Marco Polo’s Top 5 Easter destinations for 2018 + GIVEAWAY

Easter is only two weeks away, and there is still time to book a last-minute trip to catch the first April sun in one of Marco Polo’s favourite Easter holiday destinations! Don’t forget to check out our Spring giveaway at the end of the post, for a chance to win 5 Marco Polo Pocket Guides of your choice and a FujiFilm Instax Mini 9 camera!

Photo credit: Tim Kelly

ROME

Rome is perfect for a true Easter experience. Easter can be one of the busiest times to visit the Eternal city, but in recent years many people have taken advice not to visit at Easter, so there are plenty of hotel rooms to be had at reasonable prices. To hear the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica ring on Easter Sunday is an unforgettable experience. Those not too keen on the spiritual can benefit from free access to all of Rome’s archaeological sites and museums, as the first Sunday of the month falls on Easter Sunday this year. Though do be sure to pack your umbrella, as April tends to be one of Rome’s rainier months.

SRI LANKA

Not willing to risk the rain in Rome? Then why not head over to Sri Lanka? April is one of the best times to visit Sri Lanka, as the peak tourist is winding down before the monsoon season’s arrival in May. Sunshine, warm weather and beaches – not to mention the beautiful nature and fascinating wildlife – make sure that nobody misses the chocolate eggs. Whether you decide to stay in one place, or travel around the island, Sri Lanka will not disappoint.

VIENNA

Vienna is a great destination for an Easter break. While many locals head for the ski slopes, the city caters to those who stay – or arrive – with a multitude of Easter markets, chocolate and rabbits everywhere. Visit the Schönbrunn Easter market for some beautiful handcrafted souvenirs or take the children to the Prater area for some fun including the famous giant ferris wheel. Don’t forget to try Osterpinze, a local bread like pastry eaten during the Easter holidays.

CAPE VERDE

Another guaranteed destination for sun is Cape Verde. The archipelago off the coast of Africa is a perfect alternative to the more familiar Canaries. The weather is a lovely and warm, and April is the ideal time for whale-watching. Also, there are some lively Easter festivities to be seen, as the locals ring in the Easter Sunday with a big party.

BARCELONA

If a six-hour flight is not your thing, Barcelona is a good choice. Sure, the museums and shops have slightly awkward holiday opening times – mainly on Easter Monday – but there are still places that cater to the tourists. Be sure to check out the main Easter parades and processions on Good Friday, and on Easter Sunday you should stay in the vicinity of the Barcelona Cathedral – not to be confused with Sagrada Familia – for a true Barcelona Easter experience.

GIVEAWAY GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

To celebrate Spring, Marco Polo is organising a giveaway! We are giving away a set of 5 Marco Polo Pocket Guides of your choice and a Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 camera to one lucky winner, chosen at random.

How to enter?

Simply share the story of your most memorable Easter / Spring travel moment in the comments below. You can earn more chances to win by liking our Facebook page and by following our Twitter and Instagram accounts and by letting us know in your comment that you have done so.

The competition is open from Thursday 15 March 2018 until Thursday 29 March 2018 at 12:00 GMT. We will contact the winner personally via email using the email address used to leave the comment so make sure to check that it is spelled correctly!

Good luck!

Terms and Conditions:

  1. The promotion is open to UK & European residents aged 18 or over, excluding employees and their immediate families of Marco Polo, its agents or anyone professionally connected with the promotion.
  2. To enter, simply comment on the blog post. Additional chances to win may be acquired by liking the Marco Polo Facebook page and by following the Marco Polo Twitter and Instagram accounts. If the entrant has done any of the mentioned actions, it should be stated in the comment.
  3. This competition will commence on 15 March 2018 and all entries must be received by 12.00 GMT on 29 March 2018. The Promoter accepts no responsibility for any entries that are incomplete, posted late, misdirected, and incorrect, garbled or fail to reach the Promoter by the closing date for any reason. Entries via agents or third parties are invalid.
  4. No purchase necessary, however internet access is required.
  5. The Prizes: 1 x prize winner will receive 5 Marco Polo Pocket Guides of their choice and a Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 camera (RRP £64.99).
  6. The prize must be taken as stated and no compensation will be payable if a winner is unable to use the prize as stated. The winner will be liable for all costs and expenses not stated relating to claiming or partaking of the prize.
  7. The promoter may substitute the prize for a prize of an equal or greater value if, for any reason the original item is unavailable.
  8. By entering, winners agree that if they win they will participate in any reasonable publicity arranged by The Promoter or its agencies.
  9. By entering the promotion entrants confirm that they have read and agree to be bound by these terms & conditions and by the decisions of the Promoter, which are final in all matters relating to the promotion. Failure to do so will result in the forfeiture of the prize. No correspondence will be entered into.
  10. The Promoter or its agencies accept no responsibility for any loss or damage suffered through acceptance of the prize.
  11. The Promoter or its agencies will not be responsible for the non-inclusion of entries as a result of technical failures or otherwise, including any such failure which is within the control of The Promoter or its agencies. Proof of submission of entry is not proof of receipt of entry.
  12. The Promoter reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any person it finds to be tampering or to have tampered with the operation of the promotion or the Marco Polo website, or to be acting in violation of these terms and conditions.
  13. To the full extent permitted by law the Promoter will not accept liability for any loss, damage, injury or death arising from this promotion beyond its reasonable control. The Promoter is Marco Polo Travel Publishing, Pinewood, Chineham Business Park, Crockford Lane, Chineham, Basingstoke, RG24 8AL

