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Andalucia during Semana Santa

My family of five (3 teenagers 13, 15, and 17) are visiting during our spring break which overlaps with Semana Santa. We are excited to see the spectacle of it but are concerned about our ability to do sightseeing during this timeframe and don't want to spend our entire vacation surrounded by the massive crowds. So I'm asking for our best strategy in terms of routing. I know I am late in booking this, but I have confirmed that we still have options in terms of flights, accommodations, and Alhambra tickets (via a private tour company except for the 27th or 28th.)

We arrive on March 23rd and can fly either into Malaga arriving at 12 or Madrid at 8 AM. So we will have the balance of that day and the next before the processions start. We'd like to see Seville, Cordoba and Granada, but not necessarily in that order. We'd like to spend 5 nights in Andalucía and then the remainder of our trip on the coast soaking up some sun either in Costa del Sol or the Algarve. We can fly from either location to Paris on the 31st in anticipation of our direct flight home from there on the afternoon of April 1st.

What would you suggest in terms of our best routing? Thanks for any help on how best to approach this.

Posted by
45 posts

I think your routing will depend on when you can get your tour of the Alhambra. Myself I would use the afternoon of the 23rd to travel to Granada and see it the next day. The go to Cordoba, and finally to Seville. From there you can take the train to Malaga, spend some time at the beach (won't be swimming weather), and continue on to Paris. You'll take a bus from Malaga to Granada, another to Cordoba, and either a bus or train to Seville.

Posted by
13 posts

Does this make sense?:

Day 1 (March 23)- Land in Malaga transfer to Granada (For 5 of us with luggage I think I'll book a private transfer van.)
Day 2 (March 24) - Tour Granada in morning and Alhambra in afternoon.
Day 3 (March 25)- Transfer to Seville with a stop in Cordoba en route (luggage storage?)
Day 4 (March 26)- Seville
Day 5 (March 27)- Seville
Day 6 (March 28)- Transfer to Algarve
Day 7 (March 29)- Relax in Algarve
Day 8 (March 30)- Relax in Algarve
Day 9 (March 31) - Fly to Paris
Day 10 (April 1st) - Fly home

2 nights in Granada, 3 nights in Seville, 3 nights in Algarve, 1 night in Paris.

Posted by
19404 posts

Would you still want to go to the Algarve if the water temperature is too cold for swimming in April? If not, Google to check on it.

There are currently five well-priced flight options from Faro to Paris on March 31, but two go to the highly problematic Beauvais airport. As soon as you're confident about your schedule (important since the airline tickets will be non-refundable and non-changeable), you should think seriously about buying. I'm surprised there are so many deals still available. As others snap up seats, the prices may rise a lot. There's already one EasyJet flight priced at $232.

Edited to add: I doubt that I am the only one looking at that itinerary and thinking "Why the Algarve?", so maybe wait long enough for the folks who have been there recently to chime in.

Posted by
45 posts

Sounds good. Also good to take a private transfer van to Granada, perhaps one to Cordoba and on to Seville. Seems to be a luggage storage problem in Cordoba (the train station perhaps ?). How are you going to get to the Algarve from Seville ? and where in the Algarve with a connection to Paris ?

Posted by
21 posts

For sure it will be too cold in the Algarve for swimming in April unless you like cold water, I mean, the water is always cold there! But a heated pool could be fine. Soaking up the sun is always a good idea though.

Semana Santa can be busy but also so interesting, and it is typically not crowded everywhere all the time, only when the processions are going by. Then the crowds disperse. Although I think Sevilla is the one place that gets really crazy busy during that week. (ie: expensive and full, difficult to access public transport)

I was in Madrid last year for semana santa and barely noticed any change except when there was a procession planned in that exact area. But there are maps and time schedules available so you can plan your activities. Check online and you should be able to find details for each city.

Also just double check that the sights you want to see are open their regular hours. Otherwise as long as you already have accommodations you should be fine.

One year I was in Naples for easter week, and they have the processions as well. It was amazing to see. But there, many many things were closed, and even some of the trains stopped running on Easter. In fact, we got stranded in the countryside and had to hoof it 8 miles :) Oopsie!

Oh and Re: luggage storage in Cordoba. There are lockers at the main bus station. After hours and on weekends you might need to find a security guard to help you access them.

Posted by
13 posts

Thanks for the input and replies. My daughter really wants to have some beach/pool/sun time as part of our trip, so I am trying to build that on to the end. I know the sea will be too cold for swimming, but after the crowds of Semana Santa in Seville, just reading in a lounge chair in the sun will sound nice I think.

I was thinking Algarve as the beaches look beautiful, and we could easily fly from Faro to Paris, but if there are better options in Spain, I’d love to hear some input on that. I had read some mixed reviews about the beaches along Costa Del Sol being dirty and crowded and wasn’t sure if those towns would be crazy as well during Semana Santa. I’ve never been to any of these places though, so I’d love to hear from the experts. Thanks so much!

Posted by
19404 posts

Can't help on the beaches, but one tip about the Semana Santa festivities: Be very careful on days when you need to get to another town. I got caught up in much more minor fiestas in Toledo and Laguardia, and I had a very difficult time making my way to the bus/train station. In those cases it was not possible simply to dart across the street at a slow point in the procession, because the streets were too narrow and there were too many onlookers.

Posted by
45 posts

If you don't want to go to the Algarve, you could go to the beaches along the Costa de la Luz - Rota, Cadiz, Bolonia, Tarifa.