Easter is just around the corner and if you didn’t book anything yet, you should start thinking about where you want to travel to for the long weekend at the end of March. Cause staying home it’s not fun, especially when you have 4 days off work! I have teamed up with Holiday Gems City Breaks to give you my suggestions for the best European destinations to travel to this Easter.
Italy is probably my number one country to travel to, no matter the season or the area. I have been to Rome over 15 times probably, and still didn’t see everything there is to explore in this magnificent city. I have walked for miles on the streets of the Italian capital and found out which are the best areas to stay in Rome, I discovered the most local restaurants and the corners where you will find the best pizza and gelato. But in this guide I want to recommend you another city: Venice!
There is no better time to go to Venice than the end of March. This beautiful, charming city that has inspired so many works of art, is at the beginning of its touristic season, which means that you can pretty much have it all to yourself. Strolling on the narrow streets of Cannaregio, waling around San Marco Square at night, feeling loved while enjoying a gondola ride at sunset with your loved one, make Venice the perfect romantic destination for Easter.
Another two advantages of going to Venice at the end of March are the affordable prices and the good weather. Whilst the temperatures might not be as high to allow you to leave your jacket at home, the sky will usually be clear, and you will be able to admire the beauty of the city under the rays if sun. You can also choose to visit Venice in November, when the conditions are similar.
There are plenty of things to see and do in Venice. If you are looking for non-touristy little gems I can recommend you Libreria Aqua Alta – a magical world of books where the shelves have the shape of gondolas, boats and canoes, Fondaco dei Tedeschi – an old historical palace on the Grand Canal with a 360 panoramic terrace from where you can admire a bird’s view over the city, and Rosa Salva, one of the best pastry shops and gelaterias in Venice.
There is always a reason to travel to the city of love, so why not visit Paris during this years’ Easter holiday?
There is always something to do and see in Paris. Start your day with a cup of a coffee and a croissant at one of the cafes in Montmartre, climb the Eiffel Tower early, before the crowds of tourists arrive, head over to the Louvre for an afternoon filled with art, enjoy an early dinner at a quirky restaurant that serves modern French cuisine, like Derrière, and finish your evening with a performance at Opera Garnier.
There are plenty of architectural masterpieces in Paris, starting with the 12th century gothic Notre-Dame Cathedral and continuing with the Musee d’Orsay, an old train station converted into an impressionist and post-impressionist museum hosting painting by Monet, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Renoir.
When in Paris don’t miss a visit to the famous Moulin Rouge to enjoy an extraordinary cabaret performance and discover the origins of the French can-can.
If you are searching for a warm city break for Easter, then you should consider Barcelona as the perfect getaway. With a perfect balance between a coastal town and the largest city in Spain, Barcelona offers both relaxation on one of the sandy beaches alongside the Mediterranean Sea, and a cultural experience inside the city.
Barcelona is not only an old city founded by the Romans in the Middle Ages, but also a work of art because of Gaudi’s masterpieces scattered all over the city centre. A fantastic idea for the city break would be to find and visit as many Gaudi works of art as possible, starting with its most famous, Sagrada Familia (check the offers for tickets and guided tours inside the cathedral here). Did you know that the lampposts from Plaza Real, were designed by Gaudi, as his first work after graduating as an architect?
Barcelona is not only a great place to visit, but a foodie paradise as well. Boqueria Market, situated just off the famous La Rambla, has to be your first stop on a foodie tour of the city. Not only that here you will find fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, to buy and prepare them at home, but La Boqueria is also the home of some really good tapas restaurants. Why not try Juanito’s famous chickpeas and morcilla breakfast dish, at Bar Pinotxo, or Quim’s special fried eggs, at El Quim restaurant? The locals love both equally.
In the evening head over to Montjuïc neighbourhood to watch the Magic Fountain put on a show. The performance will include the famous “Barcelona” song by Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Caballe together with classic and modern songs. Make sure to check the schedule before you go, as depending of the time of the year, the Magic Fountain is not working every day. Also, make sure to get there early, to catch a seat higher on the stairs behind it, for the best view.
One thing I really loved about my visit to Prague were its fantastic sunsets, when the entire city turns golden under the warm light of the sun. As Prague is not a big capital, it is possible to experience most of it in a city break. And why not go for Easter, when the city is hosting its annual Easter Markets?
The Easter markets of Prague are a great place to try the local food and see how it’s made in front of you. Don’t miss tasting the bochánek cake, a brioche like bread filled with almond and raising, and the trdelník, a pastry cooked on a stick over an open flame, coated with sugar and walnuts.
Similar with the Christmas ones, the Easter markets are held in wooden huts, beautifully decorated for the season. As spring is just around the corner, the decorations will be bright coloured and the Czech sellers will be wearing their traditional costumes. The Easter markets are opened every day, including on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and are a perfect opportunity to stock up with some hand painted Easter eggs and take them home as souvenirs.
After you have tasted a little bit of everything in the markets, stroll towards the Astronomical Clock dating back all the way to 1410. On the hour, the four figures flanking the clock are put in motion. They represent the four things that were despised during the times the clock was built: green, vanity, lust and death.
Every now and then, when I run out of good chocolate, I head to Brussels on a city-break to stock up with some more. And what better occasion to try the exquisite new recipes of the chocolate eggs created by the best chocolatiers in the world, than Easter? And as there are chocolate shops everywhere in Brussels, my recommendation would be Passion chocolatier, in Place du Grand Sablon, who never disappointed me with their artisan delights.
Brussels is very close to the UK, with a flight time of only one hour. By the time the plane takes off and you manage to order a drink, it’s landing time already. The airport is very close to the city, which means it won’t take you longer than half an hour to get into the centre of the town.
Besides tasting chocolate and sampling the local beer, Brussels is a great city to visit, with most of its touristic landmarks very close to each other. And as I mentioned beer, did you know that Belgium has over 1600 different types of beer? Surely, a city break won’t be enough to sample them all, but you will get an idea of the different flavours and combinations out there. Again, my recommendation would be the Kriek, but I’m girl so I am allowed to have cherry beer as one of my favourites.
If you feel that Brussels might be too small for a long weekend, you can always hop on a train and head over to Namur, Bruges or Antwerp for the day. Each city is reachable within an hour, by the fast train.
Which European city do you want to travel to this Easter?
Disclaimer: This article was written in collaboration with Holiday Gems.
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