Seriously, is there any place better to celebrate Easter than Rome? Even if you’re not religious, witnessing Roman culture in the weeks leading up to, during, or even after Holy Week is something to behold. It’s not everyday you get to be one of two million people being blessed by the Pope, right?
Aside from hanging with the Easter Bunny, spring is potentially the best time to visit. You are sure to get all of the highlights of a traditional summer in Rome without all of the negatives: huge crowds, everything costing an arm and a leg, and overwhelming heat. AKA: summer in Rome without it actually being summer. Score!
Be sure to spend some time strolling the Via Appia sans tour groups, marvelling at the flowers cascading down the Spanish Steps, and enjoying authentic Roman artichokes, which are only grown from February until May, making all others imposters! When all else fails, there’s always gelato, gelato, and more gelato.
There’s no denying that Budapest is awesome year-round. A bit more off-the-beaten-path than most major European cities but still quite bustling, Budapest has something for everyone. But, by far the top reason to visit in spring is the Budapesti Tavarszi Fesztival, or their Spring Festival, which is two weeks of some of the best music in the world. Including orchestras, operas, plays, jazz bands, and dance troupes, this festival is a reflection of the city’s roots in top-notch art and music. Get on your dancing shoes and head to Budapest!
Beyond the festival, be sure to check out any of the city’s many thermal spring-fed baths, which have been an integral part of Budapest’s social life since Roman times. After all, the best way to enjoy spring is by lounging in some of the purest water in Europe surrounded by beautiful 19th century architecture!
If relaxing isn’t your thing (who are you?), then head to any of the 200 caves surrounding Budapest that were carved out by the thermal water under the city. After a day of R&R or cave spelunking, refresh in any of the famous romkocsma, or “ruin pubs”, which are abandoned buildings that have been transformed into chic and bohemian bars and pubs and become very busy come springtime. La vie boheme is definitely alive in Budapest!
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
If there is one time of year when Amsterdam really comes to life, it’s springtime. Seems impossible in a city known for its year-round party scene, but trust us, April and May in Amsterdam are unparalleled. Unlike the rest of the continent, April is actually Amsterdam’s dry month, making it extra attractive to visit. Probably sounds surprising, but they must be doing something right…just look at the tulips.
We need to talk more about tulip season because it’s just that good. Did you know that The Netherlands produces over 70% of the world’s commercial flower output? Who would’ve thought this from a tiny, cold country in northern Europe? For the real deal, head to the Flower Strip, which is about an hour outside of Amsterdam. You will be surrounded on all sides by some of the most beautiful flowers in the world, and we promise that you won’t be able to stop yourself from tip-toeing through the tulips.
Beyond flowers, the other big attraction in spring is the King’s Day celebration, or as locals like to describe it, one big party in the streets. Nothing can totally prep a foreigner for the bedlam that is King’s Day, so just put on something orange and join the party. Between the street parties, boat and canal parties, house parties, bar and club parties, coffee shop parties, and literally every other type of party imaginable, you will definitely not be bored.
Anywhere in Italy, Greece, or General Mediterranean Sea Region
Sort of joking, sort of not. If you’re eyeing a warm weather trip but want to wait until the peak of summer to get the real beach experience, think again. Not only is the general Mediterranean area very hot during the summer months, but most cities and coastal towns are absolutely packed with people. I recommend the islands of Capri, Santorini, or Crete during this time period, as they all become massively inundated come June. If sharing your 2’x4’ beach space with screaming tourists and paying triple for a rundown hostel bunk aren’t your thing, head to this area in the spring.