Spring break with kids By Rowena Carr-Allinson
Where to go in Europe this spring? Parc de Sceaux in Paris is best for cherry blossoms. (Flickr: Linh Nguyen)
There are some beautiful spots worth flying over the Atlantic for, especially if you are a flower fiend. If you’re one to appreciate the wonders of nature and the prettiest of petals, look no further. Europe in the Spring is adorned with the finest of blooms. Go and see the famous tulips in the Netherlands, the lesser-known bluebells in England, or the cherry blossoms in France.
A little like a safari, flowers are best seen in their freedom, before they get clipped and wrapped. And where to go in Europe this spring for a family vacation includes the ideal spots with the best buds.
Tulips, Keukenhof, The Netherlands
In April, the legendary Keukenhof Park in the Netherlands comes alive with the tulip festival. That’s where to go in Europe this Spring for tulips. It’s a great place to take the kids as they won’t fail to be impressed by the neverending colors. Stretching over 79 acres, it’s one of the world’s largest flower gardens with 7 million flower bulbs planted every year. It’s a truly amazing sight to behold. Keukenhof is open from mid-March to mid-May, but April is the best time to go for the tulips. Another good reason to visit the Netherlands that month is the celebration of King’s Day on 27th April.
Cherry Blossoms, Parc de Sceaux, France
There’s nothing quite like Paris in springtime. For those taking a family vacation in April, drive half an hour or hop on the RER B to the Parc de Sceaux stop. Parc de Sceaux’ cherry blossoms are beautiful and almost as well known as the blooms in Tokyo. It’s definitely on the where to go in Europe this Spring list. The whole family with love the fluffy pink blossoms. And it makes for a great backdrop for selfies and family portraits too. Those who like history will also enjoy a visit to the 19th century Chateau de Sceaux, home to the Museum of Ile de France.
Bluebells, Skomer Island, UK
It might not seem like an obvious choice, but England is where to go in Europe this Spring for bluebells. Hidden in the woods, the Hyacinthoides non-scripta appear like magical oases of blue. The island of Skomer in Wales, more specifically, is the best place to see a veritable ocean of bluebells. They cover the island’s valleys and cliffs, and it’s a truly a dramatic and breathtaking sight. They smell deliciously sweet too. While there, the kids will also want to meet the local puffins. The birds breed on the island during the same time and are really quite friendly. Head to the UK between April and May for a family vacation and the best viewing. For more information on where to spot bluebells, check with the Woodland Trust. They have over 1,000 sites across the UK, and a handy map online.
Poppies, Tuscany, Italy
Wondering where to go in Europe this Spring to see poppies? The Tuscan countryside in Italy awaits. In April, the famous rolling hills are covered in a sea of red and look like the perfect painted scenery. Don’t miss Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can spend your family vacation. The hilltop town south of Siena is picture perfect and oozes charm. It’s also the ideal base to explore the poppy fields as well as discover the local food. Gourmets will be glad to learn that the delicious Tuscan asparagus and peaches are in season in April too.
Orchids, Mainau, Bodensee, Germany
For something exotic, add Mainau to your where to go in Europe this Spring list now! The 111-acre island is famous for its incredible gardens and an ideal destination for a spring family vacation. It is one of Europe’s best spots for flower fans with over a million visitors each year. Thanks to its semi-tropical climate, Prince Nikolaus von Esterházy turned it into a botanical garden in the early 19th Century. Today, you’ll find an arboretum, an Italian rose garden, and tropical greenhouses too. Better still, there’s a butterfly house, an amazing children’s playground, and a petting zoo. Orchid lovers should head to the Palm House from 4 March to 7 May when the annual show takes place.
Rowena Carr-Allinson contributed this to MiniTime. Since the arrival of her son in 2011, she has taken him everywhere from Bangkok to NYC, writing family friendly articles en route.