As April blossoms into life so does our desire to get out there and travel. Its status as the start of shoulder season – spring or autumn depending on where you are – means low costs, low crowds and good weather. So here are the best places to visit in April 2024.
Soulful South Korea – 21-30 April 2024
If there’s one part of the world that has its peak season in spring it’s East Asia, where sakura (cherry blossom) season embellishes city parks and gardens with a lovely light pink hue. Japan might mop up huge swathes of this tourism boom, but we think South Korea is the place to see sakura bloom.
South Korea is much smaller than its more famous neighbour, but there is just as much natural beauty here, the culture is just as unique and the food might even be better.
Our 10-day trip starts and ends in the capital Seoul, where we’ll discover its markets, traditional villages and ancient architecture, as well as embarking on a night of karaoke, of course. Next we’ll visit the Demilitarised Zone to catch a glimpse of North Korea and learn about the history between these vastly different neighbours.
Onwards to the majestic mountains of Seoraksan National Park, where you can spot Korean gorals and musk deer. We’ll discover the ancient city of Gyeonju, stopping off for tea and dinner in a traditional hanok, before heading out to a Buddhist temple in the countryside, where we’ll learn martial arts and meditation, as well as stay the night.
Our final destination, before returning to Seoul, will be Korea’s second city – and seaside foodie hotspot – Busan. Here we’ll take a Korean cooking class, gorge on bibimbap and sip soju spirit on the beach. Not a bad way to end our authentic Korean experience.
Classic Northern Italy by Train – 13-21 April 2024
Springtime is always welcomed back warmly in Europe and, as the weather gets increasingly pleasant, April becomes a great time to visit Italy. There are far fewer crowds than in summer, and the north’s verdant countryside flourishes at this time of year.
Our Rail Trip manages to fit Rome, Florence, Bologna, Milan and Lake Como all into nine days, thanks to the country’s impressive Italo trains. We’ll start with a comprehensive tour of the capital’s most famous sights before hopping on a train to Florence. From there we’ll visit Siena and San Gimignano, as well as an olive oil farm, before fully embracing Italian cuisine in Bologna.
The culinary capital is a feast for the senses, and our gourmet food tour will leave you more than satisfied. We’ll continue the foodie theme in rural Emilia-Romagna, where we’ll visit a Parmigiano Reggiano farm, a balsamic vinegar production house and the spiritual home of ham – Parma.
Our last stop will be the fashionable streets of Milan. You’ll get to grips with this city’s unique culture, as well as taking a day trip out to Lake Como, where you can bask in the glory of Alpine Italy.
Dazzling Brazil – 5-13 April
Shoulder season is a great time to visit Brazil, too, as the weather remains lovely but the crowds keep to a minimum. Our Dazzling Brazil trip takes you on an immersive journey through the Brazilian way of life, starting in São Paulo and ending in Rio, with a little country detour along the way.
São Paulo is the country’s largest city, but often overlooked by tourists. You’ll find it hard to believe once we show you the city’s extraordinary collection of contemporary buildings, huge green spaces and street-art-covered trendy neighbourhoods.
Next we’ll head to Paraty, a spectacularly beautiful mountainous region beside the sea. You’ll swim, snorkel and boat your way through Paraty Bay, as well as exploring the town of Paraty itself – one of the most historical towns in Brazil, where charming old cobblestone streets are lined with colourful buildings.
Last stop is the much-mythologised city of Rio de Janeiro. We’ll introduce you to Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf and the Copacabana, but we’ll also take you to a samba school, and show you where the locals go to watch the sunset. You’ll become firmly acquainted with Brazil’s national cocktail, the caipirinha, as well as the largest urban forest on the planet, Tijuca.
Greek Island Odyssey – 28 April – 5 May
April marks the return of our island-hopping Greek adventure after a six month winter hiatus. With the sunshine shining once again, you can join us on the ultimate Greek experience, blending ancient history with laid-back island life.
Athens is the natural place to start any trip to Greece. We’ll visit the Acropolis, of course, but we’ll also sample the city’s vibrant nightlife, from traditional tavernas to trendy rooftop bars. Our first island hop takes us to the underrated Milos, traced with pristine white beaches and filled with charming old cobblestone villages.
