Image: Jorge Salvador/Unsplash

2022 is beginning to look like the year we get to explore the great outdoors. As borders start to open up while vaccines become readily available, we can finally look forward to blocking out dates off work and filling our passports with stamp prints.

More importantly, many destinations are looking to ease or remove pandemic restrictions in the coming year. Great Britain, for instance, has already lifted their mask mandates while the Netherlands have allowed nightclubs and restaurants to return to pre-pandemic hours. Perhaps such is a sign indicating the light at the end of the tunnel.

Generally speaking, Spring, which takes place between early March and early June in the Northern Hemisphere, is a great time to travel. Shaking off the cold wintry shoulders of ice and sleet, hard brown buds start to quiver, waiting to bloom, in their branches while hibernating animals start stirring from their slumber. As the temperature warms up, expect to see life again as fields turn green, insects chirp between leaf litter and florals bloom.

For the warmer season ahead, we have shortlisted some holiday destinations for your consideration as you gear up to tick off your travel bucket list for Spring. If you are looking to travel anytime soon, make sure to do your due diligence and check out where the VTLs are as well as each country’s prevailing entry requirements and their relevant quarantine rules.  

Barcelona, Spain

Tibidabo Amusement Park, Barcelona, SpainImage: Tomáš Nožina/UnsplashCasa Milá in Barcelona SpainImage: Florencia Potter/Unsplash

With its pleasant temperature, Spring is the perfect time to explore the Catalan capital on foot. The land of siesta is known for its eclectic selection of food haunts and nightlife. To embrace Spain in all of its energetic energy, head over to Barcelona where you get to visit the sunny beaches with glistening sand, savour some of the world’s best restaurants with imaginative cuisine — the likes of Michelin-starred favourites Cinc Sentits and Oria — as well as relish in the vibrant hubbub around inconspicuous markets, such as Mercat de Santa Caterina, a stone’s throw away from Cathedral of Holy Cross.

READ MORE: Lux Living: Gran Hotel La Florida in Barcelona, Spain

La Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudi in BarcelonaImage: Burak Aslan/Unsplash

Whether it is exploring narrow alleyways in the city on foot or cycling around the handsome boulevards, keep your eyes peeled for the modernist masterpieces, such as Sagrada Familia, Casa Milà and Park Güell, by renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí all around. If you are lucky, you can consider participating in Catalan’s most romantic holiday of the year on April 23. Combining culture, art and love, Sant Jordi’s Day, as the festival goes, sees lovers exchanging books and flowers, and this means flower shopping and partaking in book exchanges in flea markets.

READ MORE: Restaurants in Spain: Disfrutar in Barcelona named 2017’s ‘One to Watch’ under World’s 50 Best Restaurants

Vancouver, Canada

Stanley Park, Vancouver CanadaImage: Luc Tribolet/Unsplash

Drawing close comparisons with other cosmopolitan cities, Vancouver is truly an underrated gem. Cushioned between mountains and oceans, the city is well-known for its eclectic nature offerings, even more so when the temperature warms up in Spring. Trek along Vancouver’s most popular recreational spot by the sea’s edge at the Seawall. As the world’s largest uninterrupted waterfront path that spans more than 20km, a trip here is undoubtedly one of the best ways to see the city like a local. Alternatively, you could pay Stanley Park a visit. The 400-hectare urban park, one-fifth larger than Central Park and can be accessed from the Seawall, fringes downtown toward a whole sprawl of beaches, iconic landmarks and food haunts. There, make it a point to visit Canada’s largest aquarium, home of over 65,000 playful animals, too.

READ MORE: Adventure Holiday: 9 Extreme Things To Do in Canada

cherry blossoms in North Vancouver, CanadaImage: Courtney Brice/Unsplash

While one would typically visit Japan or South Korea for their cherry blossoms in Spring, you would be surprised to know that Vancouver, too, boasts several sites where you can witness the fluffy pink canopy in its glory. A gift from Japan to honour the Japanese Canadians who served in World War I, these cherry blossoms will bloom between late February and May. Some of the top spots for cherry blossom viewing include the residential area of Kitsilano, Stanley Park, and UBC Campus. There’s even a festival to boot too.

Another fun fact: the city is notorious for its wet spells, so much so that it has earned itself the moniker “Raincouver”. Have an umbrella at the ready.

