“April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire.” - T. S. Eliot
Perhaps T. S. Eliot’s words shouldn’t be taken too literally, especially when it comes to April holiday destinations in Europe. This is not a list of the best European holiday destinations. Nowhere is the same all year round! This is a list of the best Easter holidays in Europe. April marks the first full month of spring: buds become flowers, leaves or shoots and many places in Europe become ripe for a visit!
Cheaper months, fewer crowds and better weather are common reasons why traveling in April is often the best month. I’ve compiled a list of the best places to go for Easter which I use interchangeably to mean April, as it’s a big event in the middle of the month. I have not made the basis of this list a religious search but, in some cases, the effect of Christian celebrations at Easter genuinely adds to the April experience.
In short: this is a secular account of the best places to holiday in April but with eyes open to the potential added value of religion (ancient as well as modern). Enough small print. Check ‘em out!
Top 15 April Holiday Destinations: In No Particular Order
1. Join in the celebrations in Seville, Spain
This city is beautiful, majestic and timeless and, therefore, perfect for any time of year. If you have the luxury of choice, choose to go on “Semana Santa” (Easter week). The processions are mesmerizing. It is as though the whole city becomes a stage production and you can walk among the actors! Speaking of a stage production, Game of Thrones
fans can visit the set of House Martell
Be warned, if you’re trying to get somewhere in the city (the pharmacy, for example) you may find your routes regularly blocked by the processions. For better or worse, the city grinds to a halt and fiestas reign supreme in this corner of southwest Europe! You’re also not far from the beautiful city of Granada
, and the Sierra Nevada national park.
Average temperature in April: 18℃
Nearest International Airport: Jerez airport (75km)
2. Spoil yourself in Naples, Italy
Like most Mediterranean destinations, the most popular time to go is in summer. The best time to go, however, is spring and autumn. If you visit in April, the temperatures are warm, not boiling! Getting into an attraction or finding a table at a restaurant is also much easier when you’re not fighting the summer crowds.
There’s a reason to compete as well. Pompeii is located just 25 minutes from the city. Visiting the old Roman city of Pompeii
, preserved in lava since AD 79, is a must. You can also hike up Mt Vesuvius if you’re feeling adventurous. There are plenty of other attractions in and around Naples (and a great day trip to the island of Procida!). Don’t be in too much of a rush to leave though: Naples is an enchanting seaside city. Also, don’t forget to have a Neapolitan pizza!
Average temperature in April: 18℃
Nearest International Airport: Naples International Airport (6km)
Pompeii, Sorrento and Positano shore Excursion from Naples - Skip the line included
3. Get away from the crowds in Paris, France
April isn’t the hottest month to visit Paris but then Paris never really gets that hot. Travelling at an off-peak time to the city of love is a wise move, however. From “The Eiffel Tower” and “The Arc De Triomphe” to Disneyland Paris
and Notre Dame, Paris is packed with enough sights and sounds to keep you rushing from one thing to the next.
There are so many ways to approach Paris in spring. Whether you’re looking for history, fun or romance; Paris can accommodate. There is so much more to this city than meets the eye, and what meets the eye is already pretty great. Get off the beaten path in Paris
and see for yourself!
Average temperature in April: 11℃
Nearest International Airport: Charles De Gaulle Airport (25km)
Paris Tour with Lunch in the Eiffel Tower and a Seine Cruise
4. Soak in the hot springs of Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is a relatively inexpensive city and even more so in April. It’s a beautiful city with grand architecture, influenced, in part, by its Roman roots. See it all from the Eye on Erzsébet Square. Grab some street food from Karaván at Kazinczy utca 18 or choose from one of five Michelin star restaurants. Go to one of over a hundred museums. Wander around the zoo and botanical gardens in the city park. Buy some authentic Hungarian gifts at the Central Market Hall near Liberty Bridge. Enjoy a relaxing soak in one of the thermal spring baths.
