With the spring season in full force and nature blooming with possibilities, what better time to take advantage of the crisp, refreshing weather, warm sunshine, and overall feeling of renewal and rejuvenation. Here are four trip ideas that will give you a well deserved break, and add a little spring to your step!
Paris is a city that needs no introduction. With its picturesque streets and courtyards, romantic bistros and cafes, the Eiffel Tower, Seine River, Luxembourg Gardens and Louvre, the list of characteristics and landmarks goes on forever. And there’s no better time to experience this city than in the springtime, when the sun is out, the trees are in bloom and the city is waking up from its damp winter slumber. From the arts and culture scene to the bistronomie revolution of food and wine, Paris is currently bustling with creativity and a vibrancy unlike any other city. Take a walk amongst the chic restaurants, wine bars, bakeries and shops of the uber cool Canal St. Martin area or get lost in the winding streets of the famously bohemian Marais quarter. Spend the day discovering one of the best contemporary museums in the world, the Palais de Tokyo, or rent a Velib, the city’s bike sharing program, and cruise along the Seine. Pastries that make you weak in the knees, scenic strolls, famous art and chic fashion, Paris is always a reminder of the true French joie de vie.
Where to stay in Paris
Thailand is one of the most spectacular places in the world, bar none. Whether it’s the mountainous regions in the north, the incredible beaches of the south, the islands, culture, food, and especially the people, traveling here is an unforgettable (and totally worthwhile) experience. And with April’s huge country wide holiday celebration of Songkram, a festival that marks the beginning of the solar new year and the start of the summer season, there’s no better time to go. Celebrated from April 13-15 (and often longer), originally Thais would splash water on each other in the form of a wish for a year filled with blessings, but over time this morphed into a nationwide water fight and giant party. Take in the festivities in the nation’s buzzy capital, Bangkok, and make your way from restaurant to bar, market to shop via tuk-tuk (auto rickshaw) while dodging water being thrown at you in all directions. Or, for a more serene celebration, head to an island destination like Koh Samui or Phuket and enjoy the parties on the beach (where you would get wet anyway!) with your feet planted in the sand and cheeky Chang beer in hand as you take it all in. The start of the new solar year never felt so good.
Where to stay in Thailand
When people talk about visiting Spain, Barcelona always seems to come up as the epicentre of Catalonia cool, full of culture, creativity and amazing cuisine. But what about the southern shores of the rest of this incredibly diverse country? There’s a lot more to love than just one city, so check out Andalucía, the Costa Brava and Costa del Sol for some serious pre-summer sand and sun. Andalucía is a region that basks in the heat of Southern of Spain, famous for many things that have become synonymous with Spanish culture: matadors, bullfights, tapas and of course, flamenco. Seville, the romantic capital city, is where you’ll discover a fiery passion unlike anywhere else in the country. Then there’s Costa Brava and Costa del Sol, ideal destinations for scenic, seaside beach vacations. Both are beautiful coasts in their own rights and offer visitors a real Spanish-style holiday experience: Costa Brava stretches along the Eastern coast all the way to the French border and has a more scenic, rugged coastline and the more touristy Costa del Sol is on the sunny Southern coast, with long hot summers and short, mild winters. So why wait for the good weather to come to you and head to Southern Spain where it’s already muy caliente!
Where to stay in Spain
Napa and Sonoma
Epicureans rejoice! Just an hour’s drive northeast of San Francisco, these twin valleys make up two of California’s most famous wine destinations. With vine covered hills that are especially green and lush in the springtime, Napa and Sonoma are home to almost 400 wineries, not to mention countless restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and spas. Set amongst the most idyllic, breathtaking and inspiring scenery, reminiscent of Italy, one of the most down-to-earth ways to experience the wineries and row upon row of leafy vines is by renting bicycles and cruising about. Make your way from one vineyard to the next at a relaxed pace while really getting out there amongst the grapes. If food is more your jam, there are many world class restaurants here serving some of the best locally sourced, organic and high quality produce available in the entire country, with plenty of mouth watering options for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Or, after long days of sampling wines and eating lazy lunches in the sunshine amongst the leafy oak trees, treat yourself to a wine country spa for some real relaxation and try out a little vinotherapy (a beauty therapy process where the residue of winemaking – the pips and pulp – are rubbed into the skin), de-stressing massage or mud bath. Need we say more?
Where to stay in Napa and Sonoma