There are certain ingredients that every spring getaway should have. Easy access to outdoor spaces so that you can admire, at your leisure, nature bursting into bloom. Delicious, fresh food, full of the flavours of the season. And, of course, a wonderful hotel from which to experience it all from – the key component that’s at the core of every memorable escape.
Plan a spring getaway that ticks all the boxes with our insights, below – which one piques your interest..?
1. Germany: Hotel Schwarzer Bock
Within beautiful Bavaria is the quaint and charming Rococo city of Ansbach, in which you’ll discover the even more quaint and charming Hotel Schwarzer Bock. This picturesque property was established in the 1500s, where it began as a locally-beloved tavern that was even admired by the likes of the Prince Regent of Bavaria. Now, the family-run property continues to dole out the royal treatment for those who choose to stay there, and between its boutique rooms and lovely, warm atmosphere, you’re sure to adore each moment within its historic walls.
If you’re lucky enough to be around Ansbach this spring, you may get to enjoy the city’s 800 Year Anniversary (restrictions permitting), in which the city will be celebrating 800 years since it was first founded, according to known records. Throughout April, Ansbach restaurants will offer special seasonal dishes in honour of the event, and a little later on, in June, visitors can enjoy an anniversary tour of the city’s highlights called ‘800 Years – 800 Steps’. If you’re around, check it out. If you’re not, never fear. Celebration or no celebration, Ansbach is a gorgeous city with plenty to offer, and with the rest of Bavaria at your fingertips, you’ll never be short of things to do.
2. Ireland: Fernhill House
If a trip filled with languid walks through lovely gardens sounds like your idea of heaven, plan your next spring getaway around Fernhill House. You can’t help but feel serene in the hotel’s spectacular landscaped gardens, where – along with their epic variety of flora and fauna – the staff grow herbs, bay leaves and more to be used in their on-site restaurant. Indeed, much of the hotel’s menu comes from local sources, including artisan producers and fish from the sea, which is only a stone’s throw away in this hotel’s West Cork location.
Being in West Cork also gives Fernhill House admirable proximity to every horticultural spot included in the West Cork Garden Trail, which includes 27 luscious, vibrant spaces for you to explore. Discover fairy houses and exotic birds at Glenview Gardens, colourful flowers and wondrous walled gardens at Fota Arboretum & Gardens and many more. We’ve listed some additional favourites here.
3. Italy: Castello di Gargonza
It’s almost impossible not to be constantly smiling when you’re under the Tuscan sun – particularly when you choose to stay somewhere as exciting as a medieval castle. Castello di Gargonza has a complex and captivating history that its hoteliers have taken great efforts to honour. Each of its self-catering apartments is named after one of Gargonza’s original residents, and through their careful restoration of the village’s traditional houses (where each guest stays), have retained the simplicity of rural life and made it accessible to the modern traveller.
There’s plenty to do within Gargonza, too. It has its own leafy woods, pool and incredible restaurant, which is spread across a huge antique tractor shed and outside terrace with terrific views. That being said, if you want to taste a bit of culture outside of the village’s walls, head to the Franciscan church in Arezzo, San Francesco. Within the main choir chapel of the church is a series of frescoes by Piero della Francesca, a 15th century Italian painter who’s world-famous in the art scene for his rare talent. This particular work of his tells the story of the ‘Legend of the True Cross’, and with its mix of richly-painted characters and vibrant scenes, will keep you enraptured for hours.
4. The Netherlands: Sterkenburg Castle
Combine cosmopolitan and country living during your next spring getaway by booking yourself into Sterkenburg Castle. Nestled within some truly eclectic countryside – surrounded by meadows, orchards, woods, gardens and canals – you’ll be amazed to learn it’s less than half an hour’s drive away from the fascinating city of Utrecht. There are plenty of special perks to staying here, too, including a variety of wildlife to admire (like deer) and the option of ultra-fresh breakfasts in bed, which often includes juices and jams made with fruit from the orchard. You can even bring your dog to the hotel, if you’re so inclined.
Head to Utrecht to satisfy your sightseeing needs. With its compact city centre, many of the best sights are based quite close to each other, enabling you to pack quite a lot into your trip regardless of your timeframe. Explore Holland’s biggest castle, attend a Star Viewing Night at a 19th-century observatory and wander along the historic Oudegracht canal, while popping into the various cafés and stores that decorate its waterfront. There’s plenty to enjoy.
5. Latvia: Metropole
You’ll never forget a spring getaway in Riga, particularly if you opt to stay at the Metropole. This opulent establishment, built in 1871, contains 88 elegant, four-star rooms, ranging from the pretty and practical to ultra-luxury. It’s just a short walk away from historic downtown Riga, too, putting you in close range to many of the city’s most amazing attractions.
Make the most of bright spring days by visiting verdant Vērmanes Garden, where you can soak up some sights in the sunshine. Pause to admire fountains and sculptures as you make your way down its various paths, eclipsed by vibrant flowers blossoming into life. Alternatively, stroll straight into Latvia’s history by embarking on a trip to the Ethnographic Open Air Museum, which contains over 118 historical buildings to explore. There’s tons to do in this culture-centric city – learn more about our favourite Riga sights here.
6. Switzerland: Kurhaus Bergün
Kurhaus Bergun makes quite the first impression. An Art Nouveau building in the rugged Albula Valley, its silhouette can’t help but stand out. The hotel, however, is more than just a handsome facade. The hoteliers pride themselves on their world-class service and on going above and beyond for their guests, whether that’s by creating luscious bouquets of flowers for their rooms or helping them to plan exciting day trips to the many sights close by, from the “most beautiful lake in Switzerland” to a much-loved golf club.
If you could only pick one thing to do, though, during your Swiss spring getaway, it should be to take a trip on the Albula Bernina Railway line. A UNESCO railway, the Albula Bernina was built nearly 100 years ago for steam locomotives to make passage through the mountains. Today, it’s an absolutely glorious way for travellers to soak up the sublime Swiss landscape. Snake across viaducts and through helical tunnels as you admire staggering sights including the Morteratsch glacier and majestic Graubünden mountains. It’s quite the commute.