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Easter week/ Semana Santa in Toledo, Avila and Segovia

We're going to be staying in Madrid the week before Easter, and making day trips to Toledo, Avila and Segovia, Sunday April 13, Monday, April 14, and Tuesday April 15. We're not religious but are interested in seeing some of the Semana Santa events/processions. We have a 7 and 9 year old so probably won't be staying out for the late night events. We're having a hard time figuring out which day to go where, other than that we know we don't want to go to Toledo on Tuesday because the Sinagoga del Transito is closed. Is there a good source for a schedule of events? Will Toledo be too crowded on Palm Sunday? We were planning to buy train tickets a day in advance for Toledo but not Avila or Segovia - do we need them for all? thanks!

Posted by
17 posts

Semana Santa isn't as big in Madrid, or the other Castilla - La Mancha/Castilla - Leon communities as it is down south, but I believe that Cuenca has a decent procession. Try not to make day trips on Monday, as many attractions are closed (found that out the hard way in El Escorial). It's not a bad idea to buy train tickets a day in advance, especially since the train station is right by the Prado and Reina Sofía art museums - go after seeing those (Metro stop Atocha, line 1).

Try this site out

Posted by
162 posts

You have probably gone and come back by now, but for future reference:

I was in Spain for Semana Santa this past April 2014. I was in Cordoba where it was a big deal. They actually put out a schedule of the “parades” and where they go, but if you are around the Mezquita you won’t miss them. You can also hear them from blocks away. They seem to start around noon and go all day and into the night until about 2:00 in the morning. It was quite fun watching them. Huge crowds. Even the little kids were up late. I guess they all took siesta’s.

I then went to Seville for Maundy Thursday through the Monday past Easter. UNBELIEVABLE!!! 250 million people there! I sort of didn’t have a choice of when I ended up in Seville, and would never go there again during Semana Santa. You can’t move downtown. Streets are blocked and you can’t cross them. I got caught up in the middle of a procession trying to move around. Think: Rose Bowl Parade or Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. You can’t see any of the sights, many restaurants close, if restaurants aren’t closed they are packed! I liked watching the processions on TV better. I was able to get close to the processions, and they are really incredible. Nothing like them. After a while though..... The crowds were heaviest on Friday and Saturday night, then on Easter Sunday not as bad and by Monday everyone was gone! A miracle! I could see the city! If you get panic attacks in crowds then don’t go. It can be stifling.

Toledo wasn’t that crowded on Palm Sunday, I think I was there then. The parades hadn’t started there yet.