Easter Egg tree, Budapest Hungary, one of the best places to celebrate Easter in Europe

Traveling to Europe for Eastertime can be a wonderful experience, offering a mix of cultural traditions, religious observances and customs, and all manner of colorful springtime activities. European cities and towns are awakening from their winter slumber and come alive with vibrant colors and the wonderful smells of traditional culinary delights. From floats to fireworks, Easter is a celebration that rivals the Christmas Markets in Europe.

Easter in Europe

Festive markets spring up everywhere. You can shop for handmade crafts, sample seasonal delicacies, and enjoy live entertainment. On Easter Sunday big family feasts dominate the day.

Every “bunny” has a “spring” in their step during this “egg”-cellent color infused holiday! Eggs and bunnies, it seems impossible to escape these iconic symbols of Easter! Europeans celebrate Easter with candy like chocolate eggs, they display colorful painted eggs, and of course the Easter bunny has a role to fill during this time of year. Children hunt Easter eggs. Egg-rolling and egg-tossing contests are popular activities, and decorated eggs hang from bushes and Easter trees.

Easter bunny, Germany
Frohe Ostern, Happy Easter from Germany!

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Europe Easter travel guide: Top Destinations to Celebrate Easter in Europe

While secular traditions and Easter celebrations are abundant, the Easter holiday has its roots in Christianity and holds great spiritual significance. Throughout Holy Week Churches and Cathedrals host special spiritual services, religious celebrations and processions, events like concerts and performances and other centuries-old traditions. So, no matter which of these cities you choose, you’re sure to find a religious experience to make your Easter break special.

Here are the best Easter Holiday Destinations in Europe:

(1) London England, United Kingdom

Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive gold bunnies as you roam through daffodils and tulip buds in Henry VIII’s lush garden at the Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt at Hampton Court Palace. All you have to do to earn a Lindt Gold Bunny is find all of the Gold Bunny statues!

Lindt Gold Bunny, Hunt Gold Bunnies at Hampton Court Palace London England, one of the best places to celebrate Easter in Europe
Lindt Gold Bunny

Enjoy music, crafts, games, puppets, and more at the Horniman Spring Fair! and don’t forget to bring your biggest hat for the Easter Bonnet Parade! Horniman Museums and Gardens has a butterfly house, alpacas, rabbits, goats, and food stalls serving tasty street food.

Visitors looking for a profound religious experience may be interested in the 90- minute Passion of Jesus performance held in Trafalgar Square in London, a realistic portrayal of the religious events surrounding the crucifixion of Christ. Also, the famous Westminster Abbey Church hosts events during Holy Week.

Big Ben in spring, London England, one of the best places to Celebrate Easter in Europe
Big Ben in spring, London England

Traditional Easter dishes eaten in England include: Roast lamb or baked ham, Hot cross buns (spiced buns), Simnel cakes, Lindt Chocolate Bunnies, and Chocolate Cadbury Eggs.

What’s so great about London? iconic landmarks like the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace, a vibrant theater scene, world-class dining options, dynamic neighborhoods like Soho and Notting Hill

(2) Seville Spain

Travel to Seville to join in on a centuries old Easter celebration. The Semana Santa Holy Week processions travel through the historic streets of Seville and feature intricately decorated floats (Pasos) carrying lifelike statues depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ. Some 50,000 people put on traditional robes to parade in dozens of daily processions. The scent of incense fills the air and the beautifully decorated floats with their lighted candles, floral displays, and life size religious statues form a truly stunning and gripping scene.

witness this moving display in this video from Rick Steves (the procession starts at around 3:28)

Traditional easter dishes eaten in Seville include: Torrijas (think French toast), pestiños (honey-coated delicious pastries), hornazo (a savory meat pie), and Espinacas con garbanzos (traditional spinach and chickpea stew)

What’s so great about Seville? vibrant flamenco scene, stunning Moorish architecture, charming narrow streets, picturesque plazas, delicious tapas, and the iconic Seville Cathedral

(3) County Galway Ireland

If you’re like me, your perfect Easter scenario leans heavily towards rolling green hills and pastures and adorable newly born farm animals! I can’t imagine a better way to spend one of the days surrounding Easter than spending an afternoon with baby lambs?! Killary Sheep Farm Tours is a traditional working sheep farm where you can bottle-feed sweet little lambs. The farm is located in the mountains of the Wild Atlantic Way, where the sheep roam free, and visitors are treated to stunning views overlooking Killary Fjord. (Plan to be on in the Dingle area? “hold a baby lamb” on the Dingle Peninsula)

feeding a sweet baby lamb is a special Easter time experience in Galway County Ireland,
feeding a sweet baby lamb is a special Easter time experience

Put on your Easter best and book afternoon tea at one of the fancy hotels in Galway! Think delicate sandwiches like cream cheese and smoked salmon, horseradish and roast beef, or cucumber cream cheese. Top that off with sweets like macarons, scones, and tiny fruit tarts. Popular places for Easter Afternoon Tea include the 1852 Hardiman Hotel, the G Hotel, or Connacht Hotel (or book their Easter lunch instead!)

