The absolute best time to visit Seville – Semana Santa
Sitting on the river Guadalquivir on the west of Andalusia, Seville radiates with all the idiosyncrasies of its region: elegance, solemnity and unabashed fun. It does so throughout the year, perhaps with the exception of August when scorching temperatures see residents migrate to the coast. But the city is at its absolute best during the two most famous annual events: Semana Santa (Holy Week) and La Feria de Sevilla (Seville Fair). Making this the best time to visit Seville.
During these conjoined events – the fair takes place two weeks after Holy Week – the city’s soul is showcased for all to see. Candlelit processions and accompanying ‘saetas’ render deep emotion that stills the masses who come out to see them, only to be replaced by midday ‘sevillanas’ a fortnight later. Two incredible experiences that should be found on everyone’s bucket list…
Visit Seville in Semana Santa (Holy Week)
Dating back to the 16th century, the Christian Holy Week of Easter has been greeted in Seville with a sequence of celebrations starting the week before Easter Sunday. At the centre of these celebrations lie the religious processions which meander the city’s streets from evening to early morning. These processions revolve around the ‘pasos’ (Christian statues atop extremely ornate floats) which are accompanied by ‘nazarenos’ dressed in colourful habits and pointed headdress, as well as brass bands. The ‘pasos’ are carried on the shoulders of a few dozen ‘costaleros’, who in synchronised step – sometimes barefoot – haul the float down the ‘stations of penitence’ from their church or chapel to Seville’s Cathedral and back.
There are over 50 official processions over the course of the seven days, each pertaining to a religious brotherhood (‘hermandad’ or ‘cofradía’). These can range in numbers from a few hundred to thousands – so when you visit Seville, it is impossible to miss them. If you’re forced to choose a night to witness the solemn spectacle, Good Friday is your best bet, with the most historic and lavish floats coming out throughout the evening and early morning.
But the processions and wider Easter celebrations are but the icing on the cake of a city which is exquisite in Spring. The temperature at this time of the year is perfect, ranging from the low teens to 25 degrees Celsius. The one downside can be the crowds… but don’t be put off, the city’s sights are unmissable. Here are a few to get you on your way:
- Seville Cathedral and the ‘Giralda’ tower
- Alcazar and gardens
- The Metropol Parasol
- Torre del Oro
- A walk through the old town