Last minute Easter escapes

It's been a long time since the Christmas and New Year holidays, but Easter is only just around the corner and it offers a great opportunity to catch up on some R&R or take a few days extra and escape on a low-cost flight to ring the changes with some music, family fun, culture, sport or simple relaxation. Check out our suggestions.

Leipzig: music, music, music!


This year, the three divisions of Leipzig's oldest cultural institution, the Thomana, celebrate their 800th anniversary with a stunning programme of concerts and events. Why not take the opportunity to discover more about this renowned choir by visiting the Jauchzet! Frohlocket! exhibition at the History Museum or pop into the Bach Museum where there is a special display about the daily life of the choir-boys in the days of the maestro, who was cantor for the choir from 1723 to 1750. More information at

Splendour and spas in Tenerife


Always a popular destination, Tenerife boasts a host of spas and wellness centres, many connected to island's best hotels. They offer an endless range of treatments and therapies including some that take advantage of local algae or volcanic stones, and other more exotic options such as chocolate wraps, Tibetan massage and oxygen therapy. And if you make your trip in Holy Week, you'll get the chance to witness some of the sumptuous Easter processions, such as those of La Laguna where you'll enjoy the sight of veritable works of art and stunning church icons and statuary paraded through the streets with full pomp and ceremony. More information at:

Futuroscope: an adrenaline rush


Family fun is guaranteed at the Futuroscope theme park , celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. You can fly directly to Poitiers airport from London Stansted or Edinburgh with Ryanair, or choose one of the many other airports that are within easy reach - La Rochelle, Tours, Angers, Limoges, Bergerac, Bordeaux and Nantes. The attractions include Imax cinema, magic and comedy, thrilling rides and spectacles starring such favourites as the Little Prince and Arthur and the Minimoys, while state-of-the-art technological wizardry makes you a part of the adventure.

Grandvalira: a 'top' choice

Grandvalira, Hermitage Hotel

Andorra boasts the largest ski area in the Pyrenees, Grandvalira, but there's more than skiing on the cards when you visit the tiny Pyrenean Principality. How about a snowmobile ride under the stars followed by a delicious tasting of the best local cuisine at the Llac Andorran Pessons mountain refuge at a stunning height of 2,350 metres by the side of an impressive frozen lake. The Sport Hotel Hermitage & Spa at the foot of the pistes offers fine five-star facilities in this natural wonderland.

Paris: on the trail of Matisse

Matisse, Paris, Banke Hotel

If you've never seen Paris in spring time, what are you waiting for? This Easter there's the added attraction of the marvellous exhibition Matisse, pairs and sets just opened at the Pompidou Centre with a stunning 60 canvases and over 30 drawings by this leading figure in modern art. Why not treat yourself and book into the stately four-star Banke Hotel in the very heart of the French capital?

Dreams of Picasso in Malaga

Malaga, Hotel Barcelo

The ultra chic Hotel Barcelo in Malaga has another great option for art lovers with a package titled Soñando con Picasso - 'dreaming of Picasso'. In recognition of the 75th anniversary of the local master's renowned Civil War painting Guernica, the entrance ticket to the Picasso Museum is included along with buffet breakfast and one night's accommodation. Prices start from 109€.

Culture and comfort in Guimarães


If it's culture you are after, where better than the city of Guimarães. Traditionally known as the birthplace of the Portuguese nation, Guimarães is up in the north of the country and this year shares the title of European Capital of Culture with Maribor in Slovenia. There are two pousadas – the association of Portuguese hotels that aim to provide visitors with accommodation and cuisine respecting the style and tradition of each region – in Guimarães, the majestic Santa Marinha, located in a restored twelfth-century Augustin Monastery on a nearby hilltop and the Nossa Sra. Da Oliveira in the medieval historical centre,  and both offer a guided visit of the town. A double room, with traditional vinho verde on arrival, buffet breakfast and late check-out, costs from 130€.

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