Are you going somewhere this Easter? Here you will find ideas for less touristy destinations in Europe: from city breaks to complete 4-day itineraries to Europe’s best hidden gems. Although Easter is a popular time for travelling, you can escape the crowds and enjoy your Easter getaway away from the mass tourism.
Easter is a great time to travel, especially if you have a 9 to 5 job. In most of the countries in Europe Monday is an official day off, so all you need to do, is take the Good Friday off and you will have the perfect 4-day weekend getaway, thus winning one day from your precious paid leave.
My Easter suggestions range from medieval villages with amazing castles to hip cities with a great vibe, from places rich in historical sites to modern cities with state-of-the-art architecture. However, all those places have one thing in common: they need to be visited slowly, with no rush, while you are enjoying each moment, soaking up the history, the culture, and the special atmosphere of the place. Those places are not for the rush traveller in search of consuming the place, rather than experiencing it.Need inspo for your Easter weekend getaway? Here you will find 15 ideas for off-the-beaten track destinations in Europe.Click To Tweet
- 1 How to choose the perfect Easter destination in Europe?
- 2 How to choose the best itinerary for a 4-day trip?
- 3 How to choose a city break destination in Europe away from the crowds?
- 4 4-day itineraries for an Easter weekend getaway off-the-beaten track
- 5 The best city breaks in Europe for an Easter weekend away from the crowds
How to choose the perfect Easter destination in Europe?
Here comes the most difficult part, but I have some tips for you.
If you answer with a YES to all three questions:
- Do you love exploring beautiful places?
- Do you love discovering each day a new place?
- Do you love nature?
then choose for a SHORT TRIP to a small region.
If you answer with a YES to those questions:
- Do you love exploring cities?
- Do you love visiting museums?
- Do you love going out?
Then choose for a CITY BREAK.
How to choose the best itinerary for a 4-day trip?
Well, 4 days aren’t much, but you can be surprised how much you can do and see in 4 days. Here are a few options:
- Choose one place as a base to explore a small region and then visit each day one or two other places;
- You can also split the 4 days in two by two, staying each time 2 days at a place. Thus, you can cover a longer distance between the two home bases;
- Make it a road trip – visiting and staying each day in a new place.
How to choose a city break destination in Europe away from the crowds?
This one is easy. If you enjoy city breaks to less known places then check out the closest airport to you and the destinations the low-cost companies fly to. Mostly, they fly to smaller cities and you can find some great deals. For example, do not fly to Amsterdam, but choose for Eindhoven in the Netherlands; or do not fly to Dublin in Ireland, but to Cork instead.
Also, you can open google maps and just look for a lovely destination in a radius of a 4- to 5-hours drive from your place. You will be surprised how many places you will discover! You don’t need always to fly to get a city break. Public transport is also your best friend. Are there any train or bus deals? Take them!
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an activity via one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. This is helping me to maintain the blog and pay for things like the hosting. Thank you for contributing to the existence of this blog! None of the activities or hotels stays outlined in this post have been sponsored. I have paid for everything myself. All opinions, as always, are mine.
4-day itineraries for an Easter weekend getaway off-the-beaten track
Most of the suggestions below are trips that I have actually made for Easter. It was great to experience the Easter traditions at those places.
Wallonia is a real treat for the slow traveler – beautiful places and medieval castles and all this set up against the gentle hills of the Ardennes mountains. Add the rivers that meander through the cities and the castles perched on the hills and you’ll have a bit of nostalgic Europe with cobblestone streets and medieval charm.
Places to explore:
- Dinant – a picturesque city on the Meuse River with some fantastic views from the Citadel, famous for the inventor of the saxophone and the beer Leffe.
- Durbuy – a quaint small place with lovely cafés and shops. Visit the Topiary park that is open for Easter.
- Annevoie Castle and Gardens – beautiful park with fountains and water features that work without any technical support.