Easter afternoon tea in Galway Ireland, one of the best places to celebrate Easter in Europe
Easter afternoon tea service

Traditional Easter dishes enjoyed in Ireland include: Potato and Leek Soup, roast Spring Lamb, roasted vegetables, cabbage, potatoes, boiled bacon, and hot cross buns

What’s so special about Galway County? stunning mountain, pastoral, and coastal landscapes like the Cliffs of Moher, lively pubs, traditional Irish music, charming colorful streets, and warm and welcoming Irish people

(4) Amsterdam, Netherlands

When I think of Amsterdam I can’t help thinking of wooden shoes and tulips, my favorite flower! The arrival of spring in the Netherlands is delightful, especially for flower lovers! Keukenhof Tulip Gardens hosts a spring festival on Easter weekend, where stunning displays of delightful crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths and early tulips are in bloom. Rent a bike and take a scenic bike ride through the surrounding flower fields or take an Easter Cruise! Worked up a hunger? Enjoy delicious food at one of the delightful Easter brunches offered around the city.

Easter Tulips Amsterdam Netherlands, one of the best places to celebrate Easter in Europe
In years when Easter happens later in the year, you’ll find egg colored tulips in Amsterdam!

Weekly outdoor markets are in swing during the Easter (Pasen) season in Amsterdam, and there’s plenty to do for animal lovers. Local zoos host special Easter events like egg hunts. Artis Royal Zoo hosts an Easter brunch with the animals and local farms host ‘lamb days’ where kids can cuddle and feed new-born lambs.

Traditional Easter dishes enjoyed in the Netherlands include: Paasbrood (sweetbread with almond paste topped with golden raisins and candied lemon peel), colored eggs, spring lamb, rolls, cheese, ham, LOTS of eggs, and Matsos (Jewish crackers)

What’s so great about Amsterdam? picturesque canals, historic architecture, world-class museums such as the Van Gogh Museum, beautiful parks, and iconic landmark like the Anne Frank House

(5) Paris, France

Top things to do in the City of Light for the Easter (‘Pâques) holiday include special concerts, Easter egg hunts in parks and gardens, and special Easter-themed markets. Festive decorations adorn the streets and flowers are starting to bloom. Easter day can take place as late as April 25 and so with luck the trees may be blossoming! It’s the perfect time to take a leisurely boat tour on the Seine River in the city of lights!

Be sure to stop at one of the patisseries or chocolatiers / chocolate shops for a taste of their exquisite Easter-themed treats! The famous Cathédral Notre Dame de Paris is expected to reopen soon (2024). Fire destroyed part of the church in 2019. Next year why not plan to attend an Easter service at this 12th century Gothic masterpiece?!

Eiffel Tower spring in Paris France, one of the best places in Europe to Celebrate Easter
Eiffel Tower blossoms!

Traditional Easter dishes enjoyed in France include: roasted lamb, Gâteau de Pâques (chocolate sponge cake decorated with chocolate eggs and bunnies), and Pain de Pâques (sweet brioche bread)

What’s so great about Paris? If you have a travel bucket list, there’s a good chance that Paris is on it! sidewalk cafes, world-class French cuisine, vibrant arts scene, theaters, galleries, and music venues

Easter Lamb Cakes France
Easter Lamb Cakes (Lammele) France

(6) Colmar France

Prefer smaller towns to big cities? Then head on over to Colmar France to celebrate the Easter season! Colmar is known for its wonderful Alsatian Christmas Market, but this charming little town is delightful at Easter too! The Spring Market (Marché de Printemps) held at Place des Dominicains is the main event, but the town itself, with its colorful well-preserved medieval architecture, scenic canals, and half-timbered houses is a big draw! At Easter, the whole town is awash with colorful flowers, Easter decorations, cute bunnies, and colorful eggs!

What’s so great about Colmar? fairy tale setting, renowned wine making tradition, the quintessential Alsatian experience!

