Spring break is the reward we give ourselves for getting through (most of) winter. Summer is still a few months away. In many regions, there’s still no guarantee it won’t snow again in April (or even May). But for one or two lovely weeks in March or April, we have a chance to skip town, get some sun, and remember what it feels like to roll up our sleeves.
Give the traditional spring break vacation a boost this year and go beyond the predictable beaches you’ve visited before. Take a hop across the pond — Europe makes a perfect Spring Break destination! Here are six European cities with the right blend of culture, sun and fun for a perfect spring break.
Sparkling blue Mediterranean waters and a blend of modern and historic designs you won’t find anywhere else in the world, plus a thriving foodie scene, magnificent art museums and fun-loving nightlife. Yes, it’s Barcelona. Surrounded by low mountains (which offer fantastic views of the city below) Spain’s eclectic cultural capital has all the youthful panache of a Spring Break town along with fine dining, elegant hotels and incredible museums. The city is great for biking and walking, with historic districts and a beguiling blend of Neoclassical and Modernist architecture. Start planning with a Barcelona vacation package.
When you need sun and sea, Greece is there for you. Just add a fresh and delicious local cuisine, affordable accommodations and the history of civilization, and you’ve got Athens, one amazing spring break destination. Of course you’ll want to explore the ancient ruins of the Acropolis, and spend hours in the National Archaeological Museum, where many of the priceless statues and treasures of the Parthenon are now safe from the elements. But you’ll also love long lunches at sidewalk cafes in the ancient Plaka district, where cars have been banned from the narrow streets, and reminders of classical Greece are so prevalent, it’s been dubbed “the neighborhood of the gods.” Get started with an Athens vacation package.
Rome’s hot summers make peak travel season steamy. Spring break in Rome lets you skip the sultry summer temperatures — and some of the lines at museums and attractions, too. Even when Rome fills up for the Easter holiday, you can always find quiet streets to meander and historic churches to discover. From the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, to the spectacular collections of the Vatican Museums, Rome’s three thousand years of history gives you plenty to see on your spring break. And leave some time for relaxation, as well. Soak up the sun from a sidewalk cafe and forget winter ever happened as you sip a cappuccino. Isn’t that what spring break is all about? View our Rome vacation packages and build your own trip here.
Southern France begins to warm up in March, and the region’s winter rains begin to diminish. Spring blooms brighten Nice’s famous Promenade des Anglais, and while you’ll want a jacket to keep away a chill from the coastal breeze, it’s still a delightful time to visit. Nice is beautiful inside and out, with stunning Belle Epoque and Art Deco architecture, and the world’s largest collection of Chagall artwork.
It’s also perfectly suited as your home base for a road-trip along the French Riviera, where you can visit Monaco, Cannes and medieval towns like St. Paul de Vence and Eze. Here artists and writers have been inspired for centuries… it’s the perfect place to hit the reset button and refresh yourself.
The capital of Portugal looks the part of historic European city, but it’s so much more than a collection of cathedrals and museums. Lisbon is famous for a dynamic food scene and thirsty all-nighters. If you’re looking for a night out with no last call, this is your kind of city. When you’re not enjoying a fantastic meal, you can take in the city’s famous views — settled atop seven hills, Lisbon is rich with landscapes and panoramas. In the cobblestoned Alfama district, you can wander narrow medieval lanes with a charming village feel, and don’t forget to take a ride on the distinctive yellow trams. While you’re there, add a stay in Porto to get an even better feel for Portugal’s unique culture.
Decidedly cooler than the Mediterranean, sure, but when better than spring to visit the Netherlands? While March is chilly and some tourist attractions won’t open their doors until April, Amsterdam is much quieter before the heavy crowds of summer descend. You can still walk along the canals and enjoy an outdoor cafe; you’ll just want a sweater. Enjoy Amsterdam’s cafes and museums, and discover the city’s world-famous canal houses.
And don’t forget about tulips — the flower fields outside Amsterdam begin to bloom in mid to late March, depending on the season’s weather.
If you really want to see the famous flowers, schedule your spring break for mid-April. That’s when the magnificent fields and planned gardens typically peak with floods of dramatic color. For an even more delightful European spring break, just add Paris.
Plan Your Own Spring Break
Plan a spring break vacation easily with Virgin Vacations’ tours, pre-built vacation packages and customized vacations. You can build your own vacation with your choice of cities, add connections by air or rail when available, and even add tours and day-trips all in one place! Click here to get started on your next vacation.