Easter is a much beloved holiday that is universally celebrated around the world. Whether looking to spend time close to home with family and friends; or preferring to take the opportunity to travel abroad, Easter 2018 is an ideal time to plan your next holiday. Europe is a culturally rich and historically significant region of the world, and these are our favorite places to visit in Europe this Easter.
Easter in Paris, France is idyllic, to say the least. It can be just as memorable for a romantic Paris holiday for two as it can be for a fun-filled Paris vacation for the entire family. Parisians love this time of year, and Paris is literally in “full bloom” as spring arrives with a burst of vibrant color and fragrance as the Cherry and Apple Blossoms burst on the scene. You can take part in one of the many organized Easter egg hunts for children, go to a large-scale church service at either Notre-Dame or Sacré-Cœur, make time for a concert at Sainte Chapelle, or book a tour for a chocolate tasting experience at some of the top chocolatiers. Other options include hopping on a bateau and sailing down the river while sampling the best of French cuisine on a Seine River Cruise, having a romantic dinner at the Eiffel Tower or enjoying a causal and festive Easter brunch with family or friends at one of the many hotels and restaurants throughout the city.
If you have always dreamed of a Greek island holiday, then there is no better time than Easter to plan a trip to Greece. Traditionally, Easter is celebrated a week or two later in Greece than in the West because the Eastern Orthodox churches use a different calendar, but it is a great time of year to plan a vacation to Greece. Easter celebrations are happening just about everywhere, and some of the best destinations to celebrate Easter in Greece are Corfu, Skiathos, Patmos, Chios, Leonidio, and Monemvasia. There are ample opportunities to delve deep into the culture while participating in sacred rituals, ancient traditions, and festive celebrations. The seaside village of Kardamyli is a nice stop as they have a Good Friday parade that passes through town while a priest blesses each house. At midnight on Holy Saturday, everyone on the island turns off their lights and converges on the main square followed by prayers and a candle lighting service that gradually illuminates the entire town and is then followed by fireworks.
Often recognized as a favorite playground for the wealthy and the elite, most people do not realize that Malta is one of the most religious Catholic countries in the world and one of the best places to spend Easter in Europe. Malta is a picturesque island state located in the Mediterranean Sea, consisting of the three islands of Gozo, Comino and Malta, which is the largest. Malta offers an abundance of travel and leisure activities and hosts various parades and spiritual celebrations to celebrate Easter. Additionally, you can relax on the beautiful beaches, visit historic sites like St John’s Cathedral or catch a boat out to the nearby Comino Island and take a dip in the “Blue Lagoon”. A visit to the culturally-rich capital city of Valletta should be a part of any Malta trip during an Easter holiday. Be sure to visit Silema and St. Julian, which both offer a plethora of high-end boutiques, shops, bars and restaurants with a sophisticated nightlife and after-hours scene.
Easter is one of the biggest holidays on the Italian calendar, and there is no better European destination to visit than Rome. Easter is elaborately celebrated in the “Eternal City”, and tourists from all over the world gather in Rome and at the Vatican during Easter. The celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica is a highly coveted event, yet small neighborhood churches additionally offer a distinctive charm and atmosphere while honoring the traditions in an unforgettable way. Spending your Easter holiday in such a remarkable city will definitely be a unique experience. There are many things to do in Rome and Easter Sunday 2018 is significant because all state archeological sites and museums will be free. There will be no better time to visit the Rome attractions such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Castel Sant’Angelo, Ostia Antica, Palazzo Barberini and many more while there is no entry fee on Easter.
For many religious and non-religious people, traveling to Jerusalem is an epic journey of a lifetime. Spending Easter in this sacred and holy city is a popular option, and the Jerusalem begins to fill up with tourists up to a week before Easter Sunday. Holy Week celebrations are found citywide, and Jerusalem offers a remarkable range of pilgrimages. Tourists can visit the places that are found in the stories from The Bible and join the Palm Sunday procession on the Mount of Olives and visit the Dome of the Rock. The Coenaculum is another popular site, and many people opt for a ”Footsteps of Jesus“ tour and walk along the Via Dolorosa path and visit the Garden Tomb. Other highlights include a day visit to Bethlehem or booking a one day tour to Nazareth, Tiberius and the Sea of Galilee.
One of the best places to visit in Europe for Easter in 2018 is Romania. Around 85% of the population identifies themselves as Orthodox Christians, and vibrant Easter celebrations are commonplace. Painting Easter eggs, the “shooting of the rooster”, perfuming women and first farmer’s celebration are some of the local customs you will witness when you visit Romania for Easter. While discovering the unique traditions specific to the Easter holidays, you can also visit some of Romania’s most beautiful and historical sites in Transylvania, Bucovina, and Maramures. Bucovina, one of the most traditional and picturesque regions in Romania, is an excellent place to spend the Easter Holidays. They have a delightful custom of intricately decorating eggs with wax, and Bucovina is renowned for its beautifully painted monasteries. Another highlight to indulge when you visit is to be sure to celebrate with a traditional Romanian Easter meal of boiled and painted eggs, various lamb dishes, and “Cozonac”, which is a sweet bread filled with walnuts, cocoa, and Turkish delight.
Melissa is a passionate foodie, travel writer, and editor working in media internationally and in the USA. She has lived in Bangkok since 2004 and has a background in the travel industry. Melissa’s writing has been published globally in many prestigious online and print magazines for over a decade. Her motto for life is “You cannot live or love well if you have not wined and dined well!”