Oh, hi sunny Barcelona – train tracks going along the beach, sure, we dig it. Glamorous Paris in bloom and chocorama in Brussels – reach both from London on the Eurostar in under two and a half hours. When you book through us, we'll show you the cheapest tickets for your day of travel, plus you can buy tickets for multiple European train companies in one go and save them all in our handy app.
Without further ado, here’s where you should be headed, and why.
1. Paris, in pink blooms
Ah, Paris in the springtime. For obvious reasons, it’s Londoners’ favourite place to visit for a short break. It’s just 2hrs 20mins from St Pancras station to Gare du Nord and you'll arrive directly into the city centre, ready to explore.
Once you arrive into Gare du Nord, jump off the train and hot-foot it to the Parc André Citroën for the annual Easter Egg hunt, which takes place on Easter Sunday and Monday. It's a perfect activity if you're travelling with kids - there will be drawing workshops, face painting, dance and, of course, plenty of chocolate eggs!
If you’re after a more romantic vibe (it is Paris), follow the river east of Saint-Germain and head to the Jardin des Plantes for the sumptuous cherry blossom. This is France’s main botanical garden, surrounding the fascinating Natural History Museum.
If you're looking to venture outside of Paris, the idyllic Monet’s Garden in Giverny is easily accessible by train. The painter’s house and famous water lily are a short train ride from Gare Saint-Lazare.
As evening rolls around, take a moonlit journey along the Seine River on the Bateaux Parisiens Dinner Cruise. You'll enjoy a French three-course dinner with wine and live music - not bad if you ask us!
2. Brussels, for the chocoholic
Belgian Chocolate. That’s all you need to know.
The direct Eurostar service to Brussels will get you from London to the European capital of chocolate in under two hours. Head to the Chocolate and Cocoa Museum for demonstrations and tastings, or buy luxurious pralines – Brussels chocolates filled with nuts and cream – made by famous Belgian artisans like Pierre Marcolini.
The best chocolate shops are between the Magritte Museum and the Grand-Place, the city's central square. It’s lined with opulent buildings from the 14-17th centuries and bars where you should stop for a beer: another thing they do well in Belgium.
Of course, there’s pretty springtime wonders to enjoy, too. Catch the seasonal opening of the Royal Greenhouses (17th April–8th May), filled with cherry trees and gigantic palms. Flower lovers will also enjoy the Floralia show (3rd April–3rd May) at Groot-Bijgaarden Castle, 20 minutes by train from Brussels Midi. Lovely, eh?
3. Barcelona, playa and la vida loca
The average temperature in Barcelona in the springtime is 20°C. Need we say more?
You can get from Paris to Barcelona in 6h 45m on the direct, high-speed service. Soak up the Barcelona sun and have a stroll along Las Ramblas, or venture down a side-street for an authentic taste of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter.
Wide, pedestrianised streets, wonderful galleries and a vibrant nightlife make Barcelona a must in a top 5 for spring in Europe. The ride from Paris will have got you all excited, with glimpses of the Alps and Pyrenees from the train window, as well as south of France lakes and flamingos.
4. Seville, spectacular processions and sunshine
Seville is a wonderful place during Easter. The Holy Week from 5th-12th of April is a must-see - the processions are out of this world. Hop on a train from Barcelona to Seville and watch spectacular parades taking over the stunning Andalusian capital, whose architecture mixes Gothic and Islamic influence.
If you were thinking of going to the Costa del Sol for a bit of tan-time, you’re better off here. While the Costa averages 21°C, you’ll get 24°C. in Seville. Despite the heat, 50,000 people in traditional robes join the Holy Week processions to Seville’s beautiful cathedral. Among them, the Nazarenos – penitents of church brotherhoods – wear awe-inspiring capes and pointy hats.
This musical and festive atmosphere is even more enjoyable with a slice of Sevilla’s beautiful traditional dessert of Lent and Holy Week: torrijas. That’s deliciously sweet eggy bread. Yes, please!
5. Venice, Easter celebrations by the lagoon
Since the days are getting longer and the weather hotter, we’re jumping on an overnight train from Paris to Venice (less busy than Rome at this period) to refresh by the Grand Canal, munch on Easter dove bread and attend moving celebrations at Basilica di San Marco.
Watch Piazza San Marco – Venice's iconic square – and eponymous basilica getting lit up at sunset, during the “blessing of the fire”: on Holy Saturday, a torch is lit at the entrance of the church, followed by a procession, lighting up more candles as they go. At midnight, fireworks are set off to celebrate the Resurrection and there’s a very joyous feeling in the air. Make sure you also attend the Easter mass at the Basilica. Powerful choirs and lavish decorations make the golden interiors of this landmark even more special.
The Piazza is also home to the Gothic glittering Doge’s Palace and you can hop on a Vaporetto to visit the city’s main islands like Murano and Burano. Grab some “Colomba Pasquale” – an Easter dove-shaped bread, similar to Panetonne – to eat on the boat!
So remember, if mum asks, you’re at a fusty old conference. But, as your Instagram followers know, you’re eating Colomba Pasquale in Venice. Or eggy bread in sunny Seville. Or on the beach in Barcelona. Or scoffing in Brussels. Saluti!