In winter, you plot and plan, but in spring, it is time to move. Take advantage of Spring Break and travel somewhere new. Go wherever you can go, and as far as you can. Forget the typical spring break destinations frequented by St Andrews students and surprise yourself and everyone you know by seeking out new horizons.
Which country in Europe has the highest density of forest and water and the cleanest air? Finland. The country’s unspoiled nature makes for a wonderful spring break. It may be cold, but the snow glistens under the pale sun in the hushed forests. It is still northern lights season, and many hotels, including hotel Kakslauttanen, have glass igloos or timber frame log cabins with glass roofs so that you may sleep under the stars. If you share with friends you can enjoy your own fireplace and sauna for about £80. Finland offers a thrilling ensemble of untouched wilderness and vibrant cultural hubs. Experience the rare natural phenomenon of the midnight sun (don’t miss the midnight sun film festival); enjoy the fresh food scene and the famous coffee; chill out at an ice bar; and travel around the magnificent country by sled or snowmobile.
If your mind is set on a beach location, head to Flores Island in Indonesia. Extremely enchanting, more magical than the movies, it offers panoramic views of soaring volcanoes and scattered chains of archipelagoes. As the name implies, you will find rare flora and fauna here. Flores Island has the richest marine biodiversity on earth. You will find superb diving spots, and see abundant coral in the reefs. You can swim through and around waterfalls with mantas and many endangered species. On land, visit the Komodo National Park, where you can go on dragon treks to see the world’s largest lizard. Make sure to visit the fishing village Labuan Bajo to see tree house views of the most surreal sunsets.
Visit Arizona and New Mexico for national parks, national parks, and more national parks. An iconic American experience, and inaguable natural wonder, the Grand Canyon must be seen to be believed. It is vast and awe-inspiring. The rocks are over 2 billion years old and there are 4,800 archaeological sites. See the canyon on a Skywalk 4,000 feet above its floor. Go hiking, fossil hunting, biking, rafting, flower hunting. Start your day in the sky with a helicopter ride and finish on the soil camping out within the canyon’s rocky walls.
In New Mexico, Head to the Gila Cliff dwellings, natural caves formally inhabited by the Mogollon culture. Bosque del Apache is a national refuge for tens of thousands of birds, so take your picnic to the water as the cranes fly above you in stunning formations. Go to the white sand dunes comprising 275 miles of desert and peacefully observe the sand glisten. The Tent Rock formations are cone-shaped and whimsical with several hiking trails. And the Carlsbad Caverns – 119 limestone caves that practically no one knows exist. But most importantly, enjoy the fresh air and the splendour.
Another snowy option is Whistler in Canada. These mountains are said to be some of the greatest in the world. The cobblestone village offers galleries and ice skating if you don’t feel like hitting the slopes, and a bustling après-ski scene for night. Whistler offers it all – tubing, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, sleigh riding, snowshoeing, hockey, and last but not least – dog sledding.
Nicaragua is a breathtaking country, but barely ever visited by tourists. You will find untouched rainforests, pre-Columbian ruins and crystalline beaches. Start in the photogenic city of Granada and explore the surrounding hill trails to different archipelagos. Drive from Granada to the remote beaches of Popoyo, a Surfer’s Paradise, with currents coming in from all directions and colliding to create wave tunnels. Next visit Ometepe, an island hugged by two volcanoes. Hike up to springs and waterfalls or boat around Las Isletas, 365 tiny scattered islands of volcanic origin. Visit the town of San Juan del Sur for cheap alcohol and a classic spring break party. Or end you trip with a night on the beach, watching the huge turtles lay their eggs then wander back into the sea.