Traveling in springtime has a long list of perks: the days are longer giving you more time to visit a new destination, blooming flowers add a burst of color to your photos, and it might even be warm enough to leave winter jackets at home. From Scandinavia to Sarajevo, European destinations offer something special this time of year. We asked some travel industry experts for tips because - whether it's your 1st or your 50th time in Europe - it never hurts to get a little insider advice.
1. Amsterdam (the Netherlands)
Experience the international melting post that is "Dutch" cuisine... With everything from Indonesian to Italian, and Thai to Tapas, Amsterdam's food scene has really taken off in the past few years. Take Eating Amsterdam's new evening food tour through de Pijp to get a real taste of it!
-- Vicky Hampton, Amsterdam Foodie
2. Astigarraga (Spain)
In Spring, I eagerly look forward to an annual trip to the cider houses in the Basque Country to drink cider straight from the barrels and eat the typical cider-house meal of steak, cod omelette, walnuts and quince. The town of Astigarraga is the most famous for its cider houses, but you can find great sidrerias throughout the region.
-- Christine M., Christine in Spain
3. Berlin (Germany)
I love the fact that everywhere you go, as soon as there's a peek of sunshine, people begin to brush the cobwebs off their summer clothes and plan the season of spring celebrations. In Berlin, that celebration is called The Carnival of Cultures or Karneval der Kulturen. Everybody makes an effort, grabs a beer and a sausage, and is garbed in fancy dress costume or themed attire.
-- Victoria Ade-Genschow, The British Berliner
4. Bonn (Germany)
Don't miss breakfast at First Flush Tea Room in Bonn. It's the best you can get - especially on Sunday, when they offer the Sonntags- and Feiertagsfrühstück which is not just tasty, but also served with attention to detail. Plus, order a teapot with one of their huge range of teas. Enjoy!
-- Jana, Miss Bonne Bonne
5. Brussels (Belgium)
If you plan on visiting Belgium in spring, be sure to pack an umbrella. It won't be that cold, but it will probably rain at least once during your visit.
-- Sofie Couwenbergh, Wonderful Wanderings
6. Bucharest (Romania)
Spring is the season to check out the farmers' markets in Bucharest. Go to the famous Obor market in Eastern Bucharest and get fresh lettuce, green onions, stevia, spinach, radishes, and nettles to treat yourself after the long winter. Some of this local produce can be found as early as February. For me, buying them is always a sign spring has either come or is just around the corner. As Romanians like to say, green, leafy vegetables help you "change your blood" after the lazy winter.
-- Corina Chirileasa, Romania-Insider.com
7. Budapest (Hungary)
My birthday is in March so traditionally - before I had 2 kids - I always took a spring trip. Among my favorite birthday trips was a very long train ride from Prague to Budapest. The baths were glorious. Actually a spa trip is a great idea for spring. Whether you choose the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey, Hungary, wherever, go get all the winter crud off.
-- Elizabeth Haas, Expats.cz
8. Dublin (Ireland)
For something a little bit different try the Peculiar Afternoon Tea in the Atrium of the Westin Hotel on Westmoreland St (http://www.theatriumlounge.ie). If you are up for traveling a short distance from the city center, take the Red Line Luas to the Smithfield stop and wander up to Manor St in Stonybatter (Dublin 7) to L Mulligans The Grocers (http://lmulligangrocer.com/), for good food and a great craft beer and whiskey menu. Just around the corner at the top of Smithfield Square you will find the Cobblestone Bar, a great venue for authentic traditional Irish music, a million miles away (in attitude) from the tourist traps of Temple Bar. The best advice is to walk: Dublin is a small city and the rise in the craft beer, coffee and slow food movement means there is a great new bar, cafe or restaurant around almost every corner.
-- Victoria Owens, A Home Made By Committee
9. Glasgow (United Kingdom)
Springtime in Scotland is a great time to get outdoors. There are tons of cafes and pubs that have outdoor seating, which is the perfect way to enjoy those occasional sunny days. I personally love the North Star Café in Glasgow.
