Amsterdam's canals enhance the beauty of the city

Escape the April blues and head to one of these diverse destinations to get a spring in your stride. Whether you are a culture vulture or a dedicated follower of fashion, an April holiday can give you that much needed bounce back for the rest of 2011.

Best April holidays: cities

Short haul: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Distinctive coffee shops and red light districts may be the most well known aspects of Amsterdam, but the city has much, much more to offer. The city, like Venice, is built around waterways, so take a boat tour through a canal to get a glimpse of the city’s attractions. If something sparks your interest along the way, it's easy to hop off the boat and explore before continuing on with the rest of your tour. Be sure to visit the Van Gogh Museum that houses around 700 pieces by the artist. The Anne Frank House is one of the city’s top attractions, and displays a reconstruction of Anne’s bedroom, as well as some of the belongings that she kept, including her diary.

Follow up with something completely different by visiting the Heineken Experience, a self-guided trip through the historic brewery.

SF Golden Gate BridgeSan Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Bridge
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Long haul: San Francisco, California

There are plenty of attractions within easy reach of San Francisco. This stunning city is surrounded by stunning scenery from the bay to nearby redwood forests, the Sierra Nevada Mountains and bleak desert. The famous Napa Valley wine country is also easily accessible.

There is much to enjoy within the city. The Golden Gate Bridge is iconic, take a bike ride, drive or walk the length of it. Visit the Mission district to see Mission Dolores, the city’s oldest building, and gain an understanding of San Francisco’s Spanish roots. Make the trip to Alcatraz, the country’s toughest maximum-security prison. Top off your day of sightseeing at one of more than 2,000 watering holes dotted around the city. From great tiny cafes, to tasty Italian eating holes and glam, chic bars, there's something for every mood.

Algarve beachTake a cruise along Algarve's scenic coast
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Best April holidays: beaches

Short haul: Algarve, Portugal

Golden sands, quiet bays and lapping waves; it’s no wonder that the Algarve is one of Portugal’s top beach destinations. For something different, enjoy the scenery from horseback, followed by a champagne picnic. If you prefer to stay on the water, take a cave and dolphin watching cruise, where you can choose to sit back and relax, or take a swim while keeping a watch out dolphins. The cruise departs from Marina de Albufeira, just outside Algarve, in the city of Albufeira. On the way out you can discover a number of fantastic caves and rock formations, and on your return there are four different kinds of dolphins to be seen. There’s also the “Leaozinho Pirate Ship Cruise” that departs from the Marina de Albufeira, which offers fishing opportunities, as well as an on-deck pirate-themed bar.

There are a large number of bars and clubs throughout the Algarve, where you can enjoy a cocktail or two. Try the Amuras Bar, which overlooks Marina de Lagos and hosts live music most nights of the week.

Perth ocean viewThere's much to explore along Perth's beaches
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Long haul: Perth, Australia

Perth may be the most relaxing of Australia’s capital cities. Enjoy river views from a delightful park, take a stroll on the wide city streets, or bask in the sun on one of the pristine beaches. Take a day trip to Rottnest Island and enjoy a plunge in the crystal clear waters for a bit of swimming, snorkelling, windsurfing or fishing. If you choose to stay on the beach, participate in some bird watching by keeping a look out for the reef herons, ospreys, swans or other birds that populate the island.

If you fancy doing some shopping in Perth, check out one of the markets that sell jewellery, pottery, giftware, clothes and art. Perth also has a buzzing nightlife scene is based in the Northbridge, Subiaco and Fremantle areas.

Nice beachThe beautiful beaches of Nice

Best April holidays for… nightlife and sealife

Short haul: Nice, France

Take a trip to Nice before the summer rush. There’s no doubt that at this time of year, the Mediterranean views will still take your breath away and the lively culture will excite the most composed people. Try rollerblading along Promenade Des Anglais, a waterfront boulevard that’s flanked by some of the area’s best hotels. For a different view of the Mediterranean, visit Parc Du Chateau and climb up to the spot which the Greeks first colonised upon arrival. If you want to make the most of the beautiful blue water, take a scuba diving expedition where you’ll find beautiful underwater caves and rich sealife. The chic, and often celebrity-filled towns, of Cannes and Monaco are nearby, so pack your sharpest accessories.


Tel Aviv beach cityFrom beaches to nightclubs, there's a lot of fun to be had in Tel Aviv
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Long haul: Tel Aviv, Israel


This beach city pulses with entertainment from dawn to dusk. If you want to hit the water right away, head to Aviv Beach for surfing, kayaking, windsurfing or kite boarding. Gordon Beach is a popular place to sunbathe or take a dip in the water.

Seize the chance to explore the ruins of Masada, King Herod’s Palace, which are situated on an isolated flat mountain top that overlooks the Dead Sea. Make your way down to the Dead Sea to relax for two hours floating in the incredibly bouyant salt-rich water, or take a mud bath in the world’s richest source of natural salts.

Don’t forget to experience Tel Aviv’s exuberant nightlife. Visit the club Vox, which hosts themed events every weekend, and be ready to dance the night away.


Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.