Spain’s Best Easter Destinations
Spain is a land of traditions, that’s a fact. There are numerous religious festivities which are honored in multiple ways, such as San Fermin Festival (The Running of the Bulls), San Isidro or Christmas itself. But there is a tradition that stands out over the others in many cities and towns across Spain: Easter, which celebrated during the whole week, referred as Holy Week or Semana Santa in Spanish. This week, we want to make you an original proposal for you to experience Holy Week in a different way. From the most severe atmospheres to the most festive ones, the most popular destinations hold international titles for touristic interest. Just take a look to how this holiday is celebrated in Spain and you will be looking forward to visiting the cities where this festivity is the main starring of the year.
To begin with, we have to go back in time to draft the origins of Holy Week in Spain. Undoubtedly, its undisputed protagonists are thousands of processions which are held all around the country to relive the Passion of Christ before he resurrected on Easter. Some towns also highlight because of their tamboradas, where people play drums in the historic parts of the towns. These ancestral traditions date from 15th century and even before in towns like Zamora. That was the time when numerous factors converged, but above all of them, the public demonstration of a passionate religious sentiment made people elaborate parades, organized in brotherhoods and fraternities. Through time, these parades have seen how their popularity and importance have grown, splitting into two different ways of making them, but having the same inner religious sentiment.
Regarding procesiones, the first thing you have to know is that there are different important places to watch the most spectacular and traditional parades in the world. In case you want to see a solemn and formal procesión, the places to go are in the northern part of Spain, and more concretely in the region of Castile and León. One of its capital cities, Zamora, hosts the oldest celebrations including penitence processions, but cities as Valladolid and Salamanca are also outstanding within this festivity. The main features in this region’s ritual include the solemnity and seriousness of its parades and general mood. Artistic figures showed in their pasos or floats are obscure, as well as the general setting of parades.
On the other hand, Andalusia represents the opposite point of view to this religious festivity. Holy Week in cities as Seville, Córdoba, Granada or Málaga are, without leaving solemnity aside, much more glamorous and picturesque than the ones in the North of Spain. One of the most famous procession is the one celebrated in Seville, known as the madrugá, which takes place the entire night from Holy Thursday to Holy Friday. In Andalusia, brotherhoods tend to use more colorful costumes and pasos. Processions in Seville are probably the most recognized and famous in Spain. They go through the most emblematic spots of the city and it is really difficult to get to watch them. In this case, we have exclusive spots (balconies) for you to watch these special parades in a comfortable atmosphere. And if you want to go even deeper, we cheer you up to visit some of the iconic brotherhoods to get to know how locals live this special time of the year. Of course, we will be with you to guide and explain to you every single detail.
Finally, there are other important towns and cities where Holy Week is worldwide known, as in Murcia, Cuenca or the region of Aragón. Every parade features the most characteristic elements of processions in Spain, which are the nazarenos. They are dressed in tunics of different colors depending on the brotherhood they belong to, and most of them also wear the typical hood with a conical tip known as capirote.
Linked to Holy Week, we can find some towns where we can find the famous tamboradas. There, thousands of people take the streets dressed in their typical costumes playing drums for hours and leaving and impressive picture and a thundering sound that impresses everyone who visits them. The most famous ones are located in the regions of Aragón, Castile-La Mancha, Murcia, Andalusia and Valencia. This celebration in towns like Calanda, Hellín, Mula, Alzira or Baena among others, have been declared as Intangible Cultural Heritage for Humanity by UNESCO. People from each town dress in a different way from the others, ranging from a plain black robe and red scarf in Hellín to colorful uniforms including horsetail helmets in Baena. These towns are also known for their processions, in which some of the most beautiful sculptures in the country are present. If you are looking for a different experience, visiting one of these towns won’t leave you unsatisfied.
From our part, we just finally want to let you know that if you are looking for a different holidays during Easter, Spain is your ideal destination. Leaving apart big cities, which can also be part of your itinerary depending on the days you want to stay, this is a perfect opportunity for you to get to know small historic towns that organize some of the most beautiful and solemn processions to tell through precious sculptures the story of the Passion. But don’t forget about the tamboradas, which are also an essential part of some of the most important celebrations through the country. Just think on the way you want to live this week of Passion and let us guide you through one of the oldest Spanish traditions.