If you’ve gone the whole pandemic without leaving these isles, Easter could just be your moment. These are the holidays we’ve been dreaming of.

Easter is a wonderful time of year for travel, especially for those who don’t wish to rack up too many air miles in the process. As spring hits its stride, Europe – particularly the south – unfurls in all its glory, the sun ever-more reliable by the day. And yet, neither does it tend to be too hot, nor too busy. These are the destinations for a spot of winter sun, al fresco cappuccinos on cobbled streets and a much longed-for change of scenery.

Rome


The resplendent capital of Italy does Easter like nowhere else. Join the pilgrims as they flock to St Peter’s Basilica for Good Friday Mass, to the colosseum for Via Crucis (‘Way of the Cross’), and then follow the Pope as he carries the flaming cross before addressing the congregation. Meanwhile, the city’s excellent restaurants will be hitting Carciofi Romanesco season.



It’s a perfect time of year, too, for strolls about the Villa Borghese park, to gasp at the views across the city at sunset from the Pincio, and to sample excellent Italian wines, while spilling out onto cobbled streets. For the latter there are many excellent options. We particularly like the simple, medieval charms of Vino E Olio.



Stay



Hotel De La Ville



This Polizzi-designed Rocco Forte hotel offers old-fashioned luxury, right atop the Spanish Steps. Book it.


Piazza di Spagna, Landmark Trust


You can rely on the Landmark Trust for the very best places to stay. This two-bed apartment is right above the ever-poignant Keats-Shelley Museum, right on the Spanish Steps, and facing the fancy Via Dei Condotti. Book it.

Buonanotte Garibaldi



This charming hotel is in our favourite area of Rome: the romantic Trastevere. An oasis in the city, its bohemian vibe and heavenly vine-strewn garden is all we’ve ever wanted from a hotel. Book it.


Cyprus


Do you feel starved of sunshine and in need of a long-awaited beach holiday? Cyprus is an excellent option in April. It’s the perfect time for it in fact: not too hot, yet absolutely warm enough to swim in the sea.



The landscape is still verdant while the air is warm. In short, ideal. And all for a short-haul flight.

Stay



Four Seasons



For the last word in luxury, this sea front hotel in Limassol is a veritable paradise on earth. Book it.

Casale Panayiotis



Set in the ancient mountain village of Kalopanagiotis, Casale Panayiotis is made up of a series of stone cottages, all restored to rustic perfection. The valley is breath-taking, and a stay here offers a taste of true Cypriot life. Book it.


Corfu


Corfu, with its cypress tree-studded hills, azure waters and remote sandy coves, makes an ideal retreat – and at Easter, the temperatures are balmy without being scorching. Its beauty is legendary, celebrated by literary giants, from Homer to Lawrence Durrell, the latter of whom famously lived on the verdant island.



And, if you weary of the beach, Corfu Old Town is a glorious place for wandering, shopping and lunching al fresco. On a small peninsula about halfway down the east coast of the island, its aesthetic was heavily influenced by the Venetians, who occupied the island for 400 years, leaving an indelible footprint of architectural splendour.

Stay



Delfino Blu Boutique Hotel



Beautifully situated on the northern edge of Ágios Stéfanos Avliotón, Delfino Blu Boutique Hotel puts the onus on sustainability and natural living, while never dropping the luxury ball. Book it.


The Merchant’s House



Set amid the verdant hills of Old Perithia, a 14th-century Venetian village, this 300-year-old guest house is an idyllic mountain retreat. It’s a mere fifteen-minute drive from the sandy beaches the island is famous for, while being wonderful quiet and calm. Meanwhile, for travellers who wish to enjoy the mountain surroundings, there are five tavernas in the village that all serve up sublime Corfiot cuisine. Book it.


Paris


Paris is always a good idea, according to the wisdom of Audrey Hepburn – and who are we to question the queen of grace and glamour? Paris in the springtime is, after all, irresistible as it nonchalantly discards its winter layers and the Tuileries burst into full bloom.



We already feel a spring in our step at the thought of a coat-free coffee outside in Le Marais and walks along the Seine.

Stay



Chaval Blanc



LVMH Hospitality’s urban maison has 72 beautiful rooms, a Dior spa, the longest swimming pool in Paris – and a sublime location in the 1st Arrondissement. Book it.

Hotel Castille



Star Hotels is behind this romantic beauty. Italianate, contemporary, luxurious: it represents the ideal marriage between France and Italy. In other words: bliss. Book it.

Lisbon


Lisbon exudes charm at any time of year, but in April, there is a special kind of magic as it begins to warm up and the bright colours pop in the strengthening rays of sunshine.



Waft around the cobbled streets, explore old palaces and eat your body weight in the glorious pastéis de nata (they are at their most delicious in their home town) – and all without breaking the bank in this wonderful and, crucially, affordable city on the sea.

STAY


Memmo Alfama



In Lisbon’s oldest and most picturesque quarter sits this heavenly hotel, views from whose lovely terrace stretch across the city and beyond to the Tagus River. Book it.

The One Palacio da Anunciada



A new five-star hotel, The One Palacio da Anunciada, sits right in the heart of Lisbon, housed within a historic building that dates to 1533. There’s an excellent spa and endless little luxuries on offer everywhere. For us, though, it’s all about that pool. Book it.


Seville


If you go to Sevillle in the popular months of July or August, you can expect steamy hot summers. Plump instead for April, and you’ll be in for balmy days during which it is never uncomfortable to explore the beautiful city’s Renaissance and Gothic architecture.



Orange harvesting season will just be over, but you can still enjoy the fruit the city is famous for everywhere, as well as wandering through orange tree-lined plazas and stopping in at hole-in-the-wall bars for a refreshing drink.

STAY


Triana House



This boutique hotel in the historic centre is impeccable and Art Deco-inspired. What the rooms lack in size they more than make up for in style. Book it.


Corral Del Rey



Housed within a 17th-century palacio in the old town, the simplicity and refinement of this renovation is conducive to utter relaxation. Book it.


By Nancy Alsop
February 2022

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Nancy Alsop

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