Everyone needs a vacay from time to time to shed your stress, to renew your spirits, and to come back with fresh vigor. What better opportunity than spring break to head out of town and delve deep into the breathtaking beauty of nature? This year, my friends and I hit the exciting, if unconventional, European landscapes, and partied through the night. We expected the collective experience to be quite different from what we had the previous break, and we were not disappointed. Dionysian as our spirits already were, we turned the ecstatic journey up a notch by adding the following destinations to our itinerary.
Keukenhof Gardens, Holland
We decided on this particular tourist spot because we couldn’t remember the last time either one of us actually saw a flower in full bloom. Eons ago, maybe. So, we spent our spring break in one of the most amazing Tulip gardens northern Europe had to offer: the famous Keukenhof Gardens, which consist of about seven million planted flower bulbs, of around 800 tulip varieties, and spreads across 32 hectares. To capture the experience in its essence, we rented bicycles and rode through the bejeweled fields with our entire friend group. Later, we arranged a fresh picnic and danced to the spring celebration music sessions.
Sidra Crespo, Spain
Hearing the call of mild Atlantic breeze and mineral-rich soil, we carved our way to the northwest of Spain and into the heart of Asturias. What made Asturias special for us was not just the landscape, which included views of vast, blue-lipped coastlines and tall hills, but the culture of social acceptance: a communal embrace, which we saw the region’s famous cider harvest. Naturally, we gathered our pals and headed to the nearest cider house – Sidra Crespo, renowned for its warm brew. There, we raised our glasses to a future filled with inebriated levity, while becoming one with the magic of Asturias.
Pic du Midi, France
Next on this road trip, we landed in the bounteous Pyrenees, adorned with snow-capped peaks and fresh lakes and streams. After arriving at La Mongie, we used the cool cable car facility to enjoy a panoramic view of the hills, and to reach the Pic du Midi Observatory on top. This station, situated at a height of 9842 feet, blew our minds with its glass terraces, huge planetarium, experimentation room, and classy luncheon area with amazing views. After relishing a hearty meal, we zipped up and went on a collective hike on the intermediate Pyrenees trail, which took us to the top of the world and took our breath away.
Porto Conte, Italy
Hidden beaches have a charm of their own, especially if they are surrounded by a park, like Porto Conte, next to the sea of Sardinia. These spots are the envy of all spring breakers, and lucky for us, we got to enjoy it in full. The regional park has acres of Alghero nature, the blue Calich lagoon, vast Capo Caccia grottos, and Noah’s Ark Wildlife Preservation Forest. After marveling at this uncorrupted slice of nature, we had about 37 miles of a white-sands shore with jutting cliffs on the side ― and all to ourselves. There, we let go of our inhibitions and indulged in water sports such as snorkeling and kayaking, making this the best spring break yet!
Vineyard Walks, France
Imagine you are in your best summer dress, laughing with your friends, having a pleasant walk through the spiral vineyards in the Rhone region, while enjoying the views of the flowing river nearby. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? That’s exactly what we did in these picture-perfect regions of France, with their antique feel. We spent our time tasting this area’s famous wines and indulging in the warm air that would soon bring in the summer season. This was the last stop on our trip, and although we enjoyed the taste of our libels, we also knew that we would be headed home soon and that our spring break would soon be over–turning itself into a memory.
All in all, we had never felt more alive than we did while touching the quieter, rural heart of Europe. While others chose the usual routes, we brought back a mosaic of memories, which still light up our lonely October nights.
Where is your go-to spring break destination in Europe? Tell us in the comments!
Header photo by Nicola Pavan.