Bloom Towns

In cities and countrysides all over the northern hemisphere, spring is heralded by blossoming trees, flower-strewn meadows, and floral festivals. Here are a few of the most impressive displays:

Japan: Cherry blossom season shows Japan at its most enchanting, when the country’s already exquisite gardens and temples are awash in pale pink blooms. The Japanese traditionally celebrate with a hanami (blossom viewing party)—some of the most famous viewing spots are Maruyama Park, in Kyoto; the Yamazaki River in Nagoya; Mount Yoshino near Osaka; and Oka-jo Koen, Takeda City, Saga.

The Netherlands: The tulip fields in the west of Holland are a riot of color in April and May. Near the town of Lisse is Keukenhof, the world’s largest flower garden, planted with some 7 million bulbs. This stunningly beautiful park is open Mar 22-May 20, 2012.

Sedona, Arizona: From late Mar-May, the desert comes alive with wildflowers like lupine, desert verbena, heliotrope, Arizona poppy, and desert evening primrose.

London, England: The annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show is one of the world’s most famous gardening expos, when the 11-acre grounds of the Royal Hospital are transformed into spectacular show gardens and horticultural exhibits. The show this year runs from May 22-26.

Andalucía, Spain: Each spring, a magnificent carpet of blossoms spreads over the mountains and coast, reaching its peak in late April and May. During the annual Córdoba May Patio Festival, Córdobans open their homes and patios to the public, revealing glorious displays of flowers and plants.

Great Trips Now

Enjoy colorful festivals, vivid blossoms and warm, sunny weather at these global destinations between March and May:


Japan: Cherry blossom season arrives in Kyushu and Shikoku in late March, spreads north across Honshu from late Mar-mid Apr, and reaches Hokkaido by early May. This is also one of the best times in central Japan weather-wise, with mild temperatures and little rainfall from March to May.

India: Nowhere is the arrival of spring celebrated more colorfully than Northern India. During Holi, the “Festival of Colors,” revelers pelt each other with handfuls of vividly colored powder. Taking place March 8-9, it’s a day of joyful exuberance, so put on some old clothes and join the festivities! The weather is sunny and warm in early spring, making it a great time to explore Delhi, Mumbai and the Taj Mahal.

China: Virtually all of China has good weather in spring (with the exception of Dunhuang and Huangshan), and fewer crowds than the summer months.

Bhutan: Spring is one of the best times to visit Bhutan, with warm days, clear nights, blooming flowers and colorful festivals, such as the exuberant Paro festival and the popular Chorten Kora festival.

Jordan: Mild daytime and nighttime temperatures make Mar-May an ideal time to visit the Lost City of Petra and spectacular Wadi Rum.

The Americas

British Virgin Islands: Mid Dec-April is sunny and warm, with calm seas—the perfect time to escape the winter weather up north.

Galapagos Islands: Mar-Apr is the best time to see land tortoises, nesting sea turtles, and baby seals. The end of the rainy season brings bright flowers and calm seas.

Argentina: Between Mar-May the fall colors are brilliant all along the foothills of the Andes, from Mendoza and the Lake District down to Tierra del Fuego. It’s also harvest season in Mendoza, Argentina’s famous wine region.

Brazil: Swollen by rainfall, Iguaçu Falls is at its most dramatic this time of year. While Rio has warm weather year round, May-Aug is especially pleasant – mild and less rainy than the preceding months. April and May are ideal in São Paulo, when the oppressive heat and storms of summer are gone.

Peru: May is the beginning of the dry season in the Andes highlands and the Amazon rainforest, making it one of the best times for a Machu Picchu tour or a jungle expedition. Not only will you enjoy dry weather, you’ll also avoid the busiest tourist season.


Greece: Easter is the highlight of the Greek calendar, celebrated around the country with candlelight processions, fireworks, and public concerts. Spring days in Greece are sunny but not too hot, making this the perfect season for mainland excursions; calm waters mean ideal conditions for a private boat charter along the coast.

Italy: Apr-May means excellent weather and relatively small crowds in Rome, Florence, and the Amalfi Coast and Capri.

Spain: Colorful festivals are a way of life in Spain, and some of the liveliest happen in spring, such as the Fiestas de San Isidro in Madrid, the Feria de Abril in Sevilla, the Feria Internacional del Caballo in Jerez de la Frontera, the Fallas Festival in Valencia, and the Patio Festival in Córdoba.

France: Paris is delightful in springtime; in Western France and Provence, the landscapes abound with spring flowers. Now is the time to try seasonal delicacies like Brittany’s pré-salé lamb and Provence’s wild morels and asparagus.

The Netherlands: The famous Kuekenhof garden is open Mar 22-May 2 — when you’ve had your fill of tulips, make a detour to see the historic windmills of Kinderdijk. On the Queen’s Birthday (April 30), throngs of people gather in the streets of Amsterdam and other Dutch towns to party and to sell their second-hand goods in a huge, open street market.

Lake Geneva: Spring means pleasant weather, fewer crowds than the summer months, and exuberant festivals like the Carnaval de Lausanne in May. This is also one of the best times to visit Geneva, which can get muggy in summer.

Czech Republic: May brings sunny, mild temperatures and the famous annual Prague Spring International Music Festival.

South Pacific

Bali: May is the beginning of Bali’s dry season, meaning clear skies and balmy temperatures.

Australia: This is the time of year to dive with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, off the shore of Western Australia. The coral spawns in March and April, creating a plankton feast that attracts the whale sharks. Spring is also ideal in the Red Center, with pleasantly warm days and cool nights. May is a perfect month to see the waterfalls in Kakadu and the Kimberley—the water flow is still high enough to be impressive and the roads are passable.


Morocco: Apr-May offers pleasant weather and lush landscapes around Marrakesh and the Atlas mountains. The spectacular Valley of Roses in the Dades Valley is in bloom from mid-April to early May—a three-day Rose Festival takes place each May in nearby El-Kelaa M’Gouna. Desert temperatures are still mild, making spring a good time to go sandboarding on the impressively high dunes at Merzouga.

Zimbabwe and Zambia: The end of the rainy season means famous Victoria Falls will be at their peak in May.

Botswana: Dec-May is the green season—a safari this time of year will offer lush scenery and migratory birds.

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