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Where to go on holiday in April

Holiday ideas April 2015Where to go on holiday in April

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

April is a great month to grab some early summer sunshine – the days are getting longer and the Mediterranean is warming up nicely. It’s a great time for activity holidays – walking or cycling, perhaps – and it’s not too late for spring skiing.

Where to go on holiday in April depends partly on the date of Easter. In 2014, Easter Sunday falls on 20 April. If you plan to travel over Easter, please see our Easter holiday ideas or, if you have children, we have a section on family holidays at Easter. If you’re travelling solo, see the best singles holidays in April.

As Easter falls late, many schools are taking the two weeks off before Easter Sunday. So if you’re looking for a cheap holiday in April, aim for the first or last week of the month.

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

SK Place VillasVilla life, CV stylePieve de ComunagliaItaly is one of the best holiday destinations in April

Mediterranean holidays in April

In the Mediterranean in April you can expect long sunny days, uncrowded resorts and a friendly welcome as locals gear up for the summer season. Walking is great and you can expect to see hillsides carpeted with wild flowers. The only drawback is that the sea can be a bit chilly for swimming.

We recommend the sister islands of Malta and Gozo where you can expect temperatures of 19ºC and eight hours of daily sunshine. Also try Paxos for a genuine unspoilt Greek island experience and the beautiful French island of Corsica.

Further south, the island of Crete offers a superb choice of accommodation including boutique hotels and stylish houses to rent, with even better chances of excellent weather. April is also a great time to be in Greece to witness the Orthodox Easter celebrations (which in 2014 also falls on 20 April).

Mallorca is usually associated with cheap package holidays but away from the budget resorts it’s a beautiful island with some beautiful villas. On the Spanish mainland we’ve found some great value villas in Catalonia.

Further south in Spain, the Costa de la Luz offers sandy beaches, warm weather and great seafood, while the Aegean coast of Turkey has remarkably good weather in April, though it’s not too hot for sightseeing. Take a look at this superb collection of boutique hotels in Turkey.

North Cyprus is one of the best holiday destinations in April, not only for its sunny climate but also because prices are low (it is outside the Eurozone). Our favourite hotels include the Pia Bella near Kyrenia harbour. The Greek side of Cyprus has some truly spectacular hotels for both families and couples. Our favourites include the Anassa and the Almyra.

Other Mediterranean hotels we recommend include Forte Village Resort in Sardinia – which is great for families, couples and sporty types – and Sani Resort on mainland Greece.

On the southern shores of the Mediterranean, Morocco has fabulous weather in April plus many gorgeous hotels. We recommend the cities of Marrakech, Fes, Taroudant and Casablanca which you should combine with a stay on one of the country’s beaches or high in the Atlas Mountains. If you want to explore in the company of like-minded people, take a group adventure tour.


Long haul beach holidays in April

Once Easter is out of the way, low season rates kick in across the Caribbean, providing incredible bargains. We recommend small, friendly Tobago. For stylish hotels and buzzing restaurants in the Caribbean, you can’t beat Barbados, and if you want a relaxing adults-only all-inclusive experience, head for Sandals, which has resorts in JamaicaAntigua,St Lucia, the Bahamas and Grenada.

For great-value beach holidays in April with culture rolled in, Cuba is good choice. We recommend a stay in the capital Havana (try the Saratoga Hotel) combined with the colonial city of Trinidad and an unspoilt beach destination such as Cayo Ensenachos. See them all on a 10-night Affordable Luxury tour.

Bermuda is warming up nicely and the rainy season hasn’t yet kicked in – the perfect time for lazing on the beach, playing golf or sightseeing. The best hotels include Cambridge Beaches and – if you’re on a budget – Grotto Bay Resort.

See our pick of the best Caribbean holidays and details of the weather in the Caribbean in April.

If you want a destination closer to home, try Egypt’s Red Sea Coast which in only five hours flying time from the UK and gets very warm in April. Five-star hotels like the Movenpick Resort & Spa El Gouna are great value.

The Indian Ocean is a great place to visit in April: this includes the Maldives, Mauritius and the Seychelles. Diving and snorkelling in the Seychelles is particularly good. In Africa rains in the east make Kenya an unwise choice, but Namibia is at its best. See more holidays in Africa.

