The 7 best places to visit this spring
Springtime brings longer days, milder weather, and far fewer tourists than the summer months. While the kids are still busy with school and the flowers are in bloom make May the month you sneak away for that much-deserved trip. Here are seven spots around the globe to celebrate the colors of spring.
Once you’ve seen Dubrovnik’s medieval city walls and visited some of the historic cities along the gorgeous Dalmatian Coast you’ll want more. Take the next chapter of touring from the sea on a cruise of the Croatian Islands. You’ll hop from port to port visiting charming villages, fishing ports, and hilltop strongholds. Wine tastings on the island of Hvar, the Blue Cave off Korcula, and the medieval town designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the island of Trogir are on most itineraries. There are a least fifty ways to see these islands from sailing yachts to small ships with a dozen cabins that depart from Split or Dubrovnik.
This mountainous isle, the largest Greek island is a botanist’s heaven with over 2,000 species of plants on the island, some endemic and are only found on the island, while others including olive trees and grape vines grow throughout the region. Cooking tours are busy with visitors hosting them on excursions and outdoor classrooms to check out olive groves, olive mills, and pressings. Wild herbs like chamomile, marjoram, thyme, oregano, and fennel grow on the rugged mountainous landscapes and are collected by cooks and chefs used in flavoring soups and stews. When spring is in full force the hillsides, slopes, and roadsides are carpeted in yellow, red, and purple blooms. Tiny wild tulips are early bloomers and are best seen on the hillside that spills over the village of Slili. Miniature purple orchids pop out among the yellow-colored flowers of chamomile. Small red poppies, full-petaled peonies, and delicate anemones make a multi-colored tapestry that rests over the landscape.
An island known for its 33 white sand beaches is also a culinary leader in the region. There are 70 restaurants many with a French flare combining Continental seasonings and techniques with local seafood; you’ll have grilled lobster with Herbs de Provence. Local barbeque is big and Caribbean cuisine including pigeon peas and rice, shredded salt cod and jerk chicken is prevalent but when visiting chefs come to the island, there is no limit. The Anguilla Culinary Experience runs for four days in early May and brings together local talented chefs with award- winning pros from the states and Europe. The event kicks off with a party and tasting at Aurora Anguilla Resort & Spa; guests will try dishes from each of the six restaurants. Resident and guest chefs will host dinners at set restaurants and days and evenings will include cooking demonstrations and rum tastings. Private dinners, beach barbeques, and gourmet island tours are all part of the festivities. The event runs from May 3 to 6, 2023. Order your tickets at: https://anguillaculinaryexperience.com/
Without a doubt, Santorini is the most famous of the Cyclades Islands, and visiting in the off-season is preferred. When July and August roll around the tourists flock in. In May, the weather is warm, sunny, and dry and you’ll be able to see one of those fabulous sunsets without rubbing shoulders. Explore as many villages as time allows. Fira, the largest town is good for shopping and nightlife and has a bus connection to get to other villages. Oia is the town most visitors head to when they get off the ships, its stone pedestrian paths wind up and around the hills connecting restaurants, inns, and shops and offering breathtaking views below of the cobalt-blue Mediterranean Sea.
Chocolate lovers will want to mark their calendars for this culinary event. The island is once known for its nutmeg, the pod that’s pictured on the National flag, and is now becoming the chocolate capital of the Caribbean. An island where agriculture was king, the volcanic soil is spectacularly fertile and today the central agricultural regions of the island are not only growing the iconic nutmeg and cinnamon but among mangoes, vanilla, and bananas grows the prized cacao. In the past, cacao was mostly exported but farmers today are holding onto the precious pods. Today there are five tree-to-bar companies, and they all play a role in the Grenada Chocolate Festival, a celebration of all things chocolate. You’ll find tastings, pairings, dinners, hands-on experiences, and plantation excursions. Meet the growers, participate in the raking and walking of the cacao, and learn the art of making bars. The event takes place May 16-21, 2023. Sign up at: https://www.grenadachocolatefest.com/
The rainy season is over, and the weather is considered ideal in May, although humidity plays a role in a lush environment during the day evenings cool down and best of all, the summer visitors haven’t arrived yet. For hikers, the island is a nonstop adventure as 90 percent of the island is unpaved and accessible via hikes and bikes. A hike will take you just about anywhere there is a semblance of a trail and there are easy strolls along the coast to tougher hikes up 3,000-foot-high ridges offering breathtaking views. The Waimea Canyon on the west side takes in several hikes of various levels through the state park. Trails to Koke’e State Park carpeted in green forests meander through 4,345 acres reaching a plateau 3,200 to 4,200 feet above sea level. The views are amazing and the forest is home to some of Hawaii’s endemic birds. Most will want to hike the hanging valley of the Napali Coast, it’s not for the beginner but the views are worth it for those conditioned for a challenging and strenuous hike. This hike along the Kalalau Trail is 11 miles one way and follows the path of the ancient Hawaiians.
Spring months are best for a visit to the island of Malta when the nights are still cool, and the majority of tourists haven’t arrived yet. Summer months can get intense with heat and overrun with visitors, many of who fancy the Instagrammable beach clubs. May is considered the sweet spot. History buffs will marvel at the architecture and since the island has been occupied first by the Phoenicians, then the Romans and so on there’s influence from Spain, Sicily, France, and England. The island became independent in 1964. However, the collision of cultures and unique buildings remains. Visit Malta’s Silent city of Mdina, once the capital, which dates to the Phoenicians 4,000 years ago. It’s a walking city with no cars except for residents who number under 300. Walk the narrow streets where churches have become museums and galleries and many of the palaces are now private homes.