April is a great time to plan a vacation – in many locations, the weather is mild if not warm, and it isn't yet peak season, so big crowds and high prices are easy to avoid. For some lucky travelers, spring break or the Good Friday/Easter holiday even allows for some real time off to take a trip. But while those occasions do provide the vacation days, it's important to consider that Easter (especially in predominately Catholic countries) can have a big impact on crowds, costs, and travel plans.
So where should you go during the fourth month of the year? Here's our roundup of some of the best places to visit in April:
Spain has a wide range of terrain and climates, but it's safe to say that the weather in April is lovely throughout the country, before summer really brings the heat. Average temperatures on the southern coast in Barcelona or Seville are in the 60s and 70s, and in Madrid, April gives lots of sunshine and daily highs in the 60s. Pack a light jacket, because evening temperatures can get chilly. Note also that the northern end of Spain does get some wet weather in April. Regardless, travelers won't be lacking in things to do: From visiting any of the number of top tier museums in Spain, to experiencing the rich historical and cultural sites, or just enjoying some wine and tapas at a cafe (a Jamón serrano and Queso Manchego plate is a must). Check our Madrid and Barcelona city guides for even more suggestions, and beware of crowd surges, higher prices and businesses staying closed around Easter.
Stay: In Barcelona, book a room at AOL Travel favorite Hotel Soho, where rates start at $170 a night. Madrid offers its fair share of deals as well: Rooms at the luxurious Hotel de las Letras in Puerta del Sol are about $160 a night, and a stay at the chic ME Madrid Reina Victoria at Plaza de Santa Ana runs around $170 a night.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr/davidpc_)
The Caribbean is a wonderful April destination. Although mid-spring isn't yet low season for popular resorts and towns in Jamaica, cheaper flights and stays are possible. June through November means hurricane season, so hitting Jamaica while it's warm and sunny (but not yet muggy) makes April a good time to travel down. Fans of water sports – especially snorkeling and scuba diving – will also find the water warm and clear, and it's easy to find time for a trip to Dunn's River Falls or to explore the beauty of the Blue Mountains. Bacchanal Jamaica, the island's Carnival, runs through April, and is chock full of steel drums, festive parades, dancing, competitions and a whirlwind of island spirit.
Stay: Rates at the mountaintop Strawberry Hill/Island Outpost luxury resort outside of Kingston start at $230 a night. Or indulge in some beachfront ease by booking at one of Jamaica's prime all-inclusives, like the Iberostar Rose Hall Beach in Montego Bay ($345 a night) or Breezes Grand Resort & Spa in Negril (starting at $480 a night).
(Photo courtesy of Flickr/samekh9393)