By this time, the winter chill is well and (hopefully) truly over in the northern hemisphere and comfortable temperatures settle in. Meanwhile, in the southern hemisphere, the intense heat of summer finally dissipates and you can walk around outside without your skin audibly sizzling.
As mild climates descend upon the majority of the planet, both the northern and southern hemispheres, landscapes around the world change with the weather. In Norway, the plants shake off their last flakes of snow and inject some color into the scenery, while the cherry blossoms in Japan paint the country pink.
For those of you with an eye for photography, April is a beautiful time to travel.
But on top of the great weather and gorgeous scenery, April is also an exciting month to travel. For starters, it is the month in which Easter falls. This means that all Christian countries in the world go into overdrive with celebrations. From the parades of Brazil to the creepy Easter witches of Sweden, there is a lot of fun to be had during Easter.
But wait. There’s more!
April is known as a “shoulder month.” This means that it is not quite peak season for travel but not completely dead either. As a result, it is far cheaper to travel in April than it is during the summer months (from June to September) or during the winter holidays (read: New Years, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.) .
Have I whet your appetite for an April adventure? Perhaps these destinations are tempting…
1. Celebrate Songkran in Thailand
Don’t let the extreme heat of April in Thailand put you off from going (they have air-conditioning all over the place anyway). This month sees the most important celebration of the year in Thailand: Songkran. This is the Thai New Year and it falls on April 13. The celebrations carry on until the 15th.
Everyone celebrates Songkran, also known as the Thai Water Festival. It is not uncommon to see a bunch of senior citizens brandishing water pistols and going head to head with teenagers. On the roads, people in the back of pick-up trucks drench unsuspecting pedestrians.
You’ll get totally soaked and have a good old time. The mayhem consumes the whole country and resistance is futile, so embrace the festival and make sure you don’t wear denim!
For Songkran, the whole country erupts into watery festivities. But the celebrations are particularly chaotic north in Chiang Mai. Water fights break out left, right and center; street food is consumed in impressive quantities; and cultural dances and spectacles are performed in the streets.
April also plays host to the colorful Poy Sang Long festival. This event sees young Shan boys (seven to 14 years old) become ordained novice monks. The ceremony lasts three days and involves plenty of feasting, music, parades and elaborate offerings to Buddha.
If you are looking for something more relaxed, the islands of Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Koh Lanta and Koh Phangan beckon. Koh Tao is actually one of the cheapest places on earth to learn to scuba dive (along with Honduras). If you have the time, you can get some great deals on your PADI qualification, which will include lessons, leisure dives and accommodation.
2. Bask in Balmy Temperatures in Australia
April in Australia means blissful temperatures across most of the country. By this point, fall is in full swing and the beaches start to fill up with people hoping to soaking up the sunshine. With the climate resting comfortably in the 70s, now is the best time to visit Australia.
The best thing about Australia is that it has virtually everything you could want from a destination. If you’re feeling adventurous, head to the center of the country and marvel at the mighty Uluru (aka Ayers Rock).
Alternatively, why not try surfing? In April, you will find some of the best swells on the southern coast along Great Ocean Road. Be aware that the water is cold so you’ll need a wetsuit. For those with heaps of surfing experience, you’ll be pleased to know that there are spots around here that see 20-feet waves.
Of course, no trip to Australia would be complete without spending some time in its two best cities, Sydney and Melbourne. Even if big cities aren’t your thing, these two should be your exceptions. These two cities consistently rank as being some of the most livable cities in the world—and it’s easy to see why.
In April, Melbourne plays host to one of the world’s most prestigious surfing tournaments, Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach. The event sees the world’s best surfers carving up the waves in an attempt to win the glory of the Bell trophy.
Meanwhile, Sydney is at its finest thanks to the perfect weather. Now is the time to eat al fresco, check out the buzzing city scene and kick back on the beach. Once you’ve done the city, wander a little farther afield and explore the Blue Mountains or Mungo National Park.
3. Explore the Saharan Desert in Morocco
Morocco can get pretty stifling in the summer months, but in April the weather is perfect. It’s warm but not boiling, the desert region is tolerable and the green parts are at their most lush.
Marrakech is a hotspot for April travelers. Its captivating energy is the same as always but you won’t be drenched in sweat the second you step outside. In the cool evenings, street performers flaunt their skills in the main square, Jemaa el-Fnaa, to the delighted cries of the crowds.
At night, be sure to crash in a riad, a traditional Moroccan house. These can be found all over, but some of the finest are in Marrakech. Embellished with beautiful, authentic rugs, tapestries and ornate tiles, the buildings are works of art themselves.
From Marrakech it is easy to get to Essaouira, a coastal town with stunning views of the Atlantic. While the summer climate here isn’t extreme, April is definitely the best time to visit. There will be fewer crowds, meaning you can enjoy the beach (known for windsurfing) and explore the ramparts in peace.