- La Roche-en-Ardenne – another picturesque city on the Ourthe River with a medieval castle.
- Rochefort – a lovely small town on the Lesse River famous for the Trappist bear and the nearby caves.
- Bouillon – another lovely city on a river – this time the Samois, with one of the most amazing castles in Europe.
A very small country in Europe that is full of hidden gems. Discover a part of Europe that is less traveled, but nonetheless charming and worth the visit.
Places to explore:
- Vianden – a very charming village on the Our River with an amazing castle. Take the chairlift to the castle for breathtaking views on the city;
- Echternach – a lovely town with a beautiful abbey;
- Clerveaux – the setting of this small place is absolutely amazing. Do not miss the photographic exhibition The Family of Man when in Clerveaux. It’s simply fantastic;
- Luxembourg City – the capital of Luxembourg combines the old charm with the modern spirit. Visit the Upper town and the lower town, also called Grund. Do not miss the popular casemates.
Brittany and Normandy (France)
This itinerary is an example of when we’ve spent two days at one place and the two at another, thus covering two beautiful regions of France in 4 days.
- Fougères (Brittany) – a real hidden gem, a medieval city full of character with an amazing castle. (By now you should have noticed already that I am kind of chasing castles 😊)
- Mont Saint-Michel (Brittany) – well, this one can be pretty touristy. From a distance is more beautiful than being actually there. You can be suffocated by the crowds.
- Saint-Malo (Brittany) – a bit too touristy, as well, but the Grand Aquarium is a real must.
- Vernon (Normandy) – a small town on the Seine River worth spending half day with a quirky water mill and of course, a castle.
- Giverny (Normandy) – a very small village famous the house of Monet and the museum of the Impressionists. The gardens of the house are open from end March.
Blankenheim is a very small town in the Eifel region in Germany. We went there for Easter and we absolutely fell in love with this tiny place: half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets. It feels as if you go back in time. Did I mention that there is also a castle? And the nature lovers won’t be disappointed as there are some picturesque walking trails.
Bretten is another place in Germany with half-timbered houses and authentic atmosphere. It’s famous for the Melanchthon’s House – an important figure of the Reformation. When in Bretten you can take also a trip to Karlsruhe and visit the Baden State Museum hosted in the Karlsruhe Palace. Bretten is a lovely place to just relax and take it easy. There isn’t much happening there, but if you love to travel slowly and enjoy contemplating your surroundings, you won’t be disappointed by Bretten.
Bulgaria is an up-and-coming destination that still needs to be discovered. It’s a lovely country with amazing cultural and historical heritage and great natural diversity. Easter in Bulgaria is celebrated on a different date than in West Europe, as Bulgaria is an Orthodox country, so it will never be that crowded in Bulgaria for Easter. Once in a couple of years the Orthodox Easter coincides with the Western one.
My suggestion for an Easter weekend itinerary in Bulgaria is:
- Veliko Tarnovo – a picturesque city built on the hilly banks of the Yantra River. It was the capital of Bulgaria in the Middle Ages. And yes, there is fortress there: the beautiful Tsarevets!
- Arbanassi – a small village near Veliko Tarnovo with specific architecture from the Bulgarian National Revival period (18-19 c.)
- Etara – an open-air museum village where life has stopped in the 19th century
- Tryavna – another beautiful small town in the mountains with Revival architecture famous for the woodcarving.
North Brabant (the Netherlands)
Most of the tourists that visit the Netherlands come no further than Amsterdam, but the Netherlands has so much to offer. North Brabant is located in the south of the country and is popular for the joie-de-vivre approach to life. It’s a lovely destination with rich cultural and historical background.
Here’s my suggestion for a long weekend in Brabant:
- Den Bosch (‘s-Herotgenbosch) – a beautiful historical city with a stunning cathedral and a renowned museum – the Noordbrabants Museum.
- Heusden – a small fortified town, which was completely restored and brought back to its 17-c. glory.
