OUR PICK OF THE BEST EASTER BREAKS AROUND THE WORLD
There’s nothing like trading in the unpredictable British weather for a well-deserved sun-filled family getaway this Easter. To make life simpler, we have narrowed down the choices for you.
Cherry pick with Wendy Wu Tours this Easter
Japan – one of Asia’s most enthralling countries - is proving to be this year’s hot destination with Joanna Lumley contributing to inspiring travellers to a country full of captivating contrasts. The Easter period is at the heart of ‘sakura’ or more commonly known as cherry blossom season, where locals and tourists alike gather to view and celebrate the magical scenery around them. Usually sold out a year in advance, Wendy Wu Tours added extra 2017 dates in January, which have almost sold out. Whilst there is limited availability for 2017 travel, now is the perfect time to book for 2018.
Wendy Wu Tours have five Japan tours to choose from, including popular fully-inclusive 13-day Discover Japan, which includes capital Tokyo and its fusion of modernity and tradition, iconic Mount Fuji, the thatched-roof village of Shirakawago, the dramatic Matsumoto Castle, beautiful Kyoto and 10,000 red torri arches of the Fushimi Inari Shrine for £5,490 per person for 2018 cherry blossom season. This includes international flights and taxes, domestic transportation, accommodation, guides and entrance fees. www.wendywutours.co.uk / 0800 902 0888
Spring style in the Spanish capital
Only YOU Hotel Atocha is Madrid’s hippest new hang out. The urban-style property is perfectly positioned for visitors wanting to explore the city on foot thanks to its strategic location in the heart of Madrid’s famous Golden Triangle of Art and right next to the spectacular Retiro Park; known as Madrid’s ‘green lung’ and ideal for soaking up the early spring sunshine.
The hotel décor bears the hallmark of prestigious Barcelona-based interior designer Lázaro Rosa Violán, who has created a warm and sophisticated space that blends classic industrial and Mediterranean styles and materials. Bringing something completely unique to the Spanish capital, guests can enjoy a gastronomic journey through Latin America to Asia and back to Europe with onsite restaurant ‘Trotamundos by Spoonik’, sweet Easter treats at onsite bakery ‘The Bakery by Mama Framboise’ and panoramic views of the city from seventh floor restaurant and terrace ‘YOUniverse’.
Double rooms are priced from £120, including breakfast. www.onlyyouhotels.com/en
Relaxation and Easter tradition in Fuerteventura
The sun drenched island of Fuerteventura is the closest Canary Island to the African coast and is characterised by sweeping sand dunes and long sandy beaches. Throughout the year, Fuerteventura offers a calendar of enticing events and Easter Week or ‘Semana Santa’ offers the chance to experience age-old traditions with local festivities and customs combining religious and festive events.
The island’s flagship property, Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahіa Real offers a perfect haven for visitors to the island seeking a luxurious base from which to explore. Featuring six exquisite restaurants where guests can taste some of the island’s best local gastronomy, an extensive spa and a chill-out beach club and lounge, guests can combine culture and relaxation on a short Easter break.
Four nights in a double room with a sea view at the Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real is available from £968pp departing from Manchester on 9 April 2017 with Jet2holidays. Price is based on two people sharing and includes private transfers, breakfast and baggage allowance. www.jet2holidays.com / 0800 408 0778
Find your inner DJ in Tenerife
The new five star Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife is located on Tenerife’s southern coast in Playa Paraiso near Adeje and has been created with the whole family in mind. With three pools, a saltwater lagoon, three free tiered kids clubs (for kids from six months all the way up to teens), as well as a Rock Spa®, Body Rock® gym, six restaurants and a beach club, the new property offers something for every member of the family. The hotel’s ‘Sound of your Stay’ music programme allows guests to enjoy a free in-room Fender guitar lesson with headphones and amplifier or become a DJ for the day with mixing equipment including a Traktor Kontrol Z1 controller and laptop that connects to the in-room stereo surround sound systems. During the Easter period, families can also experience Easter traditions on the island, including Good Friday processions and Palm Sunday parades.
British Airways Holidays offers seven nights at Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife from £749 per person, travelling 14-21 April. The price is based on two adults and two children travelling, accommodation with breakfast and return flights from London Gatwick. www.ba.com/tenerife
‘Viacrucis Acuatico’ on Lake Nicaragua
On 10 April 2017, Nicaraguans celebrate the ‘Viacrucis Acuatico’, an Easter festival that can only be found in Nicaragua. The ‘Viacrucis Acuatico’ features a procession of 40 boats that sail around the islands of Granada on Lake Nicaragua – the largest lake in Central America. Islanders decorate boats with flowers and images of Jesus and go from island to island to receive symbolic offerings. Every year, hundreds of tourists travel to Lake Nicaragua to celebrate Semana Santa and to admire this exceptional procession.
