Paris is one of France’s most beloved and romantic cities, and April is one of the best times of year to visit. Often referred to as the “City of Light”, Paris comes to life and 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. This is an ideal time to beat the crowds that flock to the city in the summer months. The weather in Paris is generally cool and brisk with an average daily temperature of 12°C that can rise to around 17°C on the warmest days, so you will still want to bundle up. In the evenings, the temperature usually drops to 8°C, and you may want to bring an umbrella as it is likely that you will experience some intermittent spring showers. April is an ideal time to visit places such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, or get lost in the rich cultural history of the many art museums and galleries. Dining is another Parisian indulgence that should not be missed; whether it is gourmet fare in a Michelin star restaurant or enjoying a café au lait and baguette at one of the many charming bistros.
Easter arrives on the 2nd of April, and celebrating it in Paris with your family and friends can be an unforgettable experience. Stop by Notre Dame Cathedral for mass or attend a concert at Sainte Chapelle. If you prefer to be a bit more active, you may want to take part in the 42nd Paris Marathon on Sunday 8 April 2018. The route offers plenty of sights along the way as it passes through the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries, and goes around the Place de la Bastille, then takes you along the Seine and to the finish line near the Arc de Triomphe.
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If you want to get off the beaten track and do something unexpected, then pack your bags and your sunscreen and head to Cuba during the month of April. You can look forward to high temperatures and plenty of sun, and it is one of the driest months of the year with an average high of 29°C during the day and cooling to around 20°C in the evenings. Cuba offers much more than cigars, rum and classic American cars from the 1950’s; although these things do have their charms. Cuba is an unspoiled tropical oasis with a rich and fascinating cultural heritage. It is one of the few places in the world where you can swim in a “cenote”, which is a fresh-water well, crater or cave. Zapata National Park in southern Cuba is a great place to see cenotes, and it is only a 2-hour drive from Havana. A visit to Vinales in the west of the country is also recommended as this is where the majority of the tobacco fields are, and you can easily arrange for a plantation tour.
Be sure to visit some of the smaller islands in Cuba such as of Cayo Rico; popular for snorkeling and diving off its coral reefs, or Cayo Santa Maria, which is actually half wildlife preserve and well-known for its Dolphinarium, marina, and pristine beaches. There are additionally many gardens, museums, and sacred religious sites to visit, such as the Havana Cathedral and the Plaza del Carmen. Havana will also play host to the International Cuban Dance Festival 23-29 April 2018. This is a highly anticipated event where dancers, students, teachers and choreographers from around the world come together and share a love of Latin dance.
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April is a month often associated with renewal and beginnings, and a trip to Marrakesh may be just the adventure you have been waiting for. Exotic, and ancient, Marrakesh is a former imperial city in Western Morocco. Home to intricately decorated mosques, stunning palaces, and beautiful gardens, it is a walled medieval city dating back to the Berber Empire, with maze like alleys where thriving souks (marketplaces) sell traditional textiles, pottery, and jewelry. Marrakesh is located just north of the Sahara Desert and is hot year-round with average temperatures during April reaching 27°C. It does tend to cool in the evening to about 11°C, and you should pack accordingly.
There are many exciting events happening in April 2018, including the funky and fabulous “Jazzablanca” Jazz Festival in Casablanca from 14-22 April. Serious athletes may want to try their hand at the Marathon des Sables, which is a six day race through the harsh environments of the Sahara Desert. Often referred to as the “Toughest Foot Race on Earth”, it takes place in the Moroccan Desert 6-16 April. If high octane speed and glamour is more your style, then be sure to check out the Grand Prix Hassan II (ATP World Tour 250 series) taking place 9-15 April in Marrakesh. While visiting take in the sights, sounds, flavors and some of the local culture by visiting a local bathhouse where you can experience an intensely thorough massage and body scrub, or venture out to the Saadian Tombs where you can see the final resting place of the members of the royal Saadi dynasty.
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It is often said that everything is “bigger and better” in Texas, and April is one of the best months of the year to visit this southern US state that shares a border with Mexico. Texas has diverse landscapes and environments where you can discover everything from barren deserts and lush forests to sandy beaches. The diversity is also reflected in the climate across the state with southeastern cities such as Houston near the Gulf of Mexico experiencing average temperatures of 21°C in April, and western cities such as El Paso enjoying warmer and drier weather, averaging around 26°C.
As one of the largest states in the USA, people usually drive or fly between cities and some of the best places to visit in April include San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and Austin. There are a plethora of things to see and do, including swap meets, farmer’s markets, and the ever-popular rodeo. For something a little quirky and offbeat, check out the Weird Homes Tour, which is a wacky annual event showcasing 56+ “odd homes” in Austin, on April 21st or attend the Heart of Texas Air Show in Waco on 7-8 April 2018 with military jets, aircraft and aerobatic flying performances by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. For something a bit more sophisticated, stop by the Austin Food + Wine Festival 27-29 April and join some of America’s top chefs, sommeliers and wine makers from across the nation in an indulgent, three-day epicurean adventure.
