The Easter holidays – lurking barely a month away – may just offer stressed out Hongkongers with the perfect opportunity to escape the coronavirus-laden confines of the Fragrant Harbour. Be it a solo trip to explore an ancient city, dancing the night away at Coachella or relaxing with a delicious glass of port in Portugal, here are some of our top recommendations for stress-free Easter getaways.
A city bustling with a strong historical presence is just one way to describe the Turkish capital city Istanbul. From the exquisite Topkapi Palace – where you can witness the enduring legacy of the Ottoman Empire – to Byzantine highlights like Aya Sofya, Basilica Cistern, Kariye Museum and Hippodrome, these ancient monuments offer an unforgettable experience for any self-confessed history enthusiast. Beyond just its ancient allure, there are some quintessential things that cannot be missed out. For instance, ride the Bosphorus ferries – connecting from the Eminönü district to the Black Sea – to enjoy a view filled with alluring parks, mansions and palaces. Similarly, there are hammams where you can enjoy a warm and soothing Turkish bath to loosen all your muscles – isn’t relaxing one of the main purposes of a vacation. Lastly, make sure to go to Beyoglu at least once – a district known for its best dining and wining options among locals and tourists.
Located in the Southwest of France, Toulouse – also known as La Ville Rose (The Pink City) – takes something of a backseat to the more popular Paris. With beautiful pink bricks that give it its aforementioned nickname and colourful flowers blooming around the region, it is an ideal destination for both solo and group travels. The Occitane region’s capital also boasts some of the world’s best museums, cathedrals, monuments. Place du Capitole – the city’s main square, which abuts the city hall as well as the building that houses Salle des Illustres (Hall of the Illustrious) and Vieux Quartier (Old Quarter). The town’s friendly and flat lanes make it safe and easy to skate or cycle around – an activity enjoyed by many tourists and locals. With artistic churches and cathedrals like Basilique St-Sernin, Cathédrale de St-Étienne and Église Notre Dame du Taur, it is a promising destination to celebrate Easter.
Coachella Valley, California
What better time to visit California’s Coachella Valley than for Easter, which perfectly coincides with the dates of the art and music festival Coachella. Apart from that, venture onto the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, serving a 360° aerial view of the valley from more than 8,500ft, or try your hand at hiking the Indian Canyon trails, which vary from 1.2 miles to 12.3 miles. For a show-stopping experience, there is the Marvyn’s Magic theatre – described as “world-class entertainment” – to witness some phenomenal shows. Moreover, fauna aficionados will surely love The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens for its numerous interactive experiences, including feeding a giraffe and petting a kraal.
Porto – an up-and-coming touristic destination that makes the final entry on our list of Easter getaways – is where you can witness the perfect fusion of classic heritage and modern architecture. Known for manufacturing port (a type of fortified wine that takes its name from the national name), lining the banks of the Douro River are countless city’s cellars where you can get a first-hand tasting of this famous beverage. If you’re looking to explore the location’s ancient ruins, Ribeira district – a UNESCO World Heritage site – is well worth a detour, while Oporto’s Casa da Musica’s peculiar geometric construction and the 5D theatre – Look at Porto – let you view and experience Porto in a more contemporary light. Literature buffs, meanwhile, should head to Livraria Lello, a delightful bookshop famed as much for its neo-gothic and magic-inducing aura as its books. Moreover, don’t forget to grab a Francesinha – Porto’s emblematic sandwich.