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European cities blooming with activity this spring

travel1 paris in spring
Paris in spring. PA Photo/Alamy.

By Sarah Marshall

Traditionally, spring has always been a season focused around nature. But as days lengthen and the air grows warmer, cities also shine in a new light.

After two years of closures and restrictions, museums and galleries have reopened and streets are once again full of life.

Fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need a PCR or antigen test to enter many European countries, and restrictions on using passes are also easing, making it much easier to enter restaurants and attractions.

These are some of the cities worth checking out in the next few months.

 

Paris

Some of the world’s greatest masterpieces were painted in France, inspired by beautiful surroundings and a vibrant arts scene. Paris is home to many of Europe’s top galleries, and spring is an excellent time to catch new exhibitions. Newly opened at the Musée de l’Orangerie, and running until July 11 is Impressionist decorations: Tracing The Roots of Monet’s Water Lilies features work by Cézanne, Degas and Monet. Combine a trip to the gallery with a stroll along the Seine, and boulevards filled with tress in full blossom.

Covid requirements: Only non-vaccinated travellers are required to provide proof of a negative Covid test and may also be asked to test on arrival. Everyone will need to fill in a sworn statement and PLF form

 

travel2 st peter's basilica in rome at night
St Peter’s Basilica in Rome at night. PA Photo/Alamy.

Rome

The world’s most impressive open-air museum deserves to be explored on foot. Wander along ancient streets, take rest breaks at famous fountains and gaze up at dramatic ruins, such as the Colosseum and the Forum. To savour every detail – including hidden spots that might easily be missed – join an escorted tour with Ramblers Walking Holidays. Stroll along the Via della Conciliazione to the Vatican City to explore the Sistine Chapel and take in Michelangelo’s Pietà at St Peter’s Basilica, or stop for a gelato at the Spanish Steps. The trip also includes walks further afield in the water gardens of Villa d’Este and by the sea at Ostia Antica.

Covid requirements: Only non-vaccinated travellers will be asked for proof of a negative Covid test. But everyone will need to fill out a PLF. From May 1, masks will no longer be required in indoor venues or on public transport, and the Green Pass will no longer be needed to enter museums or restaurants

 

Copenhagen

Looped by 382km of bike trails and bridges, the Danish capital is easy to explore on two wheels. In July, the Tour de France will start in these streets, but since 2022 has been declared a Year Of The Bike, there’s good reason to visit much sooner. Of all the bike tours on offer, an itinerary with Green Bikes is one of the most interesting. Led by experts with a background in sustainability, a three-hour tour visits buildings and projects designed to help Copenhagen become the first carbon neutral capital by 2025.

Covid requirements: Denmark was the first EU country to scrap all Covid requirements

 

Amsterdam

Following two years of closure, the Keukenhof tulip and flower park has finally reopened for its spring season, lasting until May 15. Walk around the Garden of Europe in Lisse, a 35-minute drive from Amsterdam, and return via the Zomerbloemenpluktuin, where it’s possible to pick your own blooms along the Amstel River. But even within the city limits, it’s possible to enjoy the great outdoors. Amsterdam’s Museumplein comes alive every third Sunday of the month for Museum Market, decked out with colourful stalls for all kinds of locally-made goods, food stands and live music.

Covid requirements: Fully vaccinated travellers no longer need to provide proof of a negative Covid test. Restrictions still apply to non-vaccinated travellers from outside the EU

 

St Helier, Jersey

It’s not an obvious choice for a classic city break, but Jersey’s capital offers all the finesse of a European sojourn. Packed with excellent restaurants and opportunities for tax-free shopping, it’s an easy weekend break. Embark on a Jersey Seafari, with a hop over to France for lunch.

Covid requirements: There are currently no entry requirements or Covid restrictions in place for Jersey

 

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