Short breaks in April
By Annabelle Thorpe, Editor of 101 Short Breaks
Who doesn’t breathe a sigh of relief when April appears on the horizon? Spring has well and truly sprung, temperatures are up and cities and towns across the planet come alive with festivals and fiestas. Easter falls in early April this year, making it the perfect time for a break with the kids or a few days away in the UK; pack T-shirts for sun and wellies for rain, and you’re guaranteed a classic spring break.
Although Easter is very much secondary to Christmas in the UK, in some European countries it’s an even bigger celebration. In Spain, celebrations go on for a week, with Semana Santa fiestas and parades at their most spectacular in Andalucia. In Seville, huge processions of robed and hooded figures, carrying life-sized religious effigies, take to the streets, with candlelit floats and vast thrones also trundling across the squares. Madrid has similarly dramatic processions.
In the beautiful Italian city of Florence, the highlight is the 350-year-old Scoppio del Carro celebration in the Piazza del Duomo on Easter Sunday. A two-tier intricately carved cart leads a procession through the streets to the front of the cathedral, and at 11am precisely, the Archbishop of Florence lights a dove-shaped rocket that flies down on a wire to set off the fireworks attached to the cart.
Easter in Greece is a time of huge celebrations, with parades and parties on many of the islands. It’s also an ideal time to visit Athens, as many city residents leave the city for the Easter break, making it far quieter, and queues for sites such as the Acropolis much more manageable.
If the budget stretches, treat yourself to a weekend in New York, where the annual Easter Bonnet parade sees Fifth Avenue thronging with thousands of people in outlandish headgear and a smattering of Easter Bunnies.
Family holidays and activities
For a family-themed break it’s a fantastic time to head to Cornwall; get them away from their screens and back to nature with a stay in a luxurious log cabin, or if the weather looks good, take the plunge and go for a spot of glamping.
Older children will love a few days gliding along the Norfolk Broads, where there are lovely pubs to moor up next to and amazing wildlife to spot.
Join a small group and expert guide on a visit to the battlefield sites of the First and Second World War sites of northern France and Belgium.
April is a perfect time for an active break – discover the diverse landscapes of Catalonia by bike, with a cycling trip that takes in dramatic mountains as well as atmospheric seafront villages. Closer to home, there are some great options for weekend cycling breaks for all levels of fitness and experience.
If you still haven’t quite shifted the winter blues, then April is the perfect time to book a yoga breaks, ensuring you’re in tip-top physical and mental form for when summer finally arrives.
The luxury Vilalara Thalassa Resort on the Algarve coast of Portugal runs “wellness weekends” including a three-night Fitness & Yoga retreat plus short breaks that focus on issues such as weight loss, stress reduction and quitting smoking.
Last updated: 21 February 2016