Where to Travel in Europe in April

See recent posts by Kyle Valenta

Whether you’re planning a family trip during spring break, a romantic getaway for two, or a solo trek, Europe in April is a great destination. Why? For starters, flights to Europe are cheaper than they will be in the height of the summer. That also means that Europe's most famous destinations will be a lot less crowded. The weather across most of Europe also drastically improves as the spring gets into full swing — you may even find hot days in the Canary Islands and Sicily in late April. However, you'll want to pay attention to when Easter hits, as Holy Week can mean variable opening hours and, in some places, huge crowds. But don't worry — we've scoped out the 10 best destinations in Europe for you to visit this April. Read on and get planning.

In case you'd prefer to travel in the summer, check out our list of the least crowded European destinations.

1. Cinque Terre — Italy

If you’re lusting after a holiday that involves hiking, beautiful views, and colorful villages, the Cinque Terre is for you. “The Five Lands” from north to south are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. There are hotels in each of the five villages, or you could choose to stay in nearby Biassa or La Spezia, where the IC trains stop. Many properties in the region will have a daily shuttle to Riomaggiore, and from there you can set your pace of exploring. There’s a train that runs between all five villages, but for those looking for a little more adventure, you should definitely consider the Cinque Terre hike that links the towns and provides amazing scenery. Just make sure that the paths are open when you visit. The trail going south from Monterosso to Vernazza is definitely worth all the steps, as the view of Vernazza is spectacular. Of course, there’s an abundance of fresh seafood in the towns, and you can choose to explore the coast by boat or kayak as well. With temperatures in the mid 60s, and the likelihood of rain diminishing, April is the perfect time to visit Cinque Terre before the summer crowds arrive.

Our Cinque Terre Hotel Pick: La Torretta

Sea and town view from La Torretta hotel in Manarola

With its location right in the middle of charming Manarola, it’s hard to top La Torretta when it comes to convenience. However, it also happens to be one of the most charming spots in town, with quaint rooms that include perks like Nespresso machines. You’re within an easy walk of the train and marina here, and breakfast is free.

2. Amsterdam — The Netherlands

While Amsterdam isn’t exactly warm and sunny in April, this is still one of the best times to visit the city. Why is that? You might have heard of the Netherlands’ most famous flower once or twice: the tulip. If you time your visit to mid-April or later, you’ll arrive at peak tulip season, when the massive fields surrounding the Dutch capital are at their most spectacular. Keukenhof Gardens is the place to see these beauties in bloom, and is only open for 51 days per year (30 of which are during the month of April). It’s about a 35-minute drive from central Amsterdam, though packages that bundle transport and admission are available as well. Of course, there’s plenty to do in the city itself. Amsterdam hosts its own Tulip Festival in April, and several major music festivals generally occur during the month. The Canal Ring and other neighborhoods are packed with restaurants and cafes, and the whole scene is generally just incredibly charming. Make sure to give yourself time to visit major sights like the Rijksmusem, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Anne Frank House as well.

Our Amsterdam Hotel Pick: Pulitzer Amsterdam

Canal and view of the Pulitzer Hotel with boats in Amsterdam

The Pulitzer Amsterdam is a pinch-yourself stay right in the atmospheric heart of the city. We love the inner Canal Ring location, as well as its spacious rooms, classic-meets-modern style, and incredible Clefs d’Or service. It’s also provides canal tours on a historic boat, which are free for hotel guests.

3. Lanzarote, Tenerife, and The Canary Islands — Spain

While you shouldn’t expect crowd-free beaches in the Canary Islands in April, it’s hard to argue with almost zero rainfall, sunny skies, and warm temperatures after a long, grueling winter. If you’re looking for lively beach vibes and are willing to pay a premium, the hotels of Gran Canaria’s Maspalomas and Tenerife’s Playa de las Americas are certainly alive at this time of year. However, if you’d like something more peaceful and a bit otherworldly, you’d do well to head to Lanzarote or stick to the interior and northern regions of Tenerife. Both offer stunning rugged landscapes that crash into mind-bogglingly blue seas, making for incredible scenery around almost every corner. We recommend renting a car to best reach either island’s beautiful landscapes. On Lanzarote, check out the volcanic terrain of Timanfaya National Park and the picture-perfect crescent bay of Playa de Papagayo. On Tenerife, head to Las Cañadas del Teide National Park (or opt for a tour).

Our Lanzarote Hotel Pick: La Isla Y El Mar Hotel Boutique 

The Pool at La Isla Y El Mar Resort on Lanzarote

With sharp contemporary design and a boutique size, La Isla y El Mar is one of our favorites on Lanzarote. It’s located at the western edge of Puerto del Carmen and features range from in-room Nespresso machines to saltwater pools and a spa.

