Spring Suggestions
February 8th, 2011

This stormier than usual winter seems to have kept people cooped up inside, and I bet a lot of people are itching to get out and about. I know I am! The abundance of natural growth, warmer temperatures and lengthening daylight hours make the spring a great time to travel. In addition, it’s not yet high tourist season, which means travelers aren’t battling the over-booked hotel rooms, crowded streets and raised prices on virtually everything. If you’re looking for a few suggestions of where to head this spring, or maybe even need that last bit of encouragement to getaway over the next few months, check out the ideas below

Amsterdam – From the US (especially the East Coast) it’s easy to fly right into the city, and flight prices have been decreasing over the last few months. Spring is tulip time in the Netherlands, and the magnificent color of these blooms is tough to duplicate elsewhere. Weather you choose to wander on your own, take a day tour (there are specific tulip viewing tours in the spring), or sit back and relax on a river cruise, book early – this is one of the most popular times of year to visit.

The Swiss Riviera – Like the Netherlands, the Swiss Riveria is marked by rainbows of tulips during the spring. It’s a beautiful time to walk alongside the water amongst the flowers with clear view of the alps on a sunny day. It’s also an optimal season to travel the Riviera by train – either for a day trip or over the course of several days. The towns of Montreaux, Vevey and Mont Pelerrin are popular destinations by rail. You can learn more about Switzerland by rail on these sites: http://su.pr/2epHwj , http://su.pr/2nogCe

Costa Rica – With a decidedly rainy season from June through November or December (depending on how bad the season is), the spring is definitely an ideal time to head to this lush Central American hotspot. Probably the country’s top selling feature is it’s biodiversity. Surfers and those looking for R&R can head to it’s beach- laden coasts, Guanacaste being one of the most sought after. It’s colorful rain forests rich with wildlife provide adventure and ecotourism opportunities, including hiking, canopy tours and birding. The Arenal Volcano area, where visitors will find also find thermal hot springs, provides perhaps the most distinctive experiences. Travelers will often combine several of these regions for a trip that offers both relaxation and adventure.

Southern Spain – If you’ve had a long, snowy winter and spring isn’t warming up quite as quickly as you’d hoped, a trip to the towns in Southern Spain can cure that longing for sunny skies and warmer weather. In Seville, for instance, the average high temperature in April hovers around 24 degrees Celsius, or 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s definitely known to get warmer. Though this isn’t necessarily beach weather (which is OK, since Seville isn’t on a beach), it is certainly nicer than many people have back home, plus you get to soak in the scenery, food and ambiance that defines the southern regions of Spain. One important note is that Spain is a very Catholic country, so if you plan to travel in the spring, you may want to avoid Easter week. Restaurants and attractions could be closed during this time and hotel rooms could be tough to come by.

Botswana and/or Victoria Falls – I know this probably isn’t popping up in many “spring vacation suggestion” lists, but I have personally been to both of these destinations in the spring, and they’re extraordinary. The rainy season runs from November to early April, so depending on when you go you could get some rain, but it’s certainly not at it’s worse and shouldn’t be enough to interrupt your trip. Victoria Falls, in fact, thrives on the rain from this season. According to my guides, they’ve seen a number of the falls virtually disappear in dry season. It would be very frustrating, I imagine, to travel across multiple continents, to some of the most sought-after waterfalls in the world, to find them virtually non-existent. As for Botswana, the rainy season fills the water sources and draw in the animals seeking them. Recent rainfall also means lush vegetation and an abundance of food for the grazing animals, allowing more viewing opportunities. If you’re planning to go in the spring, head there some time between mid-April and end of May, before the high tourist season hits. You’ll have less competition for accommodation and tours and will avoid the often stifling heat of Botswana’s summer.

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