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Home Uncategorized Where to see spring wildflowers in Europe: readers’ travel tips

Where to see spring wildflowers in Europe: readers’ travel tips

Where to see spring wildflowers in Europe: readers’ travel tips

Blooms add a vivid backdrop to spring countryside from Cornwall to Slovakia, even if you don’t know your bloody cranes-bill from your hairy greenweed

crocuses in Slovenský raj, Slovakia.




Meadow of mauve … crocuses in Slovenský raj, Slovakia

Winning tip: wildflower paradise, Slovakia

We went to the Slovenský raj (Slovak Paradise) national park to walk the stunning river gorges but the first thing that amazed us was the luxuriant display of harebells, wild cranesbill (geraniums) and other wildflowers in the forest glades and fringing the paths. The cafe at Kláštorisko, as well as serving excellent pancakes, is set in a wide meadow. Spišská Nová Ves is the best jumping-off point, about 4½ hours by train from Bratislava. Tourist information there sells excellent walking maps. Then it’s a short bus or taxi ride to Čingov, where the Penzión Lesnica, about €30 a night, is right by one of the entrances to the park.
Alan

Petals in the Picos, Spain

Spring Flowers in the Meadows Above the Village of Santa Marina de Valdeon, Picos de Europa Mountains


Orchids in the Picos de Europa mountains. Photograph: David Forster/Alamy

The Picos de Europa, north-west Spain, are superb for spring flowers. Orchids in every shade of pink and purple, deep-azure gentians, saxifrages, wild daffodils and baby tulips with miles of mountain meadows to feast your eyes on, while eagles, hawks and vultures circle and woodpeckers keep rhythm with your footfall in the trees. Lower down, species of butterfly you’ve never seen before dart ahead on the path. There are well-signposted walks as strenuous or as easy as you like them, with not another soul in sight. And for a bird’s-eye view take the cable car at Fuente Dé (€16 return). It will deliver you into a snowfield in sunshine. I recommend the picturesque town of Potes as a base. It is at the heart of the Picos with plenty of accommodation to suit all tastes.
Marianne

Almond blossom, Spain

flowering almond trees


Photograph: Miguel Sotomayor/Getty Images

Venture into the foothills of the Pyrenees from the medieval town of Aínsa (one hour from Huesca, buses run daily) to see the almond trees in blossom. Many grow wild on roadsides, or you can stumble across them in forest clearings. The season is short (until mid-March) but the pine forests, ancient monasteries and mountain backdrop won’t disappoint. Restaurants are sparse outside Aínsa, so pack a picnic and enjoy the tranquillity. Don’t miss the hike to Muro de Roda, where an ancient church and monastery overlook mountains and lakes. Take the circular route back across the valley to Luján to pass more fields of almond trees in blossom. Days are usually clear and sunny, but nights are cold. Explore using the free Ztrails app.
Anna Lopez

Botanical double whammy, Portugal

Hooped daffodil Portugal


Hoop-petticoat daffodil, Arrábida. Photograph: Jamie Males

The Sado estuary in Portugal, near Lisbon, offers a delectable botanical double whammy. South of the river mouth lies the long sandy Tróia peninsula, while just across to the north is the limestone ridge of the Serra da Arrábida. In early spring, the dunes of Tróia are ablaze with French lavender, snapdragon, rock rose, and zingy Mediterranean spurge (euphorbia characias). Over on Arrábida, a walk through the fragrant maquis will wow you with fruit-laden strawberry trees, hidden glades of bluebells, gorgeous miniature hoop-petticoat daffodils, and more orchids than you can shake a stick at. The little green ferry from Setúbal to Tróia makes it easy to combine visits to these two special places.
Jamie Males

Temple to wild blooms, Sicily

Blooming Flowers in the sicilian landscape, Ancient site of Segesta


Photograph: Juergen Schonnop/Alamy

Sicily in summer shows its proximity to North Africa – dramatic but scorched by the sun. In April, it could hardly be more different; a riot of colour. We stayed in San Vito Lo Capo, a seaside resort 50km west of Palermo, crowded in summer but deserted at Easter. The lemon trees were in blossom and every field and verge was bursting with wildflowers; our favourite location was the Greek Doric temple at Segesta (entry €6), high in the hills and seeming to float on a sea of yellow and orange flowers.
Richard Davison

Coastal flower power, Cornwall

Kynance Cove.


