Easter is coming. If you are thinking of going away on a family break or on a memorable holiday over Easter, we guess this is the right time to start looking for some good ideas and deals.
To give you some inspiration, we are going to present here 8 possible destinations for your Easter holidays this year: 5 of them are in Europe, the other 3 range from the US to Japan and Africa.
Easter breaks in Europe
Easter Break in RomeA travel to Rome during the Easter period is an opportunity not to be missed. The spring weather, the famous Holy Mass from the Pope's balcony and Easter Monday are just some of the reasons why the Eternal City is such an appreciated destination by both Italians and foreigners.
A weekend in Rome is a sure hit. Italy's capital always impresses tourists with its magnificent monuments and spectacular museums: Rome is full of attractions and every city's corner hides surprising details.
According to us, walking around the city is the best way to appreciate the essence of Rome and its masterpieces, as the Coliseum, Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps or the Trevi Fountain...
Keep in mind that on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, the magnificent Vatican Museums are closed. On the official website you can find all information and prices. In this period, several Roman museums promote the culture with free admissions to exhibitions.
Between faith and tradition, during Holy Week, the Italian capital puts on a very special and religious look. In Rome you can attend the Way of the Cross, one of the most important Easter rituals in Italy, which takes place on the evening of Good Friday.
This procession, which is celebrated by the Pope himself along the path that leads to the Colosseum, is held in one of the most evocative and unique locations that Rome offers.
The Way represents the latest dramatic events linked to the Passion of Christ, as written in the Gospels.
In addition, don't miss the Mass with the Pope in St. Peter's Square on Easter Sunday, which attracts thousands of pilgrims every year.
Besides religious events and guided tours, you also have to taste some good Roman traditional food.
Have you ever heard of La Pizza Cresciuta? It is a typical recipe that comes in sweet and savoury versions and is cooked exclusively during the Easter period in Rome and its province. This special pizza has an unmistakable cinnamon aroma and, according to the tradition, it is eaten on Easter morning, accompanied by eggs and salami... Want to taste it?
On our website you can find a wide assortment of hotels to plan your Easter weekend in Rome.
Easter Vacation in BarcelonaIt's the ideal destination for a spring break. With its sunny and warm days, the lively capital of Catalonia offers the perfect atmosphere for taking a stroll along Las Ramblas and enjoying an aperitif in Plaça Reial.
Thanks to the many low-cost airlines, Barcelona is very easy to reach. Even finding a hotel room isn't so difficult: just take a look at our special offers for Barcelona, and always remember to book in advance if you want to save more.
During Holy Week, the atmosphere in the city is particularly charming and lively, with a rich calendar of events.
For example, on Palm Sunday, children take palmons, that is entire branches of palm trees into the church, in to churces, recalling Jesus entering Bethlehem.
Religious rites last up to Good Friday, with processions around the city and church concerts.
The culinary king on the Easter tables is the cod served with chickpeas and potatoes.
On this special day, the godparents give children the Mona de Pascua, an Easter donut covered with as many chocolate eggs as for the years of the child.
Besides tasting all these specialities, we suggest you take advantage of your stay in Barcelona by visiting the classic attractions of the city, such as the Sagrada Familia, the masterpiece of the great architect Antoni Gaudí, or Güel Park, a famous UNESCO World Heritage site.
We recommend you to book online your entrance in order to avoid enervating queues.
Easter bank holiday in EdinburghAccording to Scottish customs, Easter Sunday is celebrated by having a special family meal whose main course is, in most cases, a roast lamb.
Another appreciated dish for Easter Sunday is the famous Hot Cross Bun, a cake that contains raisins or currants, with a cross on the top of the bun.
If you are planning a trip to Edinburgh for this period, you have to partecipate in the curious egg rolling: it's a traditional game, recalling an ancient celebration whose origins go back to the Jewish Easter, that consists in rolling some decorated eggs down the green hills of the city. One of the most famous sites where this tradition takes place is Arthur’s Seat, the main peak of Holyrood Park.
Easter is also a feast for children who wait impatiently for the Easter Bunny that will leave them some delicious chocolate eggs.
If you are planning an Easter city-break with your family in the Scottish Capital, perhaps you will be happy to know that every year in April Edinburgh hosts the International Science Festival, one of the biggest science festivals in Europe, much appreciated by children and their families. More info on the official website: http://www.sciencefestival.co.uk/festival.
