Many of our favourite European destinations stage elaborate celebrations at Easter, making it an exciting time to visit. So why not book a trip to one of these places and squeeze in a spot of property-hunting while you’re there…

Lemon tree views in Sardinia

Home to the famous Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast), one of the most exclusive stretches of Mediterranean coastline, Easter festivities are a serious – and very traditional – affair on this sunny Italian island. Over the course of Holy Week, which kicks off on Palm Sunday, towns and villages host processions and carry out ancient rituals, culminating in merry-making and a large family dinner on Easter Sunday in recognition of the Resurrection.

Spectators are treated to an array of costumes, candles, flowers and wooden crucifixes, all complemented by atmospheric singing, including of local folk songs. The island’s most impressive festivities can be found in the three towns of Alghero, Iglesias and Cagliari, the last being the Sardinian capital.

Looking at property on the island, glitzy Porto Cervo with its world-class marina and selection of multi-million euro villas nestled in the hills around the resort is the hub of the Costa Smeralda, located in the north-east. But you don’t need to be a money-bags to own in Sardinia. Head to the traditional family resorts of Cala Gonone and Orosei on the island’s central eastern coast for more affordable options. Or try Oristano and its surrounding area on the west coast, including the seaside town of Bosa. If the more rustic, authentic lifestyle away from the coastal spots is more your thing, you coud pick up a traditional village house for less than €100,000.

City pad in central Málaga

Gateway to Spain’s Costa del Sol, most people flying into Málaga bypass this exciting and historic city and head down the coast towards Marbella and the beach resorts. However, if you can find the time to explore the centre of Málaga, Easter week is an exciting time to do so as it’s one of the main cultural, religious and tourist events in the city’s calendar. In fact, it has been designated a ‘Fiesta of International Tourist Interest’.

In Málaga, Semana Santa, as it is called in Spain, is characterized by processions of ornate processional thrones and hundreds of robe-clad ‘penitents’ walking through the steets with candles, the air scented with incense and flowers. It’s a cheerful and noisy affair, with applauses, singing and even marching bands.

The centre of Málaga has undergone extensive re-generation in recent years. For anyone searching for a weekend bolt-hole in a city that combines culture with fantastic architecture, history and beaches, it may well be worth a visit. Elsewhere, you’re spoilt for choice for apartment, townhouses and villas in the Costa del Sol resorts to the east and west of the city.

Bolt-hole in Florence

Capital of the Italian region of Tuscany, Florence is famous for its Renaissance art and architecture, as well as its food and shopping. But come Easter Sunday each year, things get a bit livelier when thousands of people come to witness one of the city’s most important ancient rituals and cultural events.

Called the ‘Scoppio del Carro’, literally meaning the Explosion of the Cart, it involves a procession of soldiers, people in traditional costumes, musicians and flag-wavers through the city-centre, culminating in the igniting of a wooden cart packed nine metres high with fireworks by a dove-shaped rocket. The drama is heightened by the archbishop being the one to set off the rocket, as soon as Mass comes to an end.

Malta or Greece’s Peloponnese
Easter Week carries prominence in Malta too, where highlights in the capital Valletta, Gozo island and other towns inlcude street processions, pageants, displays, bell ringing, band marches and statue carrying. Or for something a bit different head to the Peloponnese in mainland Greece, where Easter Day celebrations in the town of Leonidio include the releasing into the sky of hundreds of Chinese lantern-style balloons made by local children in the weeks leading up the big day.

Written by Overseas Guides Company.

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