This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you book or purchase through these links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.Spring is the perfect time to travel to so many destinations. Additionally, many people take off the week or weekend leading up to Easter making Holy Week a lucrative travel holiday. However, those who observe Easter still want to be able to celebrate when traveling. Together with other travel bloggers, here are a few ideas for fantastic Easter getaways plus specific tips where you can do just that!
1 | Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam is the perfect place to spend Easter weekend. More often than not, Easter falls in the month of April and…you guessed it, this is prime tulip season! In addition to a day trip from Amsterdam to Keukenhof to see the famous flowers, there are many other Easter activities that take place around the Dutch capital city.
Several of Amsterdam’s churches offer Easter services in English for international visitors and ex-pats. Most of the museums and outdoor markets are open. Browse for traditional Easter foods such as paasstol which is a yeast bread with dried fruits and almond paste. Join one of the many Easter egg hunts going on…there are both traditional dyed eggs and chocolate eggs to search for!
Make reservations for Easter brunch at a hotel or have Easter tea brunch at the smallest house in Amsterdam as we did! Alternatively but equally as fun, book an Easter brunch cruise on the Pancake Boat. During the 2.5 hour cruise, you can enjoy all the pancakes you can eat!
Since this is high season for tourism, be sure to book accommodations such as the Pulitzer Amsterdam in advance.
2 | Tromsø, Norway
Megan from Megan Starr
One of the best places to spend Easter is in Norway… specifically, in Tromsø, the capital of Arctic Norway.
At first glance, Norway might seem like the worst place to spend ‘påske’, or Easter, as everything closes down for some time. You will have to stock up on food and groceries and anything else you might want to purchase in advance. However, if you’re looking for a more ‘local’ experience, Easter is a fantastic time to travel to Tromsø because the opportunity to experience Norway will be presented to you.
In Norway, many locals take to nature during Easter. This is the last time of the year many Norwegians will go skiing, both cross-country and downhill. And, in Tromsø, you have the chance to do both. You will also see many Norwegians enjoying the special food that comes out this time of year- just look for the word ‘påske’ on chips, candy, and everything else when you’re in a supermarket. There is even påske marzipan!
Norway is known for fish, but it has traditionally relied heavily on lamb and sheep meat. During Easter, be sure to get a meal of ‘pinnekjøtt’ at a restaurant in Tromsø. These lamb ribs are steamed for many hours and are salty and delicious, especially served with root vegetables such as rutabaga and potatoes. This is also a traditional Christmas meal, but you will find many Norwegians enjoying it during Easter, too.
One of the more obscure Easter traditions in Norway is the presence of crime novels and stories. Norwegians love reading them or watching crime mini-series on television during their Easter break at home at the “hytte” (cabin). Many great crime writers hail from Scandinavia, such as Jo Nesbø, so perhaps this has something to do with it. But, you will definitely see crime novels and small books in stores during this holiday.
As someone who spent four years living in Norway, I definitely think visiting Tromsø or any Norwegian city during Easter is a must!
3 | Krakow, Poland
Veronika Primm from Travel Geekery
Krakow is a great city to visit year-round and even more so at Easter. All the action centers on the main square, the Rynek Główny, which gets packed with stalls selling everything from lovely handicrafts to some hearty Polish food. Try the Polish version of stuffed dumplings (Pierogi) or sausage (Kiełbasa). A good beer to flush it with is Tyskie, a local brand.
The Easter markets occupy just a part of the square, though. The rest is still wonderfully empty. Weather permitting, stroll around to your heart’s content, and enjoy a cup of coffee at the local Europejska Café or the international Costa Coffee, which stays open even during Easter.
The covered market hall, Sukiennice, might not have its stalls open, but it’s still pleasant enough just to walk through it from one end to the other.
If you’re looking for a quieter celebration of Easter and enjoy doing so in churches, then you have to visit one of the Easter masses. They are usually held at least twice a day during Easter, with each church having their own schedule (check the info by a church’s entrance).
Even the top attraction in Krakow, the Wawel Castle, keeps its doors open during Easter, just not its exhibitions. Still, the majestic courtyard and the lovely area around the castle is charming enough for a bit of Easter sightseeing.
