After another long, dark winter, spring is finally making a tentative appearance across Britain. For many, it's the most beautiful time of the year, but it's also the perfect time to explore other countries across the world, many of which are at their very best just before tourists pile in for the summer. Pictured, Japan's Osaka castle (main) and its Meguro River (bottom left) fringed with cherry blossom; China's Yunnan (top left), which is famed around the world for its staggering appearance in spring when its fields of rapeseed are in full bloom; (top right) surely one of the season's most delightful products - dappled fawns, this one pictured in Ottawa, Canada; and (bottom right) daffodils spreading through Britain.
Inches from doom: From dodging an alligator to a close call with an axe, are these the luckiest people EVER?
For all these lucky survivors, it would have been a good day to buy a lottery ticket. Pictured, clockwise from top left; a car whose driver narrowly missed what would have been a severe tumble over the railing; a tourist in Australia who jumped clear of a 12ft alligator just in the nick of time; a passenger who was very nearly hit by an axe which came flying through the windscreen from the truck in front; a deer which managed to avoid being hit by the skin of its teeth; a car which miraculously survived being crushed by a fallen tree; and a skier in Austria who swerved away from a sudden avalanche.
Glistening icebergs, playful whales and endless serenity: Mesmerising footage reveals the breath-taking beauty of Antarctica
A spell-binding video shot by a Swedish filmmaker has captured Antarctica as you've never seen it before, taking viewers on an aerial journey over the frozen continent. The region's vastness is conveyed as the camera soars over thousands of broken icebergs scattered across the ocean (bottom right). The film features tabular icebergs (top left); boats gliding through the inky abyss (top right and bottom left) and a pod of whales frolicking under frozen sky.
Welcome to the 'fence of spite': Hilarious photos capture petty acts of revenge around the world - from closing off a garage door to peeling an enemy's bananas
In cases from around the world rounded up by MailOnline Travel, these people have put an awful lot of time and dedication into their punishments. Pictured, clockwise from top left: A son who eked revenge on his father by elegantly destroying his bananas; a stunt courtesy of some fed-up diners; a 'spite fence' erected outside a garage, the result of two warring local businessmen; an office payback mission that took two hours to carry out; the work of a scorned woman and a car that's been adorned with an unmistakably rude snow sculpture.
Whether you’re drawn to the soothing sanctuary of a former monastery on the Amalfi coast or would like to sample wine-infused treatments overlooking a French vineyard, there are options for every type of serenity seeker. The experts at Conde Nast Traveller have selected their favourite spa breaks and shared them with MailOnline Travel. Pictured: Aman Sveti Stefan in Montenegro (main); Hotel Sahrai in Morocco (bottom right) and Monastero Santa Rosa, Italy (top right).
Guinea pigs for dinner, 90% humidity and LOTS of wildlife: Inside the $10m cloud forest hotel in one of the last pristine areas of jungle on the planet
Mashpi Lodge is a luxury hotel perched in the Andean Cloud Forest of Ecuador, a nature reserve considered one of the last remaining biodiversity hubs on the planet (main). Built four years ago, the otherworldly hideaway boasts clean lines, incredible views and just 22 bedrooms (bottom right) but staff outnumber guests two-to-one to overcome the challenges of this unique setting. A new TV show goes behind the scenes to reveal what it takes to deliver five-star service in the wild (top right).
The world's last isolated humans: Rare footage captures members of the hostile island tribe who shun aid and KILL visitors on sight
Rare footage has emerged of the indigenous Sentinelese tribe, pictured, who are located on North Sentinel Island in the Indian Ocean (top right), and greet almost all attempted visits from outsiders with violence. Following the 2004 tsunami, helicopters from the Indian Coast Guard were sent to help the Sentinelese and drop food parcels. This tribesmen (left) responded by firing an arrow at the rescue team. India's government has given up on making contact with the islanders and established a ban on visiting the island.