America in April

This is a great time of year to visit America, whether you choose a boutique hotel in New York, a fly-drive around New England, or a stay on a working cowboy ranch.

You could soak up the sunshine in California at a stunning hotel such as Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, rent a home in Redondo Beach or catch some Rat Pack glamour in Palm Springs. See a full choice of boutique hotels in California.

There’s no better way to discover the States than on the road. You could rent a motorhome and sleep where the fancy takes you, or join a luxury coach trip take a fascinating journey through Virginia or follow the emotional Civil War route. The Great Lakes and Michigan are stunning parts of the country often overlooked by visitors. Or follow this iconic route from Miami to the Florida Keys.

April is a good time to visit the American South before the sultry months of summer. Try this fly-drive route to discover the best of the Carolinas or a river cruise on the Mississippi. If you’re a music fan, head to New Orleans Jazz Fest.

America’s railway network provides another great way of exploring the country. Take the Coast Starlight from Seattle to LA or travel from Chicago to the Grand Canyon. Other ideas include a river cruise through the states of Washington and Oregon, a house rental in Orlando and a trip to Las Vegas where you can stay at the Grand Canyon Ranch.

Asakusa Kannon TempleRasa Ria baby Orang UtanTake the trainMeet the locals

Other long haul tours and adventures

April is a great month to visit Japan, one of the world’s most exciting and fascinating countries. Choose from an amazing selection of self-guided and group tours from recommended Inside Japan Tours.

Explore the Galapagos Islands on a small-ship cruise. April is a magical month as new-born seal pups can be seen on the beaches, there are wild flowers all around and the seas are calm. Choose from a private holiday or escorted tour.

This is also a great time to be in Borneo, where you can gaze at orangutans, stay on beautiful tropical beaches, go hiking in the forest, stay in local long houses and experience an overnight climb of Mount Kinabalu. Try this amazing nature tour.

The Cape Verde islands off the West Coast of Africa combine excellent beaches, lively culture and great hotels – all easily accessed with direct flights and at surprisingly low prices.

April is also a great month for visiting Australia.

Life on the ocean wave

Activity holiday ideas in April

The ski season is almost over, and low altitude resorts should be avoided. But spring skiing is a special experience, particularly if you like to get in some serious exercise in the morning then take a late lunch on a sunny terrace and take it easy in the afternoon.

Skiers can find cheap holidays in April with Peak Retreats which features some excellent resorts in France. Or save money by booking a chalet holiday (see the late deals in April 2014).

America has a long ski season and you should find superb conditions in Colorado where the best resorts include good-value Breckenridge and Crested Butte which has the authentic feel of the Wild West.

If you are taking the kids skiing, go with Esprit Ski which has excellent childcare and lessons for children. Want to push the boat out? Take a look at Sir Richard Branson’s The Lodge, Verbier. Or sneak away for a luxury ski weekend.

Mediterranean beach clubs offer great bargains at the beginning of the summer season. We recommend Mark Warner‘s flagship club at Lakitira, which is great for watersports, tennis, diving and mountain biking. If you want to swing a club, look at the gorgeous Verdura Golf & Spa Resort in Sicily.

Love Spain? This is also a great time of year for a cycling holiday in Catalonia. The trips are self-guided with a selection of routes and difficulties, and your luggage is transported from one hotel to the next. Or you could take a cycling holiday in France such as this gentle 8-day Secret Provence tour.

We also recommend these hotel-to-hotel walking holidays. A perfect way to explore some of Europe’s most attractive coastal trails such as the Costa Vicentina in Portugal and the Lycian Way in Turkey. You stay in small characterful hotels and inns while your luggage is transported each day to your next overnight stop.

How about a cycling holiday in the UK? We recommend Saddle Skedaddle which offers group trips and independent itineraries for all levels, including road cycling and mountain bike weekends and point-to-point journey such as the C2C (Coast to Coast) and Hadrian Cycleway.

If you want to take care of your mind and body, why not try a luxury spa retreat in the South of France or Andalucia. Other healthy options include a fitness holiday or a yoga break with expert yoga teachers.

