Places to explore for Easter

Martin Andersen Photo

Martin Andersen

24 February 2017

Time to Read


Easter is a great chance to discover the world with someone you love. Every country has a certain way that it celebrates this religious holiday and what better way to explore new aspects of Easter than by immersing yourself right in the middle of it. Each one of our deals below is available to book for the Easter holiday duration and they all have something unique and fabulous to offer.

Easter in Tuscany, Italy

Exploring Tuscany during Easter opens up a treasure trove of things to do and see. Every part of the region –as with the rest of Italy and the Catholic part of the Mediterranean, celebrate the week with both religious reflection and colourful spectacles that liven up the streets. The capital of Tuscany, Florence leads the way in marking Easter, and if you find yourself in this romantic city on Easter Sunday, then check out the medieval tradition known as Scoppio del Carro (or Explosion of the Cart in English). A gigantic and elaborately decorated cart is drawn through the old streets by four oxen and once it reaches the square in front of the Duomo, the fireworks hidden inside it are set off accompanied by the sound of fanfares and drums, creating a wonderfully cacophonic scene. Other events that should be checked out in Tuscany during Easter include the Easter Passion Play on Good Friday in the small town of Grassina and the many processions across the region where people dress up in medieval costumes and walk through the streets with torches and religious icons.Florence

Easter in Algarve, Portugal

Like many other Catholic countries, Portugal celebrates Easter with a long line of processions, which take place in cities, towns and villages alike. In Southern Portugal, along the Algarve Coast, there are a number of processions to choose between, and which will let you experience an authentic and colourful glimpse of the region behind the beaches. The absolute highlight of Easter on the Algarve Coast is the procession of flower torches known as the Festa das Tochas Floridas, which takes place in the charming town of Sao Bras de Alportel, just east of Vilamoura. The normally quiet streets are lined with flowers and a procession passes through the town carrying large torch-like poles adorned with flowers to mark the Resurrection of Christ. The file of people moves around the town, chanting that “Christ has risen” to which the onlookers reply “Alleluia”. In the evening the procession turns into a celebration of music and poetry.


Easter in Carcassonne and Aude, France

Apart from experiencing Easter in the fantastic medieval setting of Carcassonne’s fortifications, the surrounding Aude region offers plenty of exhibitions and festivals for both young and old. During the Easter weekend, booklovers should head to the Fair of Antiquarian Books, which takes place for the 23rd time in the charming town of Montolieu, just north of Carcassonne. Younger bibliophiles, however, should instead head to the coastal town of Gruissan for the Meetings Around Comics expo, where kids can attend creative workshops, while people of all ages can engage with comic books and illustrations on display at various stalls. Other events in the Aude area that take place during Easter include the colourful carnival in Le Barcares on the 15th of April as well as the monthly wine-appreciation Saporta Festival at the Mas de Saporta vineyard in Lattes. 


Easter in Crete, Greece

Easter, according to the Greek Orthodox Church is usually celebrated after the Protestant and Catholic Easter. Every now and then Easter falls on the same day for all these branches of Christianity and 2017 is one of these occasions. The Holy Week, or Megali Evdomada, starts on Monday 10 April and if you’re staying on Crete throughout this week you can expect to see quite a lot of local traditions, such as the red-painted eggs (that symbolise the blood of Christ) to the procession and the ringing of the bells to commemorate the dead on Good Friday. There is also the burning of an effigy of Judas and the lighting of the Holy Flame after the midnight mass on Easter Saturday. Please note that during the week, some shops and tavernas might close early, just as a lot of restaurants only serve seafood and vegetarian dishes leading up to Easter Sunday.


Experience Cretan Easter at CHC Seaside Resort & Spa

Sham El-Nessim in Egypt

Egypt may not be the first place that springs to mind when looking for Easter activities, but the country does, however, have a tradition, which goes back to its ancient past and today is celebrated by most people, regardless of religion. Known as Sham El-Nessim, this national holiday takes place on Easter Monday and can be dated back to 2700 BC. A festival to signal the arrival of spring, the meaning of it changed over time according to which religion was the dominant one in the country. Today the name loosely translates as “taking in the breeze” and most Egyptians use the day to either go on a picnic to enjoy the usually clement weather, or head to the banks of the Nile and the Red Sea for a dip in the water. The resorts along these coasts also have activities for children that involve Easter, including egg-painting and hunts.


Easter in Barcelona, Spain

The Easter week in Spain is known as the Semana Santa (or Holy Week), and every village, town and city across the country take great pride in celebrating this religious holiday. The Catalonian capital, Barcelona is no exception. Watch the grand procession that kicks off Easter on Palm Sunday, where crowds gather around the cathedral holding palm branches. On Good Friday, another host of processions takes place throughout the day and ends at around 11pm. Each church across the city will put on their own parade, which means that you’re bound to find a procession regardless of where you are. Experience the colourful and sonorous gathering of locals and then make sure you gorge on lots of local chocolate that is sold at every corner of this wonderful city. If you’re not really into religious celebrations, then head to Park Guell and enjoy the blossoming trees and the warm weather.


Experience Easter in Barcelona at the Renaissance Barcelona Fira

Easter in Zadar, Croatia

All along the Dalmatian Coast, you’ll find plenty of things to experience, see and taste during Easter. The Croatian way of celebrating this week is similar to many other Mediterranean countries, with processions on Good Friday and street fairs appearing in numerous towns throughout the country. In Split you can catch the annual boat show, while Dubrovnik invites you to experience ancient artisan skills of various crafts at the Easter Fair. In Croatia there are lots of little traditions that locals observe during the week. Due to palms being rather rare in the country, people take olive twigs to church to be blessed on Palm Sunday, while Easter Sunday sees people bringing whole baskets of food to church to be blessed, before embarking on an Easter feast with the family. If you are staying in Croatia during this period you should sample the holiday treat known as Sirnica, which is a sweet bread that you dip in wine. Children can spend their time painting eggs before partaking in the local Tuca –or egg fight, where people hit their egg against another and the winner is the one with an intact specimen at the end.


Easter in Jersey, UK

During the month of April the annual Channel Islands Heritage Festival takes place. This year the theme is Heroes, Myths and Legends, which celebrates the multifaceted history of these islands just off the French coast. A self-guided tour can be booked for people wishing to explore this at their own leisure, while numerous different stories and themes can be discovered through a plethora of tours that have been created specifically for the festival. These include war tours and a full-day guided tour that focuses on the fairies that are said to inhabit the island. On the 9th of April you can also explore the iconic Elizabeth Castle for free, courtesy of Jersey Heritage. This 16th century fortress is located just off the coast from St Helier and is an interesting place to wander around –especially when the Easter sun is out.


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