Once a year, Mother Nature puts up a kaleidoscopic show of technicolour extravagance. From blushing flowers to verdant valleys and grand avian migration spectacles, we bring you a global list of seven colourful destinations to pin to your spring mood board.
By POOJA NAIK
Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan
Experience a waterfront garden awash in springtime glory in the Land of the Rising Sun. A sight sure to take your breath away, Hitachi Seaside Park is home to rolling landscapes covered in nemophila—a beautiful blue annual herb native to North America. Known as rurikarakusa in Japanese, these pretty flowers are referred to as ‘baby blue eyes’ in English. The name’s origins, however, are rooted in Greek, where nemos translates to ‘small forest’ and phileo means ‘to love’. About a two-hour-drive from Tokyo, this 350-hectare park is definitely worth the trip, just to witness this variety of plants, which grow up to 20 centimetres tall and produce flowers between two to three centimetres in size. In a country known for its splendid show of cherry blossoms, nemophila typically take centre stage between mid-April and early May. Believed to be symbols of success, these blooms are also considered to be harbingers of luck and happiness.
Do make sure to visit the food stalls to try baby-blue-coloured soft-serve ice cream and nemophila-shaped cookies. Simply delicious!
Fly to Tokyo with Vistara’s codeshare partners Singapore Airlines and Japan Airlines.
Besides being the birthplace of musical maestro Beethoven, this historic city in western Germany has a ‘blooming’ surprise for visitors. Plan a trip in the month of April and be treated to bursts of cherry blossoms along almost every bend and corner of its roads and neighbourhoods! The best place to view these pink posies is Heerstraße, also known as Cherry Blossom Avenue. It was in the 1980s that ornamental Japanese cherry blossom trees were planted along this street, but its growing popularity has attracted a flurry of Instagrammers to the neighbourhood in recent years. For a quieter, less-crowded viewing, head to the equally gorgeous Südstadt (South City) and Sterntor City Gate. The former is nestled alongside the banks of the Rhine River that’s ideal for a romantic river cruise. Not that there’s any dearth of love in the air, even when you’re simply strolling down these canopied, pink-hued boulevards.
Maxstraße must not be skipped for its white flowers. And the 11th-century Bonn Minster church is an architectural landmark that warrants a visit.
Vistara offers direct flights six times a week between Delhi and Frankfurt.
Keukenhof Gardens, Holland
While many places around the world are known for their tulip displays, none come close to the ultimate show-stopper—the striking Keukenhof Gardens. Centred around an annual theme, the flower park is a flamboyant exhibition of eight inspirational gardens, events, and artworks. The themes range from concepts like ‘a world of colours’, ‘flower classics’, ‘flower power’, and more. Visitors can also enjoy several hiking trails that commence from Keukenhof and flaunt spectacular views of the flower gardens. Besides rows of tulips in red, yellow, white, pink, and purple, expect weekly shows of hyacinth, freesia, and chrysanthemum in the Oranje Nassau Pavillion. Additionally, sway to Dutch music by mop bands and participate in the Holland Heritage weekend, where traditional music, old crafts, costumes, various types of cheeses, and tulips are showcased with much fanfare.
Keukenhof is a seasonal, ticketed event and will be open daily from
23 March to 14 May, 2023. Do check dates and timings online to avoid disappointment.
Travel to Amsterdam on the Deutsche Bahn with Vistara’s new Rail & Fly service, via Frankfurt.
Sandhill Crane Migration, Canada
Look skywards during springtime in Canada and there’s a great chance you’ll witness flocks of grey-bodied, crimson-capped birds following traditional migration flyways. These are the Sandhill Cranes and they know how to attract attention in style! Sticking together in groups of hundreds, sometimes even thousands, the birds are characterised by distinctive trumpeting cries. And that’s not all. The male of the species display affection towards their prospective partners with peculiar dances. These birds sure have got the moves! You can spot them in nine of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories, including Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec; and they are “accidental” visitors in four others: Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Now, that’s plenty of holiday destinations to choose from!
Sandhill cranes are considered social by nature and usually live in pairs or family groups throughout the year. This gives visitors plenty
of opportunities to capture some stunning photos.
Fly to Toronto with Vistara’s codeshare partner Air Canada.
Rainbow Mountain, Peru
Ever wonder what nature’s canvas might look like if it were scribbled on with crayons? Peru’s Rainbow Mountain probably holds the answer! Boasting shades of blue, red, green, purple, terracotta, and beyond—this vibrantly-hued paradise is a treat for the eyes. So, what’s the secret? The explanation lies in the ice that once cloaked the area. When it melted, the resultant water mixed with various minerals and sediments deposited on the surface. This seemingly simple process covered the surroundings in myriad hues, forming lines after lines of colourful patches on the exterior of the mountain. The range, also called Montaña de Siete Colores (Mountain of Seven Colours), is part of the famous Andes Mountains in Cusco region. It is very important to remember that the mountain sits at a rather high elevation of 17,060 feet above sea level. So, be prepared for an arduous hike involving fairly steep ascents and descents!
Great light guarantees great photos. So, time your hike in the early morning or just before dusk.
Fly to Lima with Vistara’s codeshare partners Air Canada and United Airlines.
Lush tea and spice plantations hug mountainous bends in Munnar, pegging it as an unbeatable road-trip destination in Kerala. The popular hill station sits at the cradle of three mountain streams—Muthirapuzha, Nallathanni, and Kundala—at about 5,250 feet above sea level. In fact, ‘Munnar’ translates to ‘three rivers’ in Malayalam. The town was an erstwhile summer retreat for the British in the colonial era because of its captivating beauty during that season. However, springtime is just as splendid. The landscape is a veritable canvas of all the possible gradients of green: forests, savannah, valleys, and winding walkways in addition to gurgling streams and waterfalls. And the weather is perpetually pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 19° to 35°C. A truly delightful destination for a family vacation!
Munnar is also known for neelakurinji, a rare blue plant endemic to the area whose flowers bloom only once in 12 years. The next phenomenon is slated to take place in 2030.
Vistara offers twice daily direct flights between Delhi and Kochi.
Columbia River Gorge, USA
In the Venn diagram of the world’s greatest hiking spots and spring destinations, Columbia River Gorge will probably feature bang in the centre. Entire hillsides are speckled with wildflowers in sunshine yellow during peak blooms, turning already enticing hikes into visual spectacles. Of the numerous routes that can be traversed here, quite a few are exceptionally scenic. The five-kilometre trail up Mosier Plateau opened to the public a decade ago, and since then, it has become one of the most popular wildflower hikes in the Pacific Northwest. The path winds past an old cemetery and a waterfall, before leading up to the plateau itself, where yellow balsamroot or Oregon sunflowers bloom mid-spring. Moreover, the Rowena Crest in the Tom McCall Nature Preserve, best known for the viewpoint overlooking a hairpin bend in the Historic Columbia River Highway, has two trails that diverge from it, leading to wildflower displays. To sight yellow balsamroot and purple lupine flowers, embark on the nearly six-kilometre trek up to McCall Point. It won’t disappoint!
It does not get better than Dog Mountain when it comes to gorge-side hikes. Despite the difficulty level of the 11-kilometre trek, it invites a high concentration of adventure enthusiasts.
Fly to Portland with Vistara’s codeshare partners Air Canada and British Airways.