Travel to Nicaragua with Exodus on its ‘Highlights of Nicaragua’ tour. The 13-day tour during Easter week from 20 – 27 March is priced from £2,059 per person including flights from the UK, accommodation, local transport, listed activities and some meals. www.exodus.co.uk/nicaragua-holidays
Discover Heroes, Myths and Legends at the Channel Islands Heritage Festival
The Channel Islands Heritage Festival opens the first week of the school Easter holidays on 8 April until 10 May, taking a ‘Heroes, Myths and Legends’ theme for this year’s edition. Celebrating the colourful history of this small group of islands in the English Channel, the five-week festival features family-friendly adventures, guided walks, exclusive openings of historical monuments, and themed tours, exploring the heroes, myths and legends that have drawn visitors to their shores for centuries.
Family highlights include the ‘Legends of the Coast’ RIB tour, where visitors discover local folklore, smugglers, and pirates at Guernsey’s hidden coves and secret anchorages; ‘Island Explorer’s Treasure Hunt’ around Guernsey where kids can learn about the island’s history; and ‘Coasteering at the Creux Mahie Cave’ for more active and adventurous families. www.visitchannelislands.com
Channel Islands Direct offers a family holiday to Guernsey staying at the 4* St Pierre Park Hotel for £999, including four nights B&B, accommodation in a large family room, and return flights from London Gatwick. This offer is valid for two adults and two children between 8 April and 10 May 2017. www.channelislandsdirect.co.uk / 08444 937 486
Holy Week in the Costa Daurada
Easter week (9 – 16 April) in the Costa Daurada sees thousands of people participating in events across the city of Tarragona. The main event is the Holy Burial Procession of Good Friday, which dates back to the 16th century and has been declared a Festival of National Interest. The procession takes parts in the upper historic streets of the city with eighteen fraternities, brotherhoods, guilds and associations, and around 3,000 people taking part in the parade.
There are also several events in nearby Reus, including the Procession of Silence which takes place on the evening of Maundy Thursday. On this night the streets are kept in darkness and are only illuminated by the torches carried by the parade as it makes its way through the city. (www.costadaurada.info)
Seven nights at the 4* Mercure Atenea Aventura Hotel in Vila-Seca is available from £324pp on a bed and breakfast basis – based on two people sharing with On The Beach. The price includes return flights from London Stansted, departing 15 April. (www.onthebeach.co.uk / 0871 474 3000)
Easter provides the perfect opportunity to visit Genoa in northern Italy
The oldest Easter tradition in Genoa dates back to the Middle Ages with the ‘Sepolcri’, where alters of churches and convents are decorated with flowers and fabrics, as well as vases of wheat. Food also plays an important part in the Easter festivities with Pesqualina (Easter Pie) served during the lead up to Easter in homes and restaurants in Genoa. This pie boasts a rich and full flavour made with eggs and shredded artichokes, usually served with a side of Italian salami. Travellers should also visit the historic sweet shop, Confetteria Romanengo di Pietro Romanengo, which produces a delicious range of Easter eggs and quaresimali biscuits, which are made especially for Lent. (www.visitgenoa.it)
A double room with breakfast at the Hotel Melià in Genoa is available from €161.25 per night during Easter Week (9 – 15 April) www.melia.com/en/hotels/italy/genoa/melia-genova. Return flights from London Gatwick to Genoa are available from £187 with British Airways (based on 11 – 16 April) www.britishairways.com
Easter savings with Heathrow Express
Easter holidays need not break the bank for families enjoying a well-deserved break overseas. Thanks to Heathrow Express’ family-friendly offer, children aged 15 and under can travel on board for free and take advantage of the complimentary Wi-Fi for entertainment. Additional savings can be made online with families saving 25% with two adults travelling together courtesy of the duo saver, which is £55 for a return journey. The online Duo Saver offer must be booked in advance and can be redeemed by simply entering the code DUOSAVER in the promotion code box before completing the payment transaction. www.heathrowexpress.com
Images from left to right:
1. Abriendo Mentes, Costa Rica, Copyright KateHood.com
2. Nuevas Esperanzas, Nicaragua
3. Vidarte Space, Brazil