Forget crowded beaches and sweltering city sightseeing. There’s no time like spring to jet away without the swarms of tourists – and the peak price tags. Here’s our top picks for a spring fling…
1. Seville, Spain
Temperatures can really soar in Seville, so swap sun-induced siestas for week-long fiestas. You’ll still get the signature Spanish sun in spring, but you can explore the city’s Moorish buildings and cathedrals in a more comfortable 20 degree heat. Plus, locals shrug off winter with late-night music, dancing and parades for Feria de Abril. If you want to join in the colourful festivities, head there from 21th to 26th April.
2. Marrakech, Morocco
As its nickname might suggest, the Paris of the Sahara rarely gets cold – not by our standards, anyway. The sun shines nearly all year in the desert city. You might need to pack something a little warmer for the evening, but it’s hardly a compromise when it means you can wander the fragrant souks and bustling squares without the heat. Plus, the Ourika Valley is covered in apple blossoms this time of year, so that’s your pretty photo of the Atlas Mountains sorted.
3. Ibiza, Spain
If your usual reaction to the word ‘Ibiza’ is cold sweats, think again. Go now, before the summer party crowds and you’ll find a quiet island with loads of charm. Leave it til late spring and it’s at least 10 degrees warmer than Blighty. You’ve got orchards, stylish eateries and empty beaches, with no boozed-up Brits in sight. You can get a dose of culture too, as the Spaniards celebrate Easter in style. Don’t miss the Medieval Festival in May with markets, live performers and food stalls.
4. Lanzarote, Canary Islands
So, there isn’t really a bad time to visit this volcanic island. But, if you want to avoid the summer holiday rush then spring is perfect. Even David Cameron is doing it – he took his family on an Easter break here last year. Visit Timanfaya National Park and El Mirador minus the crowds for volcanoes, lava fields and sea views. You can even indulge in some activities, without the risk of sunstroke, like cycling, hiking and kiteboarding.
Bit of both
5. Sicily, Italy
You can combine a beach break with sightseeing in Sicily. Spring starts early here, so top up your vitamin D levels on its unspoilt beaches. After soaking up the sun in one of the seaside resorts, head to the capital of Palermo, where you can tour the temples, markets, churches and palaces.
6. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik’s ancient palaces, walls and prime coastal spot make it the ideal city-come-beach package – hence the boatloads of summer tourists. But, those sights are all still there in spring. Walk along the 2-kilometre city wall and you’ll spot ancient monasteries and Baroque churches. And, while you won’t find vast stretches of sand, you do get a pebble beach just a short walk from the city gates, where you can take a dip in the bold blue waters of the Adriatic Sea.