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Andalucia surrounding Easter

My husband and I will be traveling to the Andalucía area in April surrounding the Easter holiday - this is our first trip to Spain, but our second trip overseas from the US. We are not religious, but we're specifically looking to see some of the processions and holiday-related events. Is there a place where we can look into what will be happening when, and where? Does anyone have any experience, advice or anything regarding this particular time of the year in Andalucía?

The basic jist of our (yet to be finalized itinerary) is to fly into Madrid, travel to Sevilla, Granada, Gibraltar and take the ferry over to Morocco, and probably fly back out of Madrid for ease of cost. We're open in terms of the order of cities to visit and how to get there. We're planning two weeks for the whole trip.

Any and all information will be helpful! Thank you!

Posted by
4622 posts


Does anyone have any experience, advice or anything regarding this particular time of the year in Andalucía?

I've traveled to Andalucía, but not during Easter, however, one thing for sure is that hotels book up quickly & they are also more expensive, especially in Sevilla.

You say you have 2 weeks for your trip, how many nights will you have on the ground, not counting days you'll be flying to/from Spain?

Say you'll have 12-13 nights, that means you'll have 11-12 full days to explore Andalucía & Madrid.

I'd suggest skipping Gibraltar & Morocco and consider taking this route:

  • Fly into Madrid & take AVE directly to Córdoba (2-3Nights) >> train or bus to Granada (2N) >> bus or train to Sevilla (4N) >> AVE train to Madrid (4N), with possible day trip to Toledo or Segovia >> fly home.

Chani, a great contributor to this forum, has traveled to Andalucía during the Easter celebrations, so I'm pretty sure she will give you great advice & suggestions (when she sees your post tonight or tomorrow)

Here are some useful websites:

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
341 posts

I think Priscilla gives good advice, skip Morocco and Gibraltar on a 2 week trip and her itinerary hits the highlists. We traveled to Spain over Easter in 2014 and enjoyed Semana Santa processions in Malaga. We were very happy with our choice to spend the time in Malaga, and visited Sevilla later in our trip. Stay in the old part of Malaga for the full experience, and be prepared to stay up late! From Malaga we day tripped to Nerja, which we enjoyed and Tourmolinos, which we didn't. Easy bus from Malaga to Granada.

Posted by
14458 posts

Well, I have to take up Priscilla's challenge ☺ Yes, I was in Andalucia this year for Semana Santa - Malaga, Sevilla and Cordoba. I was in Malaga for Palm Sunday and all day Monday, then Sevilla for the next 4 days including the Thursday night Madruga and Easter Sunday in Cordoba.

I'd been to Sevilla and Cordoba before. I chose Sevilla because of all the hype around Semana Santa there and Cordoba because it's my favorite city in Spain. I went to Malaga because I wanted to add a new destination and it's also well-known for huge Semana Santa celebrations.

In retrospect, I wish I'd stayed longer in Malaga and avoided Sevilla completely during Semana Santa. I heard that there's a very special Easter Sunday procession in Granada but by the time I made my plans, I couldn't get a hotel in my budget - which had been stretched to the limit because of the 4 nights in Sevilla.

In Malaga, I stayed at the Ibis, good location, comfortable bed, but overall I'd give them a barely passing grade (if you consider it, I'll be happy to provide more details). The room was one-third of what I paid in Sevilla. I enjoyed seeing Malaga's sights and I was enthralled by the processions and the atmosphere (keep in mind that I'm not Christian). When I was too tired to walk any more, I'd go back to my room and stay up for another hour or two watching the processions from a window or, more often, on TV from my bed. In contrast, I found most of the Sevilla processions to be less interesting, less serious, and less organized.

I don't know of any "events" during the week other than the processions. There are lots of them. Each procession has two thrones with life-sized statues, one of Mary and the other of Jesus in various biblical scenes from Easter week (e.g., entering the city on an ass, the Last Supper). Many of them are on display in their churches or brotherhoods during the week at various hours. I never found a schedule, but I quickly learned that an open door and a crowd meant there was something worth seeing.

this website has great information. In Malaga the TI's had booklets with a timetable of all the processions and a map of their routes. I think there was something similar in Sevilla. The processions all have bands, so it's easy to find them, just follow the music. Often the locals gather in anticipation, so if you see crowds waiting, that's another sign that one's coming.

I'm with Priscilla and Kathleen. Skip Morocco and Gibraltar. You'll use up too much time to get there and back. Visit Sevilla before Semana Santa, if you can, or after if that fits better. Add Cordoba to your itinerary, maybe Toledo too.

Posted by
67 posts

Thank you everyone for such thoughtful responses! I appreciate and will consider all the advice! :)

Posted by
7124 posts

Glancing at the subject of this post I thought, "Ooh, this one's perfect for Chani".
< scroll down >
< scroll down >
My friend Chani obliges with her fantastic insight.
< smiley face >

Posted by
33 posts

I would skip Gibraltar and Morocco instead I would spend some time in Malaga and Cordoba.

You can make it an idea what semana santa in Malaga is by watching this video:

For a hotel recomendation in Malaga I would go to the brand new Hotel Boutique Teatro Romano

In Cordoba I wouldn´t miss the Mezquita-Catedral, IMHO the most impressive monument in all Andalucia.

Posted by
9 posts

I suggest you add Malaga to your trip as it’s a gorgeous coastal city where the Museum of Picasso is. Also, if I were you, I’d leave Gibraltar and Morocco as these are fantastic places. You’ll love the sights in Gibraltar and Morocco has something ancient and something exotic for everyone. It’s worth visiting Rabat. I’ve been to a guided tour of Spain with my sister in August 2016 and I loved this country. I loved the most Valencia as it combines old history and innovation with the out-of-space City of Arts and Sciences by Calatrava.

Posted by
926 posts

My son (13) and I were in Spain during Holy Week last year. We wanted to see the processions, but I was a little scared off by the crowds in Seville, so we chose Cordoba (we were there 2 nights). I found a tour with Arten Cordoba and was the BEST money spent, since the guides was awesome and took us all around and knew how to work around the crowds as the night went on (even walked us to our hotel/dinner!)... we had so much fun we went and booked one for the 2nd night too.

Cordoba was great, we had a great time, and took a segway tour also which my kid loved and scared me half to death. I didn't find it super crowded, except in the later night processions. We were there Wednesday-Friday (we left good Friday morning).

We stayed here and loved it:

Here is Arten Cordoba - I did a TON of research before I finally ran across their website, not sure why it was so hard to find.

I know I have seen the website in English, but it doesn't seem to be cooperating now.... the guides were fantastic.

My son REALLY wanted to go to Gibraltar, I did not... he wanted to see the monkeys, which we did three times, and he truly loved it. As far as the rest, totally skippable IMO... I would MUCH rather have gone to Ronda or another city in Spain... but I figured if the 13 year old showed an interest in something I should listen. :) He truly did love it.

Here is my blog from that time if you want to look: this was 1st cordoba day and you can click through the rest and into Gibraltar (plus the rest of the soccer-focused trip)

Have fun!!