-- Lani Seelinger, freelance journalist
10. Helsinki (Finland)
Spring in Helsinki is still cold, wet and with a chance of snow. Days are best spent inside with friends. Kallio is a neighborhood just a 5-minute tram or metro ride away from the center with many independent cafés, restaurants, bars and public saunas. It's a great area and well known to locals. In the evening move into one of the many cosy bars and enjoy some of the cheapest beer in town. Our recommendation is Fafas followed by a drink in Roskapankki (translated to Trash bank!). With Helsinki being an expensive city, we always hear complaints about the price of drinks. A beer usually costs between €5 and €7; in Kallio it can be as low as €3!
-- Tom, Exactly Opposite
11. Lesvos (Greece)
My favorite place to travel in spring is definitely Greece. I love Greek food and the Greek islands but hate crowds. If this sounds like you, head to the Island of Lesvos and enjoy fresh seafood, the best olive oil on the planet, friendly people, and a place still unspoiled by tourism.
-- Jay Advisor, Travel Avengers
12. Lisse (the Netherlands)
Spring is the perfect time to visit the tulip fields in the Netherlands. The tulip season runs from the end of March till the middle of May, but the best time to view the fields is mid-April. One of my favorite places is the Keukenhof in Lisse.
-- Jan Meeuwesen, Netherlands Tourism
13. London (United Kingdom)
Take a food tour! Eating London is launching an evening tour in Soho this spring, to complement popular daytime food tours in the East End. And what could be more fun and delicious than eating your way around a city?!
-- Nicole Monaco, Eating London Tours
14. Luxembourg City (Luxembourg)
I recommend strolling around Luxembourg City in spring. You can pass by the royal palace and admire the Grund views over the Abbaye de Neumunster. Stop off at The Chocolate House for a hot chocolate, Cathy Goedert's for a coffee, Lea Linster for a macaroon, Brasserie Guillaume for oysters, or local establishments for a glass of crémant - there's something for everyone.
-- Geoff Thompson, The Luxembourg Chronicle
15. Madrid (Spain)
Madrid is full of beautiful parks that are best experienced in spring. Wrap up and enjoy a row on the boating lake in the Retiro followed by chocolate con churros in one of the park cafes, or stroll around the rural Casa de Campo with its meadows full of spring flowers and views across to the snow-sprinkled sierra.
-- Fiona Govan, Editor of The Local Spain
16. Oslo (Norway)
We love going to Ekebergparken to get the amazing view of Oslo and Oslo Fjord; we love the combination of calmness, beautiful nature and modern art. Walking in Gamlebyen is always a good idea; you will find many cozy, beautiful Norwegian houses sprinkled over the hills. Grønlandtorg Frukt&Grønt is where we buy all our vegetable and fruit - always fresh and cheap! When we want to eat good pizza - we always go to Mamma Pizza (http://mammapizza.no/): the best Italian pizza in Oslo served by nice people. Don't forget to taste their amazing real Italian espresso. If you are fan of delicious, spicy Thai food, you will fall in love with Rice Bowl and Risbolle Thai Café: cheap but an absolutely delicious food experience.
-- Tereza, Tereza in Oslo
17. Paris (France)
The coolest thing about Paris in the spring is people-watching during lunch on a terrasse anywhere in St. Michel or St. Germain. You could also have a picnic on the Seine or in any of the city's magnificent gardens. There's nothing like spring in Paris!
-- Darcie Young, actress and film producer, Culture House Films
18. Prague (Czech Republic)
Spring wouldn't be spring, and Prague wouldn't be Prague, without the annual world-famous Prague Spring International Music Festival (http://www.festival.cz/en). From May 12 to June 3, morning, evening and night, top choirs, soloists, orchestras, and musicians wow audiences in genres from Baroque to jazz to classical. Tip: witness future stars getting their first big breaks here (top prizes total nearly CZK 800,000) at the world finals for the best young clarinet and flute players.
