To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.Freya Stark
The weather here changes so much, but we’ve been enjoying some warmer temperatures and gorgeous sunshine…until yesterday. We woke up to mild rain which quickly turned into a full on snow storm where we experienced 4 inches of snow accumulating in 5 hours and winds of 45mph. We stayed inside and dreamt of warmer days.
I spent the morning mostly outside playing with my dog, so I’m mentally transporting myself to warmer destinations with this post. Writing about events you can really only experience during the spring will make warmer weather appear faster, right? Right??
Cherry Blossoms and Spring Festivals in Japan
You just can’t have a travel blog post about spring events and not mention cherry blossoms in Japan. From the end of March to early May, the cherry blossoms spring into full bloom. Yes, pun intended. Take full advantage of the gorgeous scenery by having a picnic (hanami) underneath the trees.
What you may not have heard of are the Shibazakura Festival, the Kanda Matsuri Festival, and the Aoi Matsuri Festival. They take place during various parts of spring, so you’ll have to plan your trip according to the dates of the ones you want to see. The Shibazakura Festival celebrates how certain flowers turn the valley surrounding Mt. Fuji into a bright carpet of color. Kanda Matsuri and Aoi Matsuri are some of the largest festivals in Japan and you’ll get to see portable shrines, floats, and commemorations.
Tulip Festival, Netherlands
Celebrate King’s Day with celebrations across the country which occur the last Saturday of April each year. Street parties, flea markets, food, flower parades, and so much more will give you a wild introduction to the local culture. On the calmer spectrum of events and what brings most tourists to the area in the spring are the tulips. Millions, yes MILLIONS, of tulips bloom in April transforming an otherwise normal countryside into a violently beautiful burst of color.
Restaurant Week in Dubai
Dubai boasts warm temperatures year-round which makes it perfect for anyone hoping to escape winter. However, you should really consider booking a vacation there in late February to early March when the Dubai Food Festival rolls around. The name makes it sound like there’s just one event to see, but there are tons.
- Restaurant week has participating restaurants showcasing the best they have to offer
- Beach Canteen is an immensely popular dining popup experience that is open for just over two weeks each spring. They offer back to back days of food, live entertainment, and even activities for kids. They’re typically open late November to mid December, so ditch winter and stay a while.
- Taste of Dubai is a 3-day food festival that usually occurs in early March. It features restaurants, celebrity chefs, live music, and even learn cooking techniques from international chefs. You’ll get to experience tastes (and delicious smells) from all over the Middle East, making it one heck of a foodie event you shouldn’t miss.
- Dubai is also home to the International Kite Festival which also happens in the spring and has incredible kites from all over the world on display.
Wildlife Sightings on the Galápagos Islands
The Galápagos Islands were made infamous by Darwin and they remain that way because of the incredible variety of wildlife you can see. Ecuador in March has lovely tropical weather, albeit some short downpours. If you love wildlife, this is the place for you as 20% of the species there aren’t found anywhere else on the planet.
On Santa Cruz Island you can witness marine iguanas hunting underwater. Darwin Island is known for its sharks, so scuba diving is a must for shark lovers. The water temperatures are at their warmest in March too, so take full advantage of that. Don’t forget about the hatching turtles on land as well as the return of the albatross at the end of March.
Whale and Seal Watching in Glacier Bay, Alaska
So you won’t be escaping the cold at all, but this cold weather is 110% worth experiencing. Feeding season begins in the spring for whales that venture to Glacier Bay (near Juneau) each year. Starting in late April grey whales arrive and are shortly followed by orcas and humpback whales. Spring also marks the peak of breeding season for harbor seals, making it the best time to travel to Alaska if you want to see marine life at its finest with the backdrop of the dramatic snowy mountains Alaska is known for.
If you’re looking for land-based activities for when you’re done whale watching, the Iditarod Sled Dog Race occurs the first Saturday of March. There’s also the annual Folk Festival in Juneau, and Girdwood Spring Carnival in Seward where you can see skiing and snowboarding competitions while the competitors are dressed up in fancy costumes.