Seven Destinations for a 2023 Spring Holiday

Ready to shake off the winter layers and tour ancient temples in Vietnam, party like a true Aussie in Adelaide or hike the herb-scented hillsides of Malta? Here are seven destinations perfect for a spring escape

Have you set a countdown for 20 March yet? In case not, this is your reminder that it's just 25 days until the spring equinox. Bringing the northern hemisphere longer days, warmer weather and enough feel-good endorphins for us to ditch our Lycra, we can think of no better way to celebrate the change in season than with an adventure. Unsure where to go? We've hunted down the seven coolest destinations to have on radar, including a Unesco-listed Vietnamese city, Australia's biggest arts festival and Crete, for a food-fuelled Greek odyssey. Read on for our top picks for a spring escape.

Spring fresh: seven superb destinations to bookmark

Valetta, Malta



Blessed with long stretches of golden coastline, herb-scented hillsides, storied fortresses and traditional villages, the sea-sprayed island of Malta is topping our list for a go-slow Mediterranean getaway this spring. Yes, Valletta might be Europe's smallest capital, but its cultural appeal is anything but. Take a morning stroll to Lot61 Coffee Roasters for an icy caffeine fix, before wandering the labyrinthine of butter-yellow streets, stopping at tiny shops and admiring handcrafted fabrics and ceramics. For a midday refuge, head to the Upper & Lower Barrakka Gardens, where you'll be rewarded with a refreshing breeze and sweeping views across the city. Then, it's a visit to the waterfront market of Marsaxlokk to join locals haggling over buckets of freshly caught seafood. Dinner? Try the award-winning restaurant Noni, a spot known for its caught-that-morning prawns and exceptional elderflower tarts.

Isles of Scilly, UK

Isles of Scilly


The Isles of Scilly archipelago makes for a perfect spring weekend escape. Across all five inhabited islands - St Mary's, Tresco, St Martin's, Bryher and St Agnes - you'll find pockets of powder-white sands fringed with verdant greenery. It's Tresco we think you'll love, thanks to the recently refurbished guesthouse The New Inn - a snug abode whose 21 cosy bedrooms have been reimagined with half-panelled walls, vintage bedside tables and padded headboards. The in-house Driftwood Bar is a destination in its own right, thanks to the hyperlocal menu dishing up British classics. Discover the island's charm with a wander along the weather-beaten shore of Blockhouse Beach and a ramble around Tresco Abbey Garden, before lingering over a wood-fired pizza at the sea-facing The Ruin beach café.

Alexandria, Virginia


Virginia, US

Resting on the banks of the Potomac River, just a 25-minute drive south of Washington DC, the city of Alexandria sits seriously high on our Stateside radar. Make a beeline for the Old Town district's King Street, where an abundance of independent boutiques, bars and foodie startups are housed in historical buildings. Slip into The Hour for vintage glassware and stylish old-school cocktail shakers that promise to spice up your next dinner party; Penny Post for a carefully curated collection of papers and writing accessories; and Red Barn Mercantile for candles that look too perfect to light. Food-wise, seasonal plates are on standby at Vermilion, while family-run Landini Brothers is where you'll find low-intervention wines accompanied by fine Italian fare. History buffs should carve out some time to visit Mount Vernon, the former home of George Washington.

Adelaide, Australia



Adelaide has all the ingredients that make for a stellar far-flung adventure, including a thriving music scene, sublime wine-and-dining offering and an abundance of design-led boutique hotel bedrooms across the city. Crash at the ultra-luxe Sequoia Lodge, where rooms are enveloped in a blanket of greenery and spring-fed hot pools await. Visit the warehouse-style café Dokeo to discover small-batch wines from emerging producers; savour French cuisine at romantic bistro La Buvette Drinkery; and find hefty club sandwiches and coffee brewed to perfection at neighbourhood hangout Our Boy Roy. Plan your trip to coincide with Australia's biggest arts festival, the Adelaide Fringe Festival, which runs until 19 March, with performances by some of the biggest names in entertainment.

Chania, Greece


Crete, Greece

Situated in Crete's rugged north-west, the city of Chania is home to a vibrant food scene, with contemporary menus reflecting both the island's rich natural larder and periods of history when it fell under Venetian, Egyptian and Ottoman rule. Spend days flitting between secluded coves and paddling in gin-clear waters, before heading to a standout taverna come sunset. Our choice? Evgonia, on Milonogianni Street, for seasonal salads and a huge array of homemade dips; Periplous for seafood platters and traditional oven-baked pasta dishes; and Thalassino Ageri for tables positioned a spoon's throw from the water. When the conversation turns to recharging your batteries, it's over to 16th-century farmhouse and organic farm Metohi Kindelis.

Deia, Mallorca


Mallorca, Spain

Mallorca's creative darling, Deià, in the foothills of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, was once a go-to retreat for some of the world's most legendary musicians, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Davie Bowie. The town still looks much as it did back then, with overgrown bougainvillaea flanking the sun-bleached shutters of craft boutiques and old-school cafés. Lazy days are best spent on Cala Deià, a shingle beach that's home to one of the best-loved restaurants on the island, Ca's Patró March. The food is simple but delicious, with seafood classics paired with ice-cold carafes of white - book ahead to avoid disappointment. After lunch, hop on a boat and sail to the nearby fishing village of Sant Elm to discover more of Mallorca's magic.

Hoi An, Vietnam

Hôi An


The Unesco-protected city of Hôi An, on Vietnam's central coast, is the kind of handsome that makes you wish you had a photographic memory - all floating lanterns, palm-flanked canals and narrow alleyways peppered with street-food stalls. To truly get under the skin of this ancient city and experience the buzz of Vietnamese life, we suggest starting with a stroll, drinking in the dazzling mix of Japanese, Chinese and French-colonial architectural styles, touring the Central Market for local delights, and wandering the tranquil gardens of the 1626-built Bà Mu Temple. Also stop by Phung Hung Old House, a centuries-old trading post decorated with intricate wall hangings and delicate embroidery.

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