Spring is a time for jubilation the world over. The icy grip of winter relaxes its hold on the land, and tiny green shoots begin to peek their heads above a brittle verge of withered grass. As the sunlight strengthens, the flowering trees slowly unfurl their delicate buds and migratory birds flock home to perch on the warm, sunlit rooflines. As the land begins to hum and thrive with fresh colors and the honeybees get down to their all-important task, the fresh sun illuminates even the most dour countenance. There’s something about the excitement of spring that slips under your skin somehow, bends the corners of your mouth upwards, and brings to mind the gentler works of William Blake. To discover the springtime of bards and poets, painters and artisans—there’s no place like Europe.
Early April: Easter Celebrations in Southern Europe
European Easter traditions are old as the hills, castles, and vineyards that celebrate them. Easter dates vary each year, and in 2023, Easter Sunday falls on April 9. While that’s a little early for Country Walkers trips to northern Europe, Easter 2023 is a perfect time to experience the vibrant springtime in Sicily. In our Italy: Sicily Guided Tour, an early April departure brings you to the slopes of Mount Etna, with high pastures of pink clover, yellow mustard, blue flax, and sharp bursts of blood-red poppies—as gaudy and vibrant as any Sicilian donkey cart. Each Sicilian town has its own ancient traditions for Holy Week—often involving costumed parades and pageants amid apple and peach trees blooming against the silvery stand of olive groves. Here, you’ll find your spirits buoyed upwards by the scent of almond and orange blossoms set against the backdrop of the Ionian Sea.
You can also experience Easter 2023 in Europe on our Spain: Balearic Islands, Mallorca & Deia Guided Tour, where local Mallorcan families spend Easter Sunday enjoying family picnics along the island’s spectacular coastline. Or, you might join our Portugal: Sintra & Rota Vicentina Self-Guided Tour where you can experience an authentic folar—a traditional Portuguese easter bread that incorporates boiled eggs gently nestled in the dough for a pastry reminiscent of a traditional Easter basket.
Late April and May: Springtime Colors of the Mediterranean
With mild temperatures and flowers in full bloom, there’s nothing quite like the shores of the Mediterranean in springtime. Villages tend to be more lively at this time of year, the fresh scent of blooming macchia fills the air and many villages hold local spring festivals. When you join our Italy: Pompeii, Capri & the Amalfi Coast Guided Tour you’ll stroll along paths lined with wild blooming orchids and vibrant yellow tufts of Scotch broom. Or, explore orchards of flowering almonds when you join our Italy: Matera, Otranto & the Puglia Coast Guided Tour, as the waters of the Adriatic Sea crash in startling blue waves against the white limestone shores. While Greece is a popular summer destination for European vacationers, a springtime trip to Greece: Athens, Delphi & Meteora Guided Tour will reveal the vibrant spring colors of the Grecian isles before they’ve dried out in the summer heat. When you visit in the spring, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the burst of spring colors among the whitewashed villages and experience the natural pace of island life. And while May is perhaps a bit early in the year to swim in the waters of the Mediterranean, fewer crowds and flowering purple bougainvillea make this the perfect time to join our Italy: Genoa & the Cinque Terre Self-Guided Tour.
Late May and June: From the Emerald Isle to Apple Orchards
In June, the northern coast of France is abuzz with activity, as Norman apple orchards burst into bloom. As you stroll the historic beaches on our France: Normandy & Brittany Guided Tour, you’ll also spot blooming gorse bushes, primrose, and early purple orchids. Heading across the English Channel, there’s simply no better time to walk through the British Isles than springtime—where the fresh green moors are dotted with pure white lambs gamboling in the heather. You might choose to experience the incredible green of the Irish coast in the spring when you join our Ireland: Cork, Killarney & Dingle Guided Tour. Across the Irish Sea, you’ll find England gardens are a point of pride and meticulous care in the charming sandstone villages of the Cotswolds. Stroll past thatch-roofed houses and hung with climbing roses—and stop for a pint and a ploughman’s hearthside lunch in a quaint local pub when you join our England: Bath & the Cotswolds Guided Tour.
Whichever springtime adventure you choose, you’ll find the air clean and fresh, and the spirits of the locals bright and cheerful after a long dull winter.