Next up is Naxos, where we’ll head to a rural family home for a cooking masterclass – tasting absolutely everything as we go, of course. Armed with the secrets of Greek cuisine and a fresh tan from all your time on the beach, we move on to our final stop, which has to be Santorini. Those iconic whitewashed houses, with their blue-domed roofs and cosy terraces make for the perfect spot to watch the sun go down, cocktail in hand, as we look back fondly at our Greek Island Odyssey.
Epic Morocco – 20-30 April
Morocco can get a little too hot in the throws of summer, especially if you want to do some real exploring, so the extremely lovely April weather is ideal for our extensive tour of Morocco.
There is so much to see in this vast and eclectic land, so it’d be a shame to come here and just visit one place. That’s why we wanted to weave a trip together that includes the country’s myriad collection of cities as well as the dramatic landscapes of the Atlas Mountains and the iconic dunes of the Sahara Desert.
We start in, of all the gin joints, Casablanca. From there we head to Chefchaouen, one of the most surreal cities on Earth, painted almost entirely in bright blue. We’ll visit Roman ruins and dine in a local family home en route to Fes, the spiritual heart of Morocco. This ancient city has preserved its age incredibly, to an almost transportive extent. There’s nowhere better to experience the roots of Moroccan life, be it through spice markets, textile shops or hearty lamb tagine.
Next we head out to the Saraha, spending one night at a luxury riad and another under the stars at a desert camp. We’ll ride camels, dine Berber style around the campfire and visit a Gnawa village to learn about their unique culture and connection to the land.
We’ll leave the desert in the dust and head into the mountains, where we explore Todra Gorge and the Dades Gorges, learning more about Berber life along the way. Our final stop has to be the sensorial city of Marrakech, one of the most vibrant, exciting places on Earth. We’ll embark on a delicious street food tour, explore the hidden gems of the old medina, and take a traditional cooking class. We end the trip in style, with a farewell dinner on a candlelit roof terrace overlooking the medina. Dreamy.
Regal Rajasthan – 21-30 April
The crazy crowds surrounding India’s most famous landmarks can get a little bit much in the heat of summer, so visiting during shoulder season is the perfect time to tick the Taj Mahal off the bucket list.
Our Regal Rajasthan trip starts in Delhi, where we’ll explore the old city on two wheels before transferring Agra. The highlight of our trip starts early in the morning, as we head to the Taj Mahal to see the sunrise glow over the iconic palace’s central dome – truly one of the greatest sights on Earth.
We’ll stop at the equally stunning Amber Palace en route to Jaipur, the Pink City, where we’ll also take part in a traditional Rajasthani cooking class. Next we’ll head into the countryside to get a taste for traditional life in local Bishnoi villages, and gaze in awe at the splendour of rural Rajasthan after a light hike up Elephant Hill.
We end the trip in Udaipur, the Lake City, where you’ll get to discover immaculately-crafted temples, a world-beating culinary scene and, unsurprisingly, a breathtaking array of lakes.
Sublime Southern Thailand – 27 April – 7 May
April is a wonderful time of year to bask on the stunning beaches of Southern Thailand. Join us in Bangkok for an 11-day Epic Trip that blends outdoor adventure with the soul-soothing serenity of Southern Thai life.
After a day of exploring Bangkok we’ll hop on a sleeper train to the coastal city Surat Thani, where our beachy escape really begins. You’ll discover the remarkable limestone formations and dense rainforest of Khao Sok Lake, before spending the night in a traditional raft house. We’ll spot tropical wildlife on a longtail boat safari, before taking some kayaks down a mangrove forest.
From there we go snorkelling with the fishies at Hong Island, embark on a sunset cruise and barbecue on the Andaman Sea, and kick-back at a glorious resort on the remote island of Koh Yao Yai. You’ll get to really unwind here for a few days, enjoying the pristine beaches and array of island activities on offer, before we return to Phuket for our last night in this tropical paradise.
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