No matter if you’re looking for a new religious experience, or just for a nice getaway, Easter is a great time for travelling. It’s the time when, besides exploring your destination, you’ll get the opportunity to experience interesting traditional events and customs, and surely have fun. Here we bring you the top 5 Easter holiday destinations you’ll love.
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Let’s explore some Easter destinations…
Rome is the perfect Easter holiday destination since it’s the centre of the world’s Easter celebration for Catholics. As you can imagine, it’s a unique experience to celebrate Easter (Pasqua in Italian) in Vatican City, in front of the Saint Peter’s Basilica, with nearly 80.000 people. Saint Peter’s Basilica is majestic religious site, and a great landmark of Rome, so enjoy it while you’re there – take a tour, check out the Sistine Chapel and the museums in this area. Also, if this Basilica is a bit too much for you, there are many other, smaller churches where you can celebrate Easter and learn about Italian traditions.
Of course, when you visit Rome be sure you have a few days to explore it in peace – there is so much to see. Besides its major landmarks such as Colosseum, Pantheon and Forum, we recommend exploring Rome’s beautiful piazzas, such as Piazza Navona – the magnificent, oval-shaped piazza, lined with restaurants, gelaterias, souvenir shops, and check out its Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi that represents the world’s four great rivers.
If you’d like to spend your days in the natural surroundings, as Italians tend to do after the Easter, there are many parks and gardens worth visiting, such as Villa Borghese or Villa Pamphili, where you can have a nice, relaxing picnic, amid the flowers and greenery.
If you like the idea of learning more about the history of Easter, we recommend visiting Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities in the world and the Holy Land for Christians. This sacred place is a pilgrimage destination with many Holy Week events to attend. People gather on the Mount of Olives, visit the Dome of the Rock, see the Coenaculum, and walk the route that Jesus took, the Via Dolorosa.
Besides these sacred places, you have to explore the City of David – the oldest part of Jerusalem and the most active archaeological site, and Meah Shearim, the oldest Jewish neighbourhood in Jerusalem, where people live mostly the same as they used to in the 18th century. But if you prefer to visit a museum to learn about the old times, don’t worry, there are plenty of museums to explore in Jerusalem.
If you’d like to meet the locals and experience local cuisine, we suggest visiting the local market where all the locals and tourists meet – Mahane Yehuda market. It’s where you’ll find fruits and veggies, and local specialities, such as halva (sesame-paste nougat) and hummus, and many others. At night, the market turns into a restaurant and bar hub where local foodies and tourists hang out.
Seville is the city with one of the most famous Easter celebrations in the entire world, that is considered to be an art form itself. During the Holly week (Semana Santa in Spanish), there is an enormous parade taking place, with nearly sixty confraternities that parade down the streets of the town and bring the Passion and Death of Christ to life. This event in Seville is not only a religious ceremony, but the moment of synthesis of the whole culture – there are floats and flowers, dancing in the streets, traditional food, and over one million visitors.
Semana Santa in Seville
© Ángel Cachón
Because of the crowd, you probably won’t be able to explore the city itself, so it’s a good idea to stay a bit longer and wait for while the crowd goes away. If you do so, be sure to explore the Seville Cathedral that is the world of its own, the largest cathedral in the world and the World Heritage Site. Right next to the Cathedral, you’ll see the Giralda bell-tower that used to be the minaret of a former mosque, it’s a bit hard to climb to its top, but the view is worth it.
Another place you have to visit in Seville is the Real Alcázar – a palace complex that is still used by the Spanish royal family, built in the Mudéjar style (Moorish-inspired architecture for non-Islamic buildings). Seville is fantastic, and besides checking out its landmarks, be sure to relax a bit on the banks of the Guadalquivir river.
If you’re looking for an Easter destination where you’ll enjoy a nice beach and sunbathing, we recommend beautiful Nice. There are a few very nice churches in Nice where you can celebrate the Holy Week and Easter (Pâques in French). The greatest one is, of course, the Nice Cathedral – Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate, that is a great landmark and a very significant to the entire religious community of Nice. Also, if you are Orthodox Christian or you’d like to learn a little about Orthodox customs, there is a great Russian Orthodox Cathedral and experience very interesting Easter celebration.
Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate de Nice
Nice is a very picturesque city on the French Riviera, with an idyllic coastline and the azure Mediterranean Sea – you’ll enjoy it very much. A walk down the 7 kilometres long Promenade des Anglais is mandatory, and it’s the best way to enjoy the views of the sea. While strolling down it, you’ll get to a great 19th-century villa with a really nice garden – don’t hesitate to enter its gates, it the Musée Masséna, where you’ll see many curiosities such as Napoleon’s death mask and a tiara belonging to his wife, Empress Joséphine, as well as a collection of 19th-century French art.
Promenade des Anglais
Besides exploring the Promenade, you should definitely walk down the streets of the Old Town, especially the Cours Saleya which is the main pedestrian street of this historic area. There are many quaint shops and adorable cafes where you can make a break from all the walking that you did.
In case the beautiful beaches of Nice are not enough for you and you’re looking for a place more exotic, we recommend Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii. With its sandy beaches, gorgeous landscapes, and beautiful weather year-round, practically, it’s the perfect vacation destination. Just imagine the sunrise Easter service on the beach, and then egg-hunting, barbecue and sunbathing all day long.
Besides enjoying the beach, there are many activities that make Hawaii the perfect vacation destination. One of those activities is snorkelling for sure – visit Hanauma Bay on the east side of Honolulu and explore what’s underwater. Also, hiking is one of the best things to do while in Hawaii. The most popular hiking trail is the one that leads to the Diamond Head – a former volcano that gives you a great view over the island. You should visit the rainforest, too, you’ll stumble upon the stunning 150-foot waterfall and many popular movies and TV series filming locations.
There are a few museums in Honolulu that you can visit. One of them is the Bishop Museum – one of the best natural history museums in the region, where you’ll learn a bit about Hawaiian history and culture. Also, did you know that Hawaii had its own monarchy? Visit Iolani Palace to learn more about the history of Hawaii and its royal families. As you can see there is so much to see and do, you will not regret visiting this unique U.S. state.
If none of these destinations feels perfect for your Easter vacation, check out our blog post about Easter destinations in Greece, there is a lot to see and do. Enjoy your holidays!