A gulet cruise is a great way to explore the coast of Turkey – ideal for friends travelling together.

Jordan is an amazing country of spectacular scenery, ancient culture and friendly people. Don’t miss Petra or the Dead Sea. April is the perfect time to visit.

TutankamunThe grandeur of Venice

April short breaks

April is a great month for sightseeing and short breaks in the Med and southern Europe. We suggest Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, Seville in southern Spain and the often-overlooked Mallorcan capital of Palma.

This is the right time to visit Venice before the summer crowds descend, and also to explore the marvellous cities of Istanbul, Cairo and Marrakech before the overwhelming heat of the high season.

The Tunisian capital, Tunis is a great holiday spot at this time of year, as is the historic walled city of Dubrovnik. In Tunis, we recommend The Residence Tunis.

For romance it’s hard to beat Prague, a city of gothic architecture, gourmet restaurants, music and street performers. It won’t be hot in April, but you’ll get there before the summer crowds.

And of course there’s Paris. As it says in the song, April in Paris is simply magical (think chestnuts in blossom).

Lovers of French food can join a cookery course in La Rochelle or Lyon. Run over three or four days, the courses combine classes in a professional kitchen with visits to local markets, wine tastings and the chance to dine at classic bistros and brasseries. See prices.

If you’re looking for a treat for a big birthday or anniversary, how about getting together a group of family or friends to rent a stately home – a perfect way to celebrate a birthday or anniversary.

For more ideas see our sister site, 101 Short Breaks.

UK holiday destinationsFarmhouse and pub stays in Devon

April holidays in the UK

This can be a surprisingly good time to holiday in the UK, particularly towards the end of the month. You could rent a cottage in Devon or Cornwall. For white sand beaches, teeming wildlife and island-hopping fun, escape to the Scilly Isles. For self-catering apartments in Cornwall, try Boutique Retreats. Or try the impressive Tregenna Castle Hotel perched above the pretty resort of St Ives.

If you want to get away for a few days in the countryside, we can recommend a stay at Gilpin Lodge in the Lake District, or Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa near Bath. In the rolling hills of North Wales you will find the wonderful Pentre Mawr Country House.

In the Cotswolds, we recommend Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa, which has a two-Michelin star restaurant, world-class service and a superb spa. It’s a place where you can get some well-deserved pampering.

If you love camping but aren’t keen on cramped tents and damp sleeping bags, try Feather Down Farms which has fabulous retro-style fixed tents at 20 working farms across the UK. They are very spacious with wooden floors, proper beds and wood fires.

If you are based in London or the South East, we recommend Maison Talbooth, a charming, family-run hotel in John Constable country on the Essex-Suffolk border.

See our full selection of UK holiday ideas.

TURKEY_184ALuxury Nile cruisesCruising the Burgundy canalStunning ports of call

Cruise holidays in April

April is a great month to explore the Mediterranean by ship. Be adventurous and join a tall ship cruise with Star Clippers on board a magnificent rigged sailing boat.

We recommend Abercrombie & Kent for a Nile cruise – perfect at this time of year. Make sure you pick the right vessel: we recommend the luxurious and intimate Sanctuary Sun Boat III. (Check the latest Foreign Office travel advice for Egypt).

If you’re travelling alone, choose from this selection of cruises for singles. See our selection of the best sailing and cruising holidays.

Take a river cruise along the Douro Valley in Portugal, one of Europe’s most beautiful and unspoilt regions. Alight in the coastal city of Porto where you can tour the famous port lodges.

For something different, how about a Transatlantic cruise to New York. It takes about five days to cross the pond then you can explore Manhattan for a couple of days for arrange a tour of the US before flying home.

See more hot holidays in April and check out our sister site for honeymoons in April. If you’re travelling independently and want to hire a car, please take advantage of our exclusive 10% saving with Rhino Car Hire.

Try our holiday quiz

If you’re still stuck for ideas, why not try our fun holiday quiz. Answer 10 easy questions like the one below to find out what kind of holidaymaker you are, and get personalised travel recommendations. Try the quiz now.

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