Dominica's astonishing range of delights: Nine volcanoes, whales, jungles, beaches... and a carnival too
The Mail on Sunday's Wendy Driver took in the array of natural delights on the Caribbean island of Dominica (top left), staying both at the stylish Pagua Bay House and the more traditional Rosalie Bay Resort (bottom right). Highlights of the trip included an exploration of Emerald Pool (top right) where you can bathe under a waterfall; a colourful street carnival in the capital of Roseau (bottom left); and whale watching off the coast (inset).
Well, this is awkward! From accidental stranger contact to being the third wheel, are these the most toe-curling photos EVER?
MailOnline Travel has rounded up awkward scenarios from around the world, with calamities including (clockwise from top left), a men's bathroom buried behind a jungle of bras at a store; an audience member who mistook someone's foot for a chair; a gentlemen demonstrating one of the most awkward leg lunges of all time as he tries to wrestle his way to the front of the bar; a London Underground passenger trapped in a carriage of strange costumes; a partygoer playing the third wheel; and a creepy hand emerging from between two seats on a plane.
Rhythm and cruise! A shipful of ageing pop bands and their fans make for a bizarre voyage where rocking the boat in compulsory
The Mail on Sunday's Frank Barrett jumped aboard a nautical rock music voyage called Cruise To The Edge, a four-night trip from Tampa, Florida, to Cozumel in Mexico and back. Their vessel was Royal Caribbean’s 2,000-passenger Brilliance of the Seas (inset), and performances included those from Yes, John Lodge of the Moody Blues (left), and the Neal Morse Band (right).
Wildly luxurious: From an opulent tent in the Australian outback to a lakeside bolthole in Chile, the world's most spectacular lodges revealed
National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World is a portfolio of 55 breath-taking accommodation options, scattered across six continents in beautiful locations they're sure to suit nature fans. Not only do these lodges offer guests a chance for an intimate encounter with rare creatures and unparalleled panoramas, but they are also committed eco-friendly practices. To mark the launch of its Sustainable Tourism Impact Report, National Geographic has shared images of some of its gems with MailOnline Travel. The main image shows Southern Ocean Lodge in Australia, bottom left is Tsara Komba Lodge in Madagascar and bottom right is Kapari Natural Resort in Santorini.
Now I know why everyone loves awesome New Zealand: Exploring the country's breathtaking landscapes and world-class hospitality
The Daily Mail's Mark Palmer was astounded by the beauty of New Zealand's Mount Cook (main) which in 1948 was a training mountain for Edmund Hillary and his team before they conquered Everest, and recommends dropping in for a pint - as Prince Harry did - at the old Cardrona hotel (bottom right) which, with its Fifties petrol pump and quaint bar is a joy to behold. In Queenstown, he took the Skyline gondola up to the 450m-high viewing station, past bungee jumpers, mountain bikers and hearty trekkers (bottom left).
Jaw-dropping present: Boy, 14, swims with crocodiles for his birthday at a swamp off the coast of Cuba
Chris Hamilton, from London, flew with his father, an underwater photographer, to Cuba and then by boat to a mangrove swamp 50 miles off the coast of Cuba at Jardines de La Reina. Here, Chris was able to swim and come face to face with crocodiles, and his father was there to record the event. However, it didn’t all go to plan. They had to get out of the water pretty quickly when more crocodiles, some measuring 14 feet, turned up than was safe to be in the water with.
Inside the legendary Saint-Tropez hotel beloved by Hollywood legends: Discovering what drew the likes of Jack Nicholson and Mick Jagger to Hotel Byblos
Check into Hotel Byblos in Saint-Tropez and you're in very good company. Past guests also include Brigitte Bardot and Clint Eastwood. But it's not a hotel that needs to name-drop guests to attract custom – it's a hotel of supreme calibre that stands out in a town packed with stand-out accommodation, discovers Ted Thornhill. Pictured inset are Jack Nicholson and Cher at the swanky hotel.