If you’re looking for something more active, the Atlas Mountains are perfect for hiking in April. The snow will have just melted and the temperature will be heating up—but not to the extent that you get scorched while you walk.
Finally, you might want to spend some time in the iconic Sahara Desert while you’re in Morocco. April is an idyllic time to head to Zagora and ride a camel through the impressive sand dunes. At the end of the day, fall asleep beneath the stars in a traditional Berber tent— there’s no light pollution to speak of, which makes this is a truly magical experience.
4. Discover the Cities and Rocky Coves of Portugal
Home of the vibrant cities of Porto and Lisbon, Portugal is a fantastic destination to visit in April.
Of all the city break options in Europe, Lisbon is by far one of the most exciting. Visiting Lisbon in April gives you some unique opportunities.
Firstly, you will be able to witness the Portuguese Freedom Day celebrations—and where better to see them than the country’s capital? The national holiday falls on April 25th. On this day, the streets are filled with parades, music and people throwing carnations.
Secondly, on April 18 it’s World Monuments Day and many of Lisbon’s museums offer free entry for the day. If you are interested in Portuguese history and culture, this presents an excellent opportunity to learn.
Elsewhere in the country, April bring glorious sunshine that makes the beaches in Algarve very appealing. It’s a pleasure to splash in the water and explore the region’s rocky coves without the fear of burning to a crisp.
Meanwhile, in Porto, April boasts comfortable weather for meandering through the city. Be sure to check out the stunning Livraria Lello bookshop and to take a ride on the old tram that runs through the city. The evenings in April are still warm, meaning you can drink sangria in the numerous street bars without feeling a chill.
5. Celebrate King’s Day in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Spring in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is picturesque. The cold finally dissipates, the trees get their leaves back and sun glints off the canals that carve through the city. But, the main reason Amsterdam is at its prime in April is because it hosts the biggest King’s Day celebrations in the country.
King’s Day is the Netherlands’ favorite festival and is as colorful as it is loud—with nowhere partying quite as hard as in the capital. For an entire day the whole city is swamped with people in orange clothing, making merry and having fun. There are parties everywhere and the energy is electric.
If you have any time and energy left after King’s Day, check out the Tulip Festival, which lasts the whole month of April. It’s a very different vibe. Still, it is no less worthy of your time. It is deeply rooted in the history of the Netherlands.
The good thing about the Netherlands is that there are plenty of indoor activities. Amsterdam is museums galore. So, if the weather doesn’t hold out, just head to the Anne Frank House or the Rijksmusem.
If you want to see the entire country but don’t have time to head to Utrecht, Rotterdam, Lieden and the country’s other cool cities, then head straight to the Hague. Aside from The Hague’s political significance, the city boasts the impressive Madurodam. This is a park that contains a 1:25-scale model of the Netherlands, featuring a number of its most famous sights.
6. Enjoy Shoulder Season in Puerto Rico
Admittedly, Puerto Rico gets its best weather during our winter months. But, it also gets more expensive and more crowded then. This is why Puerto Rico in April is ideal. The rainy summer is still some time away, the weather is pleasant and the crowds are gone. Perfect, right?
In order to make the most of April’s delightful climate, head to some of Puerto Rico’s natural hotspots. Explore the underground caves at Rio Camuy Cave Park with a tour guide who can show you the most beautiful parts of the park.
Alternatively, spend your day wandering through the lush, exotic plants at El Yunque National Forest. Take your swimming gear as there is a sparkling waterfall that feeds into a lagoon in which you can splash to cool off after hiking.
Also, you definitely don’t want to miss the bioluminescence at Mosquito Bay of Vieques Island. The fluorescent blue sparkling in the water is an otherworldly and memorable experience, especially on a cool April evening when it’s neither too chilly nor too oppressively hot.
7. Revel in Cuba’s Dry Season
Cuba is truly glorious in April. Throughout the whole month, the sun shines down and the rain stays away, so you can enjoy the country to the max.
Cuba is a unique destination due to it being one of the last remaining communist countries in the world. You won’t find hotels and hostels with WiFi (Cuba has some of the worst WiFi in the world!), international restaurants or Coca Cola here.
What you will find, however, is an enchanting Latin vibe with salsa dancing and adventure around every corner. The capital, Havana, is home to the Museum of the Revolution, a beautiful malecon (boardwalk). It’s also home to thousands of those old-fashioned cars you’ve seen in photos.
Whilst in Havana, be sure to do a city tour. You will be ferried around in a classic car, and you will learn all about the history of this fascinating city. Then enjoy a Cuban cigar, a mojito (or three) and a Cuban sandwich.
Outside of the city, Varadero and Caya Coco are two of the country’s best beach spots. White sand and the occasional flamingo, they are ideal places to do nothing for a day or two. Then you can carry on with your exploration of the island.
Looking to heat things up on a tropical island or enjoy the mild climate of a European spring? Travel the world in April and you’ll find just that… and a lot of old people with water guns.