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Top 10 Easter holiday destinations in the world

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Whether you’re after a traditional mass in Rome or Easter celebrations in the Dubai desert, this guide to the top 10 Easter holiday destinations will help you book the right hotel for a spring break.

Easter with the Pope in Rome

The Pope himself holds many of the masses and blessings that turn the home of the Vatican into a prime destination for experiencing grand Easter ceremonies. St Peter’s Square and the world-famous Basilica are best for added pomp, but Easter celebrations are held in almost every church of the Italian capital.

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New York’s Easter Bonnet Parade

New York’s Fifth Avenue is turned into a sea of extravagant bonnets on Easter Sunday. Get yourself a hat and join the informal parade that dates back to the 19th century, when it was the tradition to wear new clothes on Easter Sunday. The action revolves around Manhattan’s neo-Gothic St Patrick’s Cathedral.

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Holy Week in Rio de Janeiro

Colourful processions take over Rio de Janeiro for Semana Santa, or Holy Week, when many of the city’s streets are decorated with flower carpets. Watch the spectacle before resting on the soft sand of Copacabana beach.

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Live music in Byron Bay

Easter time is festival time in Byron Bay. Bluesfest brings the likes of Ben Harper to the laid-back Australian town for a five-day festival of blues, folk and root music. The climate is pleasantly mild at this time and the Pacific still warm enough for swimming.

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Spring bloom around Amsterdam

Rows of daffodils and tulips in full bloom turn the area around Amsterdam into a sea of colour every spring. Wander around the Keukenhof flower gardens, further southwest of the city, where millions of bulbs blossom in imaginative arrangements among manicured lawns.

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Easter skiing in Ischgl

For Easter, the Austrian ski resort of Ischgl adds a free live stage to its array of mountain-side bars and restaurants. Catch the rock and pop line-up of the Easter Festival before hitting the resort’s highly rated slopes, where snow is still pretty much guaranteed at this time of year.

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Classical music in Moscow

Some of Russia’s best classical musicians hit stages across the capital for the Moscow Easter Festival. The most intimate concerts take place in Moscow’s small Orthodox churches, where the Easter spirit adds to the atmosphere.

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A bizarre Easter in Dubai

The glitzy, futuristic city-state of Dubai is the place to go for an Easter break with a difference. Kids hunt for Easter eggs in the fake snow of the Ski Dubai complex, while camels carry visitors towards Bedouin-style working farms to celebrate Easter in the middle of the desert. 

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Easter markets in Vienna

Hand-coloured Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies are on sale from the small stalls of Vienna’s Easter markets. The Versailles-inspired 18th-century Schönbrunn Palace provides a particularly scenic backdrop to buy decorations and local craft. 

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Resurrection drums in Madrid

Drummers in white robes assemble on Madrid’s grand Plaza Mayor square on Easter Sunday, beating their instruments in celebration of Christ’s resurrection. Watch the noisy spectacle before catching one of the sombre processions happening across the Spanish capital. 

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