Rain, traffic jams, home improvement… Easter Bank Holiday in Blighty? No thanks! Put a spring in your step with an egg-stra special Easter break in one of these 9 brilliant cities.
1. Paris, France
As Audrey Hepburn once said, Paris is always a good idea, but it’s a particularly good idea at Easter time. Amble arm-in-arm on a sun-dappled April day around the Marais, Montparnasse or St. Germain and you’ll see what Henry Miller was getting at in Tropic of Cancer when he said: “When spring comes to Paris the humblest mortal alive must feel that he dwells in paradise”.
2. Rome, Italy
Rome celebrates its most significant Catholic holiday over Easter and although it’s one of the busiest times of the year, the atmosphere is electric as tens of thousands of people make a pilgrimage to the city. Visit the Vatican, join the Stations of the Cross procession through the streets of Rome or simply take in attractions like the Trevi Fountain and the Coliseum.
3. Edinburgh, Scotland
Keep the kids entertained, and educated as well, with a city break in Edinburgh taking in the International Science Festival which runs from 5 - 20 April. Hit the 'floor with Dr. Dance, learn the truth about hangovers - and that's just for the kids. While you’re there, take your charming creatures to see pandas, meerkats and many more at the wonderful Edinburgh Zoo.
4. Seville, Spain
When spring is slow to get going at home, the sun has got its hat on and is looking rather dapper in Seville. In springtime the scent of orange blossom hangs deliciously on the air in Andalucía’s capital, a captivating historic city of cobbled streets, Moorish palaces, authentic tapas and lively nightlife. Easter is extra exciting in Seville, as its citizens celebrate Semana Santa (Holy Week) with unbridled passion - so join them.
5. Munich, Germany
Like puppies, markets are for Easter, not just for Christmas. Especially in Germany, where as everybody knows, they love their markets. They've hardly packed away the gingerbread when up pop the Ostermarkts, bearing gifts and, coming as no surprise, sausages and alcohol. The weather will be best down south, so get yourself to Munich for seasonal shopping, bratwurst and beer.
6. Athens, Greece
Grab some way-better-than-back-home weather, and join with the traditional Greek way of celebrating Easter. While in the UK, we bravely bring out the barbecue and youths chuck eggs at people from passing cars, in Athens everyone lies in 'til lunchtime then rocks up at the family homestead for roast goat al fresco, invariably washed down with about 14 bottles of ouzo.
And a little further afield...
7. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
If an Easter Monday day out at a stately home in Kent isn’t exciting enough for you, how about Rio? Bit extreme, yes, but Rio’s Holy Week celebrations are electric. Streets strewn with flowers fill with samba-soundtracked processions, shops sell special cakes and patisseries to mark the occasion and when work finishes for the day, the locals head on down to Copacabana for a beer, a swim or a game of beach volleyball (of course!), all under the watchful eye and outstretched arms of Cristo Redentor.
8. Tokyo, Japan
Easter is one of the loveliest times to visit Japan because then the famed sakura cherry blossom will be in bloom. It actually flowers first in Okinawa in January and comes out in Kyoto and Tokyo around the end of March and beginning of April. The spring weather is just right for the age-old tradition of picnicking under a sakura tree – but you’ll need to get there early as people reserve the best spots!
More: Tokyo: in pictures
9. Washington, DC, USA
Washington is not your average Easter break destination, but how about going Stateside this year to pay a visit to the Prez? Barrack leaves Joe to hold the fort and takes the wife and kids out onto the lawn for a spot of family fun at the White House Easter Egg Roll - just about the best kids' party on the planet.