travel

Warm and wild

Description: the island of Crete

the island of Crete

In spring, the island of Crete, which has 2,000 species of trees and plants (some 160 found nowhere else on the planet), is coated with wild flowers. They even have their own dedicated website: www.floersofcrete.info. If you want to stay in style, consider the newly opened Dai os Cove resort, designed with contemporary flair, overlooking the sea, with a mix of rooms, suites and villas plus a choice of restaurants, a spa, tennis courts and pools. A week with Sovereign (0844 415 1936; www.sovereign.com), half board, costs $ 1059, including flights, departing on 6 May.

Put a spring in your step

Description: Uffizi Florence Italy

Uffizi Florence Italy

There are two ways to enjoy the landscapes of Tuscany. One is within museum like the Uffizi in Florence or the Pinacoteca in Siena, where th Holy Lands portrayed by the Renaissance masters are revealed and revered. The other is to stride into the real thing, particalarly in spring before the high heat of sumer. Inntravel (01653 617000; www.inntravel.co.uk) offers walking in the countryside with stays in the historic Volterra, San Gimignano, Colle Val d’Elsa and Siena. One week costs from $1109 (in April), b&b with two dinners and luggage transfers; fights and transfers eatra.

Celebrate a tradition

Cherry blossom

Description: Yasaka shrine in Kyoto

Yasaka shrine in Kyoto

Spring in Japan finds the whole country obsessed by cherry blossoms. As well as being an amazing sight, the pink flowers, which sumbolise rebirth and celebration, inspire scores of parties in parks and shrines, including Hamarikyu park in Tokyo, Yasaka shrine in Kyoto and Kenrokuen gardens in Kanazawa. Inside Japan Tours (01173 709730; www. insidejapantours. com) offers a 14- night ‘Traditional Japan’ self- guided package that includes stays in the tree cities from $3611, or around $4526 with flights.

Spititual surprises

Description: Holy Week in Spain

Holy Week in Spain

Holy Week in Spain (2- 9 April) embaces every town and village in the country, with processions of candlelit floats and statues of saints. Martin Randall’s (020 8742 335; www. Martinrandall.com) one- week escorted Semana Santa tour, which takes in procession in Seville, Carmona and Zafra, costs $ 3078, including flights, most meals with drinks, all admissions, tips and taxes.

Foodie break

Description: Vejer de la Frontera

 Vejer de la Frontera

Bluefin tuna, which come into the Med to spawn between April and June, are welcomed in many towns in southern Spain by a Ruta d’Atun festival, in which locals and visitors journey from bar to bar sampling tuna tapas. Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen (00 34 620 560 649; www.anniebs.co.uk), a cookery school in the historic Andalucian town of Vejer de la Frontera, is offering a four- night break from 17 May. Guests will learn how to prepare an arry of tuna dishes, as well as enjoy the local activities. From $1105, including most meals and drinks during classes, but not fights and transfers.

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