As winter turns into spring, the options for an ideal city break open up like the blossoming flowers.
And where better to go than Andalusia’s gem: Seville.
Seville has a plethora of things to see and visit, like the Cathedral, its old town, the idyllic Triana neighbourhood, its river and the Giralda Tower. But why not combine all of these things with a trip during one of its marvellous festivals or annual events.
Here we take a look at the essence of Seville which is two main festivals or celebrations: The Feria de Abril (The April Fair) and Semana Santa (Holy Week or Easter).
Feria de Abril
Fairs are commonplace throughout Andalusia at this time of year but there is no doubt where the biggest one lies: Seville.
Simply called the Feria de Abril, this year’s party begins on the evening of Monday 11 April, though this celebration is normally reserved for locals only in what is known as the Pescaditos night (the fish night). The Monday is where Sevillanos converge upon the fairground area and tuck into a variety of fish dishes that are all freshly served.
Come Tuesday and the event is in full swing. Normally with plenty of sunshine as summer is on the horizon, Flamenco dresses and other traditional wear can be seen in abundance as the whole community dresses up for this most spectacular of occasions.
This year, like many in recent times, sees the Wednesday as a public holiday and is probably the peak time of the Feria, both in terms of fun and numbers. The fun and dancing lasts from dusk til dawn so go at any time and enjoy the flamenco dancing or a glass of rebujito, the traditional alcoholic drink on offer.
There are a number of Casetas (stalls/tents) to choose from but many are private so unless you know someone who is from Seville, or has access to one of these, then you may find it difficult to enter. Nevertheless, there are a number of public Casetas, including those organised by political parties, so there is fun to be had by tourists and locals alike.
Translated literally as ‘Holy Week’, Seville’s Easter celebrations last over a whole week (eight days if you include both Sundays).
Normally happening as spring is well and truly upon us, Semana Santa is one of the biggest religious festivals in the world, with up to a million visitors witnessing hundreds of processions.
Each brotherhood, from each district, have their own version, with proceedings at the beginning of the week dominated in the neighbourhoods of Triana and the city centre.
By Thursday, the pasos (the floats) are heavily constituted in the Macarena neighbourhood, full of Virgin Mary and Jesus effigies.
The big night is the Thursday night, early Friday morning (it peaks around 5am), as the locals and tourists find difficulty finding time to sleep at this tumultuous point of the weeklong event.
With next year’s event beginning on the 9th of April, it may seem a distant thought but there is no time like the present, particularly as this is the most in demand time of the year for the city. Hotels are at a premium and cost more the longer you leave it so though it may seem crazy booking almost a year in advance, you won’t regret it.
Where to stay
Cathedral House is an excellent place to stay if you are thinking of something a little more affordable.
Free wifi and within walking distance of all the attractions Seville has to offer, it is little wonder this hotel is so popular.
It also includes free breakfast, air-conditioning (much needed in summer) and a communal kitchen.
Please be aware that the excellent value on offer is valid at most times of the year, but not during Semana Santa, as the price may increase, particularly for those who book late.
If you’re seeking a mid-range option in Andalusia’s capital then why not opt for the Hotel Fernando III.
With its luxurious rooftop pool that has excellent views, this hotel is a popular choice amongst those looking to splash out a little, without breaking the bank.
The four star hotel also boasts rooms with a view, as well as all the necessities that every hotel offers, such as wifi, televisions in the room and a top restaurant available too.
And all of this just five minutes on foot from the city centre. What more could you need?
The Alfonso XIII Luxury Collection hotel is the residence of the rich and famous during their visit to the city.
Kings and Queens have stayed here, as have stars of the big screen, and this could be your choice should you so wish when you decide to head to Seville.
The clue is in the title: luxury. This is Seville’s most recognised and luxurious hotel. It is hardly surprising, though, as it is steeped in history, comes with a swimming pool and has an American style bar.
The place lies within a stone’s throw of the Cathedral and all of the city’s major sites, including the Giralda Tower and the gardens of the Alcazar.
When booking this hotel, please bear in mind: this is not just one of the top hotels in Andalusia it is one of the best in the country.
How to get to Seville
Though the airports of Malaga, less than two hours away, and Jerez, just over an hour, are options, logically the best way to get there is to fly to Seville Airport.
Whichever airport you choose to fly into, make sure you elect Shuttle Direct as your first port of call upon arrival.
Shuttle Direct will whisk you off your feet and make the beginning of your trip as memorable as the rest of your holiday. Make it a perfect start, make it Shuttle Direct.
You will be picked up in style and taken in comfort to your place of stay by one of Shuttle Direct’s experienced drivers in one of their pristine vehicles.