Where to go on holiday in April
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 smart time to take an activity holiday – walking or cycling, perhaps – and it’s not too late for some spring skiing.
Where to go on holiday in April depends partly on the date of Easter. In 2017, Easter Sunday falls in the middle of the month, on 16 April. If you plan to travel over Easter, please see my Easter holiday ideas.
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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 at this time when you can expect to see hillsides carpeted with wild flowers. The only drawback is that the sea can be a bit chilly for swimming.
I 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 warmer weather. Spring is also a great time to be in Greece to witness the Orthodox Easter celebrations (which in 2017, falls on 16 April – the same as Easter in the rest of Europe).
Mallorca is usually associated with cheap package holidays but away from the budget resorts it’s a beautiful island with some excellent villas. On the Spanish mainland I recommend these 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.
Cyprus has some truly spectacular hotels for both families and couples. Our favourites include the Anassa and the Almyra (which was particularly good when my daughter was very young). Or head over the border to North Cyprus where I particularly like the hotel Pia Bella.
If you love being on the water and visiting quiet coves and villages, a gulet cruise is a great way to explore the coast of Turkey – ideal for families or friends travelling together.
On the southern shores of the Mediterranean, Morocco has fabulous weather in April plus many superb hotels. I recommend the cities of Marrakech, Fes and Taroudant but you should also try to spend time on one of the beaches or go hiking 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 decent bargains. I personally love 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 Jamaica, Antigua, St Lucia and Grenada. For idyllic powder-white beaches, check out Anguilla.
For great-value beach holidays in April with culture rolled in, Cuba is good choice. The thawing of diplomatic relations with the US means that changes are likely to come soon, so now is a good time to go (before McDonald’s and Burger King arrive). I 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.
If you love wildlife and the big outdoor, consider Costa Rica for its exciting mix of jungle, beaches, volcanoes, cloud forest, hiking trails and rafting rivers. It’s safe enough to explore independently, for example on this two-week Coast to Coast self-drive holiday.
Bermuda is warming up nicely in April 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.
The Indian Ocean is another outstanding region to visit in April. Diving and snorkelling in the Seychelles is particularly good, although it’s hard to beat the resort hotels of the Maldives and Mauritius.
Other long haul tours and adventures
April is a popular 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 Inside Japan Tours. I’ve travelled with them, and recommend them thoroughly.
It’s also a great time of year to visit Iran, a beautiful and hospitable country packed with treasures and now very much back on the “friendly” list. This Treasures of Persia group tour is a great introduction to the country, visiting Shiraz, Persepolis, Yazd, Isfahan and the capital Tehran.
If you love nature, you could 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 good time to be in Borneo, where you can gaze at orang-utans, 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. In April you can expect temperatures of 25ºC and 10 hours of daily sunshine.
April is also a good month to combine the natural wonders of both north and south Chile – you can explore the lunar landscapes of the Atacama Desert – one of the world’s driest places – and the dramatic icebergs and glacial fjords of the Torres del Paine National Park.
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 with Ski Total (see their late deals in April 2016).
Mediterranean beach clubs offer great bargains at the beginning of the summer season. I recommend Mark Warner‘s flagship club at Lakitira, which is particularly good 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.
I also recommend these hotel-to-hotel walking holidays. They are 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? I really like 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. Or take a themed health break at the luxury Vilalara Thalassa Resort on the Algarve.
April also marks the start of the whale and dolphin watching season in the Azores.
April short breaks
April is a good month for sightseeing and short breaks in the Med and southern Europe. I suggest Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, Seville in southern Spain and the often-overlooked city of Palma.
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.
Lovers of French food can join a cookery course in La Rochelle or Bordeaux. 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 the prices.
If you’re looking for a treat for a big birthday or anniversary, how about getting together with a group of family or friends to rent a stately home – a perfect way to celebrate a birthday or anniversary.
Find more short breaks in April.
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 and explore our gorgeous coastline. For self-catering apartments in Cornwall, try Boutique Retreats.
In the Cotswolds, my fellow editor David Wickers recommends 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.
See our full selection of UK holiday ideas.
Luxury 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.
I recommend Abercrombie & Kent for a Nile cruise – perfect at this time of year. Make sure you pick the right vessel: I’ve sailed on the luxurious and intimate Sanctuary Sun Boat III which was wonderful.
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 our selection of the best sailing and cruising holidays.
America in April
In America the spring weather is improving and air fares are affordable, so it’s a good time to visit, whether you fancy a bargain hotel in New York, a fly-drive around New England or a stay on a working cowboy ranch in Colorado.
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 Civil War route. Or drive Highway 1 south from Miami to the Florida Keys.
April is a good time to visit the American South before the sultry months of summer. Discover the best of the Carolinas or take a river cruise on the Mississippi. If you’re a music fan, head to the New Orleans Jazz Fest.
Last updated: 13 July 2016
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