Easter in FlorenceThe city of Florence, also known as the cradle of the Renaissance, arouses curiosity and charm all year-round. The city's museums, churches and palaces house some of the most important artistic treasures of the entire world, the masterpieces of famous artists like Botticelli, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Giotto and Michelangelo.
If you haven't decided yet what to do for this Easter break, well, spending a few days in Florence during Holy Week could be a really good idea.
Before revealing you all the details of the special event that awaits you on Easter morning in Florence, the so-called Explosion of the Cart, we'd like to share with you some must-see Florentine attractions.
If you like art, Florence cannot disappoint you! Don't miss the majestic Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, known as The Duomo, with the famous Brunelleschi's Dome, the largest masonry dome ever built. Curios to know how heavy it is? It is estimated to be around 37,000 tons: awesome, isn't it?
With just one ticket you can visit all the monuments of the Santa Maria del Fiore complex: in addition to the cathedral and its dome, there are also Giotto's Bell Tower and the Baptistery of San Giovanni.
Besides, if you are in town, you have to visit the Galleria dell'Accademia which houses Michelangelo's sculpture David, one of the most important works of the Italian artist.
Getting back to Easter... From Good Friday to Easter Monday, religious reenacments, Easter rituals and folk events enliven the Tuscan city.
From more than three centuries, Easter Sunday is celebrated in Florence with a very special ceremony which goes back to the Crusades. This ceremony consists in a procession that starts from Piazzale di Porta al Prato and goes on up to Piazza del Duomo, right at the foot of San Giovanni Baptistery.
Legend has it that in 1099, during the First Crusade to the Holy Land, the young Florentine nobleman Pazzino de' Pazzi was the first man who managed to cross Jerusalem walls and raise the Christian banner. For this great act of courage he received three chips of stone from the Holy Sepulchre as a gift. Once back in Florence, he handed his gift to the city's Bishop. The three flints were then used to light a holy fire to be distributed to the people using small torches, as symbol of purification and resurrection.
From this episode, the Pazzi family founded the basis of today's ceremony by building a monumental cart which was assembled for the first time in 1622. Originally, a tripod on the cart contains the coals on fire that are now replaced with common fireworks for the so-called Scoppio del Carro (Explosion of the Cart).
Today the Chariot of Fire is presented in a triumphant way. It is a 3 shelf- cart around 10 metres high which is driven through the streets of Florence by two white oxen, whose horns are adorned with gold. The Fireworks placed on the chariot are lit by a rocket-shaped dove, which symbolizes the Holy Spirit. It is a good omen for the whole city of Florence if the event takes place without any glitchs.
Every year, from 11 a.m, this event brings together locals and visitors from all over the world.
To visit Florence over Easter will allow you to combine a cultural trip with the opportunity to experience something unique. Are you interested in? Well, the time has come to find your hotel in Florence.
Easter on the island of MaltaThe island of Malta, located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, can be an excellent option for your Easter holidays, given the combination of sun, sea, culture and history that it offers to visitors. By the way, Malta is the European country with the largest number of holidays in the EU.
Being a country with a long-standing Christian tradition, Easter in Malta is much felt for.
If you like, you could join one of the many events taking place in the island during Holy Week, beginning from the Friday before the Good Friday: that day is known as id-Duluri, namely the Feast of our Lady of Sorrows, when a statue of our Lady is carried in procession through the streets of many towns and villages: the most evocative parade is the one held in Valletta, the island capital.
Easter events and activities include historical reenactments, passion plays, religious processions with statue carrying, marches and bell ringing. Some parishes have even drama groups that work together to organize performances related with Easter.
If you are passionate of good local food, Easter in Malta has itw own special delicacies: Figolli, for example, are a typical almond cake, basically a tradition during the Easter period. In the past, figolli usually had the shape of a stylized human being, man or woman, something similar to gingerbread men; later on, other shapes apperead like fish, butterflies and bunnies.
You will find plenty of them in every baker's window and in shops too.
Another traditional Easter dish is the so-called Aljotts, basically a fish soup that includes the fish head and tail as well to make it more tasty, besides plenty of garlic and onion.
