THE BEST HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS IN APRIL
Temperature: 20°C high; 14°C low
Portugal’s barely-there sprinkling of an archipelago, 280 miles off the coast of Morocco, is subtropically clement all year round. In April, this fertile island bursts into bloom (the Flower Festival falls in April or May, depending on the year) and things start to warm up. Though temperatures are hardly balmy (average high is 20ºC), it’s ideal weather for outdoor pursuits in the diverse natural environment, walking in lush green forests to waterfalls, up volcanic peaks and along vertiginous cliff paths; while the surrounding waters are a riot of marine life in April, brimming with 20 species of whales and dolphins.
Temperature: 24°C high; 11°C low
Andalucia’s saffron-hued capital is all vibrance and passion – and in springtime most of all. The ancient cobbled streets are scented with orange blossom and colourful with parades: first comes the ecclesiastical solemnity and brass bands of Holy Week leading up to Easter; then, two weeks later, an altogether more vibrant fiesta, the Feria de Abril, a whirl of parties and music, colourful costumes, Sevillanos on horseback and flamenco dancers stamping to the staccato of castanets. Take a side trip to the Costa de la Luz and seek out a sheltered bay for some beach time, it’s the warmest spot in mainland Spain in April.
Temperature: 20°C high; 11°C low
As the southernmost of the Greek islands, Crete is also the hottest. April makes a great shoulder season – outside of the Easter school holidays, of course – with the mercury rising amiably before summer’s sweltering peak. Take advantage of thinner crowds with lazy days on blockbuster beaches – ordinarily packed, pink-hued Elafonisi should be left in relative peace. Note that the further south you go, the more likely you’ll find a truer Crete, unbothered by resorts. Spectacular, rugged mountain drives thread through lazy villages, where tavernas typically produce their own meat, cheese and wine. You can bet on a few free rounds of house raki after the meal, too. Better plan on staying the night.
Temperature: 27°C high; 13°C low
It’s the place to be seen in April. And even if you’re a bit over trust-fund babies strutting around in denim underwear and apache headdresses, the lineup often makes it one of the best festivals in the world. In typically eclectic style, Frank Ocean, Ariana Grande, Rage Against The Machine, Thom Yorke, Lana Del Rey, Charli XCX, Calvin Harris and Carly Rae Jepsen are all slated for 2020. Another reason to show up, of course, is tacking on a little jaunt to retro party playground Palm Springs. Do the pool thing at Ace Hotel and Swim Club (known for its Coachella pool parties), then find mid-century modern design Eden at the historic Sunnylands estate. Get into the mood with our what to wear at Coachella guide.
Temperature: 30°C high; 26°C low
What’s just as raucous as a Full Moon Party, but significantly wetter? Thai New Year, or Songkran, that’s what. A five-day public holiday in mid-April, the country essentially turns into one giant, good-natured water fight, with locals and tourists alike soaking each other in the streets. One of the more enthusiastic places to embrace this soggy ritual is Koh Samui. But the island of your budget backpacker days has – in parts, at least – grown up. A world away from flimsy beach huts and lethal bucket ‘cocktails’, Kamalaya is a jungly wellness retreat staffed by monks. Or the Four Seasons remains as ‘be seen’ as ever. The private infinity pools of its hillside villas make for a more relaxing way to get soaked. For more ideas, see our guide to the best islands in Thailand.
Temperature: 18°C high; 9°C low
If Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels stoked curiosity about Italy’s under-visited southern city, HBO’s recent smash-hit TV adaptation, My Brilliant Friend, has set that curiosity aflame. Less of an Italian Disneyland than Florence, Venice or Rome, Naples is the real deal. Street art adorns 18th-century buildings and public housing alike. Along slender, cobbled lanes, small, family-run workshops turn out the likes of exquisite leather gloves. Piazzas around every corner call for a Spritz stop; pizzas are made according to strict regulations (dough must be no more than 3mm thick). Between museums housing Caravaggios and a trio of castles, there’s people-watching on its lengthy seafront promenade, Lungomare. Soak it all up in mild-tempered April, before the blistering summer sets in.