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9 of the Top Easter Vacation Destinations Around the World

Celebrate beyond bunnies and eggs.
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Liam Greenwell is a writer and teacher based in Mexico City. He is originally from Cambridge, Massachusetts. You can read more of his work at and find him on Twitter @liam_greenwell.

Easter is one of the most important holidays for Christians around the world, commemorating the resurrection of Jesus and the end of Lent. It’s also a great opportunity to travel and witness different traditions while marking the arrival of spring, whether or not you’re Christian yourself. Easter takes place on a Sunday (the exact date changes annually), but often the entire week leading up to the day is one of reflection and festivities. Following are some of the most interesting Easter festivals and destinations.

1. Seville, Spain

A huge Easter float with Jesus on it heads through the packed streets of Seville in Spain.
The Easter celebrations in Seville are like nowhere else.Photo Credit: KikoStock / Shutterstock

Holy Week in Andalucia.

Semana Santa (Holy Week) transforms Seville into a walking parade. Led by 54 different hermandades, or brotherhoods, the celebration features the procession of different floats and icons, called pasos, through the city’s narrow streets. Some of these artistic masterpieces are hundreds of years old and portray different moments in the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection.

Seville is a city with a long, multi-religious history. To explore some of this history and see the Moorish influence on the city’s architecture, visit the Cathedral and La Giralda, a tower preserved from a mosque that once occupied the city center.

2. Jerusalem, Israel

Nuns in Jerusalem mark the coming of Easter on a street in the city.
Jerusalem is, of course, known for its Easter processions.Photo Credit: Tomanovic Violeta / Shutterstock

Biblical history and heritage.

Editor's note: Travel to Israel may not be recommended due to the ongoing armed conflict and serious safety risks in this area. Please follow your government's guidance and travel advisories.

One of the most important cities for Christians, Jews, and Muslims, Jerusalem is an enchanting and spiritual city that encourages keeping an open mind. Each year, Christian tourists, including Egyptian Copt and Armenian visitors, make a pilgrimage to the city to walk in the final footsteps of Jesus. The most famous procession, on Good Friday, follows the fateful path along the Via Dolorosa through the Old City—the Way of the Cross. As part of your trip, make sure to visit the city of Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.

3. Vatican City and Rome, Italy

The pope and others head through the Vatican at Easter time.
When in Rome, at Easter, head to the Vatican.Photo Credit: A.J. Olnes / Shutterstock

Among the faithful.

The center of Christendom, Vatican City is home to St. Peter’s Basilica—the largest church in the world—and to the Pope, the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church. Each spring, thousands of faithful Christians visit Vatican City to attend mass during Holy Week (Settimana Santa) and on Easter Sunday in St. Peter’s Square. While here, be sure to visit the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, where you can see Michelangelo’s famous frescoes. And, of course, beyond the walls of Vatican City is Rome, where visitors can explore the four papal basilicas and so much more.

4. Oaxaca, Mexico

Women in Oaxaca mark the coming of Easter.
Oaxaca's towns and villages all mark Semana Santa in different ways.Photo Credit: RL. Alicia / Shutterstock

Parades amid a mix of cultures.

In Oaxaca, every village has its own distinct and colorful way of observing Semana Santa. Catholicism took root here because of its introduction by the Spanish colonizers, though traces of Indigenous tradition are melded in to create a uniquely syncretic celebration. Known for its rich foodways, including world-famous mezcal and seven types of mole, Oaxaca is especially tasty during Semana Santa, when locals like to show off their cooking chops to the whole community. Dig in—and learn how to prepare some dishes yourself—at a cooking class.

5. Lalibela, Ethiopia

Lalibela, Ethiopia, is a sacred site where Easter traditions take place.
Lalibela in Ethiopia is a sacred site.Photo Credit: LouFrance / Shutterstock

Explore Ethiopian Orthodox belief.

Home to one of the world’s oldest denominations of Christianity, Ethiopia can trace its introduction back to the fourth century AD. The heart of the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition is Lalibela, where you can tour 11 breathtaking churches cut into the sides of mountains. Easter, called Tinsaye locally, is the perfect time to visit this sacred site because you’ll be joined by white-robed pilgrims moving from church to church. Because the Ethiopian Orthodox religion follows theology and rites that are different from Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches, it is best to visit Lalibela with the help of a local guide.

6. Cape Town, South Africa

Hot cross buns and Easter stew in Cape Town, South Africa.
Come to Cape Town for more relaxing Easter celebrations.Photo Credit: Rowan Patrick Photos / Shutterstock

Hot cross buns and egg hunts.

The celebrations in this South African city may lack some of the grandeur of other options on this list, but Cape Town is a relaxing place to mark the holiday. Local Easter culture includes eating hot cross buns, a specialty of the ethnically-English community, and organized Easter egg hunts in many of the city’s public spaces. For those looking for a more religious experience, Cape Town has many historic churches, including Groote Kerk, a Dutch church believed to be the country’s oldest. The autumn weather is also a perfect excuse to visit nearby wine country or hike up Table Mountain.

7. Cusco, Peru

Medicinal herbs on show on a street in Cusco, Peru at Easter.
Medicinal herbs are part of the Easter traditions in Cusco.Photo Credit: angela Meier / Shutterstock

Exploration near Machu Picchu.

Cusco, once the capital of the Inca empire, is much more than the jumping-off point to Machu Picchu. It’s a unique city in its own right, and Easter is a perfect time to experience the culture. On Good Friday, local families prepare 12 unique dishes, said to be chosen for each apostle. This day also features a festival of medicinal herbs gathered during Semana Santa for their medicinal properties. On Easter Sunday, locals take part in a procession that starts at the city’s main cathedral.

8. Krakow, Poland

A plaza in Krakow, Poland.
Poland takes Easter seriously.Photo Credit: fotohuta / Shutterstock

Pisanki and pierogi.

A devout country, Poland takes its traditions seriously. But, there’s plenty of levity here as locals celebrate the passage into spring. Start in the center of the city, at Krakow’s Easter Market, where you’ll find delicious pierogi and traditional “palms” for sale (which are actually made from willow branches). Make sure to also seek out pisanki—traditional Polish Easter eggs that are made by carving or applying wax to the shell of real chicken or goose eggs. For a more religious experience, visitors to Krakow can take a day trip to the hometown of Pope John Paul II.

9. New Orleans, US

Partiers in fancy dress head through central New Orleans for the Easter celebrations.
The party continues after Mardi Gras.Photo Credit: Suzanne C. Grim / Shutterstock

Spring colors in the Bayou.

Though it’s more famous for Mardi Gras, New Orleans is also a great place to be following 40 days of Lent. On Easter Sunday, three parades traipse through the French Quarter throughout the day, the first of which ends at St. Louis Cathedral just in time for mass. The mood in the city is lighthearted, and you’ll find Easter egg hunts, brunch specials, and LGBTQ+-friendly events all on offer. After you’ve filled up with food and drink, head to the Bayou for an airboat tour or stay in the city and immerse yourself in the storied jazz and blues scenes.

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