5 European destinations to visit at Easter
If you've ever wanted to travel across Europe during the Easter period, you won't be disappointed. With spring flowers, scenery and sunshine, the months of April to June are the perfect time to go travelling. And, what's more? Discover some of Europe's unique Easter celebrations, from egg-decorating to fantastic fiestas. Here are some of our favourite European destinations to visit at this time of year.
1. Vienna, Austria
Austria's capital city oozes charm all year around, but when it comes to Easter, Vienna is the place to be. Visit one of the capital's famous Easter markets, such as Ostermarkt Freyung, am Hof and Schloss Schönbrunn to discover a variety of artisan goods, crafts and regional cooking. And, of course, don't forget the Easter eggs! Visit Freyung market to buy beautiful hand-painted eggs, ready to hang on your Osterbaum (Easter tree). Spring is also a great time to explore some of Vienna's fantastic museums, including the Art History and Belvedere Museums, or simply to wander down the blossom-covered boulevards.
Travel tip: the Viennese Easter markets usually take place in the fortnight leading up to Easter weekend. Check the dates before you travel to ensure you don't miss out!
2. Zagreb, Croatia
The stunning city of Zagreb is highly underrated, and even more so at Easter. From the enormous hand-painted Easter eggs in front of Zagreb Cathedral in the Kaptol district, to the Easter Fair at Ban Jelačić Square, there's plenty for you to see in Zagreb. Easter is a very important time of year in Croatia, where families come together for special traditions and to celebrate Christ. Visit the Dolac market to stock up on your essential Easter goodies (including sirnica, Easter bread, and kroštule, sweet pastry knots), and don't miss the Passion Heritage Festival! Discover Croatia's rich culture with this series of theatre performances, art installations and concerts held across the city.
Travel tip: travel to Zagreb on your Global Pass via many major European cities, including Budapest, Ljubljana and Vienna.
3. Seville, Spain
Visiting Seville during Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is an experience you'll never forget. It's the most important fiesta of the year, and from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, the streets are filled with nearly 60 processions commemorating the Passion and Death of Christ. Even if you're not religious, these parades are not to be missed, with beautiful pasos (religious statues) and traditional singing.
Want to escape the crowds? Take advantage of the quiet and visit some of Seville's top sights, including the unforgettable Alcázar Palace and Plaza De España, before enjoying the vibrant evening atmosphere. Tapas, of course, goes without saying.
Travel tip: Seville has excellent train connections with other Spanish, Portuguese and French cities. Why not purchase a Spain One Country Pass for unlimited train travel around the country?
4. Zurich, Switzerland
With a historical old town, modern west side and the glittering waters of Lake Zurich, Switzerland's trendy city has something for everyone. Visit at Easter to watch the city come to life, with spring flowers, swans and - of course - enough chocolate to last a lifetime. Visiting the Lindt museum at Easter is a must, but don't forget to check out the other chocolate shops, including the iconic Sprüngli, Teuscher and Confiserie Honold. Then, after you've eaten your fill, head up to the Lindenhof for spectacular views across the city.
Tip: Switzerland can be very expensive, so consider your accommodation. Take a night train to Austria or the Netherlands to save money and continue your travels while you sleep!
5. Athens, Greece
Greek Orthodox Easter is a magical occasion that you'll remember for the rest of your life. Usually occurring on a different date to Western Easter, this religious celebration is the most important week of the year in Greece. Head to Athens, the capital, during Holy Week, to witness the preparations for this significant event. Sample Easter treats, including koulourakia biscuits and sweet tsoureki brioche as you wander through the ancient streets, or join the locals dying eggs red on Holy Thursday.
After visiting the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora and the vibrant Monastiraki district, it's time to join in with the religious celebrations. Don't miss the candlelit procession of Epitaphios on Good Friday and the midnight mass on Easter Saturday, where Christ's resurrection is celebrated with singing, fireworks and bell-ringing.
Travel tip: Athens can be reached by rail from major European cities, including Thessaloniki (Greece) and Skopje (North Macedonia). You can also travel to the Greek islands using the ports of Piraeus or Rafina.
Maria's tips for Easter travel
- Be respectful of all religious practices and services during your stay.
- When visiting places of worship, make sure to dress respectfully
- Prepare for large groups of people and crowds during celebrations.
- Get a taste of local culture through EatWith, allowing you to join local residents for dinner.
- Check opening hours online before visiting museums, attractions and places of worship; Easter events may impact them.
- Be aware that train services may also be impacted by Easter hours. Visit the railway carrier's website for the most up-to-date information.
- Follow local health guidelines when visiting crowded places.
- Go open-minded and ready to explore!
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