April was made for nature lovers. Dramatic mountaintops, beautiful flowers in full bloom, and tranquil beaches make April a fantastic month for an escape into the great outdoors. From hiking trails far from civilisation to lovely gardens in the middle of the city, you'll never be far from the beauty of Mother Nature.

    One of Europe’s most astonishing landscapes? A world-famous American national park? A beach paradise in South America? Any of these destinations will take you on an unforgettable journey during the month of April.

    1

    Kyoto, Japan

    Explore Japan’s most beautiful city covered in pink petals

    Geisha dances, illuminated temples at night, and cherry blossom viewings are among Kyoto’s April highlights. Head to Maruyama-koen Park to join the breathtaking hanami (cherry blossom viewing) gatherings. Find the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic underneath the radiant flowers that fall like pink rain. Witness the historic tradition of the Oka-sai Cherry Blossom Festival at the Hirano Shrine. Hundreds of cherry blossom trees are on display and participants wear beautiful silk kimonos and other traditional Japanese outfits.

    From Kiyomizu-dera Temple to Kodai-ji Temple, nighttime illuminations are sure to take your breath away. Take a stroll to the Shoren-in Temple to admire its splendid garden and magical bamboo forest. Complete your trip by heading to the historic Gion district to watch Miyako Odori, Kyoto’s most renowned geisha dance festival that takes place throughout April.

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    2

    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Winter’s over and the city is in bloom

    Amsterdam in April takes on a carnival-like vibe thanks to warmer weather, blooming springtime flowers, and several festive events. Visit famous attractions like Rijksmuseum or Vondelpark to see swathes of multi-coloured tulips swaying in the breeze. Take a short trip to the mammoth Keukenhof Gardens for one of the world’s finest floral displays. April is the best time to soak up Amsterdam’s impressive cultural heritage during National Museum Week. Admission fees are dropped for the week so there’s no better time to appreciate masterpieces by Van Gogh, Rembrandt and other Dutch masters.

    The fun-loving vibe in Amsterdam peaks at the end of the month during King’s Day, a city-wide party celebrating the king’s birthday. Residents sell their used goods at one of the vrijmarkt (jumble sales) found all across the city, Museumplein hosts a raucous music concert and a sea of orange fills the streets.

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    3

    Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK

    Mind-blowing nature with fewer crowds

    The Isle of Skye is home to some of the UK's most majestic natural landscapes, and April offers drier weather conditions, fewer crowds, and no annoying midges to contend with while you enjoy scenic drives and thrilling hikes. Start your adventure in the charming seaside village of Portree and snack on delicious fish and chips. Drive to the mystifying Old Man of Storr mountain and lace up your hiking boots. The panoramic views from the top are astonishing, but be prepared for blustery winds.

    Continue your drive to Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls for some of Skye’s most breathtaking scenery. Marvel at the basalt columns below the craggy cliffs and the waterfall cascading into the sea. Head over to the Fairy Pools for a magical hike of enchanting waterfalls and rugged mountains.

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    4

    Yosemite National Park, CA, USA

    Heaven for nature lovers

    The 1,200 square miles of Yosemite National Park is best explored in spring when you can experience gushing waterfalls, swathes of wildflowers, and fantastic hiking trails. Snow begins to melt and many of the park’s waterfalls begin to take form. Yosemite Falls flows over the cliffside and the roar of the water can be heard throughout the park. Ribbon Falls is another remarkable waterfall which can be only be viewed during the spring. Just make sure to bring a rain jacket and hiking shoes with great traction.

    Bring your camera and capture images of the stunning flowers in bloom. Goldfields, baby-blue eyes and poppies are just a few of the magnificent species you'll find. Head to Hite Cove Trail for one of the most stellar collections of wildflowers imaginable.

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    5

    Florianopolis, Brazil

    Sunny, blue sky beach days

    Expect warm temperatures and less rainfall in Florianopolis in April – it’s the month when you can truly enjoy the Brazilian sun. Sprawl out on Joaquina Beach to work on your tan and listen to the waves crash against the shore. The beach is popular for surfing and sandboarding and you can find a tasty bite from one of the local vendors. Admire the massive stones and enjoy the surf at Mole Beach. From Praia de Naufragados to Pântano do Sul, magnificent stretches of white sand and fishing hot spots create the ultimate beach day.

    Head to Praia do Forte for a fantastic time snorkelling and observing sea life. If you get hungry, Marché Public de Florianopolis (Florianopolis Public Market) offers numerous shops and restaurants to grab scrumptious seafood for little more than pocket change.

    Beach, please!

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    Daniel Grenier | Contributing Writer

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