Even though the specific dates are a moving target, Easter is a reliable marker for the kickoff of the spring travel season each year. In many parts of the world, Easter is celebrated for a week or more, making it a high season for tourists with special events, festivals, and religious ceremonies. If you're longing for a spring getaway to a far-flung locale, traveling over Easter will only heighten the experience in these destinations.
Throughout Seville, Easter is celebrated with elaborate processions in which the robed and hooded faithful carry giant floats of religious icons throughout the city. The processions begin on Palm Sunday and last through Holy Week or Semana Santa. Though the processions can be quite somber, the whole city bursts into a more cheerful mood on Easter Sunday. The following week is typically a holiday for residents and visitors.
April is an ideal time to visit Athens, with sunny days and temperatures just topping out at 70 degrees on average. In Greece, Easter is celebrated with several traditions, including the Epitafios procession on Good Friday, in which an ornate representation of Christ's tomb is carried through the streets. Just remember that Orthodox Easter is one week later than Western Easter when you book.
Mexico City is famous for its Easter celebrations, which are a unique blend of indigenous and Catholic traditions. Among the most popular are passion plays, which are full-scale reenactments of Christ's crucifixion. In some areas, the day before Easter features a festival in which Judas is burned in effigy. Mariachi bands and fireworks displays round out the festivities.
Balmy temperatures, fantastic food, and glorious artistic treasure make Florence a must-see destination in the spring. Come at Easter, and you can join in Scoppio del Carro, where a cart filled with fireworks is set off in the city's main square, Piazza del Duomo. This is a centuries-old tradition accompanied by church bells to officially ring in Easter.
The city puts on its spring finery as many households decorate with flowers and dyed Easter eggs. Head to Prague's Old Town Square for one of the city's best Easter markets, where you'll find delicious foods, crafts, concerts, and folk dances. Don't be surprised if you also see willow branches for sale: Easter Monday is the pomlázka, a tradition in which boys whip girls (lightly!) with the branches to ensure fertility.
People have made religious pilgrimages to Jerusalem for centuries. On Palm Sunday, many people climb the Mount of Olives, while on Good Friday, Jerusalem's Old City hosts the "Way of the Cross" procession that retraces the steps Jesus walked to his crucifixion. There are also several religious ceremonies, including sunrise services.
The island of Sicily comes back into bloom in April, making it a wonderful time to visit. At Easter, Trapani is home to the Processione dei Misteri, which features life-size statues depicting scenes from Jesus' life. There are also street performances where actors bring scenes from the Easter story to life. Of course, you'll also be able to enjoy incredible seafood and local wine.
Warsaw warms up for Easter as spring arrives, and the fun begins on Palm Sunday, with long, joyful processions and contests to see who can make the tallest decorative palm (a stick adorned with flowers). Explore the special Easter markets for colorful springtime crafts, including intricately painted easter eggs and special seasonal breads.
April in Paris is (to paraphrase Audrey Hepburn) always a good idea, thanks to the gorgeous blooming trees around the Tuileries. Gentle breezes off the Seine and the best cuisine in the world are yours to enjoy, and you can gaze over 1,000 breathtaking stained-glass windows at Sainte-Chapelle during Easter services.
Spring is lovely in Rome, and it's wise to get there before the summer makes things unbearably hot. Get advanced tickets to tour the Vatican or Saint Peter's Basilica, as these will be crowded during Easter weekend—though if you don't mind crowds, you can witness the Pope's Easter blessing from Saint Peter's Square for free.
Quito is a unique vacation destination in South America. You can hike the rugged Andes, ride up the mountainside on a cable car, or take a short plane ride to the Galapagos to experience the incredible wildlife there. For a quiet Easter after your adventures, don't miss Quito's Good Friday "Procession of Silence," in which the faithful carry a statue of Jesus through the streets.
One word says it all: tulips. These popular Easter flowers are raised in large fields across the country, and bloom season begins in April, right around Easter. Amsterdam makes the ideal jumping-off point for bike rides through the colorful fields of the countryside or time your trip for the city's annual tulip festival.
The Emerald Isle is greening up in the spring, a sight for sore eyes for anyone living in colder climes. Dublin's families are enjoying a two-week school vacation around the Easter holidays, so the city hosts plenty of special events geared for families to make your trip more memorable. In addition to standard tourist sites, explore local farms, stables, and castles for Easter activities.
All of the Caribbean is a delight around Easter, with temperatures ideal for water sports of every variety, including diving, snorkeling, and stand-up paddleboarding. Easter on the beach is even more unique, as tradition calls for people to bring kites (homemade or otherwise) to the beach to launch into the sky. The soaring kites symbolize the resurrection, but this is one Easter celebration that doesn't require a religious ceremony or trip to a church to enjoy—just blue skies and salt air.
If spring isn't your thing, spend a genuinely unique Easter holiday in Australia, where you can go leaf-peeping for gorgeous "fall" colors. The Royal Botanical Gardens is the city's crown jewel, but lovers of Victorian frills will also enjoy Fitzroy Gardens. All that red, orange, and gold color will form an unusual backdrop to Easter photos, but don't worry—there are still plenty of egg-centric activities to enjoy to celebrate the season.