sun, sun, sun, and more sun. If you want to visit one of the very best Spring destinations in Europe and be guaranteed some good weather, then you need to look no further than the Spanish city of Seville. Filled with Roman ruins, pretty architecture, and plenty of Spanish cuisine, you can’t go wrong by heading to the vibrant city ASAP. And in April, the Feria de Abril is held; a spring festival that’s perfect for those wishing to experience Spanish culture on a deeper level.
#9 Lausanne, Switzerland
Located on the fringes of Lac Lemond, Lausanne is a pretty Swiss city best known for its involvement in the Winter Olympics. Head to the centre of the city, and you’ll find what is purportedly the most beautiful example of Gothic architecture in Switzerland in the form of Lausanne Cathedral, plenty of unique museums, and stunning views onto the snow-capped Alps that dominate the area.
Read more: Most Beautiful Places in Switzerland.
#10 Riga, Latvia
If you’re looking for museums, plenty of Art Nouveau architecture and all the great food, then you should consider a visit to the Latvian capital of Riga. Situated on the fringes of the Baltic Sea, highlights of Riga include a car-free old town, lots of beautiful old buildings, and a medieval city centre.
#11 Dublin, Ireland
If you’re looking for a beautiful and cultural city break, then head to Dublin this springtime. After bad weather throughout much of the winter, there’s finally the chance for some sunny rays in the Irish capital. Added to the sunny weather, you’ll find a city bustling with activity. After all, there’s St Patrick’s day to be celebrated, a Music festival by the name of ‘MusicTown’ to attend, and plenty of other cultural festivals to enjoy (think literary, dance, and flower events).
Read more: How to spend a long weekend in Dublin
#12 Prague, Czech Republic
Nicknamed the City of a Hundred Spires thanks to its breathtakingly beautiful architecture, the city of Prague is best-known for its world-famous Astronomical clock and wealth of medieval architecture. While in Prague, be sure not to miss the 15th-century Pedestrian Charles Bridge and the imposing Prague Castle.
Otherwise, you should note that Prague in the late spring is an absolute delight, with the many parks and public squares dotted across the city bursting into bloom and all the greenery providing a perfect backdrop for snapping some gorgeous imagery.
And while Prague can get pretty busy during the summer months, there’s no denying that you’ll get your best share of the weather, prices, and fewer crowds should you opt to visit the Czechia capital during the spring instead!
Read more: The ultimate guide to vegan Prague
#13 Bucharest, Romania
As one of the most underrated European capitals, Bucharest often misses out on much of the press it deserves in favour of nearby capital cities of Budapest and Sofia. If you want to head a little further off the beaten tourist track this spring, then consider a visit to the Bucharest capital. Highlights of Bucharest in the spring include all of the new year’s greenery, walks through the city’s expansive parks, and the chance for some warm(ish) weather.
Read more: Best Things to do in Bucharest, Romania.
#14 Porto, Portugal
The pretty seaside city of Porto enjoys moderate temperatures all year ’round, meaning that it makes for a perfect weekend escape throughout all seasons. However, with spring in Porto, comes warmer and drier weather than in the winter, as well as fewer tourists than in the summer.
Spring also announces the arrival of longer days, meaning that terraces across the city are open and ready to welcome those wishing to enjoy a beverage outside. Aside from the porto wine that Porto is so famous for, highlights of the Northern Portuguese city include sampling the local delicacies (Pastel de natas are simply delicious), marvelling at the tiling found throughout the city, and soaking up some truly beautiful architecture.
Read more: How to visit the prettiest library in Porto
#15 Pavia, Italy
The stunning university town of Pavia is located just south of Milan and is well worth a visit. Filled with cobbled lanes, plenty of pizzerias and a Duomo Da Vinci himself had a hand in designing, you can’t go wrong by dedicating a couple of days to explore every inch and little alleyway of this ancient settlement. After all, one of the very best times to visit Pavia is in the spring when the blossom is out and birdsong fills the air.
#16 Bonn, Germany
Searching for spring blossom? Perhaps you want to snap some pretty photos, or maybe you merely want to see what all the hype is about when it comes to searching for cherry blossom trees in Europe. Whatever the reason, you must head to the charming German city of Bonn.
Best known for its Beethoven House (the composer was born here), the west of Rhine city even boasts avenues planted with cherry blossom trees (particularly in the Nordstadt neighbourhood). Nearby, there are plenty of other attractions worth visiting, including the famed hiking route of the Drachenfels castles.
#17 Paris, France
Visit the city of love in the spring and you can expect to find cherry blossom and other flowering plants around nearly every corner. Of all the best spring destinations in Europe on this list Paris may well be my favourite (and not just because I’ve actually lived there!) While ‘Paris is always a good idea’ no matter what the season, there’s no denying that it’s a lot easier to visit the city’s best attractions with fewer tourists around…
#18 Copenhagen, Denmark
The city of Copenhagen, capital of Denmark, has long been famous thanks to its Little Mermaid Statue, stunning architecture and colourful portside views. Head to Copenhagen during the spring in order to experience flea markets, food stalls, and more cherry blossom than you could ever wish for.