Marco Polo Pocket Guide relaunch

Calling all trailblazers! Marco Polo has never been one to follow the crowd: since we burst onto the scene in 2012 and turned the travel publishing world upside-down, we have been pursuing a quest to create the best travel guide possible ever since! And now we are launching 30 ground-breaking new look pocket guides for 2018!

DISCOVERY TOURS

Along with all the regular content updates you’d expect from a relaunch – the guides also contain a new Discovery Tours chapter:

• Each book has 4 to 5 exciting, specially tailored tours helping readers get behind the scenes and head off the beaten track.
• The perfect planning tool – each tour has an overview box detailing the start and end points, distance, plus timing and costs involved – all the information an explorer needs at a glance!
• Each tour is plotted on an overview map highlighting the start point and final destination for easy orientation.
• A detailed flow chart with pictograms clearly shows the way – including distance indicators, sights to explore, views to enjoy en route and plenty of Insider Tips for
relaxing stops along the way.

FREE TOURING APP

Free touring app! The Discovery Tours are also available as an app – simply download any of the tours from the web link / QR code featured in each guide. The ultimate navigational tool to enjoy stress-free sightseeing.

NEW LOOK COVERS

Ground-breaking new look covers bring the guides bang up-to-date, so you won’t need to be shy about looking like a tourist! Fresh, simple, cool – the split line typography is designed to make you look twice and the bright colours will get you in the holiday mood!

INSIDER TIPS

The guides with Insider Tips! Showing the main sights in detail simply isn’t enough for modern-day travellers. Marco Polo specialises in getting you off the beaten track! Why follow the crowd when you can make your own path?

NEW TITLES

Relaunch titles available Jan 2018: Amsterdam, Bali, Barcelona, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Corfu, Costa Brava, French Riviera, Hong Kong, India South, Italy, Lake Garda, Mallorca, Malta & Gozo, Mauritius, Montenegro, Munich, New York, New Zealand, Rome, Sardinia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tenerife, Venice, Vienna.

Plus 4 brand new titles: Japan, Peru & Bolivia, Salzburg & Surroundings, Santorini.
All priced at £7.99.

ORDER YOUR MARCO POLO POCKET GUIDES NOW.

Let Marco Polo show you hidden gems, lesser-known locations and stunning viewpoints where you can make memories to last a lifetime. Brush shoulders with the locals, eat the food that Grandma makes and seek out unique experiences at every turn.

Be a traveller, not just a tourist!

Something to say? Leave a comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.

Only on Cape Verde

Cape Verde is all about colour: the turquoise ocean, lush tropical valleys, beaches of black and white sand, the bright yellow of the bananas, the orange-coloured papayas, green heads of cabbage and red peppers. The village square and the narrow cobbled streets seem to be deserted; only a few children can be seen playing with toys they have made themselves. However, there is a lot of hustle and bustle at the vegetable market – the centre and heart of every village – loud shouting and laughter, friendly faces and mountains of fresh fruit. Women squat on the roadside with baskets full of silvery fish, a group of men sit in the shade of a tree playing cards. Life here is leisurely and relaxed, people have time and they also have patience.

Cape Verde Marco Polo Guide

Let Marco Polo show you some unique experiences to be had on Cape Verde:

Travel with the locals
The aluguer is the most common means of transportation on Cape Verde. You should travel at least once with the locals in one of these pickups, such as the trip from São Filipe to Chã das Caldeiras.

Swing those hips
You won’t know what has hit you when the dancers start swinging their hips at a dizzy speed dancing the batuco in the 5al da Música in Praia.

A hearty pleasure
The Cape Verde national dish, catchupa, is a hearty affair. Every cook prepares their
own different version of this stew made of sweet corn and beans – in the Churrasqueira Africana on Fogo they add pumpkin.

New braids
Men, women and children wear their hair woven into small braids. If you want to do the same, you can have your holiday hairstyle done in the shop next to the Mariama Restaurant in Vila do Maio.

