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Seville Holy Week, or Seville

Hi! I'm planning a trip in April (fingers crossed) and I land in Madrid on March 31st. Should I hop over to Seville from the 1st to the 4th for the weekend of Holy Week? Hotels are pretty pricey. If not I would stay in Madrid for a couple of nights, then Cordoba and then Seville.
I'm a solo traveler and an amateur photographer. Besides the cost I also know it's going to be very crowded. But it is also a once in a lifetime experience.
Go or later? Also suggestions of where to stay?
Thank you!

Posted by
136 posts

Will Spain/Seville be able to put on the normal, large Holy Week festivities? If you’re going to experience those, best to confirm they will actually be taking place. I just don’t know when that decision would be made. I know, for example, that most Christmas markets have been closed, but it might be that decisions about spring/Easter festivities are made closer to the date, in hopes that the forthcoming vaccines are in widespread circulation by then. If you’re going to see Spain, it might not matter. But if you’re going specifically to experience Holy Week, it might be best to wait until 2022.

Posted by
4348 posts

Many places celebrate Easter in a big way in Europe, but I doubt that many of them will be taking place in 2021.

We don’t like crowds, so wouldn’t go there Holy Week if we wanted to see the city. If you are going because you want to see the festival, then you have to put up with crowds and significantly higher prices.

Posted by
3571 posts

Why not stay in Cordoba and day trip to Seville for a Holy Week photo day if lodging costs are sufficiently better? It's only just over an hour from Cordoba. But you would then want to prepurchase your bus or train tickets a few weeks ahead once you know what level of celebrating will happen as it could be a busy transport time as well.
In Cordoba, I stayed at Hotel Gonzales, a 2 star family run hostal in old town. If you are thinking of day trips, look to see what may be closer to the train/bus stations.

Posted by
2928 posts

While holy week in Sevilla is one of the larger festivals, many smaller towns also have the processions that are equally impressive in their own way. They too would be crowded, as in wall-to-wall people, but lodging might be more affordable. For example, when I lived in Spain, rather than driving to Sevilla and dealing with those crowds, we went to Jerez de la Frontera.

Posted by
17881 posts

I think the point about whether the (typically totally packed) outdoor processions will actually take place next year is a very good one. And if they do occur, will you be comfortable being a part of such mobs, even if vaccinated? Having been to Seville during Holy Week 2019, I would give it a pass for next spring.

In addition to the health concerns, it's difficult to grasp how the festivities will reduce the efficiency of your other sightseeing until you've experienced Holy Week conditions in Seville. You will be slowed down very significantly because of:

  • Reduced hours and closures at some tourist sights.
  • The likely need to make multiple trips to hit sights in the same part of town because of those reduced hours/closures.
  • Huge crowds blocking your way so that you must take lengthy detours to reach your destination or to return to your hotel.

Should you decide to proceed with a trip to southern Spain that includes part or all of Holy Week, it may be helpful to know that the local tourist offices will probably each have a handout showing special Holy Week hours of operation at the various sights. I was unable to get reliable information in Granada, but what I was given in the other cities was accurate.

Posted by
14211 posts

The way things look now, I can't imagine there will be processions. As Ashley said, preparations take months. If you can change your dates. . . . it's probably better to skip Holy Week, either go in mid-March or after Easter. If you are flying R/T Madrid, I'd take the train straight to Cordoba (my favorite Spanish city), then Sevilla, then back to Madrid for the return flight.

I was in Andalucia once for Semana Santa. I spent the first half in Malaga, the second in Sevilla and Easter Sunday in Cordoba. The processions in Malaga were much more enjoyable. The crowds were orderly and quite appropriately reverent, the crowds in Sevilla were rather rowdy. By the time I got to Cordoba on Saturday night, it felt like any other day of the year. Yes, the hotel prices in Sevilla were very high, much less in Malaga, and barely more than usual in Cordoba (though they may be somewhat higher earlier in the week). It is indeed a once in a lifetime experience and I was glad I got to be there for it. If/when you visit during Semana Santa, you really can't experience the processions on a day trip because there's not much happening before mid-afternoon and the most interesting processions are in the evenings and especially late at night.

My other 2 trips to Andalucia were in February and excellent, with low season prices and few tourists. The weather is generally mild, I had a bit of rain but most days were sunny. From reports I've seen here on the forum, April is much rainier than Feb/March.

Where to stay depends on your preferences and budget.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you so so much for the replies and sensible observations. I will keep original plans and if wanting visit from Cordoba. And thank you for the memories shared and knowledge. Much appreciated.
I prefer traveling meeting locals, small towns. I will probably leave the large crowds, chaos and congestion to those who wish it.
Truly appreciate all advice.