"Nothing says changing seasons like spring-budding blooms"
Europe comes alive in spring, so there's no better time to jet off from Manchester or Liverpool in search of cultural delights, whether it's blooms, beers or beats that float your boat...
Belfast - Remembering a legend
A huge cultural programme marks the centenary of the Titanic's ill-fated maiden voyage in April 1912. The ship was built in Belfast and a landmark new visitor centre, Titanic Belfast, opens on 31 March, bringing a new cultural gem to the city's regenerated eastern district. The Titanic Light Show kicks off the festivities on 7 April, while the Land of Giants Festival completes the spring programme on 30 June.
Making a weekend of it? Be sure to visit the Ulster Museum: entry is free and there are three sections devoted to art, nature and history. It's easy to get there - simply fly from Manchester airport with Flybe.
Copenhagen - On the ale trail
Raising a glass to spring is a great way to celebrate the equinox, and the Copenhagen Beer Festival cracks open a cold one from 10-12 May this year. This festival, for the savvy beer connoisseur, showcases the best of national and international breweries. Arm yourself with tasting tokens to sample the brews, and look out for beers from the city's Nørrebro Bryghus, which also hosts tasting dinners and classes. Need a rest from all that ale? A stylish base is the Admiral Hotel. With its striking waterfront location and maritime history, it's just a short stroll from Nyhavn, the café district. Fly to Copenhagen with easyJet from Manchester.
Amsterdam - Blooming beauties
Nothing says changing seasons like spring-budding blooms, and some seven million, including tulips, hyacinths and daffodils, will be blossoming from 22 March to 20 May at Keukenhof park, a 35-minute direct bus ride from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. The key date is 21 April when the annual Flower Parade brings together more than 20 floats, decorated lavishly with fragrant flowers.
It's easy to combine a visit to Keukenhof with a weekend in Amsterdam. Check into the über-cool Dylan Hotel (close to the trendy shops of the Nine Streets district) for boutique-chic rooms, and head to the Hermitage Amsterdam to see some fine-art masterpieces. Simply fly with KLM from Manchester or Liverpool John Lennon airports.
Lisbon - Musical marvels
Music fans will be thrilled to know that spring brings the Rock in Rio festival back to Lisbon's Bela Vista Park on 25-26 May and 31 May-2 June. The Glastonbury-style festival is spread across a range of stages, incorporating everything from rock to world music and an electronic tent with top international DJs.
Musically, Lisbon is more associated with fado, Portuguese torch songs. To spot the next fado star, the bars of the city's atmospheric, cobbled-street Bairro Alto host regular gigs. Stay at the Lapa Palace hotel for understated charm, and don't miss the custard tarts at the Pastéis de Belém. Fly from Manchester with TAP Portugal or Liverpool John Lennon airport with easyJet.
You can now get Manchester Airport Advance tickets as an mTicket. Download our free mobile app by texting TPEAPP to 86688*, then buy your ticket and we'll send it to your phone.