Apart from the intense list of events connected to the Easter celebrations, Malta is a great choice for this year's period, considering the favourable climate the island enjoys.
Moreover, if you are passionate about ancient history and archaeology, in Malta you will have the chance to visit some of the most attractive sites of the Mediterranean Sea, such as megalithic monuments and dolmen dating back to the Bronze Age, Punic and Roman remains, besides exquisite temples. The Hypogeum (Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni), for instance, is one of the most famous buildings in the island, allegedly a subterranean sanctuary, later turned into a necropolis: its origins go back to prehistoric times. The Hypogeum is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Not to mention the magnificent beaches and bays for which Malta is appreciated all around Europe.
Have a look at the short guide on Malta on our website.
Easter at Cape VerdeHow about flying to Africa for a long and exotic break?
The Republic of Cabo Verde, former Portuguese colony, includes an archipelago of 10 islands of vulcanic origin, located in the Atlantic Ocean, around 350 miles off the Western coast of Africa. An authentic paradise on earth that, in virtue of its position, enjoys an ideal climate all year round, with temperatures that range from 23° C in February to 28° C in August and September.
We bet this would be enough to persuade anyone to plan a trip there, but actually there are many other good reasons to go to Cabo Verde.
Cabo Verde is the perfect choice if:
1. you are looking for uncontaminated beaches, like those on the islands of Sal and Boavista
2. you are a naturalist and deeply love mother-nature and all its manifestations; in this case, the island of Santo Antao or that of Fogo are exactly the place you want to visit to experience the most authentic spirit of this vulcanic archipelago
3. you are passionate about history, in which case we recommend you to go to Santiago, the largest island of Capo Verde, also the first to be settled back in 1462, and pay a visit to the Cidade Velha, the oldest settlement in the archipelago
During Holy Week there are lots of events going on that culminate with a re-enactment of Jesus' resurrection on Easter Saturday.
Easter in New Orleans
Catholics, who compose the majority of the city's population, love to celebrate Easter with parades, traditional church masses, egg hunts and fine-dining brunches.Three of the most famous parades of New Orleans are held on Easter Sunday in the French Quarter.
Over Easter, many restaurants in New Orleans serve Easter brunches with special dishes that mark the end of the Lent. If you want to find the list of places offering this special brunch have a look at this site: http://www.opentable.com/. Tip: reserve your table well ahead of time.
In New Orleans, Easter is not Easter without the Easter egg hunt, a tradition appreciated especially by children.
This special hunt, recommended for 8 year-old kids and younger babies, is held in City Park from around 10 a.m. The public park is located in the heart of the city and is a must-see for all visitors.
Locals go there to have a picnic, wander through the gardens or play their favourite sports. In the park, you can also pay a visit to the beautiful Botanical Garden that hosts a huge collection of mature live oaks and other trees typical of the area.
Thousands of coloured eggs will be hidden in City Park, and every child will have great fun trying to find them. The most-wanted egg is the golden one, which will assure a special prize to the lucky child who finds it. For the event, the Easter Bunny in person is awaited to the joy of all children.
If you want to join the Easter Egg Hunt you can purchase online your tickets.
Easter in Tokyo, JapanOnly a small number of Japanese celebrate Christian Easter, and therefore you can't see many signs of this Feast along the streets and in the shops.
However, if you are arranging a visit to Japan, you can't miss the enchanting cherry blossoms or hanami.
This ancient Japanese tradition allows people to fully enjoy the transient beauty of flowers. On this occasion, Japanese people usually meet in the parks and celebrate this feast under the flowering trees: if you are in Japan you absolutely have to experience it!
One of the best places where to see the sakura (cherry trees) in full bloom is at the Himeji Castle, a UNESCO world heritage site where you can drink sake and have a picnic under thousands of pink petals, an authentic pinkish paradise.
Besides being a religious celebration with some profound meanings for believers, Easter is more simply the first public holiday you can enjoy since Christmas and New Year. Also, in the collective unconscious it is somehow connected to the spring arrival, after the long winter period.
In other words, Easter makes it possible for people who need a break bewtween Christmas and the summer holidays to organise a trip or a weekend away from home.
As said before, mid-february is a good time to begin planning your Easter holidays.
So whether you are after a religious celebrations in a Catholic country or a cool break in a totally different nation, you are still in time to book your Easter holiday getaway.