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10 Things to Do in Seville at Holy Week

Easter is an important date in Seville, which has the most peculiar traditions in the whole country. I invite you to find out all the important details so you know how to enjoy this time of the year.

Keyvis Montilva

Keyvis Montilva

10 min read

10 Things to Do in Seville at Holy Week

Seville Sidewall | © Sevilla Congress & Convention Bureau

The plans that exist to see and do in Seville throughout the year are a little different from what happens during Holy Week. And is that this town is completely transformed by the fact that different Catholic brotherhoods are grouped throughout the city to celebrate the most important week of Catholicism. All through centuries-old traditions that are a cultural asset within the Sevillian identity as well as within the Spanish identity.

So my recommendation is that if you intend to live these dates in the historic heart of Seville then keep reading this publication, because I have grouped different plans that stand out for being essential within the cultural itinerary of this week, as well as being recommended from a logistical and economic point of view.

1. Participate in the famous processions of the city

Holy Week in Seville| ©lameato feliz
Holy Week in Seville| ©lameato feliz

Holy Week is a commemorative date that has a somewhat mournful and reflective character and everything has to do with the fact that it is commemorating the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the city of Seville this is very much taken into account and, therefore, the processions of this town are an event not to be missed by those who consider themselves Catholics and have the opportunity to travel to this site.

The exact number of processions varies every year, since sometimes different brotherhoods manage to coincide within the same itinerary. In any case, what is certain is that throughout Holy Week some 70 or 80 processions usually make their way to the city's cathedral. That while another 10 take routes that go a little away from the most important Catholic church in Seville to go to slightly smaller centers of worship.

You have to know that these are mass events in which people go to fulfill pilgrimages while others are simply there without any religious reason. This is because they want to observe one of the most characteristic and impressive events of the Hispanic culture.

So the whole city is usually reorganized according to these processions. Therefore, a good way to make sure you have the chance to get to know the best neighborhoods of Seville before these events start is to participate in a private tour that shows you the architectural treasures of the city. At least if you are interested in doing so with the comfort you deserve and need to enjoy the experience.

Private tour of the best of Seville

2. Take a tour of Sevillian snacks in the Triana market

Triana Market| ©*SHERWOOD*
Triana Market| ©*SHERWOOD*

Another not-to-be-missed plan during Holy Week is the Triana Market. This has to do with the fact that despite being a place that is not part of the processions, it is still a place that connects directly with the religious history of this city. During the time of the Inquisition, this site was the site of most of the executions that were organized for those who were accused of being heretics or blasphemers.

Today the castle that served as a center of executions is in ruins and this market is built on that land. The visit offers you the possibility of a gastronomic tour to taste the characteristic Sevillian sandwiches that are usually consumed during Holy Week, which differ from the preparations of the rest of the year by the fact that vegetables and fish are the protagonists of the menu in Lent.

I recommend that you bet on a guided tour that also offers you the possibility of having a Spanish cooking class. The truth is that this is a good way to occupy your time while people are grouped in the processions. In addition, touring this market with the accompaniment of a specialist is one of the best things to see and do in the Triana neighborhood in Seville, which is a neighborhood that also has a very significant cultural importance for other aspects of identity such as the world of Flamenco.

Book a Spanish cooking tour in Triana

3. Don't miss the carvings of the Sevillian brotherhoods

Brotherhood of Los Gitanos| ©Joaquín Ossorio
Brotherhood of Los Gitanos| ©Joaquín Ossorio

Focusing your time only on enjoying the processions can be a bad decision during your visit to Seville during Holy Week. It all has to do with the fact that there are other equally interesting aspects to these Catholic commemorative dates. One of them is the different carvings of both Jesus Christ and the saints and virgins that belong to the Sevillian brotherhoods.

The Christ of the brotherhood of Los Gitanos, the clothing and images of Los Armaos and everything that accompanies the candelarias of the brotherhood of El Calvario are just some of the elements that will allow you to appreciate the beauty that characterizes these works of craftsmanship that in some cases are up to 300 years old. In fact, an indisputable fact is that most of the sculptors who have dedicated their lives to creating works for Catholic institutions have created pieces for the Sevillian brotherhoods in some part of their professional career.

Likewise, you should know that if you want to appreciate these carvings you can do so both in the processions and directly visiting the headquarters of the brotherhoods. This second idea is recommended if you also want to participate in other types of activities such as the best night tours of Seville, which allow you to enjoy the other approach to Holy Week that occurs when the sunset is over.

4. The Madrugá de Los Gitanos is a recommended plan

Participating in the Madruga| ©antoniogordi
Participating in the Madruga| ©antoniogordi

Within the scheme of schedules that occurs during Holy Week in Seville you have to know that the most important date is La Madrugá. This event is that series of processions that take place from the night of Holy Thursday until the morning of Good Friday and is characterized by the fact that there are 6 different steps that are extended for more than 10 hours sometimes.

The number of nazarenos that participate in each of these processions depends on the brotherhood. Although one of the most interesting could be the one of Los Gitanos due to the fact that the participants walk for 12 hours throughout the length and breadth of Seville.

If you decide to enjoy this night from the approach of the processions, then you have to know that it is a very reflective event with an almost spiritual atmosphere if you want to define it that way. However, you should also keep in mind that within the hundreds of thousands of people who come to Seville during Holy Week there is also another sector of the population that wants to live these dates in a totally different way.

Therefore, many nightclubs that are away from the route chosen by the processions of La Madrugá will also be full of people. In this case you could enjoy a couple of drinks with good music to live the Easter vacations with a more youthful and modern approach. Either way, both ways to spend the early hours of Good Friday are part of the best things to do in Seville during the spring.

