While many travel destinations tend to bloom in midsummer, there are quite a few that become particularly hot or busy during their warmest months while being in their prime come spring.
So for a holiday that makes the most of off-peak accommodation rates and fewer tourists, we’ve lined up five destinations that are at their most glorious before summer arrives.
Death Valley National Park, California
The floor of Death Valley coming into bloom with Desert gold Wildflowers, California
Death Valley is known as one of the hottest and driest places on earth, making a visit here in the height of summer an intense experience. Spring on the other hand is much more manageable for those who wither in the heat, with milder but still sunny weather. And – if you’re lucky – you’ll be privy to the Valley’s wildflower display, when a carpet of spectacular colour covers the desert floor and attracts butterflies, bees and hummingbirds (this floral spectacle usually peaks in late March to Early April). Check into K7 B&B for easy access to Death Valley National Park.
Traditionally dressed revellers during the Seville Fair
Spring in Seville not only brings sunshine and pleasant temperatures but also several Easter celebrations. Semana Santa (Holy Week) runs from early to mid-April and is one of Spain’s biggest festivals, involving a procession of flamboyant floats. The following week, another grand event – the Seville Fair – kicks off. Hundreds of tents are set up and locals and tourists gather to feast and admire the parade of traditional horses, carriages and people dressed in traditional Sevillian attire. Stay at Hotel Gravina 51, a restored 18th-century manor house in the centre of Seville featuring suites with brocade wallpaper and a beautiful courtyard.
Cherry blossom (sakura) turns Tokyo pale pink come spring
Tokyo in summer can be stifling for those who don’t fare well with heat and humidity. So if this sounds like you, why not plan a visit in spring for cooler weather, cherry blossom and plenty of cultural delights? If you time your trip to coincide with the sakura (cherry blossom) blooming, you’ll see the whole city turn pale pink with petals drifting through the air to surreal effect. You’ll also chance upon a wide selection of festivals and events, including Hana Matsuri (Buddha’s birthday), the Daruma Fair at the temple of Jindai-ji, and clam-digging season, a surprisingly popular activity for families in Japan. Stay in the popular Shinjuku area at Tadaima Japan Shinjuku Ryokan, with a traditional Japanese-style bath for a relaxing soak at the end of a day spent sightseeing.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Enjoy a typical Tel Aviv sharing platter al fresco in spring
Tel Aviv is enjoyable at any time of year but a spring visit is probably the best. It means that the weather in this beautiful beach city is already ripe for sunbathing and swimming weather but you’ll find fewer tourists and gentler temperatures that make wandering the city’s streets totally do-able. By day, explore the wealth of galleries, boutiques and phenomenal cafés (we defy you to find a bad plate of hummus) along the likes of Rothschild Boulevard, a long and leafy street perfect for people-watching. And head to the ancient port neighbourhood of Jaffa for classy cocktails in cobbled streets in the evening. Stay in a studio suite at Rena’s House, an accommodation located in the heart of the happening Florentin area.
Head to the Jardins Majorelles for sensationally colourful flowers and spring sunshine
With hectic souks and high temperatures, midsummer in Marrakech is mainly for those that thrive in the heat. Spring, however, is lovely and mild for all. The Jardins Majorelles will warm your winter-weary soul – an eye-popping collection of exotic plants covering twelve acres. This botanical treasure was created by French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s, and was later owned by French fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent. But this is only the tip of the iceberg as Marrakech has many more gardens to explore, not to mention resplendent royal palaces, ruins and of course the vibrant main square, Jemaa el-Fnaa – stay right in the heart of the action at Riad Jemaa El Fna & Spa.