From lush spring wildflowers in Europe to spectacular autumn foliage in South America, we’re bringing you to some of our favorite places to visit between March and May.
When spring sweeps across the United Kingdom, it leaves behind swaths of purple heather, bluebells, and pink and white campion in its wake. It’s no wonder so many poets were captivated by the scenery. During our spring departures in the United Kingdom, we’ll walk through enchanting pasture lands and along the coast, enjoying scenes so beautiful, the only way to truly describe it is through poetry.
In Portugal’s famed wine-growing region of the Douro Valley, the verdant hills come to life in the spring. Grapes vines are lush and green, hillsides are carpeted in golden gorse, almond groves are wrapped in pink blooms, and walking paths are draped with herbaceous shrubs and wild orchids. On our Hiker’s Journey to Portugal, we explore Douro with trails above terraced vineyards (with a stop for a wine tasting), enjoy a boat ride on the river, and set out on a scenic train ride through the valley before continuing north to Porto. We also stay in charming accommodations, including a 17th century palace set amid lush gardens.
Walking the Camino de Santiago is a journey of the senses, and to experience this pilgrimage in the spring time is absolutely surreal. Fields of vibrant red poppies and yellow daisies color the hillsides like a painting. We follow ancient paths through traditional villages along the route of our Pilgrim’s Way adventure, passing calla lilies and irises along the trail. Don’t forgot to stop and smell the flowers: wild roses, lilacs, and a myriad of other wildflowers flourish along The Way—a reminder that it’s as much about the journey as it is about the destination.
People travel to great lengths to view sakura or cherry blossoms because when these flowers unfurl their petals, it’s absolutely breathtaking. In fact, the Japanese even have a word for it! Hanami means “flower viewing”, and if you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself viewing the fleeting beauty of these blooms in ancient royal cities like Kyoto. Our spring departures in Japan are timed to catch a glimpse of the cherry blossoms, but if it’s too early or too late, you’ll also enjoy seeing other wildflowers that come to life.
Just off the toe of Italy lies sun-drenched Sicily, a world of its own with a rich Mediterranean culture and breathtaking coastlines. During spring departures of our Hiking in Sicily adventure, you may spot the fleeting pistachio and almond blossoms, and in Zingaro Nature Reserve, you’ll hike coastal trails lined with Sicilian sea lavenders and native orchids and irises. You can also expect to see groves of lemon trees ripe with the fruit that give us the divine limoncello. We stay in wonderful accommodations, including an agriturismo surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, where we’ll enjoy a glass of wine al fresco and a lively cooking class.
When it’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere, it is autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, and we head to the very tip of South America on our In Patagonia adventure for some fantastic hiking amid amazing fall foliage. Lenga trees grow in surreal, wind-twisted shapes in the Patagonian valleys, and when the trees change color, they go off in a fiery displays of yellow, orange, and red, a dramatic contrast to the sheer granite peaks and glacial-blue lakes. We’ll hike amid these ancient trees during our explorations of both the Argentinian and Chilean sides of Patagonia.