The majority of the Christian world – Catholics and Protestants celebrate Easter the upcoming weekend. This is the oldest and most important Christian holiday – even more than Christmas. Easter travel sounds refreshing.
Christians are accustomed to spending it with family and celebrate through solemn masses in churches. It’s a holiday of life and happiness.
Something unique and different to go experience for the long Easter weekend?
This is the first in a short series of posts covering the best Easter destinations. Why not start with the hottest 2018 destinations in Europe?
Easter Travel Central – Discover the Unexpected in Poland and Austria
Both Poland and Austria are traditionally Catholic.
In Poland, Easter weekend is set around religious ceremonies. Yet, full of unique traditions and delicacies. People finish their Easter Lent only after the Easter Sunday Mass. Here they bring their Easter baskets filled with traditional Easter food. The food gets blessed at the mass and then eaten during the holiday feast. In some parts of Poland, boys tend to pour water on girls and spank them with willow branches on Easter Monday. This is why this last day of Easter is known as the Wet Monday (Śmigus-Dyngus). Poland is a good choice if you want to experience Easter holidays at its full spiritual authenticity. But this country offers much more. There are a million things to do in Poland.
For the full Easter experience, try renting a spare room with a local. This tradition stems back from the days when citizens were encouraged to rent their spare rooms because tourism wasn’t as developed. From that point, finding extra unusual activities to juice up your Easter travel experience will not be difficult!
Austria is another Catholic country where Easter is more of a religious than commercial ceremony. Along with the somewhat more usual customs, like Easter fires, painted eggs and going to church, there are some authentic Austrian traditions. This definitely includes Palmbuschen. These are large bouquets of greenery, willow twigs, and foliage, decorated with apples, oranges, and colorful ribbons. They are made to remember Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem and brought to church to be blessed. In Austria, you can really get into the true Easter festivity.
European Easter Markets
Easter markets take place in every major city – Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz… They are a great place to taste the regional delicacies, listen to music, buy handicrafts and other Easter goodies. A train ride from one location to another can spice up your Easter travel. You’ll be amazed by stunning sightseeing of nature and the Alps. For example, visit the home of Mozart in Salzburg, relish in the great traditional cuisine in Innsbruck’s bars and restaurants. Beautiful architecture, classical music and other cultural ‘foods’ for the soul can be found all over Austria. As for the accommodation, our Easter travel vote goes to a friendly village pension house to get to know the locals.
Eastern Europe – the Fascinations of Croatia and the Balkans
This part of Europe is a hot destination in 2018 – a culturally, geographically, and historically fascinating place. Eastern Europe gathers Catholics and Orthodox Christians. Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Romania are all orthodox.
Croatia is a Traditionally Catholic Country
And Easter is primarily a religious holiday. It is an old custom for children to make grass and flower nests on Easter Saturday – in their gardens, balconies or inside of a house. On a Sunday morning, they hurry up to see what kind of presents has the Easter bunny brought to their nest. It’s typically painted eggs, oranges, chocolates, sweets, and new clothes. Similarly, on Easter, we eat boiled eggs, ham, sweet bread, beetroot, and radish. And lots of cakes. Religious ceremonies are related to Bible stories of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
Why pick Croatia for your Easter travel? There are a lot of unusual attractions, and things you didn’t know but would wish you did know before your arrival. If you’d like seeing some of the popular destinations, Zadar is one of the best in Europe. The Sea Organ and Salute to the Sun is just a piece of what it has to offer. Fascinating national parks are not far either. Similar goes to Dubrovnik and its unique Game of Thrones tour. Otherwise, for the Easter weekend, we recommend going to the “wild”. Why not enjoy delicious meals and wines, play with the animals and get a close feeling of the Croatian countryside at its purity?
Croatia is the most beautiful European country, according to Rough Guide’s readers. Did you know there are 300 sunny days a year there, and over a thousand islands, too?
This is just a short selection of unique Easter traditions and tours in one part of Europe. And more is yet to come. If you know about any things I missed to include, share them, and you’ll read about it in the next post!