Spring forward to one of our many favourite destinations in 2018
While summer is the most popular season for a holiday, the team at Sunvil can also offer you great holidays during the spring months. In many places it is warm enough to go to the beach, nature bursts into bloom with a kaleidoscope of flowers and plants, arid landscapes are transformed with carpets of lush green vegetation attracting hikers, walkers and nature lovers. It is also the perfect time to visit to avoid the busy summer crowds
Our Sunvil travel experts share their personal highlights and recommendations based on their first-hand experience, passion and knowledge as to where to visit for an ideal break next spring.
Easter in Greece. The celebration of Spring.
Orthodox Easter celebrations in Greece are something very special and each island and village celebrate differently due to their centuries-old traditions and rituals. Depending where you are the festivities range from people hurling clay pots from windows and balconies, dyeing eggs red and the baking of Easter brioche “tsoureki”. During this time across the mainland and the islands, the peal of church bells, the parades and fireworks not only celebrate this most sacred religious time of year – but heralds the arrival of spring. Easter Sunday next year is on April 8th.
Our Greece expert Jackie who lived in Tolon for 40 years gives us one of her recommendations during the Easter holiday celebrations in Greece.
“Take part in the passing around of a candle at midnight on the Saturday and then enjoy a feast of slow-cooked spit roast lamb or goat on Easter Sunday, accompanied by quantities of village wine. This is Greece at its very best and a visit at this time is highly recommended”
The Peloponnese, Greece
The southern Peloponnese in April is truly one of the best times of the year to see one of the best displays of spring flowers anywhere in the world. The vast array of colourful blooms that carpet the region provide a vibrant backdrop to the many ancient cultural sites. Hiking or walking through the mountains at this time of year is spectacular with the meadows and hillsides a patchwork of wildflowers and the air heavy with the scent of the arrival of spring.
Our Greece expert Mark who regularly visits the Peloponnese, recommends the Taygetos mountains and contiguous Viros Gorge.
“Its ideal for those looking for a gentle ramble, a proper hike, or mountain biking. You can combine walks with visits to archaeological sites including the extraordinary Diros caves, Sparta and ancient Messini”
Troodos Mountains, Cyprus
The Mediterranean island of Cyprus may be well known for its long hot summers and dry climate but the countryside and especially the mountains burst into life with the arrival of spring. The Troodos Mountains are a real treat for nature lovers and walkers at this time of year. With the bloom of pink and white flowers from the almond trees, invigorating scent of pine and the display of jewel-like colours of the flowers across the region, transforming the landscape.
Our Cyprus expert Stella who knows Cyprus and the Troodos mountains better than anyone else we know, shares her thoughts on why a visit here in spring is a must.
“This is the real Cyprus, away from the beaches. Visitors will get to meet local residents, sample fresh, local produce and learn about the island’s history and culture. A spring visit will suit anyone seeking peace and quiet in naturally beautiful surroundings. There are pretty villages galore, wineries and Byzantine churches and monasteries – 10 of which are Unesco world heritage listed.”
Sao Miguel, The Azores
The Azores are an excellent destination for a host of outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking and a prime time for spotting whales and dolphins, especially at this time of year. This cluster of nine lush-green islands which burst into colourful life in spring have become one of the fastest-growing whale watching destinations in the world. Due to the archipelago’s volcanic origin, deep waters and the Gulf stream means that venturing out into the Atlantic to spot over 20 species of whale and dolphin, ensures an enthralling experience.
Dave our Azores & Portugal travel expert is a regular visitor to the islands.
“In April and May, fin whales, blue and sei whales pass through the Azores on their annual migration. Minke and humpbacks are also sometimes observed, as well as four resident dolphin species. For these reasons, locals consider spring the optimum whale-watching time.”
The Galapagos Islands is a volcanic archipelago surrounding the Equator in the Pacific ocean and is home to some of the earth’s most rare and unique flora and fauna. The islands have an abundance of wildlife all-year round and there is no real ‘off-season’ but in spring you will find that the waters are warmer and calmer making it ideal for snorkelling.
Also this time of year sees the end of the egg hatching season of the Giant Tortoises and the eggs of the green turtles begin to hatch.
