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With spring fully sprung across Europe in April, there is much on offer closer to home. The bucolic charm of Romania is now at its best as the countryside begins to bloom. It’s also the perfect time to tour the fortified Saxon churches, medieval towns and magical castles before temperatures get too hot. In Malta, April brings with it fascinating cultural traditions as the fervently Catholic locals celebrate Eastertide. Moving into the Middle East, warm temperatures and lower rainfall makes April a great month to explore the religious sights of Israel and the OPT. Further afield, Japan celebrates Hanami as a blanket of pink cherry blossom (sakura) spreads across the country, while tiger sightings in central India’s national parks become more likely as they come out in search of water in the drier weather.
With summer reserved for beach-lovers and sun-worshippers, spring is an ideal time to tour Israel’s cultural treasures with warm weather, long days and little chance of experiencing ‘April showers’. There can still be a significant difference in temperatures throughout the country, with Tel Aviv more humid than cooler Jerusalem. Galilee (northern Israel) can be quite fresh at this time of year, so it’s best to pack some layers to be on the safe side. If you’re planning on taking a dip in the Dead Sea, the average high temperature in April is a warm 29°C, making it a relaxing experience. Visitors should note that Passover – Pesach as it is known in Hebrew – is celebrated in April, which can be a busy and expensive time to travel and is best avoided.
In terms of climate, Malta experiences warm weather all year round. However, one of the highlights is visiting during a religious holiday. The tiny island nation is home to 359 churches and, as the locals are devout Catholics, Easter is taken very seriously. Sombre processions through the streets are followed by the ‘seven visits’ to different churches. The mood changes come Easter Sunday when bands play lively music in the streets and food can be eaten from outdoor carts. This is also when families meet to swap gifts and enjoy festive meals.
Romania has four distinct seasons, with May to September best avoided for those that shy away from the heat. April – before or after Easter – is a delightful time to visit for those with the main aim of soaking up the country’s numerous cultural highlights, arriving before the summer crowds and while the wildflowers are in full bloom. The temperature is just starting to increase, yet it’s still cool enough for walking in the mountains and villages that dot the countryside. As an alternative time to travel to Romania, September and October also work well with mild temperatures, fewer crowds and kaleidoscopic autumnal hues, as well as a number of events including harvest, All Hallows Eve and the chamber music festival, SoNoRo.
Central India is home to some of the best wildlife reserves in the country, including Bandhavgarh, Kahna, Panna, Pench and Satpura national parks. As one of the drier months, April is one of the better times for tiger sightings as they emerge looking for water. In Bandhavgarh, grassland meadows and a high density tiger population means there is a good chance of spotting big cats. The same is true for Kanha National Park, the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. Meanwhile, central India also plays host to beautiful temples in Orchha and exquisite carvings in Khajuraho. Travelling in April means you can enjoy cooler temperatures than the rest of the year.
April is the perfect time to enjoy Hanami – the Japanese custom of celebrating the arrival of cherry blossom season. Both tourists and locals alike enjoy picnics underneath the pink and white trees that are in full bloom across the country. To continue the festivities through the night, lanterns are hung up. In Tokyo and Kyoto, the best time to visit for the blossom is in early April. While the festival begins in the southern islands of Okinawa in January, it spreads through the central islands between March and May, ending in Hokkaido in early May.