Best Events in Europe in April
April is a fascinating time to travel in Europe, especially if you’re a fan of traditional festivals. As Spring and Easter approach, you can expect a slew of religious festivals and other events in April.
Events in April
1. Bern, Switzerland – Jazz Festival
The Swiss city of Bern plays host to its annual two-month long jazz festival from March 11 to May 20. A wide selection of local and international musicians appear in more than 200 individual concerts. Each year 20,000 jazz fans go to Bern to witness the spectacle.
How to get there by train: Bern is an accessible rail hub in Switzerland. Trains from Zurich leave every 30 minutes and arrive in under an hour.
2. Budapest, Hungary – Budapest Spring Festival
The Budapest Spring Festival happens each year from March 31 to April 23. There’s a wide range of events and activities centered around the arts. You can expect classical music, jazz, opera, dance, and contemporary circus. Local and international stars perform at various spots throughout the city, with dozens of iconic venues on board for the 2017 event.
How to get there by train: There are easy rail connections to Budapest from throughout central Europe, including regular journeys from Vienna, Prague, and Bratislava.
3. Seville, Spain – Semana Santa (Holy Week)
Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is one of the Seville’s biggest annual festivals. People celebrate the festival in the week before Easter (leading up to April 16). It culminates in a procession of floats with wooden sculptures depicting the Passion and the grieving Virgin Mary. It’s an important event for local residents, and a fascinating festival to witness as an outsider.
How to get there by train: There are regular trains to Seville from throughout Spain, including hourly departures from the capital Madrid which take approximately 2.5 hours.
4. Braga, Portugal – Holy Week
You’ll also find interesting Holy Week festivals in neighboring Portugal. Braga has the most famous Holy Week celebrations in the country. The town was an important base for religion in the 6th century. So it’s no surprise to find such passionate events around Easter each year (leading up to April 16). The streets light up with candlelit altars, there’s a popular procession, and you’ll also hear ongoing Gregorian chants throughout the city.
How to get there by train: There are regular trains between Lisbon and Braga. They take approximately 4 to 5 hours. There is also rail access from north-western Spain.
5. Seville, Spain – Feria de Abril (April Fair)
If Semana Santa sounds too serious for you, then visit Seville in the two weeks after Holy Week (April 16 onwards). The April Fair is one of the largest and most exuberant festivals in the Andalucía region of Spain. You’ll see wall to wall parties and celebrations that may just have you begging for the relative tranquility of the week before.
How to get there by train: Seville is easy to get to from throughout Spain. If you’re traveling from Madrid, you can get there in 2.5 hours.
6. Nürnberg, Germany – Spring Festival
The Nuremberg Spring Festival is an action-packed two weeks from April 15 to May 1. The festival takes place on the banks of the Dutzendteich Lake in the city’s fairgrounds. It has a distinctly family-friendly atmosphere. You’ll find traditional food, drinks, and music mixed with modern rides and traditional theme park attractions.
How to get there by train: There are regular trains to Nuremberg from throughout Germany, including several daily trains from Berlin which take approximately 5 hours.
7. Amsterdam, Netherlands – King’s Day
King’s Day is a unique Dutch festival that’s a highlight for both locals and visitors. Though it changed to King’s Day in 2013, when Queen Beatrix abdicated leaving her oldest son to take the reins, none of the carnival-like fanfare has been spared. The streets will be packed all day and night with orange-clad revelers. There are also markets, parades, and several fringe events. Close to a million people go to the capital to participate in the festivities each year. Be sure to book ahead if you want to be one of them on April 27.
How to get there by train: Amsterdam is an established rail hub. It’s easily accessible, with high-speed trains from many neighboring countries.
8. Thale, Germany – Walpurgisnacht (Witches’ Night)
Fans of warlocks and witches should circle April 30 on their calendars and head for Germany’s Harz Mountains. Legend has it that each year these mythical creatures gather on the hilltops before flying off into the night on goats and broomsticks. Most visitors head to the town of Thale, where several events lead up to the big night. There’s also a museum in the town that will put the myths, legends, and rituals into perspective.
How to get there by train: There are trains to Thale every 2 hours from the capital Berlin.
9. Krakow, Poland – Krakow Marathon
If you’re more of an active traveler, head towards Krakow at the end of April. The 16th annual Krakow Marathon is on the last day of the month – April 30. It’s the biggest running event in the city, and it takes participants past some of her most famous and beautiful historical monuments.
How to get there by train: There are five trains a day linking the capital Warsaw with Krakow. They take approximately 2.5 hours.
Religious festivals dominate Europe during this month, but there are also several unique events and occasions worth including in your itinerary. With a Eurail Global Pass you can easily combine traditional with modern events in April for a truly unique Eurail experience.
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