If you're looking for some guaranteed spring sunshine then Europe has plenty of hotspots available - we round-up the best places to catch some rays during April and May.
In the colder months, winter can linger on and is about as much fun as camping on Svalbard in a snowstorm. If you're craving sunshine and dreaming of vitamin D then Europe has plenty of spring hotspots; from city breaks to beach escapes.
Beach bums are best suited to the Mediterranean, where it's even possible to swim in some of the more southerly destinations. There are also several vibrant cities and towns with a good deal of April and May sunshine. These are perfect if you want to combine sunny days with a spot of culture; even better, you can always head to an indoor bar if the nights turn chilly. Ditch the thermals and embrace the sunshine - piña coladas optional.
1. Seville, Spain
Sunny Seville in Andalusia is perfect for a spring getaway with around eight and a half hours of sunshine daily, plus an average temperature of 18-21 degrees Celsius. Around 100km from the north coast of Africa, Seville enjoys warm Saharan winds and is conveniently close to several beaches and national parks. It's also got plenty to keep you busy if you get the odd cooler spell - from student-friendly pub crawls and the clubs of Plaza Alfalfa to wow-factor Seville Cathedral and the Flamenco Museum.
2. Tenerife, Spain
It may be known as 'The Land of Eternal Spring' but Tenerife feels more like a summer hotspot in comparison to its northern European cousins. This beautiful volcanic Canary Island has several distinctive micro climates - if you're looking for warm, sunny days head to the south. Here, the average spring temperature hovers around 19 degrees Celsius and the island enjoys up to eight hours of sunshine daily in April and May. The long stretches of golden sand beach and palm tree lined promenades of Playa de la Américas have a decidedly sub-tropical feel and there are plenty watersports on offer too.
3. Bodrum, Turkey
By April, Bodrum, on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, already enjoys ten hours of sunshine each day. Spring temperatures increase throughout the season, with an average of 21 degrees Celsius in May. Sheltered in a large bay, Bodrum is close to several fine beaches - our favourite is Akvaryum Cove around 13 km away. Here, you'll find clear swimming waters and plenty of beachfront bars for lunch. If the nights are a bit chilly then head to backpacker friendly Bar Street, where you can drink and dance into the small hours.
4. Marrakech, Morocco
If you're looking for a city break in the sun then Marrakech is a great option; a vibrant historic hub which benefits from warm spring days. The average temperature in April and May is around 20 degrees Celsisus; although May days have been known to hit almost 30. Many of the city's hostels and riads (historic hotels and guesthouses) have roof terraces, perfect for catching some rays. After your Vitamin D fix, stroll thorugh the medina (old town) where you can haggle for gifts and sample local food.
5. Lanzarote, Spain
Another Canary Island favourite, Lanzarote enjoys April and May temperatures of 20 to 22 degrees Celsius, making it a popular place to escape for a beach break. Spring also has a low average rainfall, making it a safer bet than other destinations. Enjoy the relaxed seaside scene of La Garita or popular Arrecife Beach, complete with white sand shoreline. Other draws are the windsurfing, scuba diving and snorkelling.
6. Valletta, Malta
Petite Valletta (and the whole of Malta) enjoys April and May temperatures of around 18 to 20 degrees Celsius. Even better, visitors are likely to enjoy 11 and a half hours of sunshine each day, one of the highest amounts in Europe. Rent a car or hop on a bus to explore this tiny island - the best beaches are to the north and on the tiny sister island of Gozo. Culture lovers are spolit for choice in walkable Valletta - stroll through the walled city's streets before stopping for a beer at one of the dinky old town bars.