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Easter holiday ideas

Where to go at Easter 2017Easter holiday ideasEaster holidays

By Mark Hodson, Sunday Times Travel Writer and Editor of 101 Holidays

Looking for holiday ideas over Easter 2017? You’ve come to the right place – whether you want a budget holiday, a weekend break or a blast of early summer sun. If you’re travelling with children, please see our recommended family holidays at Easter.


Note: all the travel companies featured are personally recommended by our editors.

Easter holiday dates 2017

In 2017 Easter Sunday falls on 16 April. It’s a great time to get some early summer sun in the Mediterranean. If you want to catch the last of the snow in the Alps, you will need to go for a high-altitude resort.

Easter in the Mediterranean

The beginning of the summer season is one of the best times to be in the Mediterranean: the resorts are not so crowded, you can expect lots of sunshine, but not too much humidity, the countryside is lush and green and the locals are pleased to see the first arrivals of the tourist season. Not only that, but the weather at home is often still pretty miserable.

Spain is an obvious destination. We recommend you avoid the overcrowded resorts (you know the ones) and head instead to the fascinating coastline of Catalonia where you’ll find authentic villages and pretty coves. Further south, the unspoilt beaches of the Costa de la Luz are among the finest in the Iberian peninsular. If you want to rent a villa, head to the islands of Mallorca and Ibiza.

Greece is one of the best Easter holiday destinations. We particularly like Sani Resort in Halkidiki, one of the best resort hotels in the Med. Further south, Crete has great weather and a superb selection of boutique hotels and houses to rent. If you want a luxury villa holiday at Easter, head to Corfu. Or to escape the rigours of the modern world, flee to quiet, slow-paced Paxos.

The Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia will be great at this time, and not yet crowded. Forte Village Resort in Sardinia is great for sporty types, while the Verdura Golf & Spa Resort in Sicily is truly luxurious.

Mainland Italy offers some real gems: rent a beautiful country villa in Le Marche, or if you want to stay in a classic hotel, head to the Amalfi Coast. We particularly like the Hotel Caruso Belvedere, and Hotel Santa Caterina.

In the southern Italian region of Puglia you’ll find superb beaches, historic towns and a warm welcome. We recommend a stay in a traditional stone-builttrullo, perhaps in a five-star masseria, or one of these self-catering trulli with pools.

Croatia offers great value holidays. We recommend the sparkling Dalmatian Coast and its fascinating archipelago of islands. Check out this great selection of hotelscruises and apartments. It’s not far across the border to Montenegro which is fast emerging as one of the most interesting destinations in Europe – mountains, picturesque lakes, national parks, historic towns and dozens of small beaches are packed into a country half the size of Wales. See our pick of the best places to stay.

If you have young children we recommend the Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel in Portugal’s Western Algarve – it’s stylish, family friendly and set on a stunning beach set in a national park.

Don’t forget the Aegean coast of Turkey where you’ll find some charming boutique hotels, plus the option to discover hidden bays and coves on a gulet cruise.

If you’re looking to rent a large villa, chateau or country house, check out Oliver’s Travels which has Easter deals in Italy, France, Spain, Greece and the UK.

Pink Gin BeachLaluna honeymoon 2012

Long haul Easter holidays 2017

In the Caribbean, Easter is the end of the peak season and a great time to visit for near-guaranteed fine weather. Head to Barbados for gorgeous hotels and a lively restaurant scene, Jamaica for culture, beaches and boutique hotels, or the Cayman Islands for great diving and a friendly vibe. If you prefer a small, friendly type of Caribbean island we recommend Tobago.

St Lucia is one of the most scenic islands – with lush volcanic hills, plantation houses and rainforest – but it also has some excellent hotels including Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa and the couples-only Rendezvous.

In the Indian Ocean, we recommend the wondrous island of Mauritius where you can expect 7 hours of daily sunshine and temperatures around 29ºC. Easter is a popular time of year for repeat clients, according to the specialist Beachcomber Tours.

In Asia, Koh Samui is an island that combines great beaches, friendly boutique hotels and buzzing nightlife. On a beautiful stretch of coastline in Malyasia, Tanjong Jara Resort is one of south east Asia’s most spectacular hotels.

Easter is also an excellent time to visit Borneo, one of Asia’s most exciting and least spoilt regions. Or take that holiday in China or India you’ve been promising yourself for so long now.

Easter holidays in the UK

If you’re looking for a charming hotel within easy striking distance of London, try Maison Talbooth on the Essex/Suffolk border, not least for the superb cuisine.

It’s the start of the camping season. Pitching up in a field with a simple two-man tent could be a bit chilly at this time of year, but not if you head for Feather Down Farms which has luxury spacious fixed tents with wood-burning heaters and proper beds.

Other ways to enjoy the countryside: rent a log cabin in Cornwall (they sleep between 2 and 8 people) or stay in a friendly B&B, pub or farmhouse in Devon.

You could explore cultural sites of Britain on a small-group tour led by an expert in art, music or architecture. New ideas include Turner & The SeaCharles Dickens and Mediaeval Middle England.

If you want to get away with a large group of friends, or two or three families, it’s a good idea to rent a large property. You can find a great selection of places in the UK and abroad at The Big Domain.

You can also book an activity in a huge range of UK destinations – everything from bushcraft to kite-surfing. Also see this selection of family activity ideas and extreme activities.

Luxury Easter holidays

Easter holidays in America

Spring is a wonderful time to visit the States. You could take a sunny city break in New York or Boston or embark on a self-drive tour of New England.

If you rent a car or motorhome you can enjoy the freedom of the road. Drive the Civil War route, around the Great Lakes, south from Miami to the Florida Keys or discover Colorado and the Rockies.

It’s a good time to be in the South before the stifling heat of summer – stay in luxury plantation houses between New Orleans and Charleston or join an escorted coach tour of Georgia and South Carolina.

You could stay on a working cowboy ranch in Colorado or go rafting down the Grand Canyon.

California offers guaranteed sun. Relax in style at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica or there are plenty of great fly-drive options including the Pacific Coast Highway, one of the world’s most scenic drives. You can even do it in a convertible.

If you want to find holiday deals in Easter 2017, you can sign up to our newsletter.

Opera in Veronawine tours France 2012

Something different

Where to go on holiday at Easter if you’re bored with the usual holiday destinations? Here are a few different ideas.

How about an archaeological tour such as Pompeii. Or a cultural walking tour with Kudu Travel in one of the world’s most fascinating places. If you’re travelling alone, see our new site dedicated to Singles Holidays.

With young children, how about a visit to Efteling in Holland. It’s Europe’s third largest theme park, with rides and attractions themed around fairytales and myths. A family of four can stay the Efteling Hotel with breakfast and two-day park entry from only £280.

Feeling run down? Give your mind and body a full service and MOT at a health and fitness retreat run by in:spa.

Easter can be a great time for grabbing a late skiing break. You can usually bank on long days of sunshine in the Alps, but there is a risk of melting snow, so it’s best to hedge your bets by going somewhere at high altitude. We recommend Esprit Ski for families and Ski Total for chalet holidays and late deals.

See our selection of the best adventure holidays.

Last updated: 24 May 2016

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