8 destinations perfect for a belated Easter holiday from the UK
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Easter is just around the corner. While we may still be in lockdown — and hopefully not for much longer — use this time to plan your Easter getaway for next year.
Take advantage of Good Friday and Easter Monday by going on a spring holiday in 2022. Whether it’s a short European break in search of sun-filled beaches, cultural experiences and blooming flowers or a long-haul escape to an exotic paradise, here are some of the best spots to visit from the U.K. next Easter — especially if you’re sitting on a bank of points and miles.
1. Amsterdam, Netherlands
While it may not be the sunniest spot in Europe to visit over Easter, Amsterdam is the perfect place to visit from the U.K. for those wanting to take advantage of Virgin Atlantic’s partnership with KLM. Although Easter is considered peak flying dates with Virgin, it will still only cost you 9,000 Virgin Atlantic Virgin Points to fly KLM from various U.K. hubs to Amsterdam return in economy or 18,000 miles in business.
Once there, April is prime tulip season. The city’s Tulp Festival runs throughout the entire month and you can admire these colourful flowers in full bloom around the city in more than 80 different locations. And, the famous Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, about 40 minutes outside of Amsterdam’s city centre, features more than seven million blooming flowers.
2. Gran Canaria, Spain
While many areas of southern Spain are extremely crowded due to religious processions during Easter, Gran Canaria offers the best of both worlds: a sunny, beach paradise and some cultural experiences worth seeing, too. The capital of the island, Las Palmas, is where you can spot some of the religious processions, which occur through the cobblestone streets of the city’s oldest area of town, Vegueta.
If you’d prefer to work on your tan, head south to resort areas like Maspalomas or Meloneras, where you can enjoy miles of sandy beach including the famous Maspalomas sand dunes, which make you feel as if you’re lost in the sprawling Sahara until you spot the glittering nearby ocean. British Airways does classify Easter dates as peak, so you’ll have to spend 20,000 Avios in Euro Traveller or 40,000 Avios in Club Europe return unless you lengthen your trip by a few days to snag some off-peak pricing. Alternatively, if you’re able to snag an affordable cash fare, that could be the way to go.
Further reading: How to know which of the 7 Canary Islands is right for your trip
From the bustling souks of Casablanca to quaint riads in Marrakech to the surfer/yoga seaside paradise of Essaouira, Morocco is the perfect place to get both culture and sunshine. Nature enthusiasts can partake in desert treks or for a little added luxury, glamp at a variety of rural tented camps throughout the country. For those whose favourite colour is blue, Chefchaouen’s azure-washed buildings sparkle in the sunlight (and on your Instagram feed).
4. Lisbon, Portugal
Easter in Lisbon can vary from long strolls along beaches like Cascais to regal visits to the towering Palacio Pena in Sintra or just meandering the hilly historic Alfama district. If it ends up rainy, there are plenty of indoor activities to take part in, like learning how to paint Portuguese azulejos (tiles) or strolling around the Fado Museum, which showcases traditional Portuguese music. A visit to Lisbon isn’t complete without a ride on the famous 28 tram (be ready for crowds, especially during peak dates and hours) and snacking on Portuguese egg tarts.
Best of all? Lisbon is super affordable, whether you’re in the market for an upscale hotel or a budget apartment rental.
Further reading: Second Cities: Destinations to add on to a trip to Lisbon
Warm temperatures and sunny skies make April the perfect time to visit Egypt. Although you could happily spend the bank holiday in Cairo, it may be worth taking a little more time and checking one of the new cruise ships heading down the River Nile in 2020 like the glamorous S.S. Sphinx from Uniworld, where all rooms and suites come with French balconies.
You can fly with the country’s flag carrier EgyptAir. While you can book tickets using EgyptAir miles (award ticket redemptions start at 30,000 miles one way), remember that if you have a stash of United miles, you can use 50,000 in economy or 100,000 in business to fly EgyptAir between London (LHR) and Cairo (CAI) return. Alternatively, cash fares hover around the £300 mark return.
6. Paris, France
There’s never a bad time to enjoy the City of Light. For those who have banks of points and miles — there are plenty of arrival options, including British Airways Avios, flying Air France using Virgin Points or transferring American Express Membership Rewards points to Eurostar in order to head there by train.
Take advantage of Paris at Easter by enjoying some of the chocolate the French capital is famous for, or reserve brunch at a spot like Eggs&Co, the ideal Easter choice thanks to its egg-based menu. If some April sunshine makes an appearance, strolling along the Seine or through the Luxembourg Gardens make for perfect spring Parisian activities.
Further reading: The best points and miles hotels in France
If you’re in the market for a longer-haul getaway, Easter is the perfect time to head to Brazil. April offers delightfully warm temperatures throughout the country, and you’re likely to see sunshine regardless of your exact destination, whether it be relaxation on the beaches of Rio, an urban escape to São Paulo or an Amazonian adventure.
8. Puerto Rico
If you can manage a couple of extra days of holiday, Puerto Rico is a dream in April, with beautiful weather as hurricane season is still a few months away. Although you can’t fly nonstop from London, you can use Iberia Avios (remember you can transfer BA Avios to Iberia — here’s how — and Iberia is also an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner) to fly between Madrid (MAD) and San Juan (SJU). Most of April apart from the busy Easter dates are considered off-peak, so if you take a longer holiday, you can fly nonstop between the two cities for just 34,000 Avios in economy or 68,000 Avios in business return.
You’ll enjoy the best of the vibrant Puerto Rican music, culture and general vibe. Navigating the logistics is easy as most locals speak English (it’s a U.S. territory) and there are plenty of luxury hotels where you can use your stash of points. Besides the salsa, sunshine and up-and-coming gastronomic scene in San Juan, consider discovering other destinations on the island, like laid-back surfer hub Rincón or the windswept island of Culebra.
Although Easter is peak time for award (and paid) travel, it’s still an excellent time for a holiday, whether it be staying closer to home in Europe or heading further afield. While we’re still at home this year, hopefully next year will be the perfect time to get away on an extended break. If possible, making your holiday a few days longer can ensure you get off-peak award pricing or a more affordable cash rate on flights — and hotels — too.
Featured photo by Adam Burton/Robertharding/Getty Images
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