8 Warm European Destinations for Easter Half-Term
When it comes to a well-deserved break, the Easter holidays couldn’t come quick enough. After a long grey winter, the chance for a glimpse of sunshine is everything we’ve been waiting for, especially to Europe’s warm shores.
If you’re planning a half-term holiday getaway with the kids, the first few weeks of April are a good time to vacation. Sure, Europe isn’t sizzling, but things are slowly heating up which makes it perfect for an Easter family holiday without sunburn! This year (2023), Easter Sunday falls on Sunday 9 April, allowing you to make the most of the celebrations.
But where to go? Here’s eight of our favourite destinations.
1. Crete, Greece
Not just the largest of all Greek islands, Crete also happens to be one of the warmer, especially during the summer months. Things start to slowly thaw out in April, but it’s still a touch chilly, with the average temperature falling between 5° and 11° degrees. This, however, makes it far more enjoyable for younger children, allowing them to see the island without slathering up in SPF every five minutes!
With the island in full bloom, it’s a beautiful time of year to visit and soak up the beauty of nature in blossom. Hiking is a great way to take in the local terrain, and for families with slightly older children, the island is a haven for trekking.
Samaria Gorge is one of the most breathtaking spots, although be prepared; to complete the full course, it can take up to five hours. You may be tempted to go for this well rated long day trip through the Gorge from Chania with an experienced guide. Alternatively there are many other tours you can opt for in Crete that are not so physically intensive.
While the weather may not be ideal for a leisurely dip, it bodes well for young surfers. Head over to Golden Beach near Chania to take advantage of its gentle ‘breaks’, perfect for young surfer dudes! It’s also well located for discovering the delights of nearby Chania market – an inviting place for picking up ‘tat’ for all those ‘show and tell’ moments back at school. It’s what the half-term holidays are all about.
2. Albuferia, Portugal
If there’s one destination that families love more than any other, it’s Portugal. Here, everything is geared towards the family traveller – from activities for the kids like the Zoomarine, to childcare, first-class cuisine, and golden stretches of beach. An all-round popular destination, things start to get busy from May onwards, so a trip during the half-term holiday is a smart way to avoid tourists, whilst enjoying the first twinkle of sunshine.
With less than three days of rain in April, it’s a good time to stock up on Vitamin-D, with temperatures reaching between 12° and 20° degrees. If you’re a golfing family, there’s no shortage of great courses in the area – Pine Cliffs and Balalia Village golf clubs are geared towards those seeking serious swing action. However, for family fun, the Mini Golf Park is a must. The largest mini-golf in Europe is open from 10am daily, for just €12.
Noted for its clay-red cliffs, beaches in this part of Portugal are beauty spots in themselves. A delightful place for a family walk, picnic, or spotting flora and fauna – add Praia da Falesia, Praia da Oura and especially Praia dos Salgados beaches to your list. There are plenty of places to stay close to the beach all over the coast.
If you’ve got young kids in tow, don’t miss the opportunity to excite them with the Albuferia mini tourist train. Touring the area on loop, it’s a great way to take in scenic views overlooking the Old Town, plus it’s pretty fun too.
3. The Amalfi Coast, Italy
With its twists and turns, and oh-so achingly cool vibe, The Amalfi Coast is a heavenly destination – but one that’s best suited to families with older children. This is not the place for buggies or babies, or sitting by a long lounging pool.
During your Easter family holiday to The Amalfi Coast, be sure to hire a car. This is the best way to see this coastal city and its nearby sights. It’s also well located for a day trip to Rome (covered extensively here) or Florence, making it an ideal destination for visiting for a weekend or longer.
Now, if you’re hoping for a dip in the sea, it might be a bit too cold, so that’s one activity to sadly rule out. That said, with spring in bloom, it’s a beautiful time to soak up the sights.
If you’re all about the luxury, then there’s only one place: the Belmond Hotel Caruso at the top of this list. This hillside retreat offers some of the best views. You may not want to stay there, but it’s a charming place for a leisurely lunch with the kids.
From here, head to Parco degli Ulivi – this large green space is a cool spot for letting the kids run around, with trampolines and inflatables for all ages to enjoy, followed by a family picnic. Before the day ends, round it off with a Amalfi Coast boat and snorkeling tour – the perfect way to see the sights from a different perspective.
And finally, when in the Amalfi Coast, there’s one thing every family has to do… and that’s enjoy a generous gelato with the kids. Be sure to seek out L’Eco del Mare – one of the most famous ice-cream shops.
4. Tenerife, The Canary Islands
The Canary Islands is one of the most popular destinations during the Easter holidays. This is mainly because it’s one of the hottest places in Europe, reaching up to 22 degrees on hotter days (and usually no lower than 16° degrees otherwise). You can pack your summer gear, dip in the sea and soak up the incoming summer vibes.
As for families, you won’t be short on activities either. Tenerife has many activities and is noted for its water activities for all to enjoy. It would be remiss not to mention Siam Park – consistently named one of the best water parks in the world by TripAdvisor. There’s slides and pools for kids of all ages, including a wave pool and Coco Beach – a relaxing family area.
Looking for something more cultural? This is a good time of year to see the island by foot, under the glare of the gentle warm sun. Visit Teide National Park, a great spot for exploring the slopes of its active volcano – perhaps more suited to older kids. At 3,718 metres above sea level, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is best reached by cable car, with sweeping views across the island, an excursion in itself!
