Spring arrives with a burst of colour, from the glorious bulb fields of the Netherlands to the blossoming orchards of Spain. On the southernmost beaches it's time to shake the sand out of the umbrellas.
Feria de Abril
The southern Spanish city of Seville's beautiful old squares come alive during this week-long party held in late April to counterbalance the religious peak of Easter.
The most important festival in the Greek Orthodox calendar. The emphasis is on the Resurrection so it's a celebratory event – the most significant part is midnight on Easter Saturday (7 April 2018; 28 April 2019) when fireworks explode. The night before, candlelit processions hit the streets.
Koningsdag (Kings's Day)
On 27 April (26 April if the 27th is a Sunday) the Netherlands celebrates Koningsdag (King's Day), the birthday of King Willem-Alexander. There are events nationwide but especially in Amsterdam, where – uproarious partying, music and outrageous orange get-ups aside – there's a giant flea market.
Procession of penitents and holy icons in Spain, notably in Seville, during Easter week (from 25 March 2018; 14 April 2019). Throughout the week thousands of members of religious brotherhoods parade in traditional garb.
Italy celebrates Holy Week with processions and passion plays. By Holy Thursday (29 March 2018; 18 April 2019), Rome is thronged with the faithful and even nonbelievers are swept up in the emotion and piety of hundreds of thousands of faithful flocking to the Vatican and St Peter's Basilica.