Welcome to your regular Fast:track monthly guide to what's on where around the world.
Top Ten Places To Visit In April:
10. Cherry blossom – Hokkaido
Many visitors who head to Japan stick to an established route taking in Tokyo, Kyoto and rarely leave the island of Honshu. April is a great month to venture to the cooler, wetter northern island of Hokkaido. Fantastic for hiking and skiing, this month is also the best time to see the famous cherry blossom which arrives here later than points south. Hop on a bullet train through the Seikan Tunnel – the world’s longest – and stroll Sapporo’s parks – they’ll be a gorgeous shade of pink.
9. The Lake District at beautiful best
English poet William Wordsworth immortalised a ‘host of golden daffodils’ while praising the English Lake District, and April is the best month to see what all the fuss is about. England’s highest mountains are covered in Spring flowers, and the weather is as dry as it gets all year.
8. SF International Beer Festival
Northern California may be best known for its wine, but locals celebrate their passion for uniquely crafted beers from around the world at the San Francisco International Beer Festival. With over 150 beers to try, and a whole day to try them out, you’re sure to find something to your tastes.
7. Fiesta Moros y Christianos, Alicante, Spain
Every month brings a succession of colourful festivals somewhere in Spain, and April is no different. The Fiesta Moros y Christianos takes place from 22-24 April to coincide with St George’s Day. Locals dressed as conquistadors and Arabs, multi-day parades and all-night parties mark Valencia province’s most famous festival, rounded off with spectacular fireworks.
6. Songkran, Thailand
Loved and loathed in equal measure, Songkran celebrates Thai New Year in a flood of water fights. Locals head onto the streets armed with bowls, water pistols and even garden hoses and drench passers-by. If you’re not keen on getting a soaking, avoid Thailand on April 13. Otherwise, head to Chiang Mai for the most boisterous celebrations – and be ready to get wet!
5. Land Diving,Vanuatu
You may be forgiven for thinking bungee jumping originated in New Zealand, but the adrenalin sport was inspired by the bizarre custom of land diving practiced on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu. Young males hurl themselves off tall towers with only vines around their ankles to break their fall. It’s a spectacular sight – but if you’re tempted to have a go at the ritual, intended to ensure a good yam harvest, you may wish to pack a crash helmet.
4. Now here's a question for you - What takes six days, requires competitors to run five and a half marathons in searing Sahara temperatures and charges up to five thousand dollars for the privilege? In at number four is the The Marathon des Sables which takes place in Morocco, not billed as the toughest foot race on earth for nothing!. Taking part requires dedication and more than a hint of madness, but there's no better way to see the world's largest desert close up
3. A special day in the calendar for aussie and kiwis throughout the world. April the 25th sees many of them make their way to Turkey's Gallipoli peninsula to remember the sacrifice their forefathers made during World War One.
This most moving occasion sees Aussies and Kiwis make their way to Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula to remember the sacrifice their forefathers made during World War One. The dawn service which ushers in ANZAC Day at Gallipoli is an unmissable right of passage for antipodeans young and old travelling in Europe.
2. Up & Down the Bridges, Venice
More a fast-paced organised march than a race, this 14, 10 and 5km run around Venice is an ideal way for visitors to the La Serenissima to explore some of the city’s less visited areas. If it all sounds like hard work, just hang around St Marks Square and enjoy one of the most colourful days in the Venetian calendar.
1. Snowbombing, 9-15 April, Maryhofen, Austria
Europe’s most exciting mix of beats and pistes kicks off again in Maryhofen, Austria. Snowbombing is one to avoid if you’re planning a late family skiing trip, but seasoned festival goers will love a week of winter sports by day and cutting-edge bands by night.