Photo: Geber86 / iStock
EUROPE: The Easter holidays are the perfect time to take a short break with the ones you love. After all, those first sunny days of spring lure locals and tourists onto the streets, seasonal flowers sprout and many cities offer an exciting cultural events calendar. Here are our insider tips to hop into an unforgettable Easter weekend.
Easter Bonfires in Hamburg
In the Christian faith, Easterbonfire is a sign of the resurrection of Christ, whilst in Northern Germany the large Easter fires are supposed to dispel the winter and attract the warm sun for the approaching spring. The tradition of lighting Easter bonfires is popular in rural parts of Northern Germany, but some of the fires are lit in residential gardens in the city or along the beach of the Elbe River in Hamburg. Wood and brushwood are stockpiled in open spaces in the lead up to the event (usually Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday) and the bonfire lit in the twilight hours.
All the Fun of the "Frühlingsfest"
For many Berliners, the highlight of the Easter holidays is a visit to the “Frühlingsfest” (Spring Festival) at Kurt-Schumacher-Damm. At this time of year, visitors also flock to the German capital to take advantage of the season of holidays, long weekends and, as the locals call it, open-air season with the arrival of the warmer temperatures. With around 60 rides - including a ghost train and rollercoaster - candyfloss, and fireworks you can relive your childhood and enjoy the long Easter weekend to the fullest. For the culture vultures amongst you, Berlin also offers a full calendar of classical concerts, bonfires, nature excursions, a Cherry Blossom festival at Gardens of the World and colourful street parades.
Indulge in Nuremberg's Famous Egg Throwing
Forget traditional egg hunts and egg rolling, Nuremberg has its own quirky Easter custom - egg throwing! In this boisterous team sport, often played in parks around the city, players pack boiled eggs into a cotton bag and toss them at each other. The greater the distance, the bigger the fun... and the game ends over when the fragile eggshell is damaged.
In a town famous for its Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg also shines in spring with their Easter to Market celebrations in the Old Town. To celebrate the very first market of the year, stallholders proudly display their wares including ceramics, household articles, textiles and produce. Easter souvenirs are also in high demand and stallholders don't disappoint.
Travel Back to a Medieval Easter Spectacle
Frankfurt is famous for its love of history and the Musemsufer - a collection of fabulous museums that dot the banks of the river Main and beyond . It's not surprising then that the most popular Easter event in Frankfurt is their Medieval Easter Spectacle. Visitors can travel back in time... quite literally... to a place where Medieval bands crank out the tunes, noble knights challenge each other to battle and rustic markets offer a pleasant diversion for those wanting to spend their hard-earned silver.
In large parts of Hessen, as well as in neighbouring Franconia, the ancient tradition of "The Osterbrunnen" comes to life on Good Friday and Easter Saturday each year. On these, the most important of Christian holidays, public fountains are decorated with festive flowers and Easter eggs. Why you ask? The origins of this tradition date back to the Middle Ages, when water was of the utmost importance to the population. As these sights last as long as Easter eggs do around small children, they should be number one on your bucket list if you're in Frankfurt for Easter.
Easter Lambs petting in Leipzig
The lamb is a significant symbol of Easter, with the Son of God often referred to in the Bible as the Lamb of God. The picture-perfect Mildenstein Castle - just 45 minutes by car from the city of Leipzig - runs a program for the whole family at Easter. Within the castle grounds, visitors can pet Easter lambs, learn all about eggs on guided tours or join in other festivities puppet theatre shows and storytelling. It really is fun for the whole family.
'The Watering of the Girls' in Beautiful Budapest
Hungary has an Easter tradition that literally makes a splash! “The Watering of the Girls” custom sees young men visiting the girls in their village and pouring buckets full of cold water over the top of them. This ritual is intended to preserve the fertility and youth of the women, who then thank the males by gifting them a red Easter egg as a symbol of life and love. If you're in Budapest or beyond, you won't want to miss this Easter Monday tradition.
Are you an Easter Poet and You Don't Know It?
If you're visiting Denmark during Easter, make sure you take a ballpoint pen with you. The fabulous Danish tradition of the "Gaekkebreve" or Letter of Fools sees Danes describing the person they admire (or love) in a rhyme. The more creative the better! The letter is then delivered to the recipient without a signature, and it's his/her job to guess the sender. If they can't guess, the recipient is considered a fool! But, if the recipient finds out who the letter came from, the writer is the fool! In any case, the fool must give the other participant a kiss or an Easter egg. Sign me up!
Your Easter Break, Your Way
Enjoy a long Easter weekend or simply a break from everyday life at one of our stunning Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Leipzig or Nuremberg hotels. Spacious studio rooms and apartments with a living area and their own kitchenette give you the opportunity to feel at home even when you're on the go. They're also perfectly based to give you a spring in your step as you head out and explore all the Easter attractions. Book your next stay now!