Our Latin America expert Will recommends a visit to this unique group of islands in the Pacific.
“I especially like this time of the year as the rains start to subside and the arid volcanic slopes come back to life as wildflowers start to bloom. Wildlife is abundant and active.”
The region of Alentejo is one of Portugal’s best kept secrets. Due to its position below the Tejo river it is incredibly fertile which enables the production of the region’s famous ‘cork’ and where the harvest takes place in May. Portugal exports more cork than any country in the world due to its exceptional quality. The climate and soil also help produce some of the country’s best wines – an amazing 45% of Portugal’s wine is produced here.
Our Portugal expert Angela loves spring in Alentejo.
“In contrast to summer, when the landscape can be parched, spring sees a profusion of wild flowers carpeting the landscape. Sheep and cows graze in groves of twisted olives and boulder-strewn pastures. Almond orchards shimmer with pink blossoms and storks guard messy nests atop of telegraph poles and on the clifftops of the Vicente coast.”
Spring in Swedish Lapland is a wonderful time of year when the sun and light return after the long dark days of winter. As the days get longer the landscape begins to transform with a vivacity of ‘reborn’ colour. In the mountains in April and May there is still plenty of snow, giving you the perfect opportunity to take part in a host of activities including the popular reindeer sledding.
Sunvil’s in-house Sweden specialist, Michelle loves this spellbinding region.
“Springtime in Lapland brings with it longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures, yet there’s still the chance to witness Mother Nature’s greatest display, the northern lights. Our programme stretches from the ski resort of Bjorkliden on the Norwegian border across to the Bothnian Bay near Lulea. Stay at the new, year-round Icehotel 365 or an owner-managed lodge such as Pine Tree Lodge in Kangos – exclusive to Sunvil in the UK.”
The Svalbard Islands are located in the Arctic Ocean between Norway and the North Pole. In late April the sun shines for 24 hours a day and is the ideal time to take part in a host of winter activities including snowmobile tours, dog-sled tours and even wilderness dinners with the untouched arctic wilderness as your backdrop.
Rachel is our Scandinavian expert and she explains why Svalbard is one of her top spring destinations.
“I travel to Svalbard a number of times every year, and I always get an excited tingling inside. It’s the destination I feel most privileged to have visited and explored, The “light winter” is magical, gifting visitors the quintessential Scandinavian scene of winter perfection – blue skies and snow-covered mountains.”
Ronda in Andalucia is one of Spain’s most beautiful cities, sitting above a deep ravine and surrounded by green-forested valleys. At this time of year dining outside in the many restaurants is very popular especially around the Puente Nuevo, above the awe-inspiring gorge. The arrival of spring is also the perfect time of year for hiking (or a leisurely walk) around the Serranta de Ronda mountains.
Yasmin, is our resident expert on the Andalucia region and explains why it is her favourite destination at this time of year.
“Perfect temperatures – warm but way below the 40 degrees heat of the summer months – none of the tourist crowds of the peak season, less traffic, a lovely atmosphere and gorgeous light in the evenings.”
Venice really is like no other place on earth – it is known for being one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world and it’s true, especially in spring when the city awakens from the dark and grey days of winter. The stunning buildings come alive in the spring sunshine and the displays of spring flowers, especially the wisteria, adorn the balconies and courtyards across the city. The weather is warm without the humidity of summer and it’s more pleasant to stroll around the squares and narrow side streets without the heaving crowds that arrive in summer.
Our Italy travel expert Rosanna couldn’t agree more.
“Springtime in Venice is the best time to beat the crowds. It celebrates its patron saint St Mark on 25 April with a traditional boat race – a gondolier regatta. It is also the festival of the Blooming Rose during which local practice dictates that women receive a bocolo (Rosebud) from their loved one to symbolise their everlasting love.”
Have we inspired you? Whether you’re looking for a short break, a week or something longer, a romantic getaway or a holiday for all the family, check out our website for a range of holiday ideas and inspiration. We have destinations and holiday experiences for every month of the year!
We are delighted to announce that, on 22nd September, at a ceremony in Jordan to celebrate The Travel Awards 2017, Sunvil was awarded The Sunday Times’ Travel Editor’s Award.