(7) Krakow, Poland

Krakow is known for the Easter tradition of creating ornately and intricately hand painted-Easter eggs called pisanki, which can be found at Easter markets and artisan workshops throughout the city. Stalls sell delicious traditional Polish food including an array of grilled meats, various cheeses, or Easter soups. Other Easter events in Krakow include traditional music and dance performances and an Easter parade. On Easter (Wielkanoc) Sunday, locals attend a morning mass dressed in folk costumes and form a huge joyful procession.

pisanki intricately decorated Easter Eggs in Krakow Poland, one of the best places to celebrate Easter in Europe
Pisanki, intricately decorated Easter Eggs in Krakow Poland

Plan to stay for the Rękawka Slavic celebration that takes place on the day after Easter Monday. Craftsmen display traditional medieval crafts and historical reenactors participate in spectacular battles.

Traditional Easter dishes eaten in Krakow include: babka (sweet braided bread), zurek (savory soup), kiełbasa, herring, eggs, white borscht with sausage, meat with homemade horseradish, and Easter cakes like round baba and Mazurek full of dried fruit and nuts.

What’s so great about Krakow? well-preserved medieval architecture, stunning Old Town, iconic Main Market Square, Wawel Castle, charming cobblestone streets, thriving arts community

(8) Florence, Italy

Florence celebrates Easter (Pasqua) with the unusual custom called Scoppio del Carro, or “Explosion of the Cart, a tradition dating back over 350 years. During Easter Mass a cart dragged by a team of white oxen adorned with the first Spring´s flowers is ignited by a mechanical dove in the Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral square), symbolizing good luck and a bountiful and good harvest for the coming year, to the sounds of Excelsis Deo. It’s quite the spectacle and an unforgettable experience! The thrilling explosion is a popular secular tradition, but the religious processions and ceremonies that take place through Holy Week are not to be missed. These events culminate in the grand Easter Sunday Mass at the Florence Cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo).

Scoppio del Carro,”Explosion of the Cart” Florence

Traditional Easter dishes enjoyed in Italy include: savory Easter pie known as “torta pasqualina (puff pastry, ricotta cheese, spinach and eggs…YUM!), and sweet treats like the dove-shaped Easter bread, “colomba di Pasqua.”

What’s so great about Florence? unparalleled artistic heritage including masterpieces by Michelangelo, Botticelli, and da Vinci, iconic landmarks, charming streets, delectable Tuscan cuisine, and captivating Renaissance ambiance.

dove-shaped Italian Easter bread, "colomba di Pasqua"
dove-shaped Italian Easter bread, “colomba di Pasqua”

(9) Vatican City

For Catholics, spending Holy Week in Vatican City is a bucket list worthy event that draws thousands of visitors from around the world. The celebrations typically begin with the Palm Sunday Mass, where the Pope blesses the palms and leads a procession in St. Peter’s Square. The most iconic Easter (Pasqua) event in Vatican City is the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, both presided over by the Pope. Be prepared for massive crowds, and obtain your tickets at least 6-12 months in advance.

Easter Sunday Services Vatican City Italy
Easter Sunday Services Vatican City Italy

What’s so great about Vatican City? masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling, and historical religious landmarks

(10) Athens Greece

There’s a lot to do in Athens during Easter week, namely deeply rooted religious ceremonies but there’s plenty of festive celebration too! The yearly Epitaphios procession takes place on Good Friday. Haunting hymns ring out as ornately decorated “floats” topped with candles are carried through town. On Easter Saturday (Holy Saturday) you can see the Holy Fire arrive all the way from Jerusalem!

Later in the day attend a candlelit Midnight Resurrection Mass, known as the “Anastasi ” where a sea of flickering candles announce that Christ has risen. Fireworks light up the night sky during midnight mass as worshipers exit the church. Be sure to check dates. Greece uses the Eastern Orthodox calendar to calculate the date of Easter rather than the widely used Gregorian Calendar.

Traditional Easter dishes enjoyed in Greece include: whole roasted lamb or goat on a spit, “kokoretsi” (a savory organ meat), “tsoureki” (a sweet Easter bread), crimson-dyed eggs, and Koulourakia (sweet butter-based pastry with a hint of vanilla)

What’s so great about Athens? ancient landmarks like the Acropolis and Parthenon, lively street markets, traditional tavernas, stunning coastal views, and nearby beaches

(11) Budapest, Hungary

The traditional Easter markets, such as the one at Vörösmarty Square, are a highlight of the Easter (Húsvéti) season in Budapest. These local markets feature a colorful array of artisanal crafts, intricately decorated eggs, and traditional Hungarian Easter food. Easter cruises include options with a Hungarian folk show, live music, and Easter dinner.

