Has winter already been going on too long for you and you can’t wait for spring? In just over a month, spring weather will be here. The days will be noticeably longer and the higher temperatures will call you to get going places again. A nice walk somewhere in your own country, for instance. But early spring is also the time to go to southern Europe. Because the weather is lovely there then, whilst in summer it is usually too hot. We’ll give you 10 tips for fabulous southern European early spring destinations.
Early spring destinations for city breaks
If you want to seek out some warmth in early spring, consider mainly Italy, Portugal and Spain. Here are five of our favourites:
For centuries, lively old Lisbon has inspired travellers. This is mainly thanks to the picturesque Alfama district and the imposing São Jorge castle. But also with sights like the Belém district, the Botanical Garden and its many beautiful parks and squares. With its laid-back atmosphere and abundance of sights, the city is a popular city break destination. And thanks to its mild climate, not just for early spring.
Malaga, the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, is a great spot for a city break. This is because of its perfect combination of beautiful beaches, rich history, vibrant art scene, delicious gastronomy and attractive weather. The city offers an array of cultural attractions, including the Picasso Museum and the impressive Alcazaba. In addition, there are numerous charming streets and squares to explore. With its vibrant atmosphere, friendly locals and delicious local cuisine, Malaga is a destination that offers something for everyone.
Rome is one of those cities that never bores you. What a fantastic city with all its cosy squares, beautiful churches, plentiful museums and good vibes! If you want to admire all the highlights of Rome, you won’t have enough time. So, our advice is to plan at least three full days for a city trip. Of course, you won’t skip a visit to St Peter’s Square with its impressive basilica and the Vatican Museums. But above all, stroll through the laid-back Trastevere district.
Italy’s Siena is perhaps the most beautiful city in all of Tuscany. Despite the many other stunning cities in the region, Siena has so many highlights that the city truly deserves this title of honour. The grandeur that characterised Siena in the Middle Ages can still be admired in all its streets, squares and churches. The city exudes a typical Italian atmosphere and is a must-see during your trip through this part of Italy. For us, it is certainly no surprise that Siena’s historic city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The ancient city of Valencia is well worth a city break! The charming birthplace of paella is famous for architect Santiago Calatrava’s particularly large, neo-futurist project. The modern structure forms a beautiful contrast to the old El Carmen district, where you will find narrow streets and impressive city gates. Valencia also hosts Europe’s biggest street festival: Las Fallas. In 2024, the unique festival begins on Sunday 25 February with the opening ceremony La Crida. Las Fallas ends on the night of 19-20 March when all the Fallas are burned.
Early spring destinations for hiking
Early spring lends itself fantastically well to hiking in southern Europe. This is because during this period it is not yet too hot or crowded. Here are our tips for early spring destinations in southern Europe for hiking:
6. Climbing Mount Etna in Sicily
The large island of Sicily just south of Italy’s ‘boot’ is characterised by beautiful, rugged mountainous landscapes. The island has an ancient, exceptionally rich history. The island was even the capital of the Greek Empire for a long time! But it was also ruled by the Romans, Arabs, Normans and Aragonese. In addition, we know the island for its fantastic hiking opportunities. The hike that has stayed with us most is the ascent of Mount Etna. At 3340 metres, it is the highest active volcano in Europe.
7. Camino Francés to Santiago de Compostella
The most famous route to the pilgrimage site Santiago de Compostella is the Camino Francés. The route starts right after the border with France. For over 1,000 years, pilgrims from all over the world have walked this route. Like us, they no doubt enjoyed the many sights along the Camino Francés. After all, the route passes many fantastic cultural highlights in northern Spain. Plan enough time for these sights to give your feet some rest.
8. Canarian hiking paradise La Palma
La Palma, one of the beautiful Canary Islands, is known as a true hiking paradise. The island owes this title to its breathtaking landscapes and extensive network of hiking trails. “La Isla Bonita”, as La Palma is also affectionately called, is blessed with lush forests. You also have impressive volcanoes and rugged, sheer cliffs. And wherever you are, the ocean views are unsurpassed. In addition, don’t forget to visit the beautiful capital, Santa Cruz! Its many cosy terraces are a great place to relax, especially after your hiking adventures.
9. Cinque Terre in Italy
On the Ligurian coast between La Spezia and Genoa in Italy, there are some particularly picturesque towns and idyllic villages. These include Portofino, Sestri Levante, Portovenere and San Remo. A highlight of this area is the famous Cinque Terre National Park, stretching between the coastal towns of Portovenere and Levanto. This park is a nature reserve with brightly coloured fishing villages at the foot of steep cliffs. The hiking trail along these picturesque villages is one of our absolute favourites in early spring!
10. Surprising hiking island of Ibiza
The almost magical, Spanish island of Ibiza is best known among young people for its vibrant nightlife. But the gorgeous Mediterranean island enjoys particular popularity among avid hikers, like us. Ibiza is home to many hiking trails that take you through forested, mountainous landscapes. They lead you to breathtaking views of the coast, the azure waters of the Mediterranean, secluded coves and fragrant pine forests. After the walk, the many beautiful beaches and coves beckon, where you can stop by an inviting beach bar for a well-earned drink.