Photo by StevanZZ/Shutterstock
Photo by Marten House/Shutterstock
Return to Prague this Easter for its traditional markets.
April this year is all about national parks, wineries, and some alternative blossom-peeping.
Easter falls in the middle of this month in 2022—the perfect reminder to take a week or weekend away. You can mark the occasion, experiencing other cultures’ takes on the Christian festival, or simply use any Easter-pegged PTO to bolster the time you can spend roaming. Whether you want to toast Australia’s planned reopening to tourists or take a bracing hike through the Great Smoky Mountains, these are the 10 best places to travel this April.
April is great for: slaking that unmet thirst for Christmas markets
After the pandemic nixed many of Europe’s beloved Christmas markets last year, Prague offers a second chance to browse charming stalls—its Easter markets run from April 2 to 24 this year, and are open every day, including Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The markets—velikonocni trhy in Czech—sell a variety of handicrafts (expect plenty of hand-painted eggs of all kinds) as well as local foodstuffs, such as spicy gingerbread (perníčky) or klobása, barbecued sausages. Enjoy a Pilsner Urquell or a Staropramene—Prague is one lager’s spiritual homes. Consider combining this jaunt with a tour around Eastern Europe, many of whose capitals also have similar markets.
Book now: From $270 per night, expedia.com
Close to the city center’s Old Town Square, this 57-room property co-opted the onetime offices of a local daily newspaper. The slick, sleek conversion is no surprise given an architect is one of the co-owners.
American Airlines offers service to Prague from Miami, Dallas, JFK, LAX, and Philadelphia. Delta and United will resume direct flights from NYC and Newark from May.
April is great for: roaming one of Europe's lesser-known wine regions
Venetians’ morning pick-me-up might be an ombretto, a gulp of prosecco that’s just as sparky as a thimbleful of espresso—and it’s produced in the hilly countryside just north of La Serenissima. Come here in April, for fewer crowds but gorgeous views along the Prosecco Road or Strada del Prosecco. Snake along the winding route between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, and you can stop at more than 90 wineries to sample the unfussy fizz that’s a staple of the area. The best vineyards cluster at the western end around the latter town, but all are charming, most still family owned and run. Rap on the door of a winery to rouse the winemaker who’ll likely lead a tasting of the products—keep an eye out for prosecco liscio, or still wine, which is produced in small quantities and rarely exported.
Book now: From $235 per night, expedia.com
The five-star Villa Abbazia in the tiny village of Follina is a gloriously floral over-the-top mansion, chintzy and charming in equal measure.
Venice is a quick connecting flight from any European hub—or why not take the Fifth Freedom Emirates flight from JFK to Milan, a bargain option, and hop on a high-speed Italian train through the spectacular northern countryside?
April is great for: returning down under for the first time in two years
Australia’s long-shuttered borders are gradually reopening—and where better to celebrate than the de facto capital of the country’s premium wine industry, the island state of Tasmania? It produces under 1 percentage of the total output but more than 10 percent of the top flight vintages—try some of the fizz in particular, like the offerings from Jansz, a pioneering vineyard planted in the 1980s. Mewstone Wines just opened its new cellar door outside Hobart, overlooking the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. For $25, you can sample eight of its wines.
Devil’s Corner is another new cellar door, with locally sourced food and 360-degree views of the Hazards range, the steep, craggy mountains that form the backdrop to Freycinet National Park. Add in a trip to MONA, the offbeat art hub that showcases local collector David Walsh's boundary-pushing contemporary haul: It’s a short boat ride out from the main quay, and its galleries were recently rehung under the auspices of curator (and Violent Femmes bassist) Brian Ritchie.
Book now: From $280 per night, expedia.com
Spread across three buildings downtown, the five-month-old, 152-room luxury Tasman hotel overlooks the waterfront behind Parliament House: Choose among an art deco former council office, a sandstone onetime hospital, and a gleaming, glass-wrapped modern structure.
The quickest routing is on an international flight to Melbourne on Qantas or United, and then shuttling down on a quick hop to Hobart from there.
