The best part about holidaying in April is that you get to witness the burst of spring colors, sounds and fragrances. Then again the South of Europe starts to get warm around this time which makes it an ideal destination before the summer crowds take over. So if you are planning to go on a holiday this April, here are ten places to consider.
- Marseilles, France
Marseilles has long drawn visitors by virtue of its Mediterranean shores and balmy climate. Today visitors to Marseille flock to see the various churches and buildings that the city boasts from historical times. Some of these are the Old Port, the Phare de Sainte Marie, the Musee de Histoire, a chapel designed by the Puget brothers and the Palais de la Bourse which is a chamber of commerce dating back to the nineteenth century. Other major attractions of Marseilles are its main shopping areas of Central Bourse, La Valentine and le Grand Littoral. Besides these the city is home to various galleries, museums of modern art and fashion.
- Killarney, Ireland
Catch the budding spring season on the slopes and valleys of Killarney in Ireland. Killarney has several spots of natural beauty among which the most important is the Killarney National Park with its verdant cover, rich birdlife, lakes and gurgling streams. There are three major lakes in the park which not only offer magnificent views but are ideal for fishing, surfing and a host of other activities. For the more homely, there are several traditional farms as well as old tea houses like the Dinis Cottage. Moreover visitors can look around ancient castles, bridges, churches all of which offer unforgettable views of the splendid natural scenery. The surrounding hills and forests are not only a treat for the nature lover but also a haven for golfers, hikers and anglers. Moreover avid shoppers can browse the local stores house antiques and other kinds of traditional stuff.
- Fraser Island, Australia
For those of you looking for an offbeat attraction this holiday season, check out Fraser Island in Australia which listed in the World Heritage Sites as the largest sand island on earth. Located in the Queensland region, Fraser Island is hugely famous for the Seventy-Five Mile Beach which tourists can explore either on a four-wheel drive or on a joyflight. Among other fantastic natural formations on Fraser Island are the mighty sand blows and the multi-colored sand cliffs of The Cathedrals. These towering sand structures are a spectacular sight especially during the early and later part of the day. Yet another amazing view is offered by the colored sand vistas of The Pinnacles. Fraser Island is truly a nature lover’s delight and you are sure to be fascinated by the variety and beauty of sand formations in this island.
- Angkor Vat, Cambodia
A deeply moving spiritual experience awaits those who decide to visit Angkor Vat in Cambodia. Built in the early twelfth century, the Angkor temple complex was ordered by King Suryavarman as his state temple and capital city. Among all the temples of this complex, the temple of Angkor Vat is still the best-preserved and one of the most representative of classic Khmer architecture. Among other attractions of the Angkor Vat temple are its exquisite sculptures of deities adorning its walls as well as its extensive bas-reliefs. While it was originally built as a Hindu temple in honor of the Hindu god Vishnu, later it became an important Buddhist religious center. The symbolic importance of the temple complex is evident in the fact that the image of Angkor Vat appears on the Cambodian national flag.
- Chicago, United States
For a quick trip closer home, how about you zero in on Chicago, the vibrant and cosmopolitan capital city of the state of Illinois? Best Chicago attractions include the family friendly Navy Pier, its famous steakhouses and the Chicago Theater. Another Chicago highlight is Museum Campus that houses the hugely popular Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium. One of the most popular destinations among tourists to this city is the Art Institute of Chicago. Art lovers will delight in one of the rarest collections of masterpieces from the world of Art. The European painting collection includes 950 of the best works from the Middle Ages to 1900s with special emphasis on French masters. The African and Amerindian collection covers woodwork, ceramics, sculptures and metalwork from West, Southern and Central Africa as well as Mesoamerican and Andean regions of South America.
- Byblos, Lebanon
The West Asian country is mainly known for its cuisine and historical monuments. However Lebanon’s rich archeological heritage is amply evident in presence of towns like Byblos which is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of the world. As the principal port town of the Phoenicians during the second millennium BC, Byblos must have been invested with a great deal of commercial importance. Among the main exports of Byblos was cedar and various types of woods to Egypt and other countries which were great builders as well as paper or papyrus, as it was known then, to the Greeks. The Greek name for papyrus was Byblos which they applied to the Phoenician city and which eventually became the root for the word Bible. Visitors to Byblos can go through the archeological sites which continue to bear witness to the past glory of the civilizations. There are remains of temples, civic buildings, huge theaters and public baths or “hamams”. Other places worth seeing are various ancient mosques, churches like that of Saint John Marcus and the harbor with its fortified tower.
- Elk Island National Park, Canada
For nature and wildlife lovers, Canada is a veritable treasure house with its forested lands and slopes. The Elk Island National Park of Canada is one such natural reserve located 35 kilometers east of Edmonton. Sprawling over 194 square kilometers, this is the largest fully enclosed park of Canada even though in terms of area it is behind seven other national parks. Vegetation is a mix of native fescue grassland, boreal forests and aspen parklands. Both the largest and smallest land animals in the continent are to be found in this Park which are respectively the wood bison and the pygmy shrew. The Elk Island National Park is open to visitors round the year but in April it is particularly lovely with the arrival of spring. Some of the most popular activities in the Park are wildlife gazing, hiking and unserviced camping as well as golfing in summers.
April is the time when the cherry blossoms bloom in their full splendor in Japan. Indeed here events known as Hanami parties or picnics are organized to view the blossoms and viewing spots in some parks and gardens can become difficult to find. One of the best places to join a cherry blossom viewing party is Tsuyama Kakuzan Koen in Tsuyama City in Okayama. It is a park created in the ruins of Tsuyama Castle and is filled with thousands of sakura or cherry blossom trees.
If you are thinking of soaking in a bit of grandeur from one of the wealthiest cities of the world, April would be a good time to plan a visit to Luxembourg City. As the capital city of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the place is infused with both the cultures of Romance Europe and Germanic Europe. Situated at the confluence of the Alzette and Petrusse rivers in the southern part of the country, Luxembourg City is famous for its grand historical buildings. Among these perhaps best known is the Luxembourg Castle which dates back to the Early Middle Ages and is supposed to have been built by the Franks. The city is also home to several ancient abbeys, cathedrals, universities as well museums.
- Venice, Italy
Lovers of Renaissance art and culture often consider Venice as their Holy Grail and April is one of the best times to visit this city before it becomes uncomfortably hot in later months. The Piazza San Marco is perhaps the most popular public square in Venice from where a visitor can take in an amazing cityscape of fantastic palaces, churches and monuments. The Doge’s Palace is one of the imposing sights visible from the Piazza. Also known as the Palazzo Ducale di Venzia it now houses the works of some of the greatest Italian Renaissance painters like Tintoretto, Veronese, Titian and others. The ancient cathedral of Basilica di San Marco is another major attraction from the Piazza. The imposing Tower of Campanile as well as the quaintly-titled Bridge of Sighs are other fascinating sights not to be missed from the Piazza San Marco.