As our favorite season is here, we are planning to tick a few places in Europe off our bucket lists! As for you, here are some suggestions for an amusing escapade in Europe for your Spring break.
1. Bilbao, Spain
After its extreme make-over from an industrial city to a 21st century international venue, Bilbao is a hard to miss spot for the culture-hungry and the gastronomy-educated. This city is located in northern Spain and is unmistakable for the magnificent Guggenheim Museum blending with its natural surroundings. Don’t worry, it has a lot to offer for the curious, artsy and party lovers too! Stroll along the river and admire a variety of architectural styles that have marked the city. Discover the crooked cobblestone streets of the Old Town and stuff yourself with pintxos, a regional variety of tapas popular in the north eastern part of Spain—there are more varieties than you could ever imagine! The city sports a mild climate all year long and tourist traffic is moderate compared to other major cities in Spain. No wonder it’s considered the second neatest in the country and it’s perfect for a relaxing getaway!
2. Ljubjlana, Slovenia
When you first step into Ljubljana, you feel you have been immersed into a formerly fairy tale town. Walking on car free streets in the city center, with Art Nouveau reflections around the corner and greenery adorning everywhere you look, you cannot help but feel blissful at not perceiving noise, traffic or pollution. Indeed, Ljubljana has been named the European Green Capital of 2016, but this doesn’t mean much until you have experienced yourself the amazing green spaces surrounding the city, including the hill in the city center where the castle sits atop, the beautiful river and its famous Dragon Bridge, as well as the inspiring Tivoli Park on the opposite side. Feeling hungry? Try some local dishes at any of the restaurants with terraces extending onto the streets along the Ljubljanica. Wait till you see the river banks warmly lit at night and the Castle’s main tower overseeing the city center. It couldn’t get more romantic than this!
3. Budapest, Hungary
Be it your first time, or second or third, you will always enjoy the beauty and the peaceful atmosphere that populates the ancient city of Budapest. Go up the hill in Buda and admire the breathtaking views of Pest by the Danube. Take in the neo-gothic splendor of the Hungarian Parliament Building or ride a bike and go through the stunning green Margaret Island. If you’re looking to cultivate your mind and soul, look no further, Hungary’s capital is heavy in arts and culture, with more than 40 theaters and over a hundred museums. The city is host to the Spring Festival (April 8-24 2016), where fans of opera, ballet, classical music and jazz can take part and if at the end of the day you feel exhausted, you can always rejoice in one of the many thermal springs.
4. Munich, Germany
Although famous for the Oktoberfest, Munich is also home to BMW headquarters, a handful of publishing companies and art galleries, making it a top technological and cultural hub in Germany. Lose yourself in the Deutsches Museum or any of the numerous Pinakotheks. Visit the English Garden, a massive urban public green area featuring beautiful sculptures and Asian-influenced architecture. Of course a visit to Munich wouldn’t be complete without trying some of the local beers, allegedly the best in the world, in one of the vast number of breweries. If you’re really looking forward to the Oktoberfest, in spring you can have a taste of it during the Frühlingsfest, also known as the little sister of the latter world-renowned festival. This year’s edition runs from April 15 to May 1, 2016.
5. Florence, Italy
There are so many things that can draw any inspiration-seeking traveler to this magical renaissance city. Climb up the Piazzale Micheangelo for the best scenic views of Florence and admire the iconic terracotta rooftops crowned by the remarkable dome of Santa Maria del Fiore. Take a stroll on the Boboli Gardens, filled with fountains, sculptures and grottoes, located just behind the Pitti Palace—former residence of the dukes of Tuscany. Similar to Rome, you will breathe art in and out all day anywhere you turn. Love fashion? Pay a visit to Gucci Museo, a venue celebrating the heritage of this worldwide insignia of Italian luxury. Finally, for all you foodies, after stuffing yourselves with pizzas and pastas, the perfect end to your meal would be to try one of the hundred plus flavors of gelato. If you are that serious about sweet cravings, you shouldn’t miss The Gelato Festival, which is held from April 21-25, 2016.
Written by David Requena