Unless you’re very allergic to pollen and/or are a vampire who hates sunshine, spring in Europe is absolutely amazing. It’s truly the perfect combination of things: moderate weather, off-season prices, and dramatically fewer tourists. While there’s really no wrong way to do spring in Europe, there are some definite highlights that any traveler would be crazy to skip out on. Strap on a pair of sandals and head to any of these top-notch cities!
It simply wouldn’t be a list about European destinations in spring without mentioning Paris. Witnessing the cherry blossoms bloom is one of the most spectacular and romantic things, and even if you’re not a “big city” type person, Paris in the spring is definitely not to be missed.
There are so many reasons why Paris is the “classic” choice come springtime. Maybe it’s the outdoor cafe culture coming back to life, or perhaps it’s the many parks and city balconies overflowing with fresh flowers, but whatever it is, the charm in this region is just overwhelming. From picnicking in front of the Eiffel Tower to wandering the city’s many impressive gardens, there are so many ways to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery.
A definite highlight of spring in Paris is the Nuit des Musee, or Night of Museums, when museums, art galleries, and cultural centers throughout the city open their doors for one night every May so visitors can experience some of the best art in the world in a very different way: totally free and very late at night. Time to channel your inner Ben Stiller!
Read next: 5 Alternative Things to Do in Paris
There is more to Seville than just bullfighting and flamenco: there is having an excuse to dress like a bullfighter or flamenco dancer. That’s what all visitors really want, no? If you’re curious about what this whole dressing like a matador thing means, head to Seville during its famous Feria de Abril, or spring fair. Every April, the city transforms into a lively fiesta for a week, where locals and visitors alike sport traditional Andalucian clothes, gorge themselves on out-of-this-world food, dance their hearts out, and enjoy the city’s many parades.
Beyond the Feria, visitors to this region are sure to enjoy all that the capital of Andalucia has to offer: soaking up the fresh orange trees blooming all over the city, making tapas crawls through the city’s diverse barrios (neighborhoods), relaxing on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, or touring the Alcazar, known as Europe’s oldest continually-used royal palace, without crowds of tourists swinging selfie sticks. Que bueno!
For countries like the US, Labor Day is just an excuse to barbecue and celebrate the end of summer (and get the last out of your white clothes). For the majority of the rest of the world, especially countries with fascist histories, Labor Day is a BIG deal, and celebrated in May, not September. If you’re looking to experience thousands of people coming together under the name of liberty, freedom, and schnitzel, Vienna is where it’s at.
Most Austrians refer to Labor Day as Maifeiertag, or May Day, and have huge festivals to honor their laborers. Vienna’s is by far the most impressive, and experiencing the entire city being shut down and cloaked in red is one of the best ways to soak up the city’s culture and pride. If you have some extra time on your hands in between the parades and wine, take a mini-excursion out to any of the surrounding towns to see how farmers and others in the countryside celebrate their heritage. The perfect excuse to don a dirndl/lederhosen, enjoy some traditional food and dances, and make a few cow friends, and the views of the Austrian countryside aren’t half bad either!
When most people think of Munich, they picture a rowdy crowd slinging huge steins of beer surrounded by some of the best foliage you can find in central Europe. BUT…what if I told you that you didn’t have to wait until next fall to experience the glory that is Oktoberfest (and Munich in general)?
Munich is amazing year-round, but a true highlight is catching the city during its annual Frühlingsfestival, or spring festival, every April/May. It’s basically the same thing as Oktoberfest but way less people. When you’re not going stein for stein with your neighboring table, be sure to spend some time experiencing Munich as it comes back to life in the spring. You’ll definitely find many a local relaxing along the Isar River or in the massive Englischer Garten, and if you play your cards right, they might even invite you to share a kebab or wurst with them. Prost!
Prague, Czech Republic
In keeping with the theme of doing autumn-related things in the spring, Halloween lovers can rejoice! Walpurgis Night, or Witches’ Night, is a big deal in Prague. Based on the tradition of burning the effigy of Morana (the goddess of winter) to represent being done with winter, the people of Prague seriously do it up for this spring holiday. From huge bonfires and roasting sausages to dancing and throwing back a few beers, this celebration has it all…including “uglifying” young girls to enter them in the Little Witch competition, which I suppose is much better than pressuring them to look like supermodels!
It’s easy to find parties all over the region – just look for the flames. Why wait for the groundhog to see his shadow when you just can burn a witch instead to get warm weather?
Read next: What to Do in Prague