Cyprus makes a great beach getaway in April

Fed up of being battered by wind and rain? Plan your next holiday break in April when temperatures are rising enticingly around the Med. If you fancy a fling further afield, head for exotic Madagascar, India or Japan.

For beach bums

Short haul: Northern Cyprus

Imagine the Mediterranean 50 years ago: North Cyprus is it. Cyprus may harbour Europe’s last divided capital, Nicosia, but for those who dare to leave the temptations of the Greek-Cypriot side behind (foodies beware: you'll find it hard to resist), crossing the buffer zone might be the best thing you ever did. For sunseekers, Northern Cyprus is something of a hidden gem.

The lack of foreign investment has meant a coastline untouched by hotel developers, and miles of sandy shores to show for it. Choose from sunbathing on the aptly named Escape Beach, just 5km (3 miles) from Kyrenia, scuba-diving off the eastern coast near Glapsides, or if you’re more wilderness-inclined, pay a visit to Alagadi, aka ‘Turtle Beach’ where loggerhead turtles have been known to lay their eggs.

Long haul: Kerala, India

keralasurfMake waves in Kerala
Creative Commons / techbreeze
India might not strike you as the typical beach break destination, but Kerala on the southwest coast will surprise and delight anyone who thinks ‘Taj Mahal’ whenever they think of India. More relaxed than the northern cities, but less raucous than the hippy enclaves of Goa, here you’ll find palm-fringed paradise and golden sands that would put any Thai island to shame.

Skip the busier beaches of Kovalam and head to Varkala where you can catch some waves at Kerala’s only surf school, Soul & Surf. If you want to be able to swap the beach for the backwater canals, try Kappil where they collide. It’s the perfect spot to kick back and relax as the traditional kettuvallams slide serenely past.

April holidays for city slickers…

Short haul: Seville, Spain

sevilleflamencoEnjoy traditional flamenco in Seville
Creative Commons / asirap
April in Seville means one thing – party time! The annual Feria de Abril draws visitor the world over, and for good reason: this is when Seville lets its hair down. Even on a normal day, the city fulfils both the good and the bad Spanish stereotypes: flamenco? Check. Bullfighting? Check. Enough churros and chorizo to right all wrongs? Checkmate. And the streets are filled with the scent of its eponymous oranges.

But the melee of the feria is when Seville truly assaults the senses, because here, you’ll find it all. For six days, taking place just outside the city, a temporary city plays host to all things hedonistic. Colourful lights decorate the fairgrounds, whilst people spill out of over 1,000 casetas (party tents), and crowds (including families) dance and drink in the streets. Save up your strength; you’re going to need it!

Long haul: Okinawa, Japan

shuricastleOkinawa's beautiful Shuri Castle
Sean Pavone Photo / Thinkstock

With temperatures around 24°C (75°F) in April, Okinawa is relatively warm and dry in April. Part of a southernmost chain of islands in Japan, the main island offers unique cultural attractions distinct from the rest of the country as it was once the preserve of the Ryukyu Kingdom until the 17th century.

Today a legacy from this period are a string of castle ruins, all of which enjoy UNESCO status; the beautifully reconstructed Shuri Castle offers the most complete glimpse of this fascinating past. Also take time to explore the gorgeous landscaped Shikinaen Garden, featuring simple, wooden palaces and stone bridges, the Prefectural Museum to learn more about Okinawa’s history and art, and the pottery workshops of the Tsuboya district.

April holidays for adventure seekers…

Short haul: Crete

samariagorgeTake a hike in Crete's Samaria Gorge
Fotokon / Thinkstock
Crete’s mountainous landscape means there’s a world of adventure for those who like to stay active on holiday. With pleasant temperatures of around 20°C (68°F) in April, you can also enjoy the exercise without breaking out in a sweat. In the southwest, hikers can enjoy stunning views of the spectacular White Mountains as they cross the deep and beautiful 16km-long (10 miles) Samaria Gorge, home of wild goats and griffin vultures, as well as coastal trails that lead us to charming fishing villages and remote beaches. Alternatively, if you have a head for heights, go rock climbing or canyoning; or explore the bowels of the islands on a caving tour. Crete is littered with 3,500 ancient caverns, many of them former places of worship or homes.

Long haul: Madagascar

BemarahaDramatic limestone needles in Madagascar
Creative Commons / RaKra42
Enjoy balmy April temperatures of around 29°C (84°F) on this tropical Indian Ocean outpost where you can enjoy wildlife found nowhere else on earth from extraordinary looking lemurs and 800 species of butterflies and moths to half the world’s chameleon species.

Ripe for adventure lovers, choose from hiking in the rainforest in one of three of the island’s national parks to exploring the stunning Jurassic-like rock formations of Isalo National Park peppered with stalagmites, ridges, canyons and gorges. One of the highlights however are the dramatic limestone needles of Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, home to 11 lemur species, reptiles, amphibians and more than 100 different types of birds.

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.