Find the Best Country for Your Favourite Season

19 October 2017

 

More and more expats are now choosing to work in an entirely remote manner, whether they are contracted or freelancers. Although not the most stable lifestyle, many choose this lifestyle purely for the adventure, and flexibility that it affords. Who wouldn’t want to be able to work sitting in a Japanese bamboo forest, or in an Icelandic thermal spring? Although these examples might not be the most realistic working locations, remote workers can live virtually anywhere, exploit every country for their best features, and move when it suits them. This month, we give you a run-down of our picks of the best countries for each season. Even if you don’t have the flexibility of a remote worker, it doesn’t mean you can’t visit, right?

 

Spring

There are spectacular blooms around the world each spring, but the cherry blossom, or sakura, in Japan is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable. The cherry blossom festival, hanami, runs from the end of March to the beginning of May, but to actually see some of the famous flowers you need to be a little more targeted. The blossom starts in the south on Okinawa at the end of March and then finishes at Sapporo in the far north of the country around six to eight weeks later. Expats that are able should stay for the whole season to make the most out of this spectacular event.

Apart from the cherry blossom, Japan is host to many other festivals throughout spring, including the giant Sanja Matsuri festival in Tokyo. Over three days around 2 million spectators will cheer on their neighbourhood teams carrying elaborate palanquins for the Shinto gods, which can weigh several tons each. Also in spring is Aoi Matsuri, the world’s oldest continuously running festival, which has been held since the 6th century.

 

The more sport-inclined expat will absolutely not want to miss the Sumo Summer Basho in Tokyo. The two-week tournament in May is one the six grand championships held each year for professional wrestlers and is excellent with the enthusiastic Tokyo crowd. There are only six weeks where sumo wrestling takes place in the capital, so catch it while you can.

 

Summer

For many countries that used to be a part of the Soviet Union the spectre of that time lives on, and it’s easy to think of much of Eastern Europe as a bit grey and dreary, but you would be wrong. Our pick for highly-mobile expats looking for the perfect summer destination is Croatia, with its endless beaches and eight stunning national parks. The former Republic of Yugoslavia will make the ideal contrast to the crazy commotion of Tokyo.

The capital of Zagreb, although away from some of the more beautiful parts of the region, still boasts some must see-attractions, including the bizarre Museum of Broken Relationships and the medieval quarter, Gornji Grad. Remote working expats who spend the majority of their day sitting with a laptop don’t have to worry about getting bored of their surroundings, with the immense number of cafes that can be found around the city. Use a few of the many great summer festivals to break up any potential monotony, with Outlook Festival, Fresh Island Festival, and Dimensions Festival all right on your doorstep.

 

To get the most out of the Croatian summer, your primary destination has to be the Dalmatian Coast with its string of cities running from Zadar in the north to Dubrovnik in the south. The region’s many small islands and coastal towns can make perfect weekend getaways for those in the area, with white beaches and historic buildings. Some more popular destinations such as Dubrovnik can get exceptionally busy, but there’s plenty more to explore, such as the food-obsessed Peljesac peninsula.

 

Autumn

Canada has some of the most spectacular scenery in which to experience the fall of the leaves in autumn, with vast forests of red and gold. For the most intense colours, the eastern provinces such Ontario and Quebec are the best destinations. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia further east offer some perfect locations to spend autumn away from the hustle and bustle of city life, without having to be completely cut-off from the outside world. These ‘Maritime States’ are full of winding country roads and small towns surrounded by 360 degrees of foliage, perfect for anyone with a passion for the outdoors.

For those expats who want to experience the best the season has to offer while still keeping the city life, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal an Quebec City tick all of the right boxes, although you may want to brush up on your French for the last two.

 

Winter

Where better to spend your winter than the country with the most wintery name around? In the colder months, Iceland earns its name, with epic snowfalls and temperatures hovering about 0 to -10 Celsius, depending which part of the island you’re on. Depending on the month, there might only be four hours of daylight, although this can make for some memorable (and long) nights out; it certainly doesn’t stop the locals. A few hours’ drive outside of Reykjavik gets you straight out into the sub-arctic wilderness, full of spectacular waterfalls, geysers and snow-covered mountains.

If you want to get more entwined into the frosty-nature, there are a variety of activities for adventurous expats, including snowmobile rides and hikes across the various glaciers found on the islands’ periphery. After all of that excitement, go for a soak in one of the many geothermic-pools dotted over the island. There’s nothing quite like sitting in a natural hot spring with snow is falling on your head.

 

Other winter attractions include Þorrablót (Thorrablot), an epic celebration of Nordic culture and the god Thor that includes a feast featuring some questionable local delicacies, such as fermented shark, lamb’s head and ram’s testicles. Whale watching is also a must in the winter months, although the rapidly changing weather can make it a bit difficult at times.

 

 

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