April! Spring has spronged and you’re spending every free minute skipping through a meadow and whistling the appropriate movement of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons while hugging newborn lambs. Probably.
The prodigal sun has returned, the days are growing elastic with warmth, and chances are you’re going to have some extra time off thanks to Easter. Whether it’s for a long weekend or a more substantial trip, we have some ideas for where to travel in April.
As winter releases Europe from its long, cold embrace and the continent begins its warm-up stretches for the sprint of summer ahead, it’s your job to make the most of it.
We think Lisbon is the ideal European spot for an April break. It’s one of Europe’s cheapest capital cities, leaving you with more money to distribute between the bars and cafes that spill out onto the winding streets and notorious hills come spring. In turn you’ll stay refreshed and energised to seek out the contrast of Lisbon’s street art and historical sites.
By the time April arrives you might be gasping for some hot weather, but many of the more popular Asian destinations – we’re looking at you, Thailand – can be unbearably hot at this time of year.
Not so the Philippines. In spring you can rely on it for affable sunshine, without the risk of being blown away by a typhoon. Take the opportunity to sail between islands (there are 7,107 to choose from), party in Manila, laze on Boracay’s beaches, and snorkel with sea pets in Palawan.
You’d have terrible luck to arrive in Namibia on a day that isn’t at least warm and sunny. Temperatures in April keep themselves below a tasteful 24°C, so you can explore the Namib Desert’s famous orange sand dunes without burning to a crisp.
It’s also optimal safari weather, and Etosha National Game Park is home to lions, elephants, giraffes, and rhinos that probably enjoy the blunted sunshine just as much as you will.
Malta feels a bit like it was made for a long weekend. The flight is just long enough for you to polish off an Easter egg, and basing yourself in the capital city Valetta puts you right at the heart of the action.
The historical city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it a bit like an open-air museum – there’s masterful Baroque architecture literally around every corner – but a museum with wine bars and bordered by the Mediterranean Sea. At this time of year it practically begs you to take a dip.
Arrive anywhere in Japan, at any time of year, and it’s an intoxicating experience. April offers up one of the country’s most enduring images: the blossoming of cherry trees.
The flourishing trees are a whimsical sight at the best of times, filling parks and woodland with sugary pink blossoms, but the effect is amplified at Goryokaku Fort Park in Hokkaido. Here the ruins of a star-shaped Tokugawa-era fort are crowded with cherry blossom trees, mosaics of petals drifting across the surface of the moat in shifting patterns.