Breath-taking blue holes, world-famous beaches and the happiest people in the South Pacific: Why now is the time to discover Vanuatu
With it's tranquil tropical ambience, welcoming residents and mouth-watering food, it's no wonder the 83-island archipelago Vanuatu has been voted one of the happiest places on Earth. The archipelago boasts natural landmarks such as stunning blue holes and epic volcanoes. And it doesn’t boast mega-resorts or chains, instead it offers boutique hotels, nestling in jungles.
When it comes to privacy, this Tokyo apartment has ripped up the rule book… and written a new one that surely very few potential tenants would be happy with. It’s on the market with the unique feature of a loo right by the front door, with no walls around it – or even a curtain. It’s just out on its own.
Time really IS flying: The incredible speeded-up pilot's-eye-view videos that reduce journeys across the globe to mere minutes
Pilots undoubtedly have stressful jobs – but the views from their office windows must definitely help, as these amazing time-lapse videos show. MailOnline Travel has rounded up incredible clips that reveal views from cockpits on a series of flights, but with the journeys speeded up. Distances of thousands of miles take just minutes. The footage includes flights over the Amazon to Europe and from Los Angeles to Frankfurt.
A week in the life of Millie Mackintosh: Inside the loved-up jet-setter's 18th holiday of the year - a paradise so romantic one writer walked away a ‘bride-to-be’
Former Made In Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh has travelled to five continents in the past 12 months - she’s already visited Dubai, Los Angeles, Paris and South Africa in 2017 - inducing endless holiday envy with her body-beautiful bikini pictures and projecting ‘couple goals’ to her 1.3m Instagram followers. MailOnline Travel's Becky Freeth takes a trip to Millie (inset) and Hugo’s personal paradise in Mauritius with a stay at Beachcomber resorts’ five-star Trou Aux Biches (pictured).
From over 220,000 entries THESE were deemed some of the best photographs in the world in the 2017 Sony Awards - and many were taken by AMATEURS
Here MailOnline Travel showcases some of the pictures that triumphed in the open competition, which received entries globally from both amateur and professional photographers. They include winners of themed categories, such as nature and wildlife, and some that came first, second or third in the National Awards – where Sony rank photographers within their own countries.
From Japan's paradise beaches to San Francisco's iconic streets: Stunning videos take viewers around the world by drone
Showcasing the planet’s spectacular diversity, drone videographers have captured bustling metropolises such as Dubai and San Francisco as well as lesser-visited outposts including Australia’s otherworldly outback and Cambodia’s verdant plains. MailOnline Travel has rounded up some of the best films to take you on a bird’s eye journey around the world. Pictured: Iceland (top left), Japan (top right), San Francisco (bottom left) and the Grand Canyon (bottom right).
They may not speak our language, but animals are often much smarter than we give them credit for. Last week, for example, scientists revealed that sea otters may have been using stone tools millions of years ago, even before pre-humans. And judging by the following animals captured on camera, it's quite remarkable what they can accomplish with the right teacher. There's Melanie the North American raccoon, who can ride a tiny bicycle and Moritz the German pig, who can solve jigsaw puzzles. As for Champis the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, he's mastered the art of doing laundry - from opening the washing machine door and stocking it up with dirty laundry, to helping to hang the clothes out to dry afterwards. Here, MailOnline Travel has compiled a catalogue of creatures whose skills will blow your mind.
Jungle of the dead: Inside the remote Balinese village where bodies are laid out to rot in cages under a sacred tree that masks the smell
When someone dies in Trunyan, an isolated village in Bali, their body isn't buried or cremated, it's placed in a bamboo cage and left to decompose (left) underneath a sacred tree (inset), as part of an ancient ritual. Once all the flesh has disintegrated under the smothering Indonesian heat, the skull is removed from the rest of the skeleton and placed on a stone altar where it becomes another building block of the shrine (bottom right). Other traditions native to the village involve a fertility procession in which young boys dance around dressed in dried banana skins (top right).
Want to live the Mad Men life? Inside the lavish time-capsule New York mansion untouched since 1969 that’s on the market for $1.6million
Pelham Manor, located on half an acre of land in the affluent country of Westchester, New York, has just hit the market after sitting empty and almost untouched for nearly 50 years. Since its former owner died at the age of 86 it has been maintained by a caretaker but never occupied. Pictured, clockwise from top left, one of its airy living areas; one of the five bedrooms; a lounge with a TV encased in an old wooden cabinet; one of the house's three bathrooms, and (inset) its perfectly manicured lawn.