4 | Enna, Sicily
Annabel Kirk from Smudged Postcard
Sicily is a wonderful place to visit at Eastertime, many of the towns have special religious celebrations: the capital Palermo, the towns of Taormina and Trapani. However, for a real hidden gem, explore Sicily by car and head inland to the town known as the belvedere of Sicily: Enna.
Enna is a lofty regional capital, the highest in Italy, with views stretching for miles across the surrounding countryside. During Settimana Santa (Holy Week) the town has regular parades starting on Palm Sunday and culminating on Good Friday when hundreds of hooded figures make their way to the cathedral to commemorate the death of Christ. This is a very somber and atmospheric time in Enna and an incredible tradition that is impressive to witness.
During Eastertime, the shops are filled with traditional delicacies: marzipan sweets and the Sicilian cassata, a cake made from ricotta cheese. Roasted lamb is also a specialty at Easter.
Spring is a fantastic time of year to visit this delightful hilltop town. The fields of wheat on the surrounding valleys are green (much of Italy’s pasta wheat is grown here) and wildflowers dot the countryside.
There are very few hotels in central Enna. It’s better to stay at one of the nearby agriturismo properties where you’ll experience authentic hospitality and excellent food. Baglio Pollicarini is a great option as its elevated position affords views towards distant Mount Etna.
5 | Seville, Spain
Yukti Agrawal from Travel With Me 24×7
Holy Week in Seville, Spain is actually known as Semana Santa de Sevilla. Celebrated since the 16th century, it is a world-famous Easter festival still today. Many people from all around the world gather here to witness this very unique festival. Approximately 50,000 people dressed up in traditional robes take part in processions, parades and carry religious statues on their shoulders.
The processions generally take place every evening of the entire Holy Week. The participants carry statues of pasos which are scenes of Mysteries of the Rosary and photos of the grieving Virgin Mary. These huge statues (pasos) which you see during the celebration originally had an educational meaning depicting an image in the chapters of the Bible. The people who walk the processions with the floats are performing an act of penance, repenting their sins.
The aromatic incense smell, candlelight processions and profound singing of songs will take you into bliss and a spiritual world.
This procession starts on Calle Campana and ends at the main Seville Cathedral. As such, it is better to book your hotel near the cathedral so that you can walk along the procession in later evenings.
6 | Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Julie Thorne from More Than Main Street
Charleston, South Carolina is a perfect US destination to visit during Easter. Also called the Holy City, Charleston is known for its many historical churches and tolerance of all religions. Over the holiday weekend, you can catch the famous Hat Ladies Annual Easter Parade, one of many local egg hunts, or attend a service at some of the most beautiful churches in the country.
But, in my opinion, the best part of visiting Charleston over the Easter weekend is that everything stays open! Get your history fix at Fort Sumter, tour one of the many local plantations or take a carriage tour of downtown Charleston. You can shop until your heart’s content, take a walk around Waterfront Park, and don’t forget to grab a fun photo opp by Rainbow Row.
If you’re visiting Charleston with kids, check out Patriot’s Point, the South Carolina Aquarium or the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. Additionally, because of Charleston’s warm springtime weather, you may even be able to hit up the nearby beaches for a little fun in the sun!
Depending on your budget, consider staying at The Restoration Hotel overlooking King Street or at the Courtyard Charleston in nearby Mount Pleasant.
7 | Yerevan, Armenia
Emily Lush from Wander-Lush
There’s no better place to observe traditional Easter celebrations than in Armenia – the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in 301 AD. Easter remains one of the biggest calendar events, with many time-honored rituals taking place in the capital, Yerevan. The Armenian Apostolic Church (to which more than 90 percent of Armenians subscribe) falls under the Orthodox Church. According to the Orthodox calendar, Easter is observed a week later than Roman Catholic Easter – however, the Easter Feast Holiday in Armenia is celebrated for much longer, from March 22 to April 26.
Easter in Armenia centers on the Resurrection (called Surb Zatik). It’s quite a somber affair, and very family-focused. Ceremonies commence on Saturday night with the lighting of candles at churches around the city. At the tiny Katoghike Church (Holy Mother of God Church), you can spot the flicker of flames through the medieval stone windows from some distance away. As part of the tradition, families will often take a candle away with them to symbolically bring the Holy Light into their homes. Saturday night is also when you’ll see a procession in Republic Square, where candles are arranged in a huge cross formation.
