Our friends at World Expeditions and its two European specialists, UTracks and Sherpa Expeditions, have written this post on when to see the most beautiful flowers in bloom.
Cherry trees – Japan / March-April
Springtime in Japan is magical. From late March to mid-April or even early May, its iconic cherry blossoms capture the attention of visitors and locals alike as their beautiful pink flowers blanket the country in soft, colourful splendour.
Japan has more than 100 varieties of cherry trees – but keep in mind that most blossoms are only on show for a week!
The trip: Backroads of Japan (15 days, guided) departs on 23 March, from £2,790 per person.
Daffodils – North Yorkshire / March-April
Daffodils may be typically associated with the English countryside, but for the genuine wild variety (two-tone yellow flowers, narrow trumpets and forward pointing petals) head to North Yorkshire.
The daffodils at Farndale Valley are reputed to have been planted by the monks of the nearby Rievaulx Abbey and there is even a dedicated mile-long “daffodil walk”!
The trip: The Cleveland Way – North Yorkshire Trails (12 days, self-guided) departs daily from 23 March and throughout April, from £690 per person.
Rhododendrons – Nepal / March-May
The highest diversity of rhododendrons in the world can be found in the Himalaya: at lower elevations the flowers are a vibrant red but as altitude increases the colour begins shifting to pink, gradually becoming pure white.
If you visit Nepal in March and April you will find the blooming trees blanket the hills with great beauty, heralding the coming of the spring.
The trip: Annapurna Trek (11 days, guided) departs on 18 May, from £990 per person.
Tulips – Holland, Netherlands / April-May
From the moment the first bulb was planted in Dutch soil in 1593, the country quickly became famous for its tulips.
Every March the fields turn into carpets of lime green sprouts as the first signs of spring emerge. By the time the season is in full swing, the area resembles a colourful patchwork, swathed in red, pink, purple, orange and yellow blooms.
The trip: Tulip Tour (4 days, guided) has more than 10 departures in April and May, from £395 per person.
Lavender – Provence, France / June-August
With colours varying from violet to indigo and everything in between, the lavender fields in Provence are guaranteed to take your breath away and awaken all your senses.
The heady scent of lavender is strongest in the heart of the summer, when the fine stalks wave in the wind, with prairies in bloom stretching as far as the eye can see.
The trip: Provence Backroads (8 days, self-guided) departs daily in July and August, from £790 per adult (£170 per child when sharing with two adults).
Sunflowers – Tuscany, Italy / July-August
It is hard not to fall in love with sunflowers: they give a sense of happiness, like a sun shining in a beautiful summer day.
Sunflowers in bloom are a striking sight and in Tuscany they are an icon of the region. Follow the backroads in the warm summer months and spot the sun-loving “girasoli” among cypresses, vineyards and traditional Tuscan architecture.
The trip: Treasures of Tuscany (7 days, self-guided) departs daily in July and August, from £780 per person. 11-day itinerary also available.
Orchids – Madeira / Year-round
Madeira’s subtropical climate and rich volcanic soil make for perfect growing conditions and orchids here enjoy an impressive year-round flowering season.
There is a dedicated Orchid Garden with more than 7,500 species, while a week-long Flower Festival takes place every spring.
The trip: The Mountains of Madeira (8 days, guided) departs on 11 May and 7 September, from £695 per person. Self-guided option also available.
(Featured image: The Flower Festival of Paju City, Korea by UNC – CFC – USFK)Oonagh Shiel