Want to know a secret? April is one of the best times to visit Europe. At the first hint of spring, the continent brushes off winter, and as April comes alive with colour, this brings about many festivities.
April marks the beginning of a shoulder travel season, which means pleasant climates and lower prices. And, because travellers usually gravitate towards the hot summer months, you’ll be met with smaller crowds, and you won’t be contributing to overtourism.
While the weather can be slightly temperamental, the pros of travelling in Europe during April outweigh the occasional rain shower – so, throw a waterproof jacket into your bag and head out to one of these places for your next adventure.
1. Amsterdam, Netherlands
There is no question that April is the best month to visit Amsterdam. The spring sunshine draws people out on the streets again, banishing the winter cold.
April signals the beginning of the city’s Tulip Festival, during which the streets and canals of Amsterdam are lined with tulips that bloom in a beautiful variety of bright colours. While this festival runs throughout the city all month, you can experience the tulips in their natural habitat at Keukenhof Gardens. See the gorgeous colours of the Flower Strip by exploring the region on a bicycle.
You also won’t want to miss the King’s Day festivities that happen every year on April 27th. Arguably the most exciting day of the year to be in Amsterdam, it’s a day full of parties, beer, and the colour orange – all to celebrate a royal birthday.
There are tons of other festivities going on in April, including the Cherry Blossom Festival in the Amsterdam Forest, the Meibock Festival for some spring brews, and National Museum Week, during which many of Amsterdam’s famous museums are open to the public for free.
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2. Galway, Ireland
Ireland is known for its rolling emerald countryside, and April is a great time to tour its pastoral landscapes. Go for an ocean view drive along the scenic Wild Atlantic Way to see ancient monuments and charming villages, or stop in Burren National Park for a hike among the beautiful wildflowers that bloom in the spring.
Spring is also lambing season, which means that you’ll be able to see tons of fluffy lambs dotting the countryside. Go on a guided tour of a sheep farm to see them up close.
While Ireland is beautiful in the spring, its weather can be temperamental. We suggest stationing your adventures in Galway, where you’ll find plenty to do on a rainy day, like attending readings of poetry or prose during the Cúirt International Festival of Literature or listening to live music at one of Galway’s many pubs.
Galway has some of the best pubs in Ireland, perfect for settling in for a pint or two on a rainy day. You won’t want to miss the Galway Food Festival, with its open-air markets, delicious food, and enticing food demonstrations it makes a for a day of feasting and fun.
3. Athens, Greece
April is the time to visit Athens. Greece can get oppressively hot in the height of summer, and the enormous crowds can be equally suffocating.
While the weather might not be optimal for sunbathing on a Greek island just yet, it is perfect sightseeing weather, which makes Athens the place to be. In many ways, the cradle of Western civilisation – the city is rife with culture and hints of antiquity that you must explore for yourself.
Visiting important cultural sites during the off-season helps preserve them by limiting the amount of foot traffic atop the precious ruins at one time. This is the time to go to the Acropolis for the perfect, crowd-free picture of the impressive Parthenon.
4. Nice, France
While it’s true that Paris is always a good idea, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. There’s more to France than Paris, and the French Riviera is a beautiful place to travel to for a relaxing spring vacation. You can experience all its glamour and more in April, with moderate Mediterranean temperatures and manageable crowds making it an incredibly agreeable time to visit.
Head to the neighbourhood of Cimiez, where you can check out collections of masterful art the Chagall and Matisse museums. Don’t be afraid to go for a dip, either, at one of Nice’s beautiful beaches – the water will be refreshingly temperate.
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5. Seville, Spain
Seville is vibrant and full of hustle and bustle in April. The city transforms during the Spring Fair, where tourists pour in to participate in the festivities – from bullfights to parades down streets lit by strings of luminous lights. It’s a colourful affair that you won’t want to miss, with decorative tents, celebrations and happy atmosphere that goes on all night.
To experience Seville beyond the Spring Fair, all you need to do is simply go for a walk along its streets. Enjoy the fragrance of Seville’s iconic orange trees as you explore some of its stunning old neighbourhoods. Have a refreshing rebujito along the way, and be glad you came in the spring and not summer when Seville’s temperatures soar.
6. Dubrovnik, Croatia
With Dubrovnik on the rise as a tourist destination in recent years, its limestone streets and ancient city walls get incredibly crowded during peak season. In April, you can enjoy all that Dubrovnik has to offer without worrying about overcrowding the magnificent medieval city. Walk Dubrovnik’s ancient walls and take in the beautiful view of the Adriatic, or take a tour of all the filming locations that made Dubrovnik spike in popularity.
Springtime in Dubrovnik sees oysters and asparagus popping up on restaurant menus – you can even forage for asparagus yourself. Take a day trip to the always beautiful Plitvice Lakes, where flora and fauna will be in bloom and snow melts into waterfalls in the spring.
7. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague has a new lease of life in springtime. Just after the winter and before summer crowds start pouring into the rusty-roofed, spire-filled city – April’s warmer temperatures revitalise the city.
It’s also a time for celebration in Prague, and brightly coloured wooden huts take over the Old Town and Wencelas Squares for Easter festivities. During this time, there’s no shortage of live performances, delicious food and beer, and beautiful painted Easter eggs are sold at every booth. You won’t want to miss Witches’ Night – a fiery symbolic tradition takes place each year on April 30th.
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April is the perfect month to see most of Europe’s most exciting places without having to deal with big crowds and sweltering temperatures. It’s also an exciting time for transformation and renewal that’s signified by an abundance of festivals and celebrations. Where will you go to join in on the fun?