Pure firewater
No matter whether it is freshly distilled or aged, the Cape Verde sugar cane liquor packs a punch! The freshly brewed firewater (grogue novo) that is served in the Pavilhão on the Praça Nova in Mindelo and elsewhere will really take your breath away!

Strategic moves
A typical scene: two men sitting in the shade with a wooden board between them pondering over how they can get as many small pieces as possible away from their opponent. The game is called oril and it attracts many players to the row of shops near the sport stadium in Sal Rei and numerous other places on the islands.

Glittering catch
At midday everybody runs to see if the fishermen have made a good catch when their colourful boats return to port or are pulled up on to the beach – as they do in Tarrafal on Santiago.

 

Buy the Cape Verde Marco Polo Guide.

Cape Verde Marco Polo Guide

Something to say? Leave a comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.

Top 10 Winter Sun Beaches

Fancy escaping the cold this winter in search of warmer climes? Here are Marco Polo’s top 10 winter sun beach destinations…

Egypt beach with camel

1. Eagle Beach, Aruba

The gnarled divi-divi trees, contorted by the wind, look like over-sized bonsais on a sugary-white beach. On ‘One Happy Island’ the sun shines 365 days a year – the word ‘winter’ doesn’t even get a look-in.

INSIDER TIP: If you’re looking for something active, give the latest trend a try – yoga on a stand up paddle board – SUP yoga. Don’t fall off!

Buy the Caribbean Marco Polo Map

 

2. Tropea, Italy

The little Calabrian town of Tropea sits sublimely on a 40m (130ft) high cliff above the Tyrrhenian Sea and there is a fine sandy beach at the foot of the Old Town. Even if the temperature here in the most southerly part of the ‘toe’ on the Italian Peninsula isn’t tropical, it’s never freezing either.

Buy the Italy Marco Polo Guide

 

3. Djerba, Tunisia

The soft, wet sand sticks between your toes, palm trees cast their shadows here and there and the occasional camel trots by. The mile-long beach on the Tunisian island of Djerba has a very oriental feel and even at Christmas time the temperature here is very pleasant.

Buy the Tunisia Marco Polo Map

 

4. Agate Beach, Lüderitz, Namibia

Gentle, white-capped waves roll in from the Atlantic on Agate Beach. If you’re lucky you may even find a piece of agate in the sand. In this hot, dry climate temperatures can climb up to 25°C in winter.

Buy the Namibia, South Africa & Botswana Marco Polo Map

 

5. Sidi Abdel Rahman, Egypt 

Gentle waves have been formed by the wind in the white, fine sand of this beach that stretches down the Mediterranean coast. White sunshades make a perfect contrast to the blue water. In winter, visitors can look forward to mild temperatures here of around 20°C.

Buy the Egypt Marco Polo Guide

 

6. Matira Beach, Bora Bora

The name Bora Bora melts in the mouth like a gooey cream chocolate and makes us long for the South Seas – and not just when the Christmas lights are turned on at home. There is no winter on the beach of this atoll. The only thing the colour of snow here is the velvety soft sand between your toes and the only ice to be found is in your cocktail.

INSIDER TIP: A  pareu, a colourful wrap-around makes a lovely souvenir.

 

7. Ras Al-Jinz, Al-Hadd, Oman

The Gulf of Oman is there to enjoy. The waves are like music to the ear and on Ras Al-Jinz beach you can listen to the sound of the sea and watch green sea turtles lay their eggs. All this at a daytime temperature seldom below the 20°C mark.

Buy the United Arab Emirates Marco Polo Guide

 

8. Papanasam Beach, Varkala, India

The view from the cliff top is breathtaking. Steps carved out of the rock lead down to the beach. Varkala Beach in the state of Kerala is not only unbelievably beautiful but, thanks to its proximity to the Equator, is tropical the whole year round.

Buy the India South (Goa & Kerala) Marco Polo Guide

 

9. Oualidia, Morocco

An oriental lifestyle, the call of the muezzin and the sheltered lagoons of Oualidia soon make you forget the cold north. That’s what the flamingos think too when they stop here in autumn on their way to milder climes further south.

Buy the Morocco Marco Polo Guide

 

10. Praia de Santa Mónica, Boavista, Cape Verde

Here, off the coast of Africa, the sun shines 350 days a year and the average temperature is between 21 and 29°C. You won’t necessarily meet a soul on the 18km (11 mile) long beach of fine Sahara sand – which is not really surprising as this idyllic spot can only be reached in a 4 × 4. But the journey is more than worth the effort!

Buy the Cape Verde Marco Polo Guide

 

Do you know any other great winter sun beaches  you’d like to share? Leave a comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.