Stag and hen dos have become really popular here. There’s something for everyone! Budapest may not be the first city people think of for Easter holidays in Europe, but it’s one of the best!
Average temperature in April: 11℃
Nearest International Airport: Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (22km)
5. Have a beach break in Antalya, Turkey
While Istanbul is another great option for a Turkish getaway, Antalya wins at this time of year on temperature. Situated on Turkey’s south, “Turquoise coast”, Antalya enjoys highs of 21℃ in April which compares to the slightly uncomfortable summer highs of 33℃. Although it's called a “resort city”, Antalya offers much more than a simple beach holiday.
Antalya once was a major Roman port. Hadrian’s Gate (130 AD) and Hıdırlık Tower (2nd Century AD) stand as a testament to this. Such an idyllic place, from the Konyaalti beach to the Düden Waterfalls and stunning accommodation options, is always going to have tourism as its number one export, however.
Average temperature in April: 16℃
Nearest International Airport: Antalya Airport (14km)
6. Travel back in time: Prague, Czech Republic
There’s nowhere quite like Prague to visit in the winter. The Old Town Square is stunning in its pale, white, snowy-hue beside St. Nicholas Church. Even better, the tourist count is at its lowest. On balance, however, Easter is a better time to visit. You’ll be able to enjoy the same attractions (and more will be opening up) and the enchanting Christmas markets become the Medieval Easter markets!
Explore the city, visit the Lennon Wall, The Powder Tower, Prague Castle, and Charles bridge; or go on a historical day trip to a WWII concentration camp (Terezín). Do all this without the freezing winter weather and without the throngs of summer tourists. Put Prague high up on your list of April holiday destinations!
Average temperature in April: 9℃
Nearest International Airport: Prague Airport (17km)
7. Go skiing in Cervinia, Italy
Cervinia is one of the best Easter holiday destinations to go for spring skiing (and snowboarding!). Here are three big reasons why. Firstly, it’s a beautiful and well-established ski resort. It has 72 pistes of varying difficulty across 200 kilometers and includes the highest snowpark in Europe.
Secondly, you can ski to the picturesque ski resort of Zermatt (in Switzerland). Not only is that a cool thing to be able to do, but it also means you can add Zermatt’s 78 pistes to the total. Lastly but all-importantly, Cervinia has one of the longest ski seasons in Europe: it’s open until early May. Have a blast!
Average temperature in April: 2℃
Nearest International Airport: Torino International Airport (121km)
8. Try the seafood in Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a popular tourist destination all year round. It’s easy to get to as a major city itself, and it’s also a short flight from London, Paris, and Madrid (three of Europe’s biggest transport hubs). Situated on the coast, you won’t be short of panoramic views and, of course, excellent seafood.
Climb the surrounding hills and look down over the Rio Tejo (river), the Cathedral domes and the rest of Lisbon’s Gothic landscape. Stroll through the backstreets of untouristy Alfama and replenish your soul at the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Do all this without tourists in your face and with a warm spring breeze on your back.
Average temperature in April: 15℃
Nearest International Airport: Lisbon Airport (6km)
9. Soak up some culture in Valletta, Malta
The competition’s heating up (literally!). Valletta was established 500 years ago by the Knights of St. John. Three hundred years ago it was fighting off Napoleon. In the twentieth century, the city was holding out from German invasion. Most recently, Valletta was crowned European Capital of Culture for 2018. This plucky, little, capital city has proved it can pack a punch!
In the wake of this comes some fascinating history but it’s hard to ignore its most attractive strength: its attractiveness! Valletta is beautiful and you’ll find it easy to slip in and out of the city with a wrong turn. Keep walking! Explore the whole island. Jump on a boat, go for a swim and reflect on what a great choice you made!
Average temperature in April: 16℃
Nearest International Airport: Malta Airport (8km)
10. See something ancient in Athens, Greece
Easter holiday destinations don’t get much better than Athens, the capital of modern and ancient Greece. This is one of the few cities where historical attractions draw far more visitors than modern marvels or even geographical wonders. From the iconic 5th century Acropolis and Parthenon (a former temple to the goddess Athena) to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Agora and Erechtheion, you can understand why.