4. Lagos, Sagres, and The Algarve — Portugal

Looking for warm days and light-jacket nights plus nearly always sunny skies? Head to the Algarve in April. While the water might be too cold for a dip in any of the seaside towns that make up the region, an April visit is perfect for strolling the region’s more charming towns and taking in the dramatic coastal scenery. We recommend spending most of your time in Lagos, which has a hard-to-top charming historic core, along with some of the prettiest beaches (and seaside cliffs) in the region. While April isn’t quite beach season, surfers are certainly more than welcome and eager to get into the water. The beaches of Sagres — the westernmost of the Algarve towns — are legendary for surfing (and far less crowded in April). The landscapes in this region area also unbelievable. Make sure you rent a car to criss-cross the region. Other cool towns include beautiful Tavira, at the eastern edge of the region, as well as the more local inland hills.

Our Algarve Hotel Pick: Martinhal Sagres Resort

The Standard Terrace Room at Martinhal Sagres Resort

Martinhal Sagres Beach Resort & Hotel is a chic luxury village makes a great home base for a couple nights in Sagres at the beginning or end of your trip. Expect spectacular sea and countryside views plus sports facilities and a great spa.

5. Paris — France

Yes — Paris is always a good idea. And Paris in April is a particularly good idea, as this already pretty city is bursting with early blooms. You’ll have to contend with the possibility of wet weather — on average the city sees eight days of rain in April — but that’s all the more excuse to tuck into a romantic cafe, or hit up one of Paris’ incredible museums, like the Musee d’Orsay or the Louvre. The major plus to visiting Paris in April is that you’re safely missing the summer high season in the city, when rates on hotels become prohibitive and flights are sometimes over $1,000 round-trip from the United States. The likelihood of warmer temperatures also mean that bike tours of Versailles — a must-do for any Paris visitor — are a better bet than in winter.

Our Paris Hotel Pick: Hotel des Grands Boulevards

Mid-century style guest room at Hotel des Grands Boulevards, Paris

This gorgeous boutique hotel on the Right Bank stands out for its sleek design that subtly nods to the court of Marie Antoinette. Rooms feel like chicly pared-down boudoirs, with handmade beds with satin sheets — and destination dining and drinking isn’t to be underestimated.

6. Galway and Western Ireland

While Ireland might not be the first destination that comes to mind for an April vacation in Europe, trust us, it’s worth it. Temperatures are pretty mild — averaging around 55 degrees Fahrenheit — and it usually only rains about nine days out of the month. Of course, this is Ireland, and weather can change on a dime, so you’ll still need to be prepared for potential wet days. We suggest basing yourself in Galway. Here, the charming Latin Quarter makes up the heart of town, and you’ll find tons of friendly bars and buzzing pubs with live music (The King’s Head is a must-see 800-year-old bar.) There are plenty of quaint shops selling Irish crafts, and the River Corrib provides a lovely setting for a romantic walk. Head west of the Corrib for a taste of the more local foodie side of town. We suggest taking an excursion to nearby Burren and the famous Cliffs of Moher. If you feel comfortable driving on the left side of the road, you can rent a car and explore County Galway of nearby County Clare. You’ll see 16th-century castles and fairy-tale worthy sights like Kylemore Abbey.

Our Galway Hotel Pick: The House Hotel

Lobby at the House Hotel in Galway, Ireland

Situated right at the edge of Galway’s buzzing Latin Quarter, the House Hotel is one of the city’s original boutique hotels. Expect bright, homey decor, cozy rooms, and a restaurant that draws a mix of locals and tourists alike.

7. Lisbon — Portugal

Portugal’s location in southern Europe makes it an ideal location to visit any time of the year, but mid-spring is all the more enchanting. While much of Europe is still rainy and chilly in April, the average temperature in Lisbon hovers in the high 60s. That makes exploring the city all the more pleasant.There are plenty of shops, historic bars, and cafes throughout the neighborhoods of Baixa, Chiado, Bairro Alto, and the Alfama. We also recommend St. George’s Castle, dating to the 12th century, which sits on a hill in central Lisbon and has stunning city views. After that, head to Belem, which is an easy and quick tram or train ride to the west. Belem’s historic sights include the Torre de Belem and the incredible Jeronimos Monastery. Another must-do in Belem is a visit to Pasteis de Belem, where the iconic pastel de nata may or may not have been invented in the 1830s. If you’re after something more modern, stop off at the MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology) or spend an afternoon at the lively LX Factory, which is packed with cafes, restaurants, vintage sellers, street art, and cool boutiques Other day trips include tours to the whimsical castles of Sintra. Lisbon also happens to be a stellar destination for LGBTQ travelers, with a small, but lively gay bar scene, and even hotels that cater to the community (like The Late Birds Lisbon).

