After what feels like the longest and most brutal winter of the last decade, it's safe to say we're really ready for spring.
And when it officially shows up (that's March 20, for you folks without a calendar), there are a few destinations that you'll want to add to your bucket list.
Whether it's the ravishing rows of tulips in the Netherlands or the stunning scenery atop the Victoria Falls, there's no shortage of colourful reminders that life looks pretty cheerful when the mercury doesn't dip below zero.
So if months upon months of snow, sleet, and overall winter blues have left your life void of colour, here's a sneak peek of what spring travels have to offer.
If there's any place that knows how to welcome spring, it's India. The country's celebration of Holi, or Festival of Lights, is unrivaled and, unfortunately, already over. But there are plenty of other Holi imitators that don't require a trip across the Atlantic. For example: New York City's Holi Festival of Colors.
If you like colour and music, then head to the Big Apple for beats, coloured powder, and the opportunity to mix both together with swarms of people you've probably never met — just like the real Holi. Last year's event took place in East Flatbush, Brooklyn
but this year's venue has yet to be announced. A date has been set, though, so mark May 3
on your calendars if this sounds like your thing.
If you want to keep things in Canada, a trip to the Butchart Gardens might just fit the bill. Located on Victoria, B.C., the garden is open year round — but it's during spring when roughly 300,000 bulbs start to blossom. The result? Instant amnesia to help you forget about your winter woes. Fans of flora can check out all sorts of flowers like daffodils, magnolias, and tulips
during the spring. Things kick off somewhere between mid-March and May, and flowers are at their colour and fragrance heights from around mid-April to the first week of May. So come for the slights but stay for the smell!
Niagara Falls might be the go-to waterfall for Canadians, but those looking for something different should make the trek to Victoria Falls in Zambia. March and April fall near the end of the country's rainy season
, and after heavy rainfall from January and February, the river feeding into the falls swells up in size and causes the falls to furiously pump water. The result is a spectacular show that attracts plenty of colourful wildlife. Birds tend to migrate during this time while land mammals like impala, wildebeests, and buffalo start to mate.
Tulip lovers will want to consider the Netherlands for a more European flower fix. The region is home to stunning collections of crocuses, along with daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips
from late March to the end of May. If tulips are your thing, then the Keukenhof estate is where you'll want to go. The garden is home to roughly seven million bulbs. Official tours start on April 5 and even include some one-on-one time with expert gardeners for travellers wanting to grow their own green thumb.
Nicknamed "The City of Eternal Spring," the city of Kunming, China certainly has a lot to live up to. The name stems from the southwest Chinese region's mild climate and allows the area's flowers to bloom year-round. The area is something of a cultural gem thanks to 2,400 years of history, dating back to its time as the gateway of the Silk Road
. Today it's positioned as a commercial centre for tourists and boats some scenic sights like Grand View Park and the Stone Forest.
If the Netherlands is too far, consider making a trip to Washington, D.C. "House of Cards fans" can take in the sights from the political drama while everyone else can soak in the springtime beauty of the Washington Cherry Blossom Festival
. Starting on the first day of spring and running until April 13, the festival touts itself as America's "greatest springtime celebration." The event bills itself as a family-friendly event with live performances, art, and plenty of pretty cherry blossoms.
If the long winter has you in the mood to get wet, make your way to Chang Mai, Thailand on April 13 for the annual Songkran Water Festival. At first glance, Songkran looks like a giant water gun fight. Kids, adults, locals, and tourists spend the day soaked to the bone and making sure there's not a dry spot in sight. It's one of Thailand's biggest national holidays, so naturally, nothing is held back.
Traditionally, it's a time to celebrate the passing of the solar calendar and for families to pay respect to their elders. How this translates to drive-by watergun shootings, no one is quite sure. But what is for sure are the brightly coloured floats, costumes, and water guns that can be spotted left, right, and centre.
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