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.
Show mother nature you care in Costa Rica
April 22nd is international Earth Day, and what better place to spend it than immersed in Costa Rica’s spectacular flora and fauna? Indeed, Costa Rica has the highest density of biodiversity of any country – hundreds of species are found nowhere else on the planet. From rainforest conservation to assisting at a sea turtle hatchery, there are plenty of worthwhile projects to join, with idyllic temperatures making this one of the best places to visit in April.
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 England, 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).
Party amid tulips in the Netherlands
Two pillars of quintessentially Dutch culture combine this month, and each is more than enough reason to make for the Netherlands. Firstly, April marks the peak of the country’s famed tulip season. Flowers grow in the easily accessible northern regions, where the dull of winter transforms into a vibrant patchwork of fully-bloomed rainbow rows. Secondly, April 27th is King’s Day: Holland’s biggest national event, and one of the best parties in the world. Expect free concerts, markets, fairs and a sea of orange-clad celebrants flooding Amsterdam’s scenic sidewalks, spilling out onto the countless boats bobbing in the canals.
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.
Explore Australia's Uluru on foot
Australia is one of the best places to travel in April, with the start of the month an ideal time to visit Uluru, where 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.
Get spiritual for Easter in Italy
When looking at where to go in April, Easter shapes many travellers' plans. But 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.
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.
Need more inspiration? Check out our list of the best places to visit in May.