April is a fantastic month to travel. Spring in the northern hemisphere brings warmer weather, making it an excellent time to soak up the early sun in Marrakesh or take in the rhododendron displays in Sikkim. Over in Australia you can visit Uluru without the crowds, while California’s Coachella festival and Austria’s Snowbombing provide partying aplenty. Here are our tips on the best places to visit in April.
Go rhino-spotting in Nepal
Most people associate Nepal with mountains, but a thin southern stretch of the country is resolutely flat. These plains, which are known as the Terai, have two wonderful national parks, Chitwan and Bardia, both of which are home to endangered one-horned rhinos. The easiest time to spot these majestic creatures – and the parks’ other wildlife, which includes tigers and elephants – is in the spring (February–mid-April), when the long grasses (which can reach well above head-height) have been cut down to size.
Wander Sikkim’s rhododendron forests
Between mid-April and mid-May the rhododendron forests of mountainous Sikkim burst spectacularly into full bloom. They are best experienced on a walk or trek in the Singalila region in the west of the tiny state, which is sandwiched between China, Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet in the northeast of India. Here you’ll find the 104-square-kilometre Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, a botanical haven with black bears and red pandas, as well as sublime vistas across a carpet of pink, red and violet rhododendrons to the Himalayas beyond.
Dance the weekend away in California
After a quiet few months, there are several great music festivals held in April. The big one is Coachella in Indio, California, which takes place over two weekends and features a huge range of music and art. It’s expensive, sure, but you’re guaranteed a great mix of big names and cult favourites, alongside the kind of little-known (for now) performers you’ll love discovering. Elsewhere, the Austrian ski resort of Mayrhofen hosts music and winter sport fiesta Snowbombing, while Down Under you’ll find the blues and roots festival Byron Bay Bluesfest.
Celebrate St George’s Day in England
On the week of 23rd April St George’s Day is marked with festivities across the country, notably at various National Trust properties. Alongside re-enactments of damsel-rescuing and dragon-slaying, expect a selection of quintessentially English activities, including jousting displays, maypole and Morris dancing, and cream teas (but hopefully not rain).
Marvel at submerged Salar, Bolivia
April is (generally) the end of the rainy season in Bolivia, during which the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s biggest salt lake, becomes partly submerged. This transforms the blistering, white plains – which are flanked by mountains and smouldering volcanoes – into a vast, shimmering mirror. Although some parts of the Salar are impassable and tour prices rise at this time, you are guaranteed an array of otherworldly and starkly beautiful sights.
Get spiritual for Easter in Italy
Nowhere celebrates Easter (Pasqua) with quite the same colour and fervour as Italy, which has events throughout the county. Highlights include: the Scoppio del Carro on Easter Sunday in Florence, which involves a symbolic firework display outside the Duomo after midday Mass; and the Sicilian town of Trapani’s processions, particularly those on Good Friday.
Explore Australia’s Uluru on foot
The start of April is an ideal time to visit Uluru, with the tourist season yet to get into full swing and daytime temperatures (which can hit 40ºC at other times of the year) at a more manageable level. A fine way to experience Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock) is the ten-kilometre hike around the base of the rock, which takes three to four hours. If you’re still feeling energetic, the hike can be combined with the two-kilometre Mala Walk, which passes by rock art, caves and shaded pools en route to the Kanju Gorge.
Enjoy Marrakesh in the springtime
With the temperatures hovering around 22ºC, late April is a wonderful time to visit Marrakesh and the Jemaa el Fna. As dusk falls, the city’s main square comes alive with an eclectic cast of musicians, storytellers, fortune-tellers, henna-painters, acrobats, medicine men, and snake charmers, as well as a fair few pickpockets and scam artists. The innumerable food stalls here are an attraction in their own right, serving everything from spicy harira soup and tasty merguez sausages to rather more exotic stewed snails and sheep’s heads.