April is great for: dance floors, dictator-bashing, and deep-diving into the Atlantic Ocean
Portugal’s 1,100 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean has made fishing—and fish—central to the culture. Head to the capital this month and you can experience that in multiple ways. Good Friday, of course, is a traditional time to eat codfish or bacalhau, a central dish in the Portuguese cooking canon, but from April 4 to 14, you can go fish-crazy at Peixe em Lisboa or Lisbon Fish & Flavors, an 11-day ocean-obsessed food fest dishing up demos, tastings, and discussions from local and international chefs.
Burn off a few calories with a visit to the three-day Sonár Lisboa, an offshoot of the dance music fest from Barcelona that’s popping up here for the first time, with DJs including Charlotte de Witte and Thundercat. If you arrive later in the month, expect parades and parties on April 25, which marks the Revolution of 1974 that overthrew western Europe’s last dictator, António de Oliveira Salazar.
Book now: From $284 per night, expedia.com
Funky and family friendly, the Martinhal Chiado boutique hotel has brightly colored rooms—including two-bedroom apartments with washer-dryers—in an 18th-century building. The onsite playroom is deliberately screen-free.
TAP Portugal has made a virtue of Lisbon’s location on Europe’s western reaches, encouraging Americans to use it as a free stopover en route elsewhere, with ample routings to six U.S. cities: Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
April is great for: a rendezvous and the last gasp of the piste
After the pandemic paused its programming for two years, the two-day Rendezvous Festival has roared back to life here for 2022. The free concert series takes place on the Town Square and at the base of the mountain resort on April 1 and 2. It’s drawn a remarkable roster of performers in the past, including the Zac Brown Band, so keep an eye on its website for an update on 2022’s performers. Squeeze in a last few runs on the mountain before it shutters for the season on April 10, and duck into Grand Teton National Park—the trout fishing here, of course, is world class, especially on the Snake River, so bring your rods and hire a guide to get the most out of a day by the water.
Book now: From $420 per night, expedia.com
The only hotel directly on the hub of life here, the Town Square, this 100-room Autograph Collection property is housed in a former bank. It’s ruggedly retrofitted, complete with a 3,000-pound boulder that’s been repurposed as the check-in desk.
Jackson Hole (JAC) is the nearest airport, with year-round service from Alaska, Delta, United, and American.
April is great for: blossom-peeping
If you've already seen cherry blossoms in Tokyo, consider switching out your next bloom-peeping trip and heading to South Korea. Its longtime cultural links with Japan deeded it a similar assortment of stunning cherry trees in clusters around the country. April is typically the best time to see them. The place to start is Jinhae-gu on the south coast, which holds a 10-day festival where cultural performances, fireworks, and street food stalls pop up when the blossoms are at their peak. Make sure to head to Yeojwacheon Stream for the best snaps.
In Seoul proper, try the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival on the namesake 3.25-square-mile, skyscraper-crammed island on the Han River: It showcases almost 2,000 cherry trees alongside other spring flowers, including azaleas and forsythia. If you want to ease the logistics of shuttling around the country, book a bloom-viewing trip with an operator like InsideAsia.
Book now: From $109 per night, expedia.com
Base yourself in the nearby city of Busan for Jinhae-gu—the Shilla Stay Haeundae is handily right on the beach, and it has an outdoor pool, too, so hope for sunny weather.
There are direct flights on both Korean national airlines, Asiana and Korean Air, from multiple U.S. gateways, including Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Francisco, and New York.
April is great for: taking to the waters by day or night
This upscale island cluster was one of the final Caribbean nations to fully reopen for tourism, in December last year, so come down in April to help recharge the tourism industry, one of its key economic pillars. There’s plenty to appeal: The Cayman Islands Angling Club hosts its four-day fishing tournament each April, with the chance to snare gamefish almost anywhere off the coast of the three main islands. The ocean floor drops off thousands of feet very sharply, creating ideal conditions for blue marlin, dorado, barracuda, and more fish.
Kaibo, the upscale restaurant on Rum Point, is also a social hub: This month it throws the annual Kitefest on the beach on Easter Monday, a public holiday here. Even better, the full moon this month falls on Easter weekend—the perfect time for a snorkel or kayak tour into Grand Cayman’s bioluminescent bay, one of only a handful in the world where plankton act as all-natural nightlights.