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April is by far one of the best times to visit China, and Beijing is a city that truly comes alive in the spring. The weather in April is mild and cool with temperatures averaging about 20°C during the day. The evenings tend to be a bit on the chilly side with temperatures getting as low as 3°C. One of the most alluring aspects of Beijing in April is the spring blooms that encompass the city. There are countless cultural festivals that take place in April including the International Kite Festival in Chao Yang Park and the very popular Yuyuantan Park Cherry Blossom Festival which takes place all month. It boasts an amazing array of Cherry Blossoms, and you will discover more than 200,000 flowering plants on display with approximately 2000 cherry trees from 20 different species to behold.
The city gears up in April as international celebrities and movie stars converge for the Beijing International Film Festival taking place 16-23 April 2018. While visiting make time to explore some of its most iconic tourist destinations such as The Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, or walk the historic streets of Tiān’ānmén Square. Because the weather is much warmer and more pleasant in April than in the earlier months, it’s a great time to shop in the markets and try the eclectic street food that has made Chinese food so popular around the world. You can even arrange to have a food tour and explore some of the more exotic culinary delights along with such staples as dim sum and noodles.
If Tokyo is on your bucket list of destinations to visit, then you may want to think of crossing it off this April. The weather is nearly perfect and it is unlikely that you will experience any of the heavy rains and high temperatures that are common in the summer months. Sightseeing, outdoor activities, parks, and gardens are at their best and the spring weather is a brisk and cool 13-18°C during the afternoon with lows between 5-10°C in the early morning and evenings. Tokyo is world-renowned for their “Sakura” (Cherry Blossom) festivals that all take place in early April. There are many to choose from, and some of the more popular ones include the Sumida Park Cherry Blossom Festival, Ueno Cherry Blossom Festival and the Chiyoda Cherry Blossom Festival; which are all free events.
If flowers are not your priority, you may want to attend the Kanamara “Penis” Festival, which takes place 1 April 2018 at the Kanayama Shrine in Kawasaki. It features phallic images in everything from the decorations to the cuisine which culminates in a parade showcasing many giant phalli. Another interesting festival to check out is the Ramen Girls Festival 2018, which begins on the 26th of April and lasts until early the next month. Contrary to the name, everyone is welcome and eating ramen in all its many incarnations is a foodie fantasy come true. Other must-do attractions in Tokyo include an early morning tour of the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market or a tour of the Imperial Palace and the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. To get the ultimate bird’s-eye view of the city, head to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and be sure to visit some traditional sites such as the Sensoji Temple and the Meiji Shrine.
Any time of the year is a good one to soak up some Caribbean sun, and April in Jamaica is the stuff that dreams are made of. The island is hot with occasional short rain showers and the average temperature is 26°C in the daytime. April is a hotbed of activity with plenty of surf, sea and spicy “jerk” chicken and seafood to sink your teeth into. April 2, Easter weekend 2018, is the beginning of the Montego Bay Yacht Club’s Easter Regatta, which is an annual sailing event of races along the North Coast over a four-day period. The first week of April is also is when “Carnival” is celebrated in Kingston, Ocho Rios, and Montego Bay. This is a weeklong series of festivities including concerts, street parades and food galore. For those who are a little sportier, you may want to take part in the Treasure Beach Off-Road Triathlon, on April 27th.
Be sure to explore the natural beauty of Jamaica while visiting and go to Seven Mile Beach in Negril as well as Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay. Another popular activity is rafting in Martha Brae, where you can glide down a serene river on bamboo rafts while being guided by locals from the same village that Bob Marley lived in. You can even visit the birthplace of the famous Rastafarian and singer while you are there. Jamaica is also famous for its waterfalls, and the Dunn’s River Falls, which encompasses 180 meters of terraced waterfalls. Another option is to visit the rainforest-cloaked mountains outside of Ocho Rios and hike to the Blue Hole, which is a series of picturesque waterholes fed by gushing cascades and is sometimes called Island Gully Falls.
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Southeast Asia is blessed with an abundance of natural and cultural wonders, and Thailand is one of its most exotic gems. Because of its location near the equator, Thailand experiences tropical climate year round. If you’re planning a trip in April, you can look forward to lots of warm and sunny weather, although the amount of rain picks up a bit in the southwestern region. Average temperatures remain around 32°C during the day in the cities and the evenings will cool down to 25°C in the islands located in the south.
April is one of the best months to visit Thailand because Thai New Year, also known as “Songkran” or the “Water Festival”, is celebrated from 13-16 April. During this time locals often return to their childhood homes and visit temples to perform a ritual of pouring water on Buddha statues to wash away bad luck. In Bangkok and throughout the provinces, people from around the world gather to enjoy the water festival by splashing water on one another with buckets or water guns, so be ready to get soaked when you venture outside during this time. Another event to attend in April is Chakri Day on April 6th. Commemorating the founding of the current ruling Chakri Dynasty, a religious ceremony honoring the previous kings is held at the Grand Palace.
You may want to head down to the islands in the south of Thailand such as Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Lanta or Koh Tao for snorkeling, diving, or some relaxation on the beach. Be sure to check out the monthly Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan on April 29th. This is a hedonistic, all night “beach party” with live music, entertainment, and copious amounts of alcohol being served. If you are looking for something more chilled out and relaxed, head up north to the mountains and idyllic rural villages at the Golden Triangle near Chiang Rai where you can visit ancient temples and go elephant trekking.