Sevilla is considered by many people as the very heart of Catholic Spain. If you happen to visit this beautiful city during Holy Week, expect to be treated to a colorful and moving display. Sevillanos observe Semana Santa seriously. Here are some helpful tips to enjoy your trip.
Plan way ahead of time. Hotels in Sevilla are hard to come by during this season. Prices often double as visitors from all over the country and the world come to experience the celebrations. Flights book up fast, train tickets sell like hotcakes, restaurants, and cafes are packed and every people will be out in the streets.
Make sure to plan your schedule around the processions. Semana Santa in the city is built around Cofradías (brotherhoods) that process through the streets from their home church to the cathedral and back. You’ll see large floats that pay homage to Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. You can get the schedule in tourist offices or any newspaper or throughout Sevilla.
Look for a good vantage point. Many locals and visitors flock to see the procession, and the closer the procession gets to the cathedral, the thicker the crowd. Choose a location near the procession’s home church and station yourself on a place close to the route before the departure or return trip.
It is considered a huge honor to participate in the procession, and you should treat all participants with respect. Taking photos is usually okay, but you should not be too intrusive when you take your shot. Remember, while this is a spectacular tourist attraction, it is also an important religious event.
You should explore the side streets around the main cathedral in Sevilla. You will find a number of treasures in the winding streets that encircle the cathedral.
Another tip: Stay up late. From the youngest to the oldest, Sevillanos will usually stay up for the entire night. They will walk along with their church’s procession, so should you. Each procession takes on a magical quality at night, with incense and candles burning in the dark, and the music from the bands wailing across Sevilla at all hours.