Book now: From $869 per night, expedia.com
A three-year-old all-suite hotel on Seven-Mile Beach in the main island, Grand Cayman, Palm Heights is a fittingly deluxe perch for such a tony destination. It was a labor of love for gallerina turned hotelier Gabriella Khalil; her fashpack connections have helped drive major buzz.
JetBlue and Cayman Airways are the two carriers that offer nonstop service here, from NYC and south Florida.
April is great for: the chance to visit the country’s most popular national park, for free
It’s National Park Week from April 16 to 24, the annual celebration of the United States’ outdoorsy treasures—and with the bonus of free entry to all of the 60+ national parks on the first day. Yellowstone isn’t the favorite, though. For decades, the most-visited park has been the 522,000-acre Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles North Carolina and Tennessee.
It’s easy to understand why: The spectacular views, anchored by the Appalachians, are unbeatable, and there are more than 800 miles of hikeable trails, plus fishing and horse riding. Its flora and fauna are notable, too, and celebrated in the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, which runs from April 26 to 30. Hundreds of visitors from across the country come for professionally guided hikes that spotlight the fungi, ferns, and, yep, wildflowers that dot the park.
Book now: From $354 per night, expedia.com
Go glamping at this plush, safari-style campsite set on more than 180 acres of wooded countryside right by the park’s entrance. Each tent at Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains features king-sized beds, its own en suite bathroom, and even a wood-burning stove inside.
Tennessee’s McGhee Tyson airport (TYS) is 40 minutes’ drive from the park, and it is served by Allegiant as well as the three major legacy carriers.
April is great for: toasting budbreak
This month, Napa’s funkier neighbor celebrates itself via Sonoma County Wine Month when the 400-plus wineries here throw open their doors and host a raft of events to celebrate the more than 60 varietals they tend. It used to be hosted in the fall, to coincide with harvest, but the pandemic has scrambled scheduling, shunting this into the spring when the weather will be just as appealing, but the wineries slightly less overwhelmed. Spring is when the new vintage is “born,” otherwise known as budbreak.
Expect eclectic programming, whether olive oil and honey pairings or yoga sessions amid the vines—the full event rundown will be updated online, so check back for 2022’s events. And make sure to visit the Hallberg Butterfly Gardens, which reopened last month. The native Dutchman’s pipe vine, planted in huge quantities onsite, is the only food source for the iridescent blue pipevine swallowtail butterfly, which appears in huge numbers here each spring.
Where to stay: The Vintners Resort
Book now: From $550 per night, expedia.com
The Vintners Resort, a 78-room luxury hotel, sits among 92 acres of vineyards and has just reached the top tier of California’s sustainability certification, which encompasses everything from pollution prevention to ecominded purchasing programs.
Santa Rosa’s airport—named after Peanuts creator and local hero Charles M. Schulz—is a great option to sidestep congested SFO or OAK. Fly out of STS on Alaska Airlines to Portland, San Diego, or several other cities, and there’s a handy bonus: your Sonoma-bought wine flies free.
April is great for: sampling new vintages—and even pitching in on the harvest
Chile has been producing wine since the Conquistadors started planting vines here 500 years ago. The hills of its wine country offer some of the most favorable grape-growing climates in the world, and Chile has become the fifth largest exporter globally. The best time to visit and see the industry at work is right now, during harvest season: In fall, the vineyards open their doors to visitors to watch the winemaking and even pitch in—and, of course, sample some of the newest bottlings.
You can book a trip independently to shuttle between the 100 or more vineyards that now dot the wine country—don’t miss Viña Vik in Millahue, a top-flight producer, or the better known Clos Apalta, another award winner. Then again, it might be easier to deed the logistics (and the driving) to a reliable operator like the mother-daughter run Extraordinary Journeys.
Book now: From $970 per night, expedia.com
The high-design, high-altitude 22-suite Vik Chile hotel sits on a hilltop overlooking its own, 11,000-acre working vineyard against a backdrop of the Andes mountains.
Direct service to the capital Santiago is offered on Delta, American, and Latam from U.S. cities, including Houston, Atlanta, and Miami.
This article was originally published in January 2019. It was updated in January 2022 with new information. COVID-19- related regulations remain in place in many states and countries, and are subject to change—always check updated mandates and requirements before booking any trip.
>> Next: 10 Best Places to Go in March
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