Our Hotel Pick in Lisbon: Solar do Castelo

Courtyard and peacocks at Castelo do Solar in Lisbon

If you’re after an only-in-Lisbon experience, you can’t do better than a stay at Solar do Castelo. For starters, it’s the only hotel that’s located inside of the grounds of St. George’s Castle, putting you right in the middle of the city’s historic atmosphere. Yes, it means you’ll have to scale some hills to get home if you’re out exploring for the day, but what a home it is. Rooms are chic and charming, and the style throughout the property transports you to another era and place altogether.

8. Dubrovnik — Croatia

While “Game of Thrones” certainly made Dubrovnik famous, the truth is that this stunning Adriatic Sea city has been charming visitors for decades. If you’re in town because of your undying affection for the television series, you’ll quickly notice locations for scenes in King’s Landing, as well as Qarth and Slaver’s Bay. While that attention has translated to massive summer onslaughts of tourists, April in Dubrovnik can be a bit calmer. You’ll get to explore the walls surrounding Dubrovnik’s Old Town — which are some of the most well preserved in Europe — with less crowds. Inside of those walls, Dubrovnik’s quaint streets and alleys are made of stone and lined with bars and restaurants serving fresh seafood and Croatian wine. While the average temperature in April hovers in the mid 50s, you can also expect warmer days that make strolling around all the more pleasant.

Our Dubrovnik Hotel Pick: Villa Dubrovnik

Coast and view of Villa Dubrovnik

There’s a reason why Villa Dubrovnik is one of the most popular hotels in this historic part of Croatia. For starters, its setting couldn’t be prettier, set on the Adriatic cliffs just a mile from the Old Town. The luxury amenities here are also hard to top — think: heated flooring, hot tubs, and sea-view balconies.

9. Sicily — Italy

View of Palermo, Sicily, and mountains in the distance

View of central Palermo, Sicily, and mountains/Oyster

To say that Sicily is trending is an understatement. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that social media has been lighting up with pictures of its pretty beaches, stunning towns, and beautifully aging (and chaotic) cities. We also happen to think Sicily in April is pretty much perfect. Temperatures are in the mid 60s and skies stay drier than the winter months. You’ll also be missing the hordes of tourists that descend upon historic destinations like Catania and Syracuse, letting you actually enjoy all of the atmosphere. Palermo buzzes year round, and its equally majestic and crumbling core is worth more than a few days of exploring. Keep in mind that public transit it terrible across Sicily, so you’ll want to rent a car to get around. That gives you plenty of opportunity to explore destinations from Mount Etna to Ortigia Island and the ruins of Taormina. Alternatively, you can opt for a tour that hits up a mix of Sicilian historic sights and beautiful natural destinations.

Our Sicily Hotel Pick: Hotel Villa Ducale

Rainbow over the coastal view from Hotel Villa Ducale in Taormina, Sicily

If you’re after views for days and charming boutique atmosphere, Hotel Villa Ducale in Taormina is a no-brainer. There are plenty of places throughout the hotel to take in those sweeping coastal views (including many of the rooms). Decor is certainly old-fashioned, but we love details like exposed wooden beams and classic tiling.

10. Seville — Spain

While we’ve cautioned you about visiting Europe during Easter, there’s on place where Easter and Holy Week are actually the reason for visiting. Welcome to Seville (Sevilla), where the ceremonies at this time of year are surreal. Don’t expect bargains — April in Seville means high prices on hotels — and you certainly won’t have the town to yourself. Instead, you’ll need to book your hotel far in advance, as Seville’s Holy Week festivities are some of the most remarkable in the world. Expect a series of processions that include iconic costumes and pageantry, all of which start and end at the city’s magnificent cathedral. While Semana Santa, as it’s known in Spanish, is prime time for visiting Sevilla, you’d also do well to visit for the April Fair (Feria de Sevilla). This historic event (dating back to the early 19th century), celebrates flamenco, food, and lights.

Our Seville Hotel Pick: EME Catedral Hotel

Street view from EME Catedral Hotel in Seville, Spain

This cool boutique sits right next door to the Seville Cathedral, in the heart of the historic center. Why does that matter? All of the Holy Week processions begin and end at the cathedral. As an added bonus, the rooms are fresh and modern, and there’s a rooftop bar with great cathedral views.

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