Places to visit on your Algarve holidays

The Algarve ii in the southernmost part of Portugal and is surprisingly small, stretching just 155kms in the south and 52 km north on the west. In short, you can traverse the entire area in just a day. Having said that, there are plenty of reasons for you to choose the Algarve as a holiday travel destination. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by on March 21st, 2010

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Best Holiday Travel Destinations For Easter Breaks

The long Easter weekend is a great time to take off for a short break. The weather too starts getting warmer in America and Europe, opening up loads of holiday destinations to choose from.
Below is our pick of holiday travel ideas for your Easter break. The destinations have been chosen for the quirky customs and unique traditions that are followed in the various cities. New York is also great place to visit for Easter weekend breaks and you can read all about its famous Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival.

Jamaica Easter Carnival

The Jamaica Easter Carnival kicked off in 1990 and has gained in popularity over the years. More than 100,000 revelers flock to Kingston for the Carnival which begins with Beach Jouvert on Easter Sunday. Jouvert means daybreak and the parade begins in the early hours of the morning when it’s still dark outside. The Carnival ends with the colourful Road March which is a costumed street parade where top local and regional bands play calypso and reggae to the crowd’s delight. Soca parties are also the rage throughout the island. The carnival is quite a spectacle and it’s a fun way to spend your Easter break.

Kingston is the capital of Jamaica and most people tend to avoid it because of the adverse publicity it has received about crime. Just be a little careful and you should be fine. There are plenty of nice nightclubs and restaurants around Kingston which make it a lively town.

But it’s not only Kingston that celebrates Easter in true Caribbean style in Jamaica. There’s some parade or the other happening somewhere on the island during the Easter Carnival week. Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Negril also have some wonderful entertainment and parades.
Another Easter tradition in Jamaica is eating bun and cheese. The buns are spiced with cinnamon and are sprinkled with lots of raisins. They are generally eaten with processed cheese and you will see supermarket shelves packed with buns and cheese around Easter.

Trekking, snorkeling and diving are some of the activities you can do in Jamaica. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the stunning beaches in Port Antonio, Montego Bay and Negril.

Weather in Kingston in March and April: Temperatures range from 24°C to 28°C. There’s an occasional light shower during the day.

Semana Santa, Seville, Spain

The Holy Week, or Semana Santa, preceding Easter Sunday sees processions by the brotherhoods of the church making their way from their churches to the Cathedral. The penitents wear robes and hoods and walk alongside two to three elaborate wooden floats. The first float usually depicts the scene of the Passion with Christ and the second, a grieving Mary. Some of the floats have exquisite sixteenth century statues decorated with gilt and silver and are often accompanied by bands playing flamenco style hymns.

At midnight on Thursday, the biggest processions leave their churches and wind their way through the night to arrive at the Cathedral on the morning of Good Friday. This is definitely the highpoint of the week. Up to 60,000 monks participate in the processions during Holy Week.
Although the parades have a religious and solemn flavour, you will see bars and restaurants packed with local families till late into the night. Grandparents and grandchildren too stay up late.

Apart from the Easter processions, take time to walk through the narrow alleys of Seville’s old town and eat at a local tapas bar. You will see some of the best bullfighting and flamenco performances here. Seville is easily one of Spain’s must-visit places, both historic and stylish at the same time.

Weather in Seville in March and April: Temperatures range from 9°C to 24°C.

Read more about how to spend your Holiday Nights In Madrid.

São Brás de Alportel, Algarve, Portugal

This is a small town in the eastern Algarve and is more commonly known simply as São Brás. It is ringed by hills and looks down at the coast from an escarpment. The old town has a church and the Episcopal Palace. On Easter Sunday, the town comes alive and draws visitors for its unique Easter ceremony.

The streets are paved with fresh wild flowers arranged in interesting patterns and a Torch Procession, or Festa das Tochas, proceeds through the streets. Men carrying torches made of flowers walk or run through the streets. Their leader cries, “Christ is risen” and the others respond with cries of “Hallelujah”. Similar ceremonies used to take place in other Algarve towns in the 18th and 19th century but now the tradition is alive only in São Brás.

After the procession you can walk along the flower strewn streets or make your way to other towns of the Algarve. At the crossroads in the main town square, you can head north to Lisbon, south to Faro, east to Tavira and west to Loule.

The Algarve coast is truly picturesque with sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs and towns with whitewashed houses. Most of the resorts are not exactly pretty but the wonderful setting draws huge crowds in summer. During Easter you can enjoy the Algarve without the teeming tourists, although the water can be a bit cold.

Weather in the Algarve in March and April: Temperatures range from 17°C to 20°C.

Also read about the Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival in New York.

Posted by on November 30th, 2009

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