Spring Festivals in Southern Europe

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Has spring sprung yet where you live? Or perhaps you're in the Southern hemisphere, and summertime is easing its way into warm fall days. This "shoulder season" time tends to provide perfect traveling conditions in many parts of the world, when you can avoid the summertime crowds and heat, and the weather is just right for doing plenty of walking.

April is a particularly lovely time to spend in Southern Europe. Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Italy are all warm enough to sit outside on restaurant terraces in short sleeves, smelling the scent of orange blossoms. It's also a great time for festivals. Below are a few you might want to plan a springtime trip around.

Andalucia's Feria de Abril is a boisterous six-day Flamenco-flavoured festival. It follows the more serious Easter holidays with massive street parties that include wine, tapas, dancing and horse and carriage spectacles. Considered by Lonely Planet to be one of the "World's Best Festivals", this Feria, which starts April 21st, needs to go in your calendar if you're planning a trip to Seville, Granada, Cadiz or Almeria.

If you happen to be in Rome on April 21st, you can wish the ancient city a happy birthday, along with throngs of other well-wishers. 2015 will mark 2766 years since the quarrelsome Romulus and Remus (as legend has it) founded Rome. Street parties, concerts, and special events mark the day, and there's usually a fireworks display over the Tiber River and gladiator shows around the forum area. Natale di Roma is definitely a festive time to explore this great city!

From April 9th to 19th, you'll want to check out the 8th annual Lisbon Fish and Flavours Festival if you're in the Portuguese capital. It's a chance to enjoy innovative gastronomic dishes created by local chefs from the region's incredible fish and seafood. Festival highlights include tastings of traditional canned Portuguese sardines and mackerel, and rare delicacies such as Azorean parrot fish. Live music and entertainment paired with great wines make this a wonderful way to access Portuguese gastronomy with locals in a friendly, inviting setting.

Easter is celebrated throughout Europe, but Greece is a particularly special place to witness Easter Celebrations, where they are carried out with both pomp and a moving solemnity. On late Saturday evening, a magnificent midnight mass climaxes with all the lights in each crowded church being extinguished and the congregation plunged into darkness until the priest lights the candles of the worshipers. The lighting of the flames is the signal for celebrations to start and the Lent fast to be broken. Fireworks explode around the towns and cities and Easter feasts begin.

If you partake in any of these festivals - or one of many others occurring around southern Europe this spring - let us know about it! Share photos on our Facebook page and convince others that springtime really is wear it's at in Europe.
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