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Where to go in April in Europe? Spring has come (we hope!), the days are now longer. Yet it’s not so simple to choose your April destination in Europe because there’s just too much choice and you need to do a bit of research. For instance, if you go to Biarritz, you can have a full week of magnificent weather or… seven days of rain. So if you’re looking for sunny places, play it safe and choose the Mediterranean countries. Generally speaking though, April is a great month to go on a trip because in many European countries, there are Easter holidays. Without further ado, here is our selection of best April destinations in Europe if you’re in for some festivals and gigs.
Feet in the water. Are you looking for a place to swim in Europe in April? We’ve found six.
Update: In 2022, some of these meetings might be canceled or modified due to the coronavirus pandemic. So check the updates first.
In Braga for Holy Week | Portugal
Where? Braga, north of Porto, in northern Portugal (map)
When? From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday
Holy Week in Braga is the largest and most famous of all in Portugal, and the most important tourist and religious event in the city of Braga. It is estimated that around 100,000 people attend the main processions (for recommended itineraries see the official website). This Holy Week harmoniously combines elements of liturgy and popular piety, ancient traditions and innovations. Since November 2011, this event has been officially declared to be “of tourist interest”.
In Barcelona for the Feast of Sant Jordi | Spain
Where? Barcelona, Catalonia (map)
When? April 23, Saint George’s Day
Sant Jordi, or Saint George, is the patron saint of Aragon, Valencia, the Balearic Islands and Catalonia. And in the capital of the latter region, the festivities are particularly grand. The tradition is that, each year, we offer a rose, and since the 1920s, a book. A tradition that prompted UNESCO, in 1995, to declare April 23, International Book and Copyright Day. On this day, Barcelona becomes a gigantic open-air bookstore. If the sun is out, it’s the perfect time for a cultural stroll through the city… with a rose in your hand, of course.
In Seville for the Feria | Spain
Where? Seville, the capital of Andalusia (map)
When? For dates, check out the Seville Town Hall website
Truly traditional festival, the Feria de Sevilla dates back to the 1850s, when a Catalan and a Basque proposed a project of festivities to the Sevillian cattle market authorities. But it’s not until 1945 and the end of the Second World War that the Feria starts to resemble the event we know today. On the menu: bullfighting shows, tastings of regional products in the casetas, large striped canvas tents, and Sevillian dances, of course. The entry to where festivities are held is decorated with thousands of lights. The Feria is an essential moment of the year for all the locals.
In Paris for the marathon | France
Where? Paris, the capital of France (need a map?)
When? For dates, see the official marathon website
Are you a runner? Great! Why not visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world by running through its streets with no cars in view? Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Well it requires some work, or better say workout, because you’d be taking part in a marathon. Many amateur sportsmen come to enjoy the city and have incredible choice of itinerary in the heart of the French capital: Champs-Elysées, banks of the Seine, Bois de Boulogne, Bois de Vincennes. Tourists from all over the world have understood that the experience is unique. Each year, nearly 23,000 foreigners, or around 40% of the peloton, take part in the event.
In Edinburgh for the Beltane Fire Festival | UK
Where? Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland (map)
When? On the night of April 30 to May 1
Since the end of the 1980s, these festivities (official site) continue an old Celtic tradition of celebrating the arrival of spring. It all happens on Calton Hill, on the night of April 30 to May 1. The procession led by the Queen of May to the sound of the drums starts at the National Monument. When the procession ends, a huge bonfire is lit. Traditional Celtic music and theatrical performances accompany the whole thing. A now unmissable event in the life of Edinburgh. By the way, don’t miss our video on the most magical places in Scotland.
In Speyside for the Whiskey Spirit Festival | UK
Where? Throughout Speyside, North East region of Scotland (map)
When? For dates, see the official festival website
Created in 1999, this festival is entirely dedicated to the Scottish national drink, the whiskey. Speyside is in fact the largest whiskey-producing region in Scotland. With a program of more than 700 whiskey-inspired events over six days, it has become a must-see global event for all whiskey enthusiasts. Events take place all over Speyside, in distilleries, bars, castles and town squares. Go to the festival website to discover all your options.
In Brussels for the International Fantastic Film Festival | Belgium
Where? Brussels, the capital of Belgium
When? For the dates, check out the official website of the event
Here is another European destination idea for a trip in April. Since 1983, Brussels hosts a film festival dedicated to thrillers, fantasy and horror films. For the past decade, the event has been at the Palace of Fine Arts (or Bozar). Nearly 150 films are screened in preview during the festival, accompanied by numerous street entertainments, exhibitions and even a vampire ball.
In Zurich for the Spring Festival | Switzerland
Where? Zurich, northern Switzerland (map)
When? Every third Monday in April
This celebration is more than a century old. The Sechseläuten (“Six o’clock bells”) have been celebrated in their current form since 1904. The festival takes place on the third Monday in April. It consists of several events, including a children’s costume procession on Sunday and the procession of corporations on Monday. The highlight of the festival is the “cremation” of a Winter mascot called the Böögg, a kind of snowman with firecrackers. A beautiful festive moment and a highlight of the year in Zurich.
In Florence for the Scoppio del Carro | Italy
Where? Florence, the capital of Tuscany, in northern Italy (map)
When? Easter day
The Scoppio del Carro (“Explosion of the chariot”) is a folkloric event stemming from a Christian tradition dating from the first crusade. Its purpose was to deliver the Holy Sepulcher from the “unfaithful”. It is celebrated on Easter Sunday with a procession that winds through the city, preceded by a cart filled with fireworks, drawn by white oxen. Its destination: the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, where, at the end of the mass, the archbishop lights a rocket in the shape of a dove which sets off the fireworks, crashing into the carriage. Quite an impressive thing to see.
In Vienna for the Spring Festival | Austria
Where? Vienna, the capital of Austria (map)
When? For dates, go to the town hall website
It is a classical music festival, founded in 1992, which attracts thousands of music enthusiasts each year. In the program: over 60 concerts and the works of famous Viennese musicians such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Christoph Willibald Gluck and Johann Bach. Every year, the Vienna Spring Festival takes place for over a month starting in April and ending in the third week of May.
Our selection of best places to visit in Europe in April is now complete. But maybe you have other suggestions? Do not hesitate to let us know in the comments!