The cold of winter is on the wane and the days are growing longer. The sun is higher and brighter in the sky and there’s an unmistakable warmth in the air. As milder weather returns to Europe and the landscape shifts into something softer, it’s time to explore all that comes with spring. From flowers and blooms to festivals, parks, and gardens, here’s where to pause and enjoy this most fleeting of seasons.
A Continent in Bloom
Blossoms and petals come hand-in-hand with the season and this time of year sees the whole of Europe covered in a confetti of bloom. In England, bluebells in woodlands — a sure sign of spring across the nation — can be spotted almost anywhere, but the grounds of Norfolk’s Blickling Hall are routinely commended for their annual crop of wildflowers. If yellow daffodils are more your thing, Wales — which boasts the sunny perennial as its national bloom — is the obvious place to go, with Bodnant Gardens, Powis Castle, and Cardiff’s Dyffryn Gardens all being sure bets for flower spotters. Moving onto the continent, visitors can take the Flower Route between the Dutch towns of Haarlem and Naaldwijk to see field after field and kilometre after kilometre of tulips.
In Italy, early spring sees flames of poppies burst onto the hills of Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia region and in the south of the country, wild orchids dot the wider reaches of Gargano National Park. In Switzerland and Austria, hikers and walkers can see star-like edelweiss spangled across the rocks and boulders of the high Alps. Back on the streets of Europe, early spring brings soft shades of cherry blossoms to the cities of Bonn, Berlin, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Edinburgh, and Bristol.
Spring Festivities and Open Spaces
If you’re after something a bit more structured, the continent’s springtime festivals offer just the right change of pace. Keeping with the flower theme, Amsterdam’s Tulip Festival runs from 23 March until mid-May. During this time, visitors from around the globe can take tours of the nation’s many flower fields — which are usually closed to the general public — or visit Keukenhof Tulip Gardens near Amsterdam. For something more akin to a true party, see in the season in the north German port city of Hamburg — and, more specifically — at its annual spring festival known as the Hamburg DOM. As an event, the Hamburg DOM occurs three times a year and in 2023, spring festivities begin on 23 March when funfair-style rides, food, and attractions come to the city’s central St. Pauli district.
For a more low-key experience, the many parks and open spaces of Europe’s cities make the perfect place to enjoy the season, all while taking in the continent’s softening landscape. Though a relatively compact space, Brussels is dotted with multiple parks and open spaces — each of which offer something different as the weather warms. From themed walks and concerts to guided tours and even a pony-ride or two, the city’s parks — including the regal Parc du Cinquantenaire and the sprawling Bois de la Cambre — offer something for everyone. Further afield, Berlin’s Tiergarten features plenty of walking trails and cycling paths plus a museum and — for those balmier spring days — even a beer garden. From Dublin to Paris, Amsterdam to London and beyond, Europe’s green spaces are the place to see in the season at your own pace.
Winter is on the wane and spring has arrived. Whether you want to spend these longer, warmer days spotting flowers and blossoms or taking in the fresh air in any of the continent’s impressive outdoor spaces, springtime in Europe is here to be enjoyed.