Afterwards, head to Tenerife’s unique beaches coated with black sand – don’t be put off, you can swim all year round. In the south of the island, Playa de Los Cristianos is a fun place for little ones with a good selection of places to stay close by, while Playa de Benijo offers dramatic views and only a small handful of places that are within 5kms of this stunning beach.
5. Elefsina, Greece
It’s time to move over Athens. Just down the road, a mere 20km away is the charming and historical city of Elefsina. Named as one of the official ‘European Cities of Culture for 2023’, this is a culturally-rich place all members of the family will enjoy.
For starters, the weather is pleasantly warm (12° – 20° degrees), far more tolerable than its sweat-inducing summer months. April is also a great time to visit for learning more about Greek culture, notably Easter.
There are a handful of places to stay in Elefina to enable you to experience one of the biggest celebrated religious events here. There are street parties and processions through the streets, and plenty of home-cooked food, just time it for the Greek Easter which takes place on 16 April.
Raster aside, Elefsina is a fascinating place for curious young minds. There are endless archaeological sites and museums which include The Ploutonion site to add to your list.
6. Ibiza, The Balearic Islands
Named as one of the top destinations for 2022 by Conde Nast Traveller, The Balearic Islands provide a surprisingly tranquil spot for families on-the-go. The cluster of islands known as Ibiza, Menorca and Mallorca all offer something quite different. But for an all-round taste of paradise, it has to be Ibiza.
Shrugging off its party scene, it is quickly becoming a popular go-to for family holidays. Lounge in a pool, hike the mountains, discover its spiritual side and take a trip out to sea. There are only a small selection of places to stay in Ibiza that have hiking, horse riding, cycling and bike tours available for the outdoor types. However if you want a hotel with a little bit of everything from outdoor activities, indoor pool with relaxation area and spa facilities this is what you can get.
From sunrise yoga to sunset’s in Café del Mar, there’s more to the island than meets the eye. For those not content with reconnecting with their spiritual side, why not partake in some water fun? Sirenis Water Park is the perfect place for spending a day during your Easter family holiday, open again from April.
Got wheels? Then jump in your jeep and head straight to Port de Sant Miquel for an afternoon of horse trekking – it’s a lovely pursuit to enjoy with the kids. Alternatively, here are a couple of itineraries and activities you can enjoy with kids in Ibiza.
The weather tends to be mild in Ibiza in April, and since it’s outside of its famous party season – a lot quieter too. Bring a jacket for the evening, as temperatures range from 11°-19° degrees.
7. Larnaca, Cyprus
Another popular destination for Easter family holiday bliss is Cyprus. This friendly welcoming island is known for its glorious beaches, notable archaeological sites and great food.
One of the most eastern destinations in the Mediterranean, it benefits from great weather at this time of year, (12°-23° degrees) making it one of the warmest places to visit during the half-term holidays. Swimming is off limits at this time of year, but you can easily find places to stay with an indoor pool.
While Paphos is a popular choice in the summer, Larnaca has more going on in the shoulder season. Many of the locals live in this area, so there’s still a buzz in the air. Granted, the beaches aren’t the best on the island, but Mackenzie’s remains a popular spot for indulging in ice-creams, lattes and many other treats, before a dip in the sea.
If this doesn’t suffice, Fig Tree Bay – one of the best beaches in the island – is half an hour away by car. You can take an inexpensive guided tour from Paphos to Limassol with the Aphrodite Rock, and for something more memorable, a swim around the Rock is said to bring you to your true love once you swim around it three times!
As day turns to night, Larnaca is a buzzing spot for evening’s out. The boardwalk is a pleasant place for marching the streets in the evenings. Lined with vendors and children’s attractions, it’s a cheap way to keep little ones entertained. As for food, you’re spoilt for choice with outdoor restaurants a-plenty. Don’t miss the opportunity to squeeze in some culture, The Church of Saint Lazarus dates back to the 9th century and has a rich (and religious) history to it.
Finally, for a touch of architecture, The Greco-Roman temple at Kourion is one of several ruins to marvel over. Little ones will love hearing about Greek mythology and history, and the weather is perfect for mooching around even in the middle of the day – a rarity in this usually fiercely heated city.
8. Marseille, France
Officially the driest part of France, the Riviera is the place to go in April. A pleasant 10°-18° degrees, it’s time to come out of hibernation and dust off your shorts!
The blustery beaches are still a bit too cold for swimming. However, Prado Beaches still offer a wonderful day out at the seaside, with volleyball, skateboarding and climbing all available on the beaches to keep kids entertained. There are many places to stay within 3kms of Prado beach to make the most of it.
Or, if you’ve got a real adrenaline junkie on your hands, Ecopark Adventures is a terrific way to keep the little ones occupied in the great outdoors. From two year olds’ to teens, there’s activities for all to enjoy, starting from just €5 for its mini-park for toddlers. Older ones, in contrast, will enjoy the 160-metre-long zipline.
Want to see the sights in one day? The Marseille Hop On Hop Off bus is just the ticket. It’s a great way to come to grips with the city and take in its sights, including the Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde and the Harbour Master’s Office. For younger tourists, the Petit Train de Marseille is a fun way to see the city by choo-choo train.
And finally for your Easter family holiday, ‘OK Corral’ is an unusual theme park with a Wild West theme. There’s over 30 rides, numerous waterslides and cute carousel rides that everyone from toddlers to teens will enjoy. There’s also plenty of food kiosks, restaurants and amenities for the perfect family day out, you’re sure to love it. A family of four can expect to pay €100 to spend the day here.