Easter Egg tree, Budapest Hungary, one of the best places to celebrate Easter in Europe
Easter Egg tree, Budapest Hungary

Consider a day trip to the picturesque Hollókő village, 100 km from Budapest, for a fantastic Easter folk Festival. (2 hours by car, also accessible by bus) Old Easter traditions come alive with people dressed in traditional folk costume, dancing, and traditional meals.

Hollókő village Easter folk Festival

Traditional Easter dishes enjoyed in Hungary include: smoked ham with pickled horseradish, hard boiled eggs, fresh white bread or milk-loaf, and beigli (pastry rolls with walnut or poppy seed)

What’s so great about Budapest? UNESCO World Heritage sites including Buda Castle, which overlooks the Danube River, thermal baths, ruin bars, old-world charm, and scenic river views.

(12) Stockholm Sweden

I’m always looking for something unique and interesting to add to my travels. Enter the unique tradition of Easter witches (påskkärring)! It is said that witches flew out on booms to dance with the devil in the days preceding Easter. In Sweden and Finland, it is an Easter tradition for young children to dress as witches / hags, and warlocks and go door to door collecting treats in the neighborhoods.

Swedish Children dressed up as påskkärring, Easter Witches
Swedish Children dressed up as påskkärring, Easter witches!

A great place to celebrate Easter in Stockholm is at the Skansen Open Air Museum, a 19th-century replica town. Exhibitions by craftsmen dressed in period costume include shoemaking, silversmithing, glass blowing and more. During the Easter Market Skansen is decorated with colorful eggs and feathers and sells treats like marzipan. Free entry for children dressed as Easter witches and wizards on Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday / Green Thursday.)

Traditional Easter dishes enjoyed in Stockholm include: Pickled herring, potatoes, salmon, meatballs, Jansson’s frestelse (a creamy mix of potatoes, onions, and anchovies), lots of eggs, and plenty of candy!

What’s so great about Stockholm? explore Stockholm’s islands and picturesque old town, Scandinavian culinary scene, museums, galleries

(13) Hamburg, Germany

In Northern Germany, the ancient ritual of Easter (Ostern) bonfires has been practiced for centuries. On Easter Saturday, people gather around blazing fires to watch as the evil spirits of winter are banished. One of the best ways to witness the Easter fires is from a boat on the Elbe River. Book a riverboat cruise in Hamburg now! Another fun activity is the Hamburg DOM carnival. Stop by for roller coasters, thrilling rides, sweets, savory treats, fireworks, beer, and a ton of fun! Many cafes in Hamburg offer a special Easter weekend brunch menu. Try Hotel Hafen Hamburg or one of the many other cafés the city has to offer!

bookable activities:

Traditional Easter dishes enjoyed in Germany include: Easter ham or roasted lamb, sweet breads, chocolate Easter eggs, dyed boiled eggs, and easter breads (Osterbrot and Osterkranz)

What’s so special about Hamburg? picturesque waterways, scenic boat tours, charming waterfront vistas, traditional fish markets

(14) Malta

Easter (l-għid) celebrations on the island of Malta are primarily religious. Holy Week commences on the Friday preceding Good Friday, when the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows is carried in a procession through the streets. A week later, on Good Friday, participants dressed in biblical costumes carry statues representing the Passion of the Christ through town. On Easter morning ringing church bells announce the Resurrection of Christ. Later in the day a joyous procession with the statue of the Risen Christ moves along the city streets. When in town be sure to make a stop at the stunning St. John’s Co-Cathedral!

Risen Christ Statue, Easter procession Malta, one of the best places to celebrate Easter in Europe
Risen Christ Statue, Easter procession, Malta

Traditional Easter dishes enjoyed in Malta include: figolla (almond-filled pastry in the shape of a rabbit, lamb, fish or heart), Kusksu (bean soup), Kwarezimal, (nutty orange-flower Lenten biscuits), and Qaghaq tal-Appostoli (unleavened bread made with honey and almonds)

What’s so great about Malta? ancient temples, a medieval fortresses, Baroque architecture, crystal-clear waters, stunning cliffs, picturesque beaches, and a warm Mediterranean climate

(15) Vienna Austria

Easter (Ostern) is all about the markets, and there are plenty of them! Visitors to Vienna’s Easter markets discover handcrafts, intricately decorated eggs, Easter decorations, and plenty of traditional foods. The market at Schönbrunn Palace is decorated with giant Easter eggs. The Altwiener Ostermarkt (Old Viennese Easter Market) at the Freyung square in the Old City features the biggest tower of eggs in Europe, built with around 40,000 painted Easter eggs, and performances by the Vienna Puppet Theater. One thing you won’t find at the market are any bunnies, because in Austria they have an Easter hare (Osterhase)!