If there’s one other thing Athens has a reputation for it is heat. The summer can get unbearably hot and, even with a fan, sleeping can be a struggle. Not only will a visit in April bypass this problem, you’ll also avoid the high season and the nauseating summer crowds that come with it. If you get ‘history overload’, it’s a good time of year to head to the Greek islands!
Average temperature in April: 16℃
Nearest International Airport: Athens Airport (35km)
11. Go somewhere beautiful: Paphos, Cyprus
(Petra tou Romiou: Birthplace of Aphrodite)
Paphos is located on the coast in southwest Cyprus. The weather is delightful most of the year round. It has a glorious 300 days of sunshine. What makes it so great in April? While most of Europe is thawing, Paphos is already surpassing north European summertime temperatures.
Paphos is about so much more than the heat though. This beautiful and ancient city will transport your imagination through its mixture of history and myth. It will also transport your senses as you gaze across Coral Bay from otherworldly rock formations. Have a perfect time!
Average temperature in April: 17℃
Nearest International Airport: Paphos International Airport (13km)
12. Get some sun in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
(Mountain Lake in Santa Lucia, Gran Canaria)
Our hottest option! The Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago, is the perfect destination for those looking for spring sun. Located just off the northwest coast of Africa, it’s no surprise the mercury’s rising faster than all the rest!
Gran Canaria has a polarized mix of terrain which means there is a great mix of activities too. Go for pleasant walks in the green north, mountaineering in the center of the island or a camel ride in the desert! Still not satisfied? Gran Canaria is one of seven Canary Islands; all a short boat ride from each other. You can’t go wrong!
Average temperature in April: 19℃
Nearest International Airport: Gran Canaria Airport (25km to Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria)
13. Explore an island: Sicily, Italy
(Scopello beach, Sicily)
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean. Steeped in Greek and Roman history, you won’t be short of food for that inner culture vulture! The archaeological park in Syracuse is one such attraction. The amphitheatre within staged the final productions of Aeschylus’ tragedies. It’s also home to the Valley of the Temples, Cappella Palatina and Villa Romana del Casale to name a few.
Fill your time with activities in Palermo
, the capital of Sicily, or enjoy a beach break at Scopello
, San Vito Lo Capo or Cefalù. Drink a glass of Sicilian wine alongside your Sicilian pizza. Why not!
Average temperature in April: 12℃
Nearest International Airport: Palermo Airport (33km from Palermo, the capital of Sicily)
14. Don’t wait until summer for Nice, France
Nice often suffers from the reputation of being overcrowded, expensive and a little too hot. In April, all those problems go away and you’re left with an unrecognizably different city. It goes from Nice to Very Nice (sorry, it was too tempting!). All the reasons for why people come to Nice in April are true but, after that, visitors are left feeling a bit conned. Enjoy the beach and a beautiful seaside restaurant (and actually be able to get a table!). Bask in the spring sun and take a day trip: Monaco? Cannes?
Average temperature in April: 13℃
Nearest International Airport: Nice Airport (7km)
15. Find some freedom in Amsterdam, Netherlands
You’ll get a very different impression of Amsterdam depending on who you speak to. Speak to a historian and you’ll hear about Anne Frank’s house; an artist might talk about West Church, where Rembrandt is buried. An explorer might tell you about the 1300 bridges and viaducts; a geographer might share with you which parts of the city are below sea level. A teenager might tell you about all the coffeeshops where you can smoke cannabis.
Amsterdam can be everything to anyone. The progressive, liberal and inclusive nature of Dutch society probably has a role to play in Amsterdam’s open identity. Find out what it means to you before too many people decide to do the same in summer. Amsterdam makes for one of the best April holiday destinations.
Average temperature in April: 8℃
Nearest International Airport: Amsterdam Airport (22km)