5. Take a tour of the city's churches

Basilica of Jesus del Gran Poder| ©Enrique RG
Basilica of Jesus del Gran Poder| ©Enrique RG

If crowds are not your thing, but you are still interested in the idea of getting to know the great treasures of Catholicism in Seville during Holy Week in this city, then it is a good idea to consider a tour of the most iconic churches in this place. Most of them are characterized by a baroque style and the Iglesia del Salvador is the perfect representative of this. It is located near the Plaza Nueva and during some days of Holy Week it can be a good place to appreciate the Sevillian traditions without having to deal with processions.

The Basilica of Jesus del Gran Poder is another church that you should visit during Holy Week, although in this case it would be very important that you plan your visit according to the processions, since during the early morning of Good Friday, the Catholic brotherhood of Seville del Gran Poder organizes its respective procession throughout the city.

For this decision to visit the different churches in Seville it is advisable that you familiarize yourself a little about how to move around in Seville. Especially for the fact that there will be cuts in the public transport service that passes through specific streets that are usually part of the route of these processions that gather up to 600 000 people in some years.

6. Climb up to La Giralda in the Cathedral of Seville

View from La Giralda| ©Doenjo
View from La Giralda| ©Doenjo

If I talk about visiting churches in Seville during Holy Week then a place you can not miss is the cathedral, especially to climb up to its tower known as La Giralda. This is a place with a historical importance that goes beyond Catholicism. It is the site where the tomb of Christopher Columbus is located.

One of the most interesting aspects of going up to the viewpoint of the tower is that the ascent is via a ramp and this is very favorable for those who have mobility problems.

On the other hand, if you have no idea how to visit the Cathedral of Seville on your own for the simple fact that you would like the accompaniment of a specialist, then it is a good idea to invest your time and money in a guided tour. Even more knowing that in this way you will avoid waiting in line because you will have a date and a specific time during the Holy Week for this tour.

Guided tour of the Cathedral of Seville and the Giralda

7. You could also try torrijas in the Sevillian version

Torrijas in Seville| ©Takashi Matsumura
Torrijas in Seville| ©Takashi Matsumura

Torrijas are a dessert quite characteristic of Easter in other Spanish cities such as Madrid and, therefore, on your way through Seville you should not miss the opportunity to try the Andalusian version in some of the traditional restaurants that you find on your way.

Perro Viejo, Confitería Los Ángeles and La Colchona are some of the establishments you should visit in your search for a Sevillian version torrija that manages to convince your palate. Although the truth is that if you do not have the possibility of going to too many restaurants on your visit, if you try just one it will be enough for you to comply with this important culinary tradition of Easter.

You also have to know that a culinary tour of this style is one of the best things to do in Seville with children knowing that it is a dessert that is almost always enjoyed in childhood. As well as because it is an activity that takes you away from the crowds and crowded churches so that the family can enjoy a quieter and more conventional time.

8. A hiking session in the Sierra Norte or in Doñana are good getaways

Hiking in the Sierra Norte| ©Ramon Bacas
Hiking in the Sierra Norte| ©Ramon Bacas

Easter is also synonymous with enjoying these short vacations in the middle of spring exploring natural places that are characterized by their beauty. On a visit to Seville these places would be the Sierra Norte or the Doñana National Park, which are located both in the north and south of this city and can be a perfect escape from the large number of people that fill the streets of the fourth largest city in Spain.

Both sites are considered as one of the best tours and excursions from Seville, at least when it comes to a nature destination. In the first site, namely in the Sierra Norte, you will find hiking trails that can help you to disconnect your mind in a very special way. With the Doñana National Park the panorama changes completely, since it consists of wetlands that also have dunes and in this case a 4x4 tour is a much more fun and unforgettable bet.

Both plans are recommended for the whole family and can be perfectly combined with the other cultural activities of Easter in Seville. Especially if it is a trip of more than four or five days in which allocating a couple of hours to an excursion outside the city will not affect your chance to participate in the processions and visit the different churches.

Book a 4x4 tour from Seville

9. Don't miss the exhibitions of the Cajasol Foundation

Exhibition at the Cajasol Foundation| ©Abariltur
Exhibition at the Cajasol Foundation| ©Abariltur

The Fundación Cajasol is a cultural institution based in Seville that is dedicated to promoting the exploration of the historical and architectural heritage of the city, as well as integrating the local population with these values.

It is one of the most important agents within the artistic and social scene of the city and, for this reason, it is quite common that during Holy Week they hold some special exhibitions. All of them oriented to the history of the brotherhoods, as well as the importance of the Sevillian processions for the culture of Spain.

The specific location of these exhibitions can change every year, as it all depends on the theme of these events as well as the amount of space they need. Either way, participating in the world of Sevillian art and culture is one of the best things to do on a 5-day trip to Seville, especially during Holy Week, knowing that the city with its museums and galleries becomes one of the most important tourist destinations in all of Spain.

10. Experience the gastronomy of Seville from the fish

Cod croquettes| ©Javier Lastras
Cod croquettes| ©Javier Lastras

Sevillian gastronomy throughout the year is usually quite interesting because it combines the flavors of animal proteins such as beef and chicken with the seafood that define Andalusian cities. During Holy Week and specifically throughout all of Lent, this is reconfigured, as fish becomes the true protagonist of most dishes.

ratatouille with its characteristic sauce, cod croquettes, artichokes and spinach with chickpeas are just some of the dishes you have to try during Holy Week in Seville.

Therefore, a gastronomic tour that allows you the chance to taste the typical Sevillian tapas of Lent along with a wine tasting is something you should not miss. Even more if it is a high level gourmet experience that can give you the degree of exclusivity you are looking for.

Book a wine and tapas tour in Seville