bookable activities:

Easter Egg baskets at the Easter Markets in Vienna Austria
Easter Egg baskets at the Easter Markets in Vienna
Giant Easter Egg in Vienna Austria
Giant Easter Egg in Vienna

Traditional Easter Dishes eaten for “Osterjause” in Austria include: Easter ham or lamb, sweet breads, eggs, smoked meats, horseradish, lamb-shaped cakes, and “Osterpinze” (sweet yeast bread)

What’s so great about Vienna? grand opera houses, historic palaces, cozy coffee houses, world-class museums, old-world charm mixed with modern sophistication

(16) Prague, Czech Republic

The historic city of Prague comes alive with celebrations at Easter (Velikonoční.) Easter markets pop up in various squares, such as the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, where you can find beautifully decorated hand painted eggs, traditional handicrafts, and delicious local treats. Tasty market treats include šunka (spit roasted ham) klobása sausages, sweet and savory dumplings, perníčky (spicy gingerbread), sugar dusted Trdelník (Chimney Cake), and drinks like mulled wine, punch, honey wine, and grog. Children can interact with farm animals like sheep, alpaca, goats, and a donkey at the market petting zoo. Folk groups dressed in traditional costume perform on the stage at the Old Town Square Prague Easter Market and concert halls and churches schedule special musical events.

Prague has an unusual Easter Tradition. During the Easter holidays, men and boys cut willow branches and braid them into whips, they then playfully “whip” the girls with them, a tradition believed to bring good health.

Easter Egg Tree in Prague Czech Republic, best places to celebrate Easter in Europe
Easter Egg Tree in Prague

Traditional Easter dishes in the Czech Republic include: roasted meat like lamb, Nádivka Easter stuffing, Mazanec (sweet Easter bread), Beránek (cake baked in the form of a lamb), and traditional sides like sauerkraut and dumplings.

What’s so great about Prague? breathtaking medieval architecture, romantic atmosphere, well-preserved Old Town, majestic Prague Castle, iconic Charles Bridge, and charming cobblestone streets.

Europe Easter Travel Tips

book early

Popular Destination: It’s important to keep in mind that Easter is a popular time for travel in Europe, so Easter may not be the best time to visit European destinations if you are adverse to crowds. It is advisable to plan ahead and book accommodation and transportation well in advance.

check opening times and dates

Check ahead for potential closings of attractions and to find restaurants that will be open during your stay.

how to dress for Easter in Europe

On Easter all over Europe, people gather in their Sunday best for the biggest church services of the year, so pack your Easter Sunday finest! If you plan to visit churches and cathedrals during the Easter holidays, visitors are expected to adhere to dress standards. Modest dress is expected so be sure to cover knees and shoulders and men should remove their headgear before entering.

Easter Monday

Many European countries observe the Monday following Easter Sunday as a federal holiday. There is a chance that businesses and independent shops may be closed so do your research and plan ahead.

frequently asked questions

When is Easter in Europe?

Easter begins in earnest with Holy Week, the seven days leading up to Easter Sunday. In opposition to many other holidays, the date of Easter Sunday changes from year to year. Different dates for Orthodox Easter: To complicate matters further, it depends on which calendar (Georgian or Eastern Orthodox) you use so be sure to check dates when you determine your ideal destination. Easter Sunday always occurs on the first Sunday following the full Moon that occurs on or after the March or spring equinox. Complicated? Ask Google “when is Easter this year?! (source: Wikipedia)

upcoming Easter dates:

  • 2024: March 31
  • 2025: April 20
  • 2026: April 5
  • 2027: March 28
  • 2028: April 16

Is Easter a good time to visit Europe?

The Easter period is a great time to visit Europe! Spring weather brings warmer, sunnier, and slightly longer days. The stirrings of spring, like blooming flowers and trees, delight visitors. Cultural and religious festivals and events are in full swing, and it’s a great time to learn about the unique traditions of each country. Europe on the whole has a mild climate, to experience warm weather head south. You’ll need to be prepared for all types of weather on your Easter trip. Average temperature could range anywhere from 11 c degree to 23 c degree, and lower at night! Check the forecast before you head out!

Where is the best in Europe for Easter?

For markets the best places include cities like Krakow Poland. For religious experiences the best places include cities like Seville Spain. For all around good fun the best places include cities like London. The most scenic spots include places like Amsterdam. Check out this article for a full list of “the best places in Europe to celebrate Easter!”

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