Can you feel it? The weather is warming up, and just because you may no longer have a "spring break," it doesn't mean you can't plan a little warm-weather excursion. As we've mentioned before, travel doesn't have to be pricey, and sometimes it's best done spur-of-the-moment.
But why April? It's the perfect month for a few reasons: It's not yet prime wedding season, the weather is still a little iffy, and if you're lucky, you should be expecting a tax return sometime soon. Plus, what better way to kick off spring than with a relaxing or adventurous (your pick) getaway?
From a flower festival abroad to beignet samples in the States, we've rounded up the best places to visit in April. Read on (and then get packing).
Not only are locals extremely friendly to tourists, but also, April is peak tulip season. If you want to see some of the gorgeous flowers Monet once painted, go to Keukenhof garden in Lisse to view up to seven million at once. If you can, stay for King's Day on April 27, an annual national holiday that honors King Willem-Alexander, who is celebrated with massive street parades, parties, and live music.
The Colombian capital is one of the best cities to visit in April. Spring is considered the off-season (with December and January being the pricier times to visit the South American country), so flights are relatively inexpensive. Consider yourself warned: The Andes city gets plenty of rain year-round—and April is no exception. Head to Monserrate, a picturesque mountain-top church, on a clear day to take in sweeping views of the city, and seek refuge in the beautiful Botero art museum when the rain starts to pour.
We've already determined airfare is affordable during April, but what other reasons do you have for visiting the City of Light during this month? One fun sight is the Paris Marathon, which takes place on April 5—participants literally run down the Champs-Élysées to victory. The temperature is slowly rising, and the trees and flowers are in full bloom, a beautiful sight that inspired Ella Fitzgerald's "April in Paris." Yes, a song was written about this very city during this month. Do you need any other reason to go and take in the foliage?
Temperate spring weather makes Marrakech a must-visit destination during the month of April. Get lost wandering the surrounding medina and shop for herbs, spices, and essential oils at various souks. Take advantage of the lovely sunshine and enjoy a rooftop lunch at a local restaurant overlooking the medina. If you have an extra day, plan a trip to the Sahara, which won't be too hot in the spring.
Songkran is one of the most popular festivals in Thailand, if not the most popular. It celebrates the Thai New Year and starts on April 13. It takes place across Thailand, and depending on the city, it will typically run three to five days. The absolute best part is the citywide water fights—bring on the water pistols and buckets of water! These were adopted from the Thai tradition of families splashing water on each other as a good-luck blessing for the coming year.
There's never a bad time to visit wine country, but you'll escape all the harvest-time tourism if you go now instead of summer or fall. Biking from vineyard to vineyard is a breeze in mostly 60- to 70-degree temps (be sure to take in all the gorgeous mustard seed plants in bloom). Plus, your artsy side will love the cultural and artistic events put on as part of the eighth annual Napa Valley Arts in April.
April is the ideal time to visit this always-popular European destination—affordable airfare is easy to find, the weather is temperate, and there's plenty to do once you land. Be sure to mark your calendar for Dia de Sant Jordi, a book and rose festival that takes place every year on April 23 in the Catalonian capital. If you're a foodie, don't miss the nearby tapas festival in the small beach town of Sitges, which takes place every April as well (the date varies each year).
This city is definitely one of the best places to travel this April. It's a slightly calmer month for NOLA, with the Mardi Gras parades just over and Jazz Fest on the way (more on that later). With slightly fewer crowds, you won't have to wait so long for the famous beignets and chicory coffee at the famed Café du Monde. It's also a good time for a short trip outside the city to view the iconic Laura sugar plantation and sip a tasty mint julep on its expansive grounds (you can get there by bus or rideshare). If you plan your trip to New Orleans toward the end of the month, you might even be able to take in some of the best jazz at Jazz Fest, beginning April 23.
The beach (and those yummy island drinks) will be just as good in April, which is a prime month to go whale-watching in Maui. Humpback whales start to migrate north to Alaska during this time, and there tend to be fewer tourists than in January, February, and March. If you plan your trip for April 12–18, you can also attend the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo on the Big Island, where you can experience an international hula competition, among other fun events.
Denmark's brisk April weather is ideal for climbing the 400 steep steps to the top of Copenhagen's Church of Our Saviour, a main attraction in the city. Take in the view from the baroque spire for a picturesque perspective of the Danish capital. Of course, you can't make the trek to the Jutland Peninsula without wandering down the colorful canal streets of Nyhavn and snapping a postcard-worthy picture.
Up next, the 16 most beautiful places in Europe will take your breath away.