Spring has (almost) sprung, and with Christmas now little more than a distant memory, it’s time to start formulating that cheeky Easter getaway.
Easter is many things to many people. For some, it’s a poignant time of the year in which Christians take pause to reflect on the Passion — that is, the final week of Jesus’ life, from the Last Supper right up to the Resurrection — while others consider it a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whatever side of the fence you find yourself on, or if you’re perched somewhere in between, Easter is what one would call a moveable feast. Unlike the other holidays lining the calendar, it’s not fixed to specific date; instead, it’s determined by the lunar calendar.
Around 325 AD, a small pocket of bishops gathered at the First Council of Nicea. It was here that the clergymen decreed that Easter itself must always fall on a Sunday, and that that Sunday would follow the first full moon after the Spring Equinox (March 21st). In short? Easter 2017 falls on Sunday, April 16th, which means there’s still plenty of time to gather a cheeky stash of chocolate eggs.
But for those of you thinking further afield, we’ve pinpointed six destinations that offer excellent, child-friendly city break
s — city breaks that won’t, in turn, break the bank. Besides, a long weekend in one of Europe’s bustling cosmopolitan cities can be just what the doctor ordered, and what a way to keep the kids entertained, particularly while the they are off for half-term. all affordable through Eurostar's 'Deal Page'
, the Trainline 'offers page'
So, without further ado, here’s our recommendations:
A mix of sun, sea and culture, Barcelona is a great all rounder with a little something for all the family. if you like art head to the Picasso Museum or prefer savouring gourmet delights hang out at La Boqueria or the trendy Sant Antoni near the Gothic Quarter. As well as a top choice for a city break, Barcelona boasts seven beaches and 4.5km of coastline to explore, it’s easy to find a peaceful pitch for a spot of sunbathing or for the kids to get the bucket and spade out.
With literally something for everyone, there's even something for those looking to lace up their walking boots should head straight for Mountjuic mountain. It does take a bit of work to get up there, but you’ll be rewarded with natural surroundings and spectacular views.
With flights appearing cheaper than a train from London to Scotland its definitely a way to put a few extra pennies towards some Tapas.
Prague, Czech Republic
It’s the City of a Thousand Spires — one steeped in a rich, medieval history — and since Czech Republic officially joined the EU in 2004, Prague has slowly transformed into the beating heart of Europe. Divided by the River Vltava, the Czech capital is relatively compact, ensuring you’re able to see many of the sights, including the Charles Bridge and the towering Astronomical Clock, on foot. Guided tours are available from 500 CZK (around £16), and upon setting foot on Prague’s cobbled, serpentine streets, you’ll find that most, if not all of the local delicacies can be enjoyed on the cheap.
Wenceslas Square is often used as a picturesque hub for tourists, and it’s here where you’ll discover a range of international cuisine — you know, just incase the youngsters aren’t too fussed on schnitzel and any other Czech food that’s available. What’s more, the weather is also surprisingly welcoming even at this early stage of the year. Temperatures vary between 11ºC and 6.5ºC during spring, and you’ll plenty of family-friendly activities in the Old Town, the New Town, and everywhere in between. Travelling alone or with a significant other? “Pivo, prosím” translates as “one beer, please,” which ought to come in pretty handy in the city that prides itself on a diverse selection of beer.
With a river cutting through the centre, coupled with the eastern European architecture, Budapest is a nice analogue to the Czech capital in that it offers plenty of nooks and crannies to explore for relatively little money, given the local currency. It’s located further east than Prague, meaning the flight time can often stretch past the three-hour mark. Our advice? Earmark Budapest as a potential destination if you’re booking a romantic getaway. Return flights are available from London for less than £100, and the city’s nightlife, coupled with the famous thermal baths, ensure Budapest is a top destination for couples eyeing a last-minute holiday.
There’s plenty to explore, too. From Castle Hill to the winding Danube river, Budapest sits alongside Prague as one of Europe’s more beautiful locations. And did we mention that it also has its own currency? It’s called the Hungarian Forint, and will no doubt ensure your long weekend doesn’t wind up leaving a sizeable dent on the bank balance.
Though Krakow tends to steal all the headlines, Warsaw is arguably the beating heart of Poland. Not only is it the country’s sprawling capital, it’s also a city steeped in history. During World War II, Warsaw was one of the biggest casualties in the European theatre, when air raids and invading troops reduced much of the Polish capital to rubble. Fast forward to the present day, though, and Warsaw has risen from the ashes like a glorious phoenix.
Boasting a mix of Gothic architecture and modern-day skyscrapers, you’ll be able to locate remnants of the Eastern Bloc — that is, the cluster of communist states whose foreign policies once hinged on those of the former Soviet Union — peppered throughout Warsaw. Its local currency, the Polish Zloty, ensures day-time trips to the Royal Castle, Wilanów Palace and the Warsaw Rising Museum are relatively cheap, even if they aren’t so cheerful. If you’re at all interested in WWII, Warsaw is an opportunity for a different kind of long weekend that trades sun and sand for history and culture.
Landing at the top-end of our 5 Destinations You Can Book on the Cheap, Rome is undoubtedly one of the more pricier choices for a Easter weekend getaway, but the Italian capital is no less alluring. There is, after all, something deeply romantic about the Eternal City. Perhaps it’s the sheer amount of history littering the cobbled streets, or the fact that you’ll find the Vatican City is located fairly close to Rome’s city centre.
It is, of course, the hub of Christianity in western Europe — and what a haven it is. If you’re of the mindset that you want to tick off as many historic locations off your to-do list as possible, few holiday breaks can compare to Rome. I mean, can you really think of another city where you’d find the towering Trevi Fountain within walking distance of the Colosseum? Unlike Prague, Warsaw and Budapest, you’ll be restricted to using the Euro when visiting Rome, which can take a toll on the ol’ bank balance. Even still, if you’re willing to shell out the extra pennies, what you’ll get in return is an unforgettable weekend in one of Europe’s premier cosmopolitan locations.
Last and by no means least, Edinburgh can be considered a cheap alternative to its European counterparts. Located relatively high up in the Scottish Highlands, it’s a compact, deeply historical city that balances a medieval Old Town and New Town, not unlike Prague and Budapest before it.
Perched on Castle Rock, the historic Edinburgh Castle is undoubtedly one of the main tourist attractions, and the fortification overlooks a beautiful heritage site. Easter is also a fantastic time to pay a visit to the Scottish capital, what with plenty of events planned all throughout the weekend of April 14th. A two or three-night stay typically lands in the range of £100, depending on your chosen accommodation, but with so much to see and do, we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to indulge in Edinburgh’s thriving culture for just that little bit longer. Heck, you might even get the chance to don a kilt while doing so.