Spring, and especially the Easter season, are ideal for traveling to any of our destinations. Despite occasional rain, the milder temperatures and the first rays of sunlight invite you to take long walks to the main points of interest and thematic activities.
As an invitation, we leave some suggestions for what to do in each of them.
It’s always a good idea to visit the Azores. During the summer months, admiring the lakes and landscapes on bright days, stretching out on the several beaches of black sand or golden sand – in the case of the island of Santa Maria -, enjoying the bathing areas in the middle of basaltic rocks or diving in the clear and much warmer waters than in areas of the same latitude in Western Europe, largely due to the warm current of the Gulf of Mexico that spreads to the Azores, may be the most desirable activities. However, on the typically rainier days of spring, the countless experiences that the Azores offer and, above all, its lush landscapes, gain an inexplicable grandiosity and a mystique that can only be understood in loco. The most curious thing is that, on these days, the rain is quickly followed by drizzle and even the sun, confirming that you can experience the four seasons of the year on a single day.
During Easter, in particular, the crackling of the wood ovens begins to be heard, after which the most delicious folares come out. Look for them in commercial shops where regional products are sold. Also follow the religious manifestations that take place all over the island and that remain very faithful to what they were in previous centuries.
Madeira is a floating garden because it gets a lot of sunshine and nice temperatures all year round. But this is especially true during spring, so the Easter season is the ideal time to visit this destination.
In Madeira, Easter Sunday is considered the most important day of the Easter celebrations. Religious ceremonies take place all over the island, such as processions and masses, in addition to the meals served at home by the locals and shared by all, as if it were a big family. Locals and visitors come together to be part of a history that spans several centuries, and the atmosphere is one of sharing, friendliness, and contagious hapiness. The traditional dish on Easter Sunday in Madeira is roasted goat, which you can find at these gatherings and at the wonderful restaurants of the island, accompanied by a good red wine.
Lisbon and Porto
Whether you land in Lisbon or Porto, or take the opportunity to explore the rest of the country, you will be delighted with the temperate climate that settles in at this time of year. In mainland Portugal, Easter is widely celebrated. Taste the typical Easter cake, which preparation and flavor varies from place to place.
The cities that receive the most visitors at this time of year are Óbidos and Braga. Both are quite expressive and maintain a special program of masses, processions, theatrical representations and historical-cultural activities.
Among the processions, the highlight of the celebrations of Óbidos, which takes place on Good Friday, are the moving Procissão do Enterro do Senhor, in which the lighting is ensured only by a few torches placed at key points of its route; or the Procissão da Burrinha, in the city of Braga, in which the image of Our Lady is carried by a donkey.
In Beiras, there is a funeral procession full of meaning at Easter in Portugal and of great cultural value – the Enterro do Bacalhau. The procession has three sermons: Vida e Morte do Bacalhau, Testamento do Bacalhau and the Exéquias do Bacalhau, which takes place to the sound of Chopin’s funeral march.
Further south, in Castelo de Vide, in Alentejo, the peculiar Bênção dos Borregos and Chocalhada are held, in which people gather at night with rattles, the sound of which serves as a prayer during the Cortejo de Aleluia.
And São Brás de Alportel, in the Algarve, hosts the Procissão das Flores, in which men and boys stand parallel to the decorated carpet in the center of the streets, with colorful flowers and torches in their hands.
There is always things to do in the Big Apple and the Easter season is, as you would expect, eventful. It’s not so cold anymore, so the mild temperature invites you to take long walks through the streets and tourist attractions. If the spring rain persists, you can always visit the city’s iconic museums or choose the several indoor activities. All stores and attractions will be open, including on Good Friday.
In addition, you’ll love the themed activities that take place all over the city. You can enjoy the parade of themed cars, hats and traditional Easter clothes, accompanied by lots of street entertainment, which takes place between 10 AM and 4 PM on Fifth Avenue; participate in one of the egg hunts organized at several parks; board a yacht for a tour where you’ll have the opportunity to appreciate Manhattan’s skyline and the Statue of Liberty, while savoring an Easter brunch; or attend an Easter Mass, open to the public, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Visiting Boston is always a good idea. But visiting Boston at Easter is enjoying a mild climate and an atmosphere that you will hardly find at any other time of year. After the harsh New England winter, the city begins to invite you to enjoy its parks, gardens and markets, its iconic neighborhoods, boat trips on the Charles River and its main tourist attractions. In addition, you can also enjoy special Easter menus offered by a wide range of restaurants and egg hunts, a very common activity at Easter in the United States of America.
Also in the city of Toronto, the harsh winter will have given way to blue skies and pleasant temperatures. On Good Friday, the most religious go to mass and gather with their families in a very modest way. It will be on the Easter Sunday holiday that the most abundant meals are held, where maple baked beans, potato salad, apple pie, bread rolls with raisins or the traditional basket-shaped Easter cake are usually served.
You can watch the Beaches Easter Parade, a parade that starts at 2 PM in Munro Park and goes to Woodbine Avenue; participate in egg hunts that take place in several city parks; integrate a guided tour on the multicultural Kensington Market, with the right to try special Easter delicacies; or enjoy an elegant brunch at Casa Loma, Toronto’s castle, which includes a guided tour.
Paris is always a delight. In spring, it is flowering and fragrant, people go out to the streets to enjoy the sunshine, the trees begin to bloom, the River Seine takes on an unexplainable glow and the romantic ambience so typical of the city seems to attract even more couples in love.
Easter in Paris is celebrated with egg hunts in different parks, such as the Jardins des Tuileries or the Jardin du Luxembourg. You can also take a night dinner cruise on the Seine or an Easter lunch at the Eiffel Tower. You can also participate in Easter masses, such as those held in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, located at the top of the Montmartre hill, an important religious site in the city.
Please note that in France, although Good Friday is not a public holiday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are, so all public services and many restaurants and bars will be closed. However, most museums and monuments, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe or the Musée d’Orsay will be open as usual.
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