With most Northern Hemisphere destinations experiencing mild weather in the lead up to summer, and Southern Hemisphere destinations cooling off just before winter, Easter is one of the best times to travel. In no particular order, here are my Top 5 Easter Destinations for 2012.
With the mighty Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow, and of course the canals and cathedrals of St Petersburg, Russia is a must-see destination at any time of year, but all the more so over Easter as Russia begins to thaw from the long winter. With Easter playing a central role in the Russian Orthodox Church calendar, you might just catch Easter celebrations of some sort!
If you want to avoid the heat of summer (or the winter cold) then Easter is a great time to go to Jordan. What’s more, Easter is around the time that the spring flowers will be out, transforming this desert land into a spring garden. 2012 is a big year for the Hashemite Kingdom, as 2012 is the 200th anniversary of the re-discovery of the Rose Red City of Petra. Explore it for yourself this Easter.
Although it never really gets cold in Egypt, it can be chilly in the evenings during the winter, and the summer can be extraordinarily hot for those who aren’t used to it. If you’ve been battling a snowy Northern Hemisphere winter, then Egyptmakes for the perfect Easter escape. See the pyramids, sail the Nile, explore temples and relax in Dahab on the Red Sea.
Experience the essence of North African culture in Morocco. Explore Fes, the world’s largest and oldest medieval city, and soak up the buzz of Marrakech’s markets. Sample North African cuisine, head into the desolate grandeur of the Sahara desert, trek the Atlas Mountains or relax on the Atlantic coast.
5. The Drakensburg, South Africa
I was lucky enough to spend some of my school holidays in the Drakensburg as a child, and Easter is the perfect time to visit. Autumn is a magical time in the Drakensburg as most of the trees are changing colour, leaving the hillsides ablaze with autumn colours. The weather is mild too, bringing a reprieve from the blazing African summer. There’s nothing quite like trudging through the dewy grass in the early morning and seeing the red and orange trees mirrored in the mountain dams – many of which are teeming with trout. Those of you familiar with the English countryside will feel quite at home in the Kwazulu-Natal midlands, though it’s decidedly more rugged. In the words of author Alan Paton, ‘there are hills, grass covered and rolling and beautiful beyond the singing of it.’