buildings
Photo by Anton Steiner, via Instagram

10 European Destinations to Visit This Spring

Home to rich history and culture, vibrant cities with great museums, incredible architecture and delicious food, the old European continent has a lot to offer, particularly in the springtime. Each of its countries – from Hungary to Scotland – offers an exciting combination of past and present urban landscapes, with lots of extraordinary choices to satisfy even the pickiest traveler. So, without further ado, here are 10 beautiful European destinations to visit this spring.

BUDAPEST
bridge
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Hungary’s capital is among Europe’s most popular attractions year-round. There’s something for everyone – from Buda Castle’s archaic architecture to the magnificent views of the Danube along the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. This spring, look out for the Budapesti Tavaszi Festival, two weeks of enlivening music – from orchestras to dance troupes. You can also explore Budapest’s spa culture by visiting the city’s various thermal springs, which date back to the 16th century, and enjoy the serenity of relaxation alongside the exquisite beauty of ancient architecture. When in Budapest, you must visit the Fisherman’s Bastion – a beautiful neo-Gothic building, and take in the breathtaking views of the city from the terrace. Budapest’s affordability compared to other European cities makes it a perfect destination for those who travel on a budget.

SALZBURG
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Photo by Anton Steiner, via Instagram

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, Salzburg’s beauty is most obvious during the springtime, when you can see the white star-shaped narcissi and freshly blooming magnolia trees. Salzburg is where the Italian and German cultures met. This Baroque town has managed to preserve an extraordinarily rich urban flavor. Salzburg has developed from the Middle Ages to the 19th century when it was a city-state ruled by a prince-archbishop.Its Flamboyant Gothic art attracted many craftsmen and artists before the city became famous through the work of the Italian architects Vincenzo Scamozzi and Santini Solari, to whom the centre of Salzburg owes much of its Baroque appearance. Fans of the famous film The Sound of Music will enjoy a visit to St. Peter’s District, which consists of St. Peter’s Abbey, cemetery, and the catacombs. Built in 696 A.D., this is the oldest abbey in the German-speaking world, with incredible architecture.

ST. PETESBURG
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Photo by Alex Masterhapkido, IG: @alex_masterhapkido

A major historical and cultural centre and a very important port, formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), Saint Petersburg is historically and culturally associated with the birth of the Russian Empire and Russia’s entry into modern history as a European power. Located on the Neva River, St. Petersburg is the world’s northernmost city, (only about 7° south of the Arctic Circle), and the second largest city in Russia, with approximately 5.4 million residents. The city is famous for its splendid architecture, being considered the “Cultural Capital of Russia.” Its historic district was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1990. You must visit the State Hermitage Museum, which houses over three million pieces of artwork (displayed across the 360 rooms available in the majestic museum). In late spring, there are several exciting national celebrations to look out for. Easter, celebrated on May 1st, is a huge celebration in the Orthodox Church – keep an eye out for the decorative hand-painted wooden Easter eggs typically sold in local stores. Victory Day is celebrated on May 9th – when celebratory parades, fireworks, and street parties.

BARCELONA
city view at sunset
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Capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia, Barcelona stands out from the rest of Spain with incredible culture, architecture, and roaring of tourists, (pre-Covid, obviously). This sunny Spanish city with amazing weather pretty much all year round, offers a wealth of activities for any traveler – from the historian to the foodie. In Las Ramblas you’ll find a series of streets and alleys rich with restaurants, nightclubs, and a lively pedestrian market. Springtime is the best time to bask in the glorious, sunlit sights of the animated Park Guell, or else to enjoy the picturesque Gothic architecture of the Barri Gòtic. Punctuate your visits to these national landmarks by trying a 40-course meal at Enigma, which is described as a culinary amusement park – boasting an abstract, futuristic setting intended to disconnect its visitors from reality.

COPENHAGEN
boats
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There are so many reasons why to visit Copenhagen. Let’s begin with the fact that Denmark is The Happiest Country in the World. Want more? We got more: the canals, the bike friendliness, the jazz clubs, the food, Copenhagen is like the Mecca for designers… and so much more… for families and couples alike, the Tivoli Gardens – a theme park with breathtaking scenery and entertaining rides – is an enjoyable location for a relaxing spring afternoon. On the other hand, those who prefer the fast-paced life might wanna visit Guldbergsgade, the city’s most crammed street, filled to the brim with an enticing variety of restaurants and stores. This beautiful, dynamic city with its colorful buildings overlooking the river makes an absolutely wonderful spring destination.

PRAGUE
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The beautiful Czech capital is home to numerous historic sites and modern attractions. Explore the Gothic architecture of the Old Town Square, and be sure to check off some of Prague’s MUST-SEE attractions off your list like the Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, the Royal Palace and the Charles Bridge to name only a few.

Architecture lovers may find the fascinating structure of the Dancing House very appealing. Prague houses a series of beer halls and pubs – check out the annual Czech Beer Festival in May, featuring a selection of 150 local brews.

VIENNA
monument
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Also known as the ‘Capital of Music’, Austria’s beautiful capital city is defined by elegant baroque architecture, rich art & history, imperial traditions and exquisite cultural events. Culture buffs can take a tour of the Mozarthaus, where Mozart resided from 1784 to 1787, while those interested in the history of psychology can visit the Sigmund Freud Museum, where numerous letters, manuscripts, and photographs of the father of psychoanalysis are displayed, depicting his life and works chronologically.

 

BRUGES
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If a dreamy, romantic city appeals to you, then Bruges is a must-visit springtime destination. This adorable city is peppered with medieval monuments, canals, windmills (for which it is famous), and museums, complementing its various facets of natural beauty. Naturalists will enjoy visiting Minnewater Lake, located in downtown Bruges, where the verdant trees frame a romantic castle. Take a walk along Lovers Bridge and admire the stunning views of the natural world around you, untouched by the ravages of time. Rozenhoedkaai (the “Quay of the Rosary”), is one of the most photographed spots in all of Bruges. The views of the canals surrounded by Gothic buildings and the street musicians performing live will instantly transport you into the city’s medieval past.

ZAGREB
cathedral
Photo by Dino Sprem

Zagreb’s rich history and modern style make it the ideal location for history and culture buffs alike. Špica, the downtown promenade that stretches between Ban Jelačić Square and Petar Preradović Square, hosts a warm, chatty atmosphere and various coffee shops, making it the perfect social spot.

Springtime visitors will also enjoy the unique, scenic views at Plitvice Lakes National Park – where the waterfalls, half-frozen and half-melted, perfectly encapsulate the essence of spring, caught between the winter harshness and summer warmth.

Not to mention Zagreb’s affordability makes it a perfect destination if you’re on a budget.

EDINBURG
old town
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If you are a Harry Potter fan and love history and culture, you’re gonna love Edinburgh. Sometimes called the Athens of the North, Edinburgh is the second most visited city in the United Kingdom (with London, England’s multicultural and jam-packed capital city, being the first). And with good reason.

The Royal Mile’s cobblestone pathway connects Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse (Queen Elizabeth II’s royal palace in Scotland). The latter stands adjacent to Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano, offering stunning views of the Scottish moorlands. After a chilly spring stroll in the city, warm up with a hearty fish pie or a bowl of haggis, a savory meat pudding that constitutes a Scottish specialty.