April brings a seasonal shift across the globe, making it the ideal time of year for exploring ancient wonders, embarking on epic adventures and savoring fresh local produce.
So grab your passport and pack your suitcase for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Here’s our guide to the very best places to go in April.
Where are the best places to travel to in April for wildlife and nature?
A field of pink muhly grass by Cheomseongdae, an ancient astrological observatory in Gyeongju, South Korea; emerald pool in Dominica © iStock
Why now? Perfect petals, with a generous side of culture, too.
Think cherry blossoms only pop in Japan? Think again. South Korea puts on equally dazzling displays come springtime. Several flower-related festivals are held in capital Seoul in April; wander beneath dreamy blooms at Seokchon Lake, on Yeouido Island and through the grounds of 15th-century Changgyeonggung Palace. Further south, around Busan, the port city of Jinhae is as pretty as a picture. Gyeongju hosts an annual Cherry Blossom Marathon in early April. The former capital of the ancient Silla dynasty, the city is also home to more temples, tombs, pagodas and palaces than anywhere else in the country.
Why now? For warm, wild times on the Nature Isle.
Dominica (one of our Best in Travel picks for 2023) isn’t like other Caribbean countries. Black sand, rampant jungle, a relative dearth of slick-and-swanky resorts: this is tropical paradise as nature intended, rustic and authentic. It’s a great place for hikes (unusual for the region). It’s arguably even better for spotting huge marine creatures: around 200 sperm whales plus porpoises and dolphins live here year-round, while migrating humpbacks pass by (January–April) and four species of sea turtle – leatherbacks, loggerheads, greens and hawksbills – come to nest (March–October).
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Where are the best places to travel to in April for adventure?
Visit Petra, or hike the Drakensberg Mountains © iStock
Why now? For desert adventures in the kindest temperatures.
Compact Jordan offers the complete package. Ancient wonders? Visit the 2000-year-old rock-hewn city of Petra or Karak’s Crusader castle. City sights? Try Roman Jerash or the souks of Amman. Jaw-dropping landscapes? Camp in the other-worldly deserts of Wadi Rum. More surprisingly, Jordan can also be very green – especially at this time. In April, humidity and rainfall are low, temperatures loiter delightfully at a mild 20–23°C (68–73°F), the central valleys are lush from winter rains and wildflowers bloom everywhere. In particular, Ajloun Forest is abloom with strawberry trees and rock roses, while Dana’s oases are bright with oleander and birds. Also, the vastness of Petra can be explored without breaking a sweat.
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Why now? For stable weather, mighty mountains, moving history and massive mammals.
For an excellent South African all-rounder, look no further than KwaZulu-Natal. The province has golden Indian Ocean frontage, the country’s highest peaks and brilliant big-game parks. Its earth is soaked with history, too, most notably the bloody skirmishes of the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War, best appreciated on guided trips to the battlefield sites of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. Soak it all up in the austral autumn, when the weather is still warm (24°C; 75°F) and the skies dry. Conditions are generally stable in the spear-like Drakensberg Mountains as well, opening a world of wonderful walking of all levels, via geological amphitheaters, pools and waterfalls, imposing spires and San rock art.
Where are the best places to travel to in April for culture?
Sampling suds at Benchtop Brewing in Richmond; a view of St Peter’s in Rome © Carlos Bernate/Visit Richmond; Cristina Gottardi
Richmond, Virginia, USA
Why now? To raise a glass to better climes.
There’s a buzz about Virginia’s capital city – and it’s not just the coming of spring (though April is indeed lovely here). A burst of creative energy has given this handsome but old fashioned–feeling “River City” a new vitality. The booze scene is certainly booming, garnering Richmond the nickname “America’s Beer City.” Indeed, more than 20 craft breweries call the city home, all visitable along the Richmond Beer Trail. The ale-averse may be happy to discover that Richmond has a growing cocktail scene, too: order something fabulous at The Jasper, which oozes speakeasy style, or settle in at classic dive bar Fuzzy Cactus.
Why now? Visit the Eternal City on its birthday.
History buffs might like to visit Rome on its birthday. The Eternal City was founded on 21 April 753 BCE, and every year it celebrates with events, light shows and truck-loads of fireworks. Festivities aside, April and May are delightful times to visit. Rome is a city for sightseeing, which is far better done on milder spring days (15–20°C; 59–68°F) than in the depths of winter or heights of summer. It’s also less busy (and a little cheaper), and seasonal attractions are open. To top it all off, menus abound with such tasty spring things as artichokes and asparagus. A Roman speciality combining peas, fava beans, lettuce and artichokes, vignarola is the season’s signature dish.
Where are the best places to travel to in April for food and drink?
Explore the ruins of the Epidaurus theater, or tour wineries in Martinborough © iStock; Camila Rutherford
Why now? Gorge on great food, in warming weather.
Hanging south of mainland Greece, the mountainous Peloponnese peninsula, the one-time heartland of the Spartans, is both historically rich and fantastically fertile. So come in mild, sunny spring, to walk the ruins – Olympia, Mycenae, Epidaurus – in pleasant temperatures (average maximum 21°C; 70°F) and to eat yourself silly. Speciality produce ranges from Kalamata olives to tsakoniki eggplant, and roast suckling pig to the Menalon mountains’ vanilla fir honey, which has protected-origin status. Even better, tourism here is more community-focused than mass-market, with family-run food tours, guesthouses and tavernas enabling you to sample authentic favors. The wine is great, too: try super reds from Nemea and sweet white Malvasia from Monemvasia.
Wairarapa, New Zealand
Why now? Raise a glass outside the capital.
Come grape-harvest season, when the vines blaze autumnal-orange across the hillsides as they wait to be plucked, raise a glass like a true Wellingtonian. The Wairarapa Wine Region, only an hour’s drive northeast of New Zealand’s capital, has a climate similar to Burgundy and a wild, rural, undiscovered feel. Make for Martinborough, the charming old town at the heart of the local wine industry. Top-quality pinot noir hails from the family-owned vineyards hereabouts. Luna has a restaurant on site; smaller, more intimate options include Nga Waka and Schubert. Gourmet tours and food-wine pairing experiences are possible, which combine visits to some of the 20-odd local vineyards; expect to sip wines alongside beers from the region’s craft breweries and munch on platters of world-class cheeses. Or take a self-guided cycle amid the vines – the cellar doors around here are conveniently close to one another and easy to reach by pedal.
Looking to plan further ahead? Here are the best places to travel in every month of the year.