Kynance Cove. Photograph: David Chapman/Alamy

For the ultimate spring wildflower walk you can’t beat the coastal path between Kynance Cove and Lizard Point; if you do the whole circular you can venture across the hills and catch the stunning, and entirely local, erica vagans, or cornish heath (which grows here and in parts of Ireland, western France and northern Spain. The summer gorse is also emerging, so the whole walk is accompanied by the coconutty aroma it emits. The coast path is lined with thrift at this time of year and the early flowers of the intrusive hottentot fig are beginning to emerge too, but it’s the elaborately named bloody crane’s-bill, spotted cat’s-ear, green-winged orchid, hairy greenweed, and thyme broomrape that are the stars of this area. A botanist’s heaven.
Layla Astley

Snowdrops, Lytham

Snowdrops at Lytham Hall.


Snowdrops at Lytham Hall. Photograph: Alamy

On the fabulous Snowdrop Walk at Lytham Hall on the Lancashire coast, nine million snowdrops dance in the winter sunshine every February, lifting the heart – and it is free to enter the grounds to view them. Afterwards, warm up in their delightful cafe and buy snowdrop plants to take home and plant. The tour of the Grade I-listed Georgian mansion, the seat of the Cliftons, is also fascinating and good value (£6/£3).
lythamhall.org.uk
Brenda Kean

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Cycle past a white carpet, Texel, Netherlands

Sea rocket in the dunes of Texel.


Sea rocket in the dunes of Texel. Photograph: Buiten-Beeld/Alamy

In February, I love to visit Texel if possible. You’ll find millions of snowdrops on this Dutch island, their perky flower heads a first indication of spring. Cycling through the woodlands, you’ll see white carpets at the intersection of Randweg with Botgrasweg, the crossing between Waalenburgerdijkje and Oude Dijkje, in Molenbos and De Cocksdorp. Among other flowers growing on Texel are glasswort, blue sea holly, European sea rocket and sea buckthorn. Ferries every hour from Den Helder; €2.50 on foot; cars are €25. Bicycle rental €9.50 a day. Bliss.
texel.net
Karen Hunter

Scents in the city, Seville

Real Alcázar gardens.


Real Alcázar gardens. Photograph: Karind/Alamy

In spring, not only do the famous orange trees on the streets of Seville start to blossom but out of the cracks of houses and the city walls, the jasmine blooms begin. The small white flowers aren’t that noticeable but the heady, romantic fragrance will stop you in your tracks. The scent is so thick and strong, it almost seems tangible, as though there are clouds of fragrance bobbing around the city. For maximum pleasure, visit the Real Alcázar gardens (€11.50, free on Mondays), where orange and jasmine blossom combine to blissful effect.
Sarah Collings

Pure poetry, near Lake Como

Narcissus poeticus.


Poet’s narcissus. Photograph: Alamy

The Val d’Intelvi spans the hills between the lakes of Como and Lugano on the Swiss-Italian border. In late spring the high pastures are a paradise of clean air, green grass and wildflowers. From Castiglione d’Intelvi, follow the signs uphill to Capanna Bruno e Giuseppe, an amazing mountain refuge-slash-restaurant on the flank of Pizzo della Croce with garden tables overlooking Lake Como. Visit in May and take a heavenly stroll up through the flower-speckled meadows just to the south-west, where tiny wild narcissus poeticus carpet the area, along with glossy yellow globe buttercups, bee orchids and wild peonies.
Martha

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