- Tilburg – a modern town with lovely restaurants and great atmosphere
- The Dunes of Loon and Drunen National Park – one of a kind sand drift area. You can easily spend half a day in this beautiful park with sand dunes.
The best city breaks in Europe for an Easter weekend away from the crowds
Padua is one of Italy’s underrated gems. This city is so beautiful and at the same time so laid-back. You can prove the real Italy there – away from the crowds and the tourists. When in Padua, visit the Scrovegni Chapel – the Giotto’s Renaissance masterpiece, the Botanical Garden and the Basilica of St. Anthony.
For your visit to Padua, you can fly to one of the Venetian airports Marco Polo or Treviso.
Krakow is another beautiful city in Europe that remains a bit off-the-beaten track of Europe’s most popular destinations. The city has rich cultural and historical heritage, being Poland’s capital until the end of the 16 c. When in Krakow, walk around in the Old Town, visit the Cloth Hall and the St. Mary’s Basilica. Do not miss the Wawel Castle – the seat of the Polish kings, and wander along the streets in the Jewish quarter Kazimierz. Krakow will surely surprise you.
You can fly to the John Paul II International Airport Kraków–Balice.
Although you expect from a capital city to be a busy tourist destination, Sofia is not one of them. Past and modernity come together to a nice a whole in Bulgaria’s capital. When in Sofia visit the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the Church of Boyana, the National Ethnographic Museum, the Roman heritage sites. If you a nature lover, you can go for a hike to Vitosha Mountain National Park. There are also some significant buildings and monuments from the country’s communist past: the National Palace of Culture, the Bells Monument, the Soviet Army Monument.
You can fly to Sofia International Airport.
Plovdiv is a real hidden gem where you will be smitten by the enormous cultural and historical heritage of this city: from a giant Ancient Roman amphitheater that is still functioning as such to the Old Town with its colourful houses characteristic of the Bulgarian National Revival (18-19 c.). Plovdiv has a special cultural vibe and is considered a bit of a vanguard city by the locals.
You can fly to Plovdiv International Airport, however the air companies flying there are not many.
Although Cork is Ireland’s second largest city, it is not among the most touristy city break destinations. When in Cork, climb the Church of St. Anne (Shandon Church) for a great view on the city, visit the English market for the best of the local foods and drinks, take a walk in the city park. You can also visit the remains of the local castle and the University College Cork. The pubs in Cork are inviting and cozy and there’s almost always live music.
The nearest airport is the Cork own international airport.
Limerick is a proud city in Ireland famous for King John’s Castle, St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Treaty Stone. Do not miss the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum where you will learn how to make real Irish coffee. Limerick is the right place to learn everything about the turbulent Irish history. Take a walking tour to learn everything.
You will never see Limerick in the spotlight as a top city break destination, but it is easy to reach via the Shannon Airport, which makes perfect for to visit for a long weekend escape.
Eindhoven (the Netherlands)
Eindhoven is a vibrant city in the Dutch province of North Brabant and it’s the technology and innovations hub of the country. The city even has its very own UFO building – the Evoluon. Built by Philips to celebrate the 75th jubilee of the company, today the UFO is one of the hippest venue centers in the Netherlands. When in Eindhoven, visit the famous Philips Museum, the DAF Museum, the St. Catherine’s Church and if you are into football – the PSV Museum.
You can fly to Eindhoven’s own International Airport.
Rotterdam (the Netherlands)
Rotterdam is the most modern city in the Netherlands. Perhaps because the city was almost completely destroyed during WWII, today it’s the flagship of modern architecture. You can visit the famous Cube houses, climb the Euromast for stunning views of the city, take a boat trip to the one of the biggest harbours in the world – the Europort, or visit the Miniworld Museum Rotterdam. The newest attraction of Rotterdam – Markthal is jaw-dropping – featuring the gigantic artwork Cornucopia (Horn of Plenty).
You can fly to the Rotterdam-Den Haag Airport.