Our pick of the top destinations month by month
After months of biting cold, woolly scarves and frost-tinged mornings, the arrival of warmer weather is always welcome. April brings spring, and with the new season comes dreams of holidays. Pack your bags and head to the continent for some sunshine and scenery, or further afield for a complete culture change.
Best for Long Weekenders
April is tulip season in Holland, where empty fields transform into row upon row of colourful, captivating flowers. It’s quite a sight to see whether you’re green-thumbed or not; vast areas of the landscape become rainbow patchworks that reach their best towards the end of the month.
Less than an hour south-west of Amsterdam is Lisse, home of Keukenhof, also known as the Garden of Europe. The park definitely lives up to its name, with approximately seven million bulbs planted each year covering an area of 79 acres, making for some epic spring scenery.
A visit to Amsterdam is a must. The capital city is renowned for its artistic heritage, and a trip to the Museum District should be firmly on your to-do list. The Rijksmuseum houses works by Rembrandt and Vermeer, while the Stedelijk is the place to go for modern art. Make like the locals and travel there by bicycle.
No visit to Amsterdam is complete without a tour of its intricate canal system, so make sure at least one boat trip is on your itinerary.
Best for Culture Vultures
Spring is probably the best time to visit Morocco. It’s North African location and close proximity to the Sahara desert make it one warm destination that, unsurprisingly, becomes almost unbearable for the unacclimatised come summer. Spring hits that perfect balance of hot-but-not-too-hot, making it ideal for a sunshine escape.
You don’t go to Marrakesh just for the weather, though. Within the city walls lie beautiful gardens, palaces and mosques featuring traditional Moroccan architecture. Visit the Ben Youssef Madrasa – an old Islamic college – to see Moroccan design in all its glory, with ornate carved marble and cedar alongside the zellige tilework that’s synonymous with Marrakesh.
Explore the city’s maze-like streets and you’ll find countless markets – known as souks – selling traditional wares, all local and handmade. Once you’ve bargained with the vendors and picked up some souvenirs, head to Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakesh’s main square, where locals and tourists alike gather to watch storytellers and musicians perform. During the day, you’ll find plenty of food and drink stalls in the square, so take the opportunity to sample a traditional tagine and some of the best orange juice in the world.
Best for City Breakers
If there’s one time to go to Tokyo, it’s spring. With a firmly floral focus, April is prime cherry blossom season, with the city blanketed by a delicate, snowy layer of soft pink and fresh white petals.
The arrival of the cherry blossom is highly anticipated and truly revered, with festivals held across Japan’s capital city in celebration of the season. Amidst the bustling streets and high-rise buildings there are numerous parks and gardens that are the place to be to really appreciate the cherry blossom. Grab a blanket, head to Shinjuku Gyoen and sit for hours in city centre nature.
There’s plenty to do in Tokyo, with a huge variety of attractions and activities to suit every kind of traveller. Tokyo Dome City, for instance, is a sprawling urban entertainment zone featuring countless shops and restaurants alongside an all-singing amusement park complete with a rollercoaster and Ferris wheel. Entry is free, so it’s ideal for taking the whole family.
For those not afraid of heights, Tokyo Skytree is the latest attraction to join the must-see list for tourists. At 634 metres tall, the observation decks give you full 360-degree views over the city, making it both breathtaking and not for the faint-hearted.
In keeping with the Japanese art of making the most of any space, the popular Solamanchi complex sits at the foot of the Skytree and includes over 300 shopping and dining options, an aquarium and a planetarium. There’s even a huge ball pit to keep little ones happy. They really have thought of everything.