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11 February 2016

Easter Break In Europe

Easter is the welcome break we all look forward to, following the grey first months of the year when many of us are saving, dieting or generally on a post-Christmas come down. Whether its meaning to you is as a religious festival, or an excuse for a chocolate splurge, it’s a time for family and friends to celebrate the long weekend. Taking place this year from Friday March 25th to Monday March 28th, there’s a wide variety of ways to celebrate, from a trip away to a ‘staycation’. If you are inclined to use the four day holiday to set off somewhere new, we’ve rounded up some of the top Easter-themed ideas taking place in major cities around Europe.

Emily Norval is a London-based journalist, specialising in the fashion and retail sector. She frequently travels to fashion weeks and major events to cover the next trends in the industry.

London, UK

London at Easter

The UK capital is a great place to spend the long weekend, with tourist attractions getting in on the action with Easter-themed celebrations. The Bank of England will be hosting its annual EGGcellent Easter Adventure from March 29th to April 8th, with free entry daily from 10am to 4.30pm. An Easter Egg hunt takes place throughout the museum, where children can follow the trail to find chicks and eggs hidden within the exhibitions. Activities also include colouring in animal masks to take home and a free chocolate egg for every child.

Elsewhere, Kew Gardens in Richmond (just 30 minutes from central London) is also hosting its annual Easter Egg trail, this year teaming up with Lindt chocolate. Taking place from Saturday 19th March to Sunday 10th April, children are invited to follow the ‘Flavour Trail’ to solve clues with the iconic Lindt Gold Bunny. Of course, it all ends with a delicious chocolate bunny of their own. Kew Gardens is also hosting Bean to Bar workshops, inviting visitors to make their own chocolate.

Paris, France

Paris, France

Paris is home to some of the most famous churches and cathedrals in the world, none more so than Notre Dame. If you are visiting Paris over Easter weekend, participation in liturgical celebrations is free and open to the public, with a wide variety of services taking place (see the website for the full schedule). Due to their popularity, it is recommended to take a seat 15-20 minutes before the services begin.

Finding yourself in the very centre of Paris, we then recommend a leisurely stroll along the River Seine to take in some of the beautiful sights of the city, including the Eiffel Tower. Easter services are also open to the public at the Sacre Coeur, the famous hilltop Basilica in Montmartre, for stunning views across the city as well as some of the most beautiful services the city has to offer. Taking place three-four times per day across Easter Weekend, the schedule is also available online.

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

Anyone who has ever eaten Belgian chocolate knows first hand why the country should be as proud as it is of it’s best-known export. As you can imagine, Easter in Bruges, one of the country’s most beautiful cities, is a major opportunity to celebrate its chocolate heritage.

Shops and cafes present a huge selection of chocolate bunnies, chicks and some of the most beautifully decorated Easter eggs you’ll ever see. As Good Friday is not a public holiday in Belgium, most places are operating as usual throughout the weekend, although some places close on Sunday.

A must-visit is Choco-Story, Bruges’ chocolate museum, which is open every day from 10am-5pm, with entry around €8 for adults. With free samples on offer, as well as a detailed look at the history of chocolate, games and activities for children and even workshops to make your own, this is the best opportunity chocolate fans will have to indulge over the Easter break.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is home to Artis Royal Zoo, the first zoo to be established in the Netherlands and right in the heart of the city. Over Easter, the zoo famously puts on a wide range of activities, including a scavenger hunt for Easter eggs. There’s also the very popular chance to watch chicks hatching live from their incubators and even the opportunity for a cuddle with them. Admission to the zoo is around €20.50 for adults and €17.00 for children, but is guaranteed to be a fun-filled day out.

Elsewhere in Amsterdam, restaurants and hotels will be putting on Easter-themed lunches and there is the amazing Amsterdam Tulip Festival, which celebrates spring. The aim of the festival is to bring back the Tulip, traditionally connected with the city, with plans to eventually plant a bulb for every citizen (800,000 in total). Museums, hotels and restaurants have partnered in the scheme, which sees the brightly coloured flowers blooming all over the city, from gardens to pots.

As with many major cities, Easter weekend is one of Amsterdam’s busiest for tourists so it is worth booking in advance for museums and dining.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany

In Berlin, Easter marks the return of warmer weather after a very, very cold winter. From March, amusement parks and boat cruises begin their seasons and a host of themed events are tailored specifically to Easter. Outdoor activities form a key part of celebrations in areas such as Alexanderplatz, which is set to be taken over by a huge Easter market from March 18th to April 3rd.

Traditional or historical celebrations are still very much alive in Berlin today, from bonfires to craft markets. The Spandau Citadel, Berlin’s huge renaissance fortress is a particular attraction over Easter, as it is transformed into a medieval festival, with markets, jousting, acrobatics and more taking place over the weekend from Good Friday to Easter Monday.

Spring concerts in Berlin are also a major crowd-pull over Easter, such as the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra’s Easter Festival, which will be held from March 19th to 28th. For lovers of the classics, the central performance of Richard Wagner’s ‘Tristan und Isolde’ is at the heart of the festival, while other concerts include guest artists such as world-renowned cellist, Yo-Yo Ma.

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