From mosaic orbs in Abkhazia to concrete animals in Kazakhstan: The bizarre bus stops of the former USSR revealed
Shedding light on the clashing artistic styles of 14 former Soviet countries, a Canadian photographer travelled 18,641 miles capturing striking bus shelters on camera. From mosaic shelters in Abkhazia (top right), to folksy designs in Turkmenistan (inset), to Brutalist concrete structures in Armenia (bottom right), these structures provide a rare glimpse into the creative minds of the time. A bird bus shelter flanked by a soldier and a carousel illustration sits on a Kazakhstan roadside (top left) and a spiky structure punctuates the landscape in Abkhazia (bottom left).
And you thought YOU were tired! Hilarious photos capture people around the world stealing a nap... against all odds
We've all been there: so utterly exhausted that we'd do anything for a nap - but few of us are so accomplished in the art of nodding off as the people in these photos. Pictured, clockwise from top left: a snoozing man inexplicably dangling from the roof rail of a train; a make-shift hammock of sorts; an acrobatic 21-year-old utterly defeated by his first day at work; someone who has made the best of a cramped situation; a London Underground commuter; and an airport nap connoisseur.
Now THAT'S the high life! Inside the glamorous $80million private jets featuring Art Deco interiors inspired by the Empire State Building
Fliers longing to experience the opulence of silver screen America in the 1920s and 1930s can now step back in time on board an Art Deco-inspired private jet. Two decadent designs - the Manhattan (top left, bottom left and bottom right) and the Hollywood (top right and inset) - have been unveiled by Embraer, steeped in sumptuous details such as mahogany tables, gold trimmed bars and leather sofas. Up to 19 guests can travel on each jet, which feature a bedroom and two-person shower, but the bespoke time warp aircraft don't come cheap - they cost $80million (£63.5million) each.
From saying goodbye to the dog to steering around storms at 41,000ft: Fascinating photos reveal a day in the life of a 26-year-old long-haul airline pilot - as she shares the cockpit with her DAD
India Allix is a senior first officer for Thomas Cook Airlines and here she reveals, in pictures, a fascinating day in her working life during which she flies to Cape Town with her captain father (she's pictured with him inset after touch-down). India captures all the key stages of the flight, including take-off, addressing the passengers, steering around a huge storm and then bringing the aircraft safely down after 11 hours and 30 minutes in the air. The pictures show India saying goodbye to her dog (top left), pre-flight checks (top right), calculating take-off speeds (bottom left) and the view coming into Cape Town (bottom right).
The natural world as you've never seen it before: Photographs of wild earth that will leave your jaw on the floor
They are all entries for the natural world and wildlife categories in the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards - the world's largest photography competition. One star entry is a magnificent picture (main) of the Milk Way taken in La Palma, Spain, in the Caldera de Taburiente National Park. Magnificent is also the best description of Mount Fuji taken by Malaysian photographer Ann Ric (bottom right). One image that shows the natural world at its cutest, meanwhile, is of a European ground squirrel (top left) reaching for a dandelion. Equally heart-melting is the beautifully composed shot (top right) of a black rhino cow showing maternal affection to her calf at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya. Bottom left is a hauntingly beautiful shot of a partially frozen lake by Hiroshi Tanita called 'Borderline'.
Now THAT'S loopy! Behold The Big Bend - the incredible U-shaped New York skyscraper dubbed the 'longest building in the world' is unveiled
Concept designs for 'The Big Bend', a curved tower that would transform Manhattan's skyline, have been unveiled. Stretching 4,000 feet, the slender skyscraper would straddle Billionaire's Row on 57th Street. Described as the 'longest building in the world', the project's concept drawings reveal a skyscraper reaching an apex then curving back down - and featuring an elevator system that can travel around loops.