Hi everyone and Welcome back to the European Travel Section and our article about where to go in April (although travel is off the agenda this Spring, I hope this will give you some inspiration for the future.) April is the time of year where you have the choice of searching for warmer weather and getting a head start on Summer or making the most of the end of season ski resorts, where the prices are cheaper and the slopes are warmer.
Where to go in April………..2021
My list of the best places to travel in April includes snow, sand, sightseeing, culture and lots more. Whatever your personal preference, there is something here for everyone.
Head to Zermatt (Switzerland) for some last days on the slopes
If snow sounds appealing, you might enjoy spring skiing in Zermatt. April is a great time for skiing , as you can bask in the sunshine in the mountain cafés, take advantage of the longer days and warmer weather and on top of that the resorts are less crowded and the prices significantly reduced.
This picture postcard car-free town sits in the shadow of one of the world’s most photographed mountains – the Matterhorn, which is also the inspiration behind the logo for Toblerone.
Zermatt is one of the prettiest towns in Switzerland, and there are plenty of things to do (even if you don’t ski!), including visiting the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, hiking to some of the stunning viewpoints and if you really want to chill and unwind there are a few relaxing spas to choose from.
The town center is really pretty and dotted with wooden chalets, adorable bakeries, smart restaurants and, of course, endless ski wear/hire shops.
You can also take the train to Gornergrat, and this 30 minute train journey is one of the most scenic train rides in the world, and provides plenty of photo opportunities .
Of course, if you do love to ski, Zermatt has you covered too, with approximately 200km of ski slopes of its own, and it is also linked by lift and ski runs to Cervinia in Italy, providing another 160km of slopes.
So it’s easy to see why Zermatt is one of the most popular ski resorts in Europe.
Head to the Algarve (Portugal) for some Spring Sunshine
The weather is warming up nicely in Portugal in April, and a trip to the Algarve could be a wonderful start to the season.
The Algarve coastline is truly spectacular and the beaches range from long sandy beaches, such as Falésia and Praia Oura in the Central Algarve and the 4km long Meia Praia Beach at Lagos, (which is the longest sandy beach on the western side of the Algarve) to secluded coves, such as Praia da Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo.
The secluded coves are ideal for bathing and snorkelling as the water is calm and clear and the longer beaches are perfect for a stroll along the water’s edge or a brisk jog (if you’re feeling energetic!).
I would also highly recommend taking a “grotto” tour, where you can see the beautiful caves and cliffs that populate the Algarve coast from a small fishing boat.
The Algarve is also renowned for its huge range of golf courses, with over 40 golf courses and thirty-five different clubs along the Algarve peninsula, and I would also recommend spending some time in Lagos, Faro and Albufeira.
Head to Rome (Italy) for the best cultural experience
Without a doubt, Rome is the number one destination for soaking up some culture. It may be a cliché, but there’s no better advice for visitors to the Eternal City than the old quote, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Of course, after more than 2,000 years of existence, Rome has accumulated a wealth of treasures and there are enough things to do, see, and explore to keep you busy during your stay. Here are just a few of the sights you shouldn’t miss.
An obvious starting point for your trip is the Vatican City, where you can explore the Vatican Museums, as well as St Peter’s Basilica.
Next up, I would recommend a visit to the Trevi Fountain, Nicola Salvi’s awe-inspiring Baroque masterpiece, which features a marble statue of Neptune at the center, surrounded by tritons. If you want to avoid the crowds you will have to be there very early (or very late)! Legend has it that anyone who throws a coin in the fountain will return to Rome.
The Piazza di Spagna should also be on your site-seeing agenda, as you can climb the Spanish steps up to the Villa Medici and the park for stunning views over Rome and then shop (or window shop) in the city’s most elegant boutiques on Via dei Condotti, Rome’s legendary shopping street.
And, of course, no visit to Rome would be complete without a visit to the Colosseum and the ancient ruins at the Roman Forum, where you can imagine the citizens of Ancient Rome walking the cobblestoned streets. Today nearly 4 million people visit annually. It’s best to buy your tickets in advance to avoid the queues, and a combined ticket for the Roman Forum, Colosseum, and Palatine Hill gives you access to all three sites and lets you skip the line at the Colosseum.
Finally, my favorite area for restaurants is Trastevere, which is across the other side of the river from most of the sites. Trastevere means “across the Tiber”, and once you cross over the river, you will notice the difference. Trastevere is full of cobbled streets, small boutiques selling jewelry and handicrafts, bars and trattorias, perfect for taking advantage of the three P’s (Pizza, Pasta and Prosecco!).
Take a sightseeing City Break In London (UK)
London is one of the most visited cities in the world. With attractions such as the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye and the hope of catching a glimpse of the Royal family it is a tourist’s paradise, and there is plenty to do during a weekend in London.
Of course, there are all the famous attractions such as the Crown Jewels and the Tower of London as well as things such as taking a boat ride down the Thames.
The Ravens of the Tower of London is a group of at least six captive ravens which live at the Tower of London. The presence of the ravens at the Tower of London is traditionally believed to protect The Crown and the tower; legend says that “if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it”
But there is much more to London than touristy things, you just have to look out for them. You could visit the Golborne Road Market, which is just north of the famous Portobello Road market, but it is more local and so will not be so full of tourists and souvenirs for sale. There are vintage clothes stalls, arts and crafts and just about anything else you can think of. There are plenty of cafes and bars to eat and drink at that will be more like the prices you would expect to pay outside of a city as big as London.
Not far from the Golborne Road market, you can find the trendy neighbourhood of Notting Hill, with it’s pretty coloured houses and selection of vibrant cafés. Filmgoers relax in posh armchairs at the Electric Cinema, and high-end restaurants, brunch spots and upscale boutiques cluster around Westbourne Grove.
There is a plethora of museums in London and some of them are so huge and interesting, you could easily spend a full day in them and still not see all the exhibits.
And if you are a Harry Potter fan, don’t miss out on a visit to the Harry Potter Studios. It tends to be busier on weekends, but you can book your tickets online so you can be sure of getting in.
I hope this has given you some inspiration for planning some European places to visit once our confinement is over !
I’m Julia, the Senior Travel Editor and I can’t wait to share some more travel inspiration with you again soon!
Thank you for reading