Other Easter traditions include dying eggs the color red using onion skins, and enjoying a family feast of fish, greens, lavash bread and chorek, a sweet bread made especially for the occasion. Many people still observe the 40 days of Lent, and you’ll find “fasting menus” (essentially a special selection of vegan dishes) offered at restaurants and cafes around the city in the lead-up to Easter.
8 | Ephesus, Turkey
Rai Suliman from A Rai of Light Travels
The observance of Easter goes all the way back to 325 AD in the region of what is now known as modern-day Turkey. Referred to in Turkish as Paskalye, the date of Easter was first deliberated by Christian Bishops at the First Council of Nicaea in the country’s Iznik region.
During the period of Easter, many of the country’s historic churches and shrines offer a special service attracting pilgrims from around the world. The highlight of this period is the adherence of Easter at the House of the Virgin Mary in the ancient city of Ephesus, with a history and culture going just as far back.
Many consider it an honor to celebrate the religious significance of this day and the resurrection of Jesus in the very home where His mother spent her final days. The House, a Catholic and Muslim shrine located on Mt. Koressos holds special services throughout the Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday.
You can look forward to the Great Vigil of Easter service with the Lighting of the Pascal Fire and two services of the Mass of Resurrection. Other historic churches with celebrations include the Church of St. Mary Draperis and Church of St. Anthony of Padua, but no matter where you go there is bound to be an Easter service of some sort.
9 | Loreto, Mexico
James Hills from Cruise West Coast
Easter weekend in Mexico, and indeed the entire Semana Santa – Holy Week, is one of the busiest among Mexican families going on vacation. In Loreto, Mexico the same is true though there’s a wide variety of options here depending on if you are looking for a more cultural experience with local restaurants and festivities or simply a sunny destination to relax and enjoy time with your family. For the latter, resorts such as Villa Del Palmar Loreto with its fantastic private beach and world-class TPC Danzante Bay golf course will be a great draw.
Regardless of where you stay though, Loreto is known for its abundant marine life including dolphins, sea lions, and of course ample opportunities to go fishing. The islands of Loreto beaches are similarly some of the most beautiful in the world with crystal clear water and pure white sand.
For those looking for a more cultural experience, staying downtown at properties such as La Mision Hotel (high-luxury) or Hotel Oasis (beachfront kitchen) might be the better option.
This also gives you the opportunity to walk to restaurants serving traditional Lenten, Easter fish and seafood dishes, explore art or even attend mass at Mision de Nuestra Senora de Loreto Concho. It’s the first successful Spanish mission in Baja and the foundation for the mission system that ultimately spread north throughout California starting in 1697. Like most Catholic celebrations in Mexico, this is a huge event with processions and celebrations around downtown and a large formal mass celebrated in front of the church itself.
10 | Antigua, Guatemala
James Daniel from Layer Culture
When looking for interesting places to visit at Easter who would have thought Guatemala would be an option? Many people would question their safety in Guatemala but after arriving at the airport I headed towards Antigua and found one of the most extravagant Easter celebrations I have ever seen. Hundreds of people were marching the cobblestone streets of Antigua. This is known as Holy Week or Semana Santa in Spanish.
For a full week, the former capital of Guatemala prepares for weeklong processions to mark the moment when the Spaniards arrived in Guatemala in 1524. These are religious and cultural festivities that host a mix of both Spanish and indigenous traditions. People from all over the country and other parts of the world come to witness the event. You can find elaborate floats and beautifully colored carpets made out of flowers and other natural items.
With places like Hotel Casa Santo Domingo, you have great options to stay nearby and you can even find some tasty street food. If you prefer to eat indoors, The Sky Café is a great place to go for a bite to eat and offers 360-degree views of the town and surrounding volcanos. All in all, Antigua, Guatemala makes a great place to visit if looking for a unique cultural event during Eastertime.
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If you are wanting to travel at Easter, hopefully, we have given you destination inspiration. If you are already traveling to one of these places for Easter, hopefully this gives you ideas for your itinerary. Either way…happy traveling and Happy Easter!
Have you spent Easter in any of these places? If not, which would be your top pick to visit during Holy Week?
‘Til next time…