Frankfurt, Germany

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, GermanyImage: Roman Kraft/Unsplash

Germany’s fifth largest city, or Frankfurt, boasts an old-warm charm unlike any other. From the cobblestone streets and interesting museums in Sachsenhausen to the many cafes along Ostend and Nordend, each of Frankfurt’s neighbourhoods boasts a distinct character and allure that will have you hooked. When in the district of Sachsenhausen, be sure to have a pint (or two) at the oldest (and best) taverns, such as Adolf Wagner, in the region. 

Beyond its quaint neighourhood and shops, the financial hub of Germany is home to plenty of skyscrapers. Its nickname is “Mainhattan” and it goes without saying that Frankfurt’s skyline is a majestic display. Order a cocktail and get a whiff of the impressive view at the Main Tower Restaurant & Lounge through its eight-metre high glass façade on the 53rd floor.

Stadel Museum in Frankfurt, GermanyImage: Städel MuseumStadel Museum in Frankfurt, GermanyImage: Städel MuseumStadel Museum in Frankfurt, GermanyImage: Städel Museum

The best museums—all 38 of them—reside along the promenade at Museumsufer.

From the famous fine arts museum Städel Museum to one of the largest museums dedicated to natural history in Germany Senckenberg Museum, the museums along the promenade make for the perfect date escapade for couples as well as the perfect outlet for a weekend trip with the family. On Saturdays, locals would likely set up stalls at the makeshift flea market, or as the local dialect goes “flohmarkt”, along the embankment.   

If you have more time to spare, head over to the picturesque town of Rüdesheim am Rhein, which is an hour’s drive away from Frankfurt. Known for its Riesling wine, the quaint town, with its gorgeous vineyards, nature and tours, makes for the perfect Spring getaway. 

Zürich, Switzerland

Zurich, SwitzerlandImage: Rico Reutimann/Unsplash

Divided into 12 districts, or as the locals call them “Kreis 1 to Kreis 12”, the Swiss capital of Zürich holds several surprises and hidden gems waiting to be discovered. There is the renowned Zürich’s shopping boulevard at Kreis 1, also known as the downtown shopping street of Bahnhofstrasse, where you can shop from a dizzying galore of high fashion shoppes and luxury boutiques. 

There is also the gentrified Kreis 5, which is located beside the south bank of Limmat River or Hardbrücke Station and is home to several independent fashion and home furnishing boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. Formerly an industrial site, the now-gritty district has gotten a youthful facelift in recent years. When you are there, be sure to visit the modernised art centre Löwenbräukunst-Areal, as well as feast or shop local produce—think antipasti or even rose-petal jam—at the marketplace Markthalle in railway viaduct-turned-shopping complex Im Viadukt. If you have time to spare, head down to the nearby Bogen F, a live music concert and event bar, in the evening.

READ MORE: Zürich: A Tale of Two Quarters

For a taste of Spring, be sure to visit the 1 Michelin-starred restaurant Die Rose. There, savour dishes made using market-fresh, seasonal produce by chef Tobias Buholzer in a 400-year-old, half-timbered house near Lake Zurich. 

Seoul, South Korea

Dream Forest in Seoul, South KoreaImage: Seoul Metropolitan GovernmentCherry blossoms in SeoulImage: Clement/Unsplash

Spring is one of the best times to visit South Korea’s capital, Seoul. The cherry blossoms are expected to bloom between late March and mid-April. Some of the best spots to view these blooms include Seoul’s fourth largest park Dream Forest and KyungHee University, which is located in the northern tip of the capital.   

READ MORE: It’s Got Seoul: Le Méridien Seoul

shopping in Seoul, KoreaImage: Cait Ellis/Unsplash

For first-timers, it can be difficult to navigate about the extensive capital, especially since Google Map doesn’t really work well there. This means part of the package (and charm) of exploring the high-octane capital and its hippy neighbourhoods is getting lost. At Seoul’s popular entertainment hub Itaewon, be sure to visit its slew of hipster cafes, such as Old Ferry Donut and Hollys Coffee, in the afternoon and head for its happening underground nightclubs in the evening. You may also consider heading to Gyeongridan in Itaewon to sample a pint or two of South Korea’s craft beer revolution.   

Otherwise, shop till you drop at Galleria Department Store in Gangnam, also dubbed as South Korea’s most famous neighbourhood. If you are lucky, you might even spot Kpop celebrities on the streets here, considering how SM Entertainment and JYP Entertainment are located here. 

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