April is one of the best months for travelling – the ice is finally thawing, the flowers start to bloom, and in many places, you are a couple of months removed from the heavy crowds that descend in the summer.
The first full month of spring offers many special travel experiences, from the serene blooming of cherry blossoms in Tokyo and Washington, DC, to the majestic Victoria Falls and the spicy culinary delights of Penang.
Business Insider looked at airfare trends, climate data, and peak travel times to figure out which holiday spots should be on your radar.
Hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to the United States’ capital in April for the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which celebrates the blooming of the Japanese cherry trees the city received as a gift from Tokyo in 1912.
The festival lasts three weeks and features events like a kite-flying display, an all-day concert and a parade.
Apart from the festival, April is when Washington weather heats up to the low 70s Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius), making it perfect for an outdoor stroll around the National Mall or a free trip to a national park on April 21, the first day of National Parks Week.
Charleston, South Carolina
April is the perfect month for a trip to the Deep South of the United States, which gets uncomfortably hot deeper into the spring and summer.
In Charleston, it will be warm enough for trips to the beach and leisurely strolls through the city’s charming, historic, and – according to some – haunted streets. If you visit before April 21, you can tour some of the most stunning private houses and gardens in the city at the annual Festival of Houses and Gardens.
Kansas City, Missouri
April means the weather is warm and the flowers are in bloom in the Midwestern hub of Kansas City.
The Heart of America is a great destination for family-friendly excursions to museums, parks and the Kansas City Zoo, and is home to an underrated jazz scene and some of the best barbecue in the country.
The Cuban capital of Havana is rapidly transforming, and you should visit before it changes too drastically.
In April, when the weather is near-perfect, you can amble through the historic streets of Old Havana, admire the majestic buildings at the Plaza de Armas, and snorkel off the city’s eastern beaches.
Travellers who have been to Havana recommend waiting until you arrive to find lodging, as the best offers are only available on the island because of a lack of internet access.
The port city of Valparaíso, is known for its vibrantly coloured houses, picturesque seaside views and bohemian culture.
It’s mandatory to take at least one ride in an ascensor, a cable-connected train that travels up and down Valpo’s rolling hills. In this town, getting to your destination is half the fun.
April offers visitors to Italy’s famed capital superb weather for sightseeing and exploring – you might need a light jacket and scarf at times, but could get away with a T-shirt and jeans on other days.
The Colosseum and the Pantheon are on your doorstep in Rome, and a trip to the Vatican gives you access to St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.
The month also marks the opening of the serene Roseta Rose Garden – you better visit quick, because the garden only stays open until the end of May.
The tiny Mediterranean nation of Cyprus really gets going in April from a traveller’s standpoint. That is when the idyllic beaches in the south warm up, providing the perfect stage for a stroll or a sunbathing session.
For the more outdoors types, you’ll want to pay a visit to the mountainous region of Troodos, where you can hike to scenic waterfalls, go on a safari, and admire the stunning mountain views.
The Canary Islands are a territory of Spain located off the coast of Morocco, meaning the climate is even more hospitable for an April holiday than most destinations in Europe.
Experienced travellers say that each of the seven main islands has something different to offer. Tenerife is the hotspot for beaches, food and sightseeing, while Gran Canaria has an energetic nightlife scene. Fuerteventura is a paradise for wind sports lovers, while La Gomera is the island of choice for avid hikers.
You’ll have to visit the islands yourself to find out which one is right for you.
Nestled on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world.
April marks the start of dry season, which means the falls will be less intense, but you will have a better chance of viewing them because of less spray.
The big question tourists face is whether to visit the falls from the Zambian side or the Zimbabwean side. If you can’t make up your mind, you can do both for less than US$100 in visa fees.
The Malaysian state of Penang is considered one of the best destinations for street food in Asia.
Walk through the capital of George Town and you’ll pass hundreds of hawker stalls, food courts, and open-air markets brimming with Malaysia’s signature blend of Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisine. Penang has its own cuisine with staples like asam laksa, a bowl of silky rice noodles served in a sour, spicy, tamarind-based mackerel soup, and frequently topped with onion, pineapple, mint, ginger and shrimp paste.
Between meals, you can spend hours visiting Buddhist temples, trekking through the jungle, and discovering countless examples of Penang’s famous street art.
Blooming gardens and verdant gardens await visitors to Taiwan in April. Head to Yangmingshan National Park to catch the emergence of tens of thousands of cherry blossoms and azalea bushes in all their red, white and pink glory.
Taiwan’s location near a volcanic system also makes it an ideal holiday spot for hot springs lovers. Some of the best are found in Beitou and Wulai.
April is a magical month in Japan’s capital. Residents take cherry blossom season further than anyone else in the world, holding elaborate viewing parties to coincide with the blooming of the trees.
You can also see the city decked out in fish-shaped windsocks called koinobori in preparation for the Children’s Day holiday in early May.
At night, soak up the frenetic energy of the city’s nightlife, and if you’re up for it, party long after the sun comes up the next day.
Central Otago, New Zealand
The landscape of New Zealand’s Central Otago region is marked by picturesque mountains and valleys. April is autumn there, and visitors flock to the wine-growing region to witness the trees and vines transform from green to fiery red, orange, yellow, and golden brown.
The crisp autumn climate makes it perfect for an afternoon hike or bike ride as you admire nature in this far-flung destination.