-- Mary Matz, Opus Osm
19. Riga (Latvia)
Ala is the only place in Riga's Old Town where you can get authentic Latvian food: oven roasted garlic bread, or potato pancakes -- all accompanied by an exquisite selection of Latvian beers. The problem is that the decor, the dancing, and the music are so folkish and traditional that you are sadly more likely to meet fellow tourists there than real Latvians. Still, it's a magical, Medieval sort of place -- like stepping back in time!
-- Janis Gutmanis, food critic at the Baltic Times
20. Rome (Italy)
Visiting Rome during Holy week or Easter week is always a treat. Not just because we have a very simpatico Pope, but also because we know how to celebrate! Tender baby lamb is traditional Easter fare, paired with a bottle of Merlot, ensures your feast will be a religious experience! Instead of Easter baskets, we Roman's do giant chocolate eggs that crack open to reveal a lovely gift. Chocolate paired with Graham's Port Tawny 20 Years Age is a real sweet treat! Travelers beware: Roman Easter is so good we celebrate it twice. Easter Monday is called Pasquetta or little Easter. There is also a Roman saying: Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi, which means Christmas is spent with family and Easter is spent with whomever you want.
-- Marco Lori, Writer and blogger at Eating Europe
21. Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Local produce picked fresh in the hustle and bustle of the famous Markale open-air market + fresh-out-of-oven somun (traditional chewy flatbread) from the historic bakery hidden away under the clock tower = best picnic of your life from the breath-taking viewpoint Žuta Tabija. Just trust us on this one.
-- Cat Norman, The Doctor's House Hostel, Sarajevo
22. Venice (Italy)
One of my favorite things to do in Venice is to join the locals at an outdoor café in the evening for an Aperol spritz. Nothing beats watching the sun set on the Grand Canal on a warm evening with a delicious Italian aperitif in hand.
-- Hannah Logan, Eat Sleep Breathe Travel
23. Vienna (Austria)
Vienna really starts to blossom in spring. I recommend renting a City Bike and taking it for a spin through the beautiful Prater park, with its picturesque 4.5 km long Hauptalle, flanked by majestic horse chestnut trees. Stop for a coffee at the Lusthaus in the park or, on your way back to the city center, visit Cafe Ansari on Praterstrasse. They serve delicious Georgian-inspired food and are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you're short of time grab a takeout coffee and a pastry from independent coffee shop Balthasar - also on Praterstrasse and serving some of the best coffee in town.
-- Rosie Waites, The Local Austria
24. Vilnius (Lithuania)
We never miss Kaziukas Fair (http://www.vilnius-events.lt/en/events/kaziukas-fair) in Vilnius (the first weekend of March). This is the best spring event to familiarize yourself with Lithuanian traditions, crafts and try some lovely food: smoked fish, dried sausage (skilandis), bagels, poppy-seed cake, and honey mushrooms. In May, all professional and amateur musicians of rock, classical, jazz, avant-garde and folklore flood into the streets, yards, parks and squares of Vilnius for International Street Musician's Day. (http://www.vilnius-events.lt/en/events/international-street-musician39s-day) Lovers of jazz have to come to Kaunas Jazz Festival (http://www.kaunasjazz.lt/en/). We strongly advise you to visit Senoji Kibinine restaurant (http://www.kibinas.lt/lt/Senoji-Kibinine-Vilniaus-mieste/Restorano-sales) for the best KIBINAI (a traditional karaims dish). We always enjoy Berneliu uzeiga (http://www.berneliuuzeiga.eu/en), sitting on wooden benches, eating from pottery bowls and trying Lithuanian dishes and drinks: cepelinai (potato dumplings), potato pancakes, cold beetroot soup, kvass, and Lithuanian beer.
-- Lithuanian Tourism, Lithuania.travel
25. Zdiar (Slovakia)
Spend the weekend in the cozy mountain village of Zdiar in a traditional Goral chalet (www.beliansketatry.com). Sample the local specialty, brindzova haluski (small dumplings with sheep's cheese and bacon) by the fire after a day on the slopes in the picturesque High Tatras Mountains.
-- Dani Reese, Ginger Monkey Hostel
For more Springtime tips for visiting Europe, read the original blog posted at EatingEuropeTours.com with 50 travel tips!
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