Beat the winter blues and plan an Easter break getaway
When January weather starts getting you down, seek refuge by the fireside with a mug of hot chocolate and browse our suggestions for spring and Easter holidays and breaks around Europe. Whether you’re dreaming of beaches, mountains, or a city escapade, there’s something here for every taste.
Note that Easter weekend falls early in 2016, with Easter Sunday on 27 March. Holy Week lasts from 20 to 27 March, or 25 April to 1 May in Greece.
Fiesta in Fuerteventura
In the spring, this lesser-frequented of the Canary Islands is blissfully uncrowded, and beckons with white sand beaches, including Jandia and El Cotillo, reliable sunshine, and April temperatures averaging 20°C/68°F (19°C/66°F in the sea). If you need an added incentive, vibrant seasonal events include Carnival (16–19 March), with parades, fairground rides, and concerts in major towns, and Semana Santa (Holy Week) with its parades. The many activities are tempting too, from jeep tours of the volcanic landscape and the sand dunes of Corralejo to surfing, cycling, and golf. Stay in a beautiful villa in Lajares, and enjoy all that the island offers.
April on the Amalfi Coast
Spring is perfect for getting acquainted with this rugged shoreline dotted with fishing villages and terraced lemon groves. The vegetation is lush, the air is scented by orange blossom and jasmine, and April temperatures hover around 18°C/66°F. On weekends, locals head to the tiny beaches to catch the first rays, while Easter sees Holy Week processions. Wander around Positano with its bright cliffside houses, and don’t miss Spiaggia Grande’s seafood restaurants, the boutiques of Via Cristoforo Colombo, or Santa Maria Assunta’s majolica-tiled dome. Other must-do activities include boat trips around Capri and hikes to the crater of Mount Vesuvius. A seaside villa in Conca dei Marini is a beautiful place to welcome spring.
Laid back in Lisbon
Ride the picturesque Bica funicular, get pleasurably lost in the narrow pedestrianised streets of the historic Alfama district with its many fado (traditional music venues), admire the fortified Belém Tower, and shop on Rua Augusta. These are just some of the joys of a city spring break in the Portuguese capital, where you can expect an average April temperature of 19°C/66°F. Food is a highlight, whether a pastel de nata (egg tart) from the Pastéis de Belém or countless other patelarias, or local delicacies in the Bairro Alto with its vast choice of restaurants and bars. A chic flat puts you in the centre of it all.
This largest Greek island is also the warmest, averaging 17°C/62°F in April. Beyond its fine-sand beaches, sites to see include the cave where Zeus was said to have been born (Ideon in the White Mountains) to Minoan ruins. Or head north, where Rethymnon has a wonderfully preserved Venetian Old Town, citadel (Fortezza), and harbour with cozy cafes. But also make time for nearby Arkadi Monastery, Argyroupoli, with its mountain springs, and Preveli with another monastery and a beach famed for its palm grove. Orthodox Easter is abundantly celebrated here with processions and feasts. A lovely stone villa near the sea and near town is a peaceful home base.
Star-spotting in the South of France
Cannes is a year-round destination for shopping (at its best on Rue d’Antibes and at the Forville local produce market in the hillside Old Town, Le Suquet). But the resort truly comes alive in late spring, with seafront strolling along La Croisette, beach lounging, boat trips to the Iles des Lérins, and the world-renowned International Movie Festival in May, (when you can expect the temperature to hover around 16°C/60°F). You’ll also find Cannes to be a great jumping-off point for discovering the rest of the French Riviera, including Antibes, Nice, and Monaco. Start your holiday in a sunny Le Cannet villa.
A breath of fresh air in the Black Forest
Gorgeous hiking, walking, and cycling/mountain-biking trails make Germany’s quaint Schwarzwald region—with half-timbered houses and traditional farms—an ideal outdoorsy spring break setting, whether you head for the gentle northern plateaus or the mountains and lakes of the south. In the latter, Kirchzarten-Dietenbach, with its mild, sunny climate, is well located for walking and biking trails in local valleys (May sees a pleasant average temperature of 15°C/59°F). It’s also handy for Freiburg im Breisgau with a charming medieval Old Town, Gothic cathedral, and lively student population. A sleek Kirchzarten holiday home makes a stylish stay.
Coasting in Cornwall
Britain’s southwestern tip is not only renowned for its beaches but also for its gardens, at their best in spring when the rhododendrons, magnolias, and camellia bloom. Trebah Garden near the lively port of Falmouth has four miles of footpaths and its own secluded beach. You’ll also enjoy ferry trips across Falmouth Bay, where sights en route include the historical castles of Pendennis and St Mawes and local marine life such as dolphins, seals, and basking seals. The architect-designed National Maritime Museum Cornwall beckons with its fascinating displays. Book a charming holiday cottage in Flushing near the water.