Europeans are making the most of the first day of spring, with warm temperatures and sunshine across much of the continent encouraging people to shake off their winter blues.
ROME, ITALY (MARCH 21, 2014) (REUTERS) - Much of Europe marked the first day of spring on Friday (March 21) drenched in glorious sunshine and warm temperatures and it didn't take much to encourage people to make the most of the end of winter.
Irish tourist Father William Reynolds said the longer days were a delight after the long winter months and the sunlight important for many reasons, especially for agriculture.
"Well, it's light, it's an expansion of day light and for us, because we're up in northern Europe, birds begin to sing, weather begins to get fine and there's a whole culture of spring," he said.
Temperatures in Rome were due to peak at around 21 degrees Celsius on Friday.
The scenes were similar in the Greek capital where locals and tourists alike enjoyed balmy temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius.
"It's lovely, everyone seems to enjoy it, everyone seems to forget their problems, so yeah, I love it, it's great. I'm going to read a book and hang out in the sun," said German-born Athens resident Gigi Krueger.
In Istanbul, meanwhile, people took to the banks of the Bosporus to spend the spring afternoon by the water.
Local resident Mehmet Yuvasatan said the warm weather made everything better.
"People feel refreshed and more happy, business gets better. Spring and summer are best seasons," he said.
However, it may still be too early to pack away the winter clothes, at least in the Italian capital. Weather experts say temperatures will drop again at the weekend with thunder and highs of 11 degrees Celsius forecast for Rome on Monday.