As the English weather continues to be unpredictable as we venture into Spring, Summer comes early to short-haul European escapes, while hotter regions are more bearable at this time of year. Check out some ideas for the Easter break.
Temperature in April: 24°C high, 11°C low
Travel time from the UK: 2 hours 45 minutes Time difference: GMT +1
Andalucía’s saffron-hued capital is a fantastic Spring spot, packed with vibrancy and passion. Orange blossom aromas linger amid the ancient cobbled streets, and parades are plentiful at this time of year. Leading up to the Holy Week of Easter brings the ecclesiastical solemnity and brass bands, followed by the more vibrant, Feria de Abril, fiesta of parties, colourful costumes, Sevillanos on horseback and flamenco dancers two weeks later.
Temperature in April: 30°C high, 20°C low
Travel time from the UK: 4 hours 40 minutes Time difference: GMT +2
Dahab is a small town that lies on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. As temperatures reach 30°C in the Spring, you can spend all day swimming and snorkelling, enjoying the colourful marine life of the coral reefs, set against the backdrop of the Sinai Mountains. With a laid-back atmosphere and cheap prices, this is the perfect destination for independent travellers to soak up some sun on a budget.
Tip: If you’re not overly keen on scorching weather, Spring is the ideal time to visit Egypt before temperatures near 40°C later in the summer months.
Temperature in April: 18.3°C high, 10.4°C low
Travel time from the UK: 2 hours 5 minutes Time difference: GMT +1
Spring is the best time to visit this Spanish city to avoid the overtourism that spawned the “Tourists Go Home” graffiti through Barcelona in 2018. It is also the prime time to stroll the Flower Market along La Rambla, the central promenade. For one itinerary, why not try visit at least 10 of the most famous architect of the Catalan Modernism movement, Antoni Gaudi’s iconic sites across the city.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Temperature in April: 16°C high, 6°C low
Travel time from the UK: 29 hours 30 minutes Time difference: GMT +13
As New Zealand begins its 5-step plan to reopen the country following the pandemic, why not take advantage of the southern hemisphere’s reverse seasonality and celebrate Autumn’s harvest with food and entertainment. Just outside Queenstown, but also on the South Island, is Arrowtown. Here, from March to May, the local cottonwoods turn a vibrant yellow along the Arrowtown River and the surrounding hills are alight with colour. The perfect way to appreciate this colour is to rent a bicycle and go mountain biking on the many beautiful cycle trails around the area. Or, if you can keep your eyes open, bungy jumping is the perfect way to enjoy the fall’s foliage. Back in Queenstown, hike the Queenstown hill for some spectacular views, or have a drink in the ice bar. Always check the entry requirements for the chosen country before you book your trip.
Tip: If you need more time to save money and plan for this long-haul trip, why not wait until next Spring when the Akarua Arrowtown Autumn Festival will be back up and running following the covid cancellations the past couple of years. There are many fantastic activities to take part in, as well as watching the village parade. On Pie, Pint and Pinot Day, you can pair the region’s top craft beers and fine Akarua wine with locally sourced meat and veggie pies.
With ideal weather for exploring the colourful city without the unbearably hot temperatures and holiday crowds of the summer, Spring is a fantastic time to visit. Tangier is an interesting, cosmopolitan mix of African and European influences and, as with most Moroccan cities, you can find an old town (Medina) and a new town (Ville Nouvelle). Tangier’s Medina is a lively place and a labyrinth of alleyways where you’ll find the souks (Arab bazaars): marketplaces of stalls selling everything from spices to tanned leather and tourist trinkets. Or marvel at the Moroccan art at the Kasbah located high on a hill in Tangier that give some fantastic views of the ocean. Built in the 17th century, the old Sultan’s palace lies within the Kasbah’s walls and is now a museum that houses fine Moroccan art.
Tip: Tangier has a ferry point with links to Portugal, so why not get the ferry from Tangier to Faro and explore the Moorish influence within Portugal without using more air miles.
Temperature in April: 20°C high, 17°C low
Travel time from the UK: 3 hours 25 minutes Time difference: GMT +1
Before charter loads of beachgoers arrive on the shores of Malta, explore its beautiful coastline, churches, forts and historical sites. But the main thing to try in Easter is the figolli, a special Easter dessert. Figolli are almond cakes with orange blossom and marzipan filling, typically coated in vanilla royal icing and sometimes with a foil-wrapped chocolate egg for the holiday.
Scotland, United Kingdom
Temperature in April: 11°C high, 5°C low
Travel time from the UK: 1 hour 10 minutes Time difference: GMT +0
If you don’t want to travel abroad this Spring, why not stay within the UK and explore Scotland. The conditions are ideal at this time of year, when midge (awful swarming flies) season has not arrived yet. If you’re interested in hiking, Glencoe (pictured) and the Highlands are perfect for this with plenty of mountains above 1000m. But if you’re more interested in a city break, then why not spend the weekend in the capital city of Edinburgh. Visit the historic Edinburgh Castle overlooking the entire city and try the traditional famous cuisine of haggis, neeps (swede) and tatties (potatoes). Haggis has a flavoursome taste, consisting of sheep or calf’s offal, oatmeal and seasoning, boiled in a bag traditionally made from the animal’s stomach. If Haggis isn’t for you, why not try a sweet treat such as tablet or some Scottish whisky.
By Yasmin Turner
Photo credit: Yasmin Turner