Now we’ve reached the spring equinox, days are officially longer than the night, the sun is getting warmer, and the trees are turning green again. If you’re like us this new energy leads to itchy feet and where better to head than places blooming with flowers. Here are some of the best spots around the world to watch the buds unfurl this spring.
Tulips Fields in Holland
From late March to early May you are never very far from a tulip in Holland. With the perfect climate and conditions for growing, the Netherlands is one of the biggest exporters of bulbs and flowers in the world. In Amsterdam you’ll find a floating flower market, a city-wide tulip festival and colorful islands of flowers outside most buildings. Keukenhof, about an hour by train out of the city, is known as the best spring time garden in the world and seven million tulip bulbs are planted here by hand each year! You can also spot daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths and freesias. For the true Netherlands experience, hire bikes at the tulip farms of Noordoostpolder. In a fertile area of land that was reclaimed from the sea you’ll find farms with guided tours and miles and miles of kaleidoscopic flower fields to cycle through.
Californian Super Bloom
Less reliable but equally spectacular spring flowers can be found in the national parks all over California. A ‘super bloom’ is not guaranteed and depends on a delicate mixture of sunshine, temperature and rainfall throughout fall and winter that results in an unusual amount of wildflowers blooming at the same time. The parched volcanic hillsides of California come alive with vibrant color and landscapes appear orange, yellow, and purple as far as the eye can see. Many people travel here to get the ultimate spring Instagram shot amongst the poppies, lilacs and lupins.
A Moat of Flowers in London
To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum jubilee London is hoping to emulate a super bloom in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world. Twenty million seeds have been sown in the moat of the Tower of London so that from June to September it will be filled with colorful, vibrant and ever changing fields of flowers. The city will be full of festivities at the beginning of June as Brits are given two days off work to celebrate the Queen’s 70 years of service.
Japan’s Cherry Blossoms
The arrival of the sakura (cherry blossoms) all over Japan is a highly anticipated event, so much so it is reported in a national forecast so people can start celebrating as soon as the flowers open. Friends and family gather in parks and gardens with picnics and sake and there are festivals in every town. You could even chase the blossoms across the country as each tree variety flowers at a different time, starting in the warmer north in January and finishing in May in Hokkaido. Top places to join the party include Tokyo’s Ueno Park where in late March thousands of people gather at the end of the day to eat street food and drink under the illuminated cherry blossoms. If you prefer a quieter experience head to the Fuji Five Lakes around the base of Mount Fuji where you can relax in an onsen and enjoy the views surrounded by beautiful blossoms.
By late April the last skiers are starting to leave the Alps in Europe and as the snow melts lush fields of green grass and wildflowers are revealed all over the mountain sides. By June the slopes are covered in orchids and wildflowers of every shape and color. In Switzerland whilst snow still clings to the highest peaks, you can hike in a t-shirt and follow specially signed flower trails through breathtaking scenery, stopping for picnics next to impossibly blue lakes.
Lupins in New Zealand
If you are craving flowers and sunshine in the dark winter months you always have the option of a trip south of the hemisphere. In New Zealand from late November to early January you can catch the famous wild lupins- tall spikes of pinks, purples, violets and lavender which en masse make the rugged landscapes of lakes and mountains even more beautiful than usual.
Rhododendrons in the High Himalayas
You wouldn't think it was possible to improve on the scenery of a trek through the Himalayas but in spring these mountains are covered in blooming trees of rhododendrons- Nepal’s national flower. This flower is so loved around the world that you can find it in many domestic gardens but it is here in the high Himalayas you can see it in its natural habitat. A perfect trekking area to catch them is the Langtang valley, close to Kathmandu and also home to over 150 other flowering species, teahouses to rest in and shrines to marvel at.