Easter offers a fantastic opportunity to kick start your travel plans for the year. So whether you’re after a well-deserved week-long break or just an extended weekend escape, one thing’s certain you’ll want some sunshine to go with your Easter treats!
We’ve scoured high and low to bring you some of our favourite places where the first taste of spring brings with it lush green landscapes and the scents of freshly bloomed flowers. Cities are less hectic, beaches less crowded, and the air feels fresh and rejuvenating. Can there be a better way to reward yourself for surviving the beast from the East and the winter that seemed to last forever?
As one of the most southerly points in Europe (main pic, above) your chances of catching some rays here are one of the best. With average temperatures during early April getting up to 18°C you should find it suitably balmy around the pool. Best of all it’s only a three hour flight from London to Palermo so there’s no need to worry about a tiresome long haul flight. All the usual low-cost airlines fly this route, making it great value for a short break too. Although Sicily is fairly mountainous you’ll find it’s surprisingly lush thanks to the surrounding warm Mediterranean sea and volcanic ash from the still active (and totally majestic) Mount Etna. A guided tour to see the lava flows are an absolute must and we’d also recommend a boat trip out to the Aoelian Islands with their white sand beaches and beautiful harbours home to a fleet of luxury yachts. There are plenty of Easter events to get you in the spirit too. The Processione dei Misteri in Trapani is one of the best and is a 24 hour long event on Good Friday (30th March) where local priests carry 18 statues depicting Christ and Our Lady Of Sorrows through the streets to the beat of musical bands. As it is also a time for celebration Sicily’s signature cake, the Cassata, will be everywhere. Made from sweetened ricotta cheese, marzipan and glazed fruit in our opinion it beats any chocolate egg!
Nearby Parc: El Bahira
Whilst Provence is likely to be a little milder in comparison it does get an average of 8 hours of sunshine a day in April so you’d be unlucky not to get some decent weather. Prepare to be bombarded with the gorgeous scents of freshly grown rosemary, wild thyme and orchard blossom, plus the vibrant purple-pink colours of centranthus and red poppies which actually die away under the fierce summer sun later in the year. Easter is also when Provencal food really starts coming into its own with markets re-opening and the first of the food festivals, like the Strawberry Festival in Cerpentras on 14th April. Unlike neighbouring Spain there isn’t a huge amount of religious events that take place, however you will find plenty of fun Easter egg hunts with one at the ancient Chateau de La Barben being a real magical day out for little ones.
Nearby Parc: Les Lacs du Verdon
Another scorcher of a destination, you won’t be short of sun, sea and sand in Lisbon (pic right). With average temperatures of 19°C and at least 10 days of 21-26°C it is possible to get a tan at Easter! Known for its laid back vibe and café culture it’s a perfect spot for slowing down and washing away any of that winter stress still hanging around. Sample some of the finest freshly grown produce Portugal has to offer at Mercado da Ribiera’s food hall, including delicious Folares which is a traditional sweet or savoury Easter bread. You’ll also find a strict no-meat policy on Good Friday so we’d recommend tucking in to the popular Codfish with eggs and potato. With Lisbon being on the coast you’ll find no end to fresh seafood which you have to try. Take a day trip to nearby Sintra and visit the fairytale-like Palace of Pena where throughout March famous pianists and singers will be performing live, as well as attending Easter mass at the beautiful 16th Century Chapel of Our Lady of Pena.
Nearby Parc: Guincho
Arguably one of the most authentic and certainly religious places to experience Easter has got to be Rome. Again it’s slightly milder with average temperatures around 15°C but if you’ve ever visited Rome in the summer, you’ll agree that this is a blessing as it can get uncomfortable walking around such a large city in 35°C heat. This slightly cooler weather still features lots of sunshine, with an average of 10 hours a day giving way to warmer spring evenings. You won’t be short of things to see and do from the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain to slightly less known attractions like the Pyramid of Cestius and Basilica de San Pietro in Vincoli with its sculpture of Moses, carved by Michelangelo. Naturally we’d have to recommend attending the Pope’s speech in St. Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday and make sure you try a traditional Cornetti beforehand, which is a big breakfast of eggs, hams and salami accompanied with a Torta di Pasqua (Easter cheese bread). The following day is a Bank Holiday where many of the locals have family BBQs and Picnics, so make sure to join in the fun!
Nearby Parc: Camping Village Fabulous
If you’re travelling with younger children, Easter is one of the best times to visit Seville as average temperatures peak around 24°C which is far more manageable that the 40°C highs in summer. You’ll also find it’s much less busy in and around popular attractions like the Plaza de Espana and Torre Giralda observation tower, offering panoramic views over the whole city. We also hear there are little-to-no queues at the Aquapolis Waterpark which is sure to put a smile on little faces! The whole city is steeped with the scent of citrus from the orange blossom at this time of year too, which adds a real freshness to the air. Naturally Holy Week or Semana Santa as it’s known locally is huge in Seville with celebrations centering around the nearly 500 year old gothic cathedral. Some 50,000 people in traditional robes follow intricate parade floats through the streets and you won’t be short of colourful and often flamboyant processions.