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Many people would agree that special holidays and religious traditions are best celebrated at home while surrounded with family and friends. But there are many different ways to celebrate holidays like Easter and remember the reason for the season.
If the idea of combining an Easter celebration and a spring vacation sounds appealing to you, then perhaps a destination Easter is in order this year. Cities all around the world have their own special way to celebrate this holiday, offering unique opportunities to learn about other cultures, music, food, and traditions. Here are 10 of the best places to travel to celebrate Easter this year.
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Rome is the center of the world’s Easter celebration for Catholics and a wonderful place to ring in the holiday. Tourists from all over the world travel here to attend Rome’s Easter celebrations at the Vatican and around town. In Rome, you’ll find religious pilgrimages, spring blooms, chocolate eggs, and St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. There are also lots of charming smaller churches where you can attend mass and learn about Italian Easter traditions. The Pope addresses the crowds during mass in St. Peter’s Square on Easter. When you visit, take a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, see the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and check out the area’s many museums. On the day after Easter, many families in Rome spend their day outdoors in the parks having picnics and enjoying the beauty of nature.
The other big religious site that holds great significance for the Easter holiday is Jerusalem. This is a prime spot to visit around this time of year if you are religious or want to learn more about the history of the holiday. This sacred place is a pilgrimage destination with many Holy Week events to attend. People gather on the Mount of Olives, visit the Dome of the Rock, see the Coenaculum, and walk the route that Jesus took, the Via Dolorosa. Come to Jerusalem for a rich cultural experience that combines the best of the old world and the new one.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Pittsburgh may come as a surprise to see on an Easter travel list, but surveys have shown that this Pennsylvania city has pretty ideal conditions to spend the spring holiday. Many people here celebrate the holiday, and there are lots of local Easter events that take place around town. There are also a lot of churches here per capita, a large Christian population, and lots of candy stores. Easter Day events in Pittsburgh have included an Easter dining cruise, Spring Flower Show, and Easter brunch at Heinz Field, which concludes with an egg hunt for children. Other recommended Easter brunch spots include Vue 412, Kaya, Muddy Waters Oyster Bar, and Breakneck Tavern.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam isn’t exactly known for its religious significance, but it’s still an incredible place to visit over the Easter season. That’s because this is the time of year when the tulip fields are in bloom and at their peak of color and beauty. Rent a bike to pedal around the tulip fields and see them up-close and personal. Flower-related attractions include the Flora Holland auction house, the floating flower market, and Keukenhof Gardens. King Day is celebrated on April 27 each year to celebrate the birthday of the king, and it’s also a great excuse to party and have a great time.
Various regions of Guatemala come alive during the Easter season, thanks to ornate decorations and vibrant festivities. Many of the local residents in the Antigua area decorate their homes for the occasion between Palm Sunday and Good Friday. It is a local tradition to scatter a combination of sand, pine needles, and flowers on the streets to create a beautiful walkway for religious processions. The procession is rooted in local traditions and was brought over by Spanish missionaries in the 16th century. Thousands of people come here to experience the amazing energy of Holy Week. Keep in mind that the crowds here can get pretty massive, so prepare yourself for lots of people. But ultimately, this is an ideal time to visit Guatemala and experience the Spanish-Indian fusion of cultures that makes the country so unique.
Washington, DC, USA
One of the most well-known Easter traditions in the U.S. is rolling Easter eggs on the White House lawn. This is a tradition that dates back to the late 1800s. There is a ticket lottery that is opened a few weeks before Easter, and winners are notified with instructions on how to get tickets to this epic Easter event. Neighborhoods, like Dupont Circle, get into the Easter holiday spirit as well. Another great reason to visit Washington, D.C. around Easter is the cherry blossoms. These stunning floral displays decorate the trees of the city and offer a special experience for all who travel here in March and April. Nice restaurants to settle down at for Easter brunch are the 1789 Restaurant, America Eats Tavern, Anthem, and Belga Café.
One of the most famous Easter celebrations in the entire world takes place in Seville, Spain. This Andalucía celebration features many religious brotherhoods that parade down the streets of town during Holy Week, known as Semana Santa de Sevilla. This is an exciting place to see floats and flowers, let loose with dancing in the streets, and sample delicious sweets. You’ll also see many images of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, with a procession at the main cathedral before mass on Good Friday.
Many people don’t think of Romania when they’re planning an Easter vacation, but Easter traditions are alive and vibrant here. Visit the Bucovina region, in particular. Egg painting is a famous tradition here, and you’ll find more beautiful Easter eggs here than anywhere else in the world. You can also see the beautiful monasteries in this area of Romania and the traditional styles of dress. Passion Week here is called Saptamana Patimilor, and this is a time to celebrate with displays of flowers and willow branches. On the Thursday before Easter, families dye eggs, bake traditional bread, and go to church. Popular local dishes to eat on Easter Sunday include roasted lamb, lamb soup, sweet bread, and eggs.
New York City, New York, USA
There’s always something unique and exciting going on in New York City, and Easter is no exception. There’s an incredible Easter parade that takes place here each year after mass ends at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Make sure to get tickets well in advance if you want to attend this popular mass. The parade is reminiscent of the movie, “Easter Parade,” and runs for several hours along Fifth Avenue. But this parade isn’t just about bunnies and chocolate. This is a fashion and art event where everyone is encouraged to be creative and design Easter bonnets to suit their personalities. Other things to do in New York City on Easter include Pysanky Ukrainian Easter Egg Decoration Workshops, the Barnyard Egg Hunt, and the Macy’s Flower Show. Recommended brunch spots are Colicchio & Sons, Le Pecora Bianca, and Edi & the Wolf.
El Nido, Philippines
Another unlikely Easter destination to consider this year is El Nido, Philippines. This is a mostly Christian area where Easter is widely celebrated. In El Nido, you’ll find a fun parade, markets, and festivals to celebrate the religious aspects of the holiday. Come here if you want to combine your Easter celebration with a true vacation getaway because there are some incredible beaches to relax on and enjoy the end of winter. This is a magical place with towering cliffs, sandy beaches, and lovely lagoons. It’s also a prime spot for boating, island hopping, cliff climbing, and kayaking. Seafood is a local specialty here, so take advantage of the coastal location and plan an Easter meal at Cadlao Resort & Restaurant, Jarace Grill, or Sea Slugs.