#19 Gdansk, Poland
Full of history and by the sea, the Northern Polish town of Gdansk is filled with museums, 17th-century lookalike Dutch-style architecture and all the pierogis you could ever ask for. Head to Gdansk if you’re a history buff, or simply because you’re searching for a hidden gem of a city that’s easy to reach from central Europe. Plus, fancy seeing more castles this year? Well, you’ve certainly come to the right place! Malbork Castle is located just an hour’s train ride from Gdansk and is the largest castle in the entire world (by land area!)
Read more: Malbork Castle Easy Day Trip from Gdansk.
#20 Granada, Spain
Though the Spanish city of Granada can get particularly hot during the summer months, spring provides the perfect opportunity to experience Granada at the best temperatures. While in Granada, be sure not to miss the medieval architecture and numerous castles and fortresses.
#21 Antwerp, Belgium
Situated to the North of Belgium, a small country sandwiched between France, Germany, and the Netherlands, Antwerp is also known as Antwerpen or Anvers depending on which language you’re speaking. The busy and bustling port city is well worth a springtime adventure, not least because of its wealth of stunning architecture or ancient buildings.
Read more: Hidden gems and secret spots in Antwerp
Where to find the best of Cherry Blossom in Europe
Pretty to visit any time of the year (just be sure to pack an umbrella as it rains a lot in the Emerald Isle- the country isn’t known for its green hills for nothing!), Dublin is perhaps best seen in the spring time when blossoms are to be found in abundance. However, truth be told, the prettiest display of cherry blossoms and magnolia in the city is to be found at Trinity College Dublin (i.e. the acclaimed university campus).
Pretty in pink, Bonn is a city that dates all the way back to the Roman era, and perhaps even beyond. The typically North Rhine Westphalia city is largely centred around a historic church and sprawling set of pedestrianised streets which are filled with independent shops and many an eatery.
Head to the edge of the city and you’ll soon find arcades of cherry blossom trees, perfect for photo opportunities! Just be sure to visit earlier in the day if you want the place to yourself. The place fills up fast and the best photos are those taken without the crowds!
Of course, no mention of the best cherry blossoms in Europe could miss off the UK capital city of London. Come springtime, after a largely rain-filled winter (there’s a reason British people are known for talking about the weather!), the city truly comes to life. Head to South Kensington and Chelsea for cherry blossom and magnolia set against the backdrop of postcard perfect houses.
If there’s one place you should visit in the spring, make it the French capital city. Throughout Paris, you’ll soon discover a multitude of cherry blossom spots, including around the Eiffel Tower and in various other parks. If you truly want a magical and memorable cherry blossom day trip from Paris, be sure to head to Sceaux in springtime!
Where to find the best of Wisteria in Europe
If you opt to visit just one city to enjoy the wisteria season, make it London. Wisteria in Europe typically flowers towards the end of April and at the beginning of May (depending on the exact location, this varies), making it the perfect flower to spot if you’re going to miss out on the cherry blossoms. For a complete rundown of the purple bloom, check out my guide to discovering wisteria in London.
Pretty in purple, Paris boasts a surprising number of wisteria spots, dotted across the city. However, when it comes to best of spring in Europe, some particular favourites of mine include wandering around Montmartre, as well as heading to Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole on Île de la Cité. To discover more of this wonderful flower, check out my guide to discovering wisteria in Paris.
Things to know before visiting Europe in the spring
If you’re headed to Europe in March, April, or May, then congratulations: you’ve picked a great time to visit! While the weather is much better than that of the winter, prices are generally cheaper and crowds are fewer than in the summer. Check here for all of my best Europe travel tips!
Though there is certainly going to be less rain than during the coldest months of the year, showers are still fairly common across much of Europe and so you’ll want to bring a good umbrella or light rain jacket. Be sure to also bring a great camera along as there are plenty of great photo opportunities to be had around almost every corner. Check here for my best travel photography gear.
What to pack for Europe in Spring
Last but not least, if you’re wondering what to pack for your spring sojourn to Europe, then this is what you need to read! While the South of Europe tends to be much warmer than the North, I recommend packing a capsule wardrobe with plenty of layers so that you’ll be warm (or indeed cool) enough wherever you opt to visit, and especially if you’re planning to see multiple destinations during your trip.
A warm winter jacket like this one is absolutely essential as rain is pretty common throughout the region. Otherwise, packing a mixture of chic dresses (I love the ones from this brand) with warm tights and cute boots to walk around in like these ones will serve you well. You’ll look well put together during the day and be able to dress up your outfits for evenings!
Finally, a universal travel adapter like this one is a must for keeping all of your electronics charged on the go. You’ll particularly want to make sure your camera is charged at all times as I’ve been caught out by this before (and sorely regretted it!)