Whilst the world continues to battle with the COVID-19 pandemic this year, you might now be turning your thoughts to Spring 2021, using the time you have to reignite your wanderlust and make a plan for heading somewhere different.
But where are the best places to go in Spring 2021?
It’s a time of rebirth, when the world emerges from winter and nature comes alive again. It features March, the start of the year in ancient calendars; April, a time of bloom and new beginnings, from wildflowers in the valleys of Jordan to cherry blossom season in Japan; and May, perhaps the most optimistic in the calendar, as we see summer on the horizon.
It seems fitting that it might also be the time solo travellers, around the world, finally realise their dreams and begin to re-emerge as adventurers once again.
If that sounds like you, then let’s go. Here are the best places to go in Spring 2021 (COVID-19 aside).
Average temperature: 18°C / 64°F
Cultural attraction: The cherry blossom bloom, known as mankai
Though hard to accurately predict, Japan is known by many in spring for its magnificent display of cherry blossom – a true bucket list spectacle to admire. It tends to hit full bloom (mankai) in early April in Tokyo.
The capital is pleasant around this time of year, balmy and experiencing mid-temperatures, and with plenty of riverside promenades, parks and ancient architecture to explore.
Unsurprisingly, it’s around this time that you’ll find festivals gathering pace and Tokyo’s residents gathering for cherry blossom viewings, making the most of Mother Nature at her finest. Grab a blanket, set-up a picnic under the trees. There are over 1,000 of them – and you’ll find celebrations in full swing in Ueno Park.
If that’s not your thing though, take a local’s approach – head to the quieter Asukayama Park for peace, quiet and natural beauty. You might also hear about the trees’ ‘sakura snow’: a splendid display as the trees shed their blossom over the reflection of a large pond in Inokashira Park.
If this one’s for you, join us on a magical adventure in Japan in 2021.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Average temperature: 7º / 45º
Cultural attraction: A sea of Tulips
There’s much to do in this city of contrasts – but, at this time of year, the most impressive spectacle is the sea of blooming tulips at the Keukenhof Gardens. Breathe in its floral scent and wonder at this multicoloured beauty.
The weather here is also milder in spring, making it the perfect stomping ground for exploring its artisan cafes, independent shops and all of its many museums, from the Anne Frank house to the Van Gogh Museum. Better still, hire a bicycle to get around – this city is built for locals that commute mainly on their bikes, and there’s no better way to explore its canal than on a set of two wheels.
Join us in 2021 for our Amsterdam escape here.
Arenal, Costa Rica
Average temperature: 24°C/76°F
Cultural attraction: Rainforest vibes
If it’s a real adventure you’re after next spring, go to Costa Rica. This Central American country is packed with culture, wildlife and some of nature’s finest displays. With two coasts that open out onto both the Pacific and Caribbean oceans, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to an idyllic beach day.
Further inland, though, is where the real fun begins. Here you’ll find the Arenal volcano, surrounded by thick, humid rainforest, and a pleasant shock to the senses. Take an exhilarating zip-wire ride over the canopy and gawp in awe at the acres of green rainforest below you.
The weather in Costa Rica can vary in the spring too, with May technically sitting smack bang in between the dry and rain seasons. Technically. However, it can be both, at random, at this time of year – which is great: dry enough for a hot day on the coast and wet enough to marvel at the rainforest in all its luscious splendour.
Be sure to check out the hanging bridges of Mistico Park and to visit La Fortuna for evening cocktails, in one of the many secluded hot springs. We’ll toast to that.
If Costa Rica is the one for you in spring 2021, join our adventure.
Average temperature: 14ºC / 57ºF
Cultural attraction: Las Fallas, Valencia
Spain can conjure images of touristy beaches or city breaks to Barcelona at the first instance, but this country of contrasts has so much more to offer. It’s diverse culture varies wildly, from region to region, and its landscape changes depending on where you go. It’s a country full of surprises.
For example, in the Rioja region, you’ll wander vineyards and marvel at a centuries old history in winemaking. In Granada, you’ll discover Spain’s Moorish and Gipsy history. Seville? A city break offering the chance to explore the country’s Almohad and Gothic architecture. And we’ve not even mentioned the stunning beaches down in Malaga yet, or the country’s famous ‘bull-running’ street in the Basque Country’s town of Pamplona.
However, one of the biggest events in spring is the ‘Las Fallas’ festival in Valencia. Taking place in March (1st -19th), it blends art and political satire for a show packed with irony and wit.
Plan your 2021 adventure to Spain here.
Dana Nature Reserve, Jordan
Average temperature: 17°C / 62°F
Cultural attraction: A hike like no other
Sitting along the face of the Great Rift Valley, the Dana Biosphere Reserve sounds wild and rugged just by name – let alone hearing of its pink-tinted valleys, scorching sand dunes, deep Wadis and cool mountaintops. Some 320km of remote biodiversity lies in wait near Jordan’s border with Israel and, if you go in April, its hiking trails are just re-opening after winter, the harsh heat of the summer still at bay.
In spring, a blanket of wild flowers coats the reserve in beautiful colour, from rockrose to orchard blossom and sweet tulips. Then there are its olive trees and the region’s many natural springs coming to life. This is the spot to experience a springtime hike like no other, camp under an unpolluted Milky Way and sip hot mint tea in Bedouin villages.
Plan your 2021 spring adventure to Jordan.
Cape Town, South Africa
Average temperature: 18°C / 64°F
Cultural attraction: Abseiling Table Mountain
The port city of Cape Town, at this this time of year, features clear, crisp days with temperatures resting comfortably in the mid-20°Cs – akin to a pleasant summer’s day, if you like, if you hail from the UK. Famed for its sweeping coastal landscapes on South Africa’s southwest coast, it means that spring is a great time to experience this city’s beautiful beaches without the tourist masses (Dec – March) but still get a whopping tan.
Towering over the the Cape Peninsula you’ll find Table Mountain too, named so for its iconic flat-topped peak. It draws in adventurers the world over, who bravely abseil down to the civilisation below.
There’s also Boulders Beach, where you can swim alongside Africa’s only penguin colony – bizarre but unforgettable. You’ll find unbeatable waves at Long Beach too, if surfing is your thing.
And, of course, spring also features South Africa’s answer to Burning Man (27 April–3 May), set in the desert-like landscape of Tankwa Karoo National Park. Around five hours by car, inland from Cape Town, expect to find a pop-up city of art, costume, music and performance, ranging from mutant vehicles, art installations, theme camps and open fires by night.
Plan your 2021 South African adventure here.