Easter is arguably one of the most popular times to visit Spain, or more accurately, Seville, where the average temperature at the end of March/beginning of April is around 22 degrees. The Semana Santa (Holy Week) is undoubtedly the most important celebration on the Spanish calendar and, although each Spanish region has its own particular traditions, the celebrations are arguably at their most elaborate and spectacular in Seville. If you are planning a trip to Seville for Easter, you will be in for a real treat as, although serious in religious intent, the Spanish do fiestas very well, and you will find yourself drawn into what is an amazing historic and emotional feast for the eyes.
Dating back to the 16th Century, the festivities begin on Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) and last until Easter Monday (Lunes de Pascua), with the most dramatic processions being held on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Associations known as ‘cofradías’ or ‘brotherhoods’ (whose members take part in what are known as ‘penance processions’) parade from their church to the city’s cathedral, their flamboyant parades and intricate religious displays depicting biblical scenes. There are some 58,000 people who parade in the organised processions by day, and the candlelit processions by night. The sumptuous floats with their sculptures of religious figures are followed by ‘penitent sinners’ in monastic robes and pointed conical hoods, which conceal their identity.
On the streets of Seville, everyone gets involved in this traditional dramatisation of Christ’s death and resurrection during Holy Week. Despite the serious theme, it is very much an uplifting celebratory occasion for participants, musicians, local families and visitors alike.
A modern, more cosmopolitan city, the Easter celebrations in Barcelona may not be as elaborate as Seville, but Semana Santa in Barcelona definitely has its fair share of celebrations too.
There are traditional Easter processions in the centre of Barcelona on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, which take a route from the ‘penitents’ home parish church to the Barcelona cathedral, and back. The processions also involve beautifully decorated and adorned Easter floats, known as ‘pasos’. A good place to watch the processions is in the city’s famous Gothic Quarter, close to Las Ramblas. On Las Ramblas or by the Sagrada Familia church, you will also find palmónes and palmas (bleached palm leaves) for sale on the days leading up to Palm Sunday. All churches in Barcelona have Palm Sunday masses, which usually include a ‘Bendición de la Palma’ palm blessing ceremony. At some churches the parish priests will go outside the church to bless people outside carrying laurel branches – ‘ramos de laurel’ or palm stalks and leaves called ‘palmónes y palmas’.
As a capital city, Madrid hosts a huge variety of year-round cultural events, shows and attractions, and Easter is certainly no exception. From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, Madrid fills up with thousands of people who come to the city to watch the parades and the religious costumes, and just to be part of the exciting atmosphere. The biggest draw here is the famous Cristo de Medinaceli (Christ of Medina) procession, which takes place on Good Friday. It sets off from the parish of Jesús de Medinaceli and wends its way through all of the main streets of the city. The many other processions that also take place on Good Friday include the Jesús Nazareno ‘el pobre’ (Jesus of Nazareth ‘the poor’), Alabarderos (Yeomen of the Guard), and the procession of silence. For the latter, the brotherhoods and worshippers walk in silence, which can be a very moving experience for spectators.
The beautiful top floor Calle San Tomas luxury apartment to rent in Seville is situated in the very centre of the historic city, just steps away from the Cathedral, the Giralda, the Royal Palace and the Archive of the Indies. From the apartment and its large furnished terrace there are breathtaking views over the city. In spite of its central location, the apartment is also very quiet, and very spacious, with natural light streaming in the windows all year round.
The stunning Calle San Jose 2 luxury apartment to rent in Seville is in a 17th century stately Sevillian palace, a unique building right in the heart of the city, just 5 minutes’ walk from the Cathedral and the Giralda, and next to the Madre de Dios convent. From this enviable location, guests can enjoy Seville’s historical and cultural heritage, as well as its shopping and culinary delights. The Palace has been beautifully restored throughout by Rafael Manzano, the renowned and award-winning classical architect who was responsible for the conservation of Seville’s Royal Palace complex. The building houses five separate, independent apartments, which can be rented independently, or together for larger groups of up to 22 guests.
Conveniently situated in Mateos Gago street, just a 2 minute walk from the famous Giralda tower and Seville Cathedral, this luxury apartment to rent is in a wonderful, central location. Set between the historical centre and the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the area offers numerous tapas bars, historical buildings and flamenco venues. The Real Alcázar and main shopping streets are just a five minute walk away.
The 4-bedroom duplex apartment rental is in a traditional and spacious Sevillian house which has been completely restored throughout, and offers comfort, style and all modern conveniences. Features include high ceilings, marble floors and large windows allowing for plenty of sunshine, as well as views over lively Mateos Gago street. The tasteful interior features both modern and antique furniture, and a colourful selection of rugs and other textiles.
The very stylish Calle de la Fuente del Berro luxury apartment to rent in Madrid is centrally located in the Salamanca district, on Fuente del Berro street, a stone’s throw from the famous Alcalá and just 8 minutes walk from the Retiro Park. It is convenient to both the main tourist attractions, and the fashionable shops, bars and restaurants for which the area is known.
The apartment is situated on the 3rd floor and offers spacious accommodation and a small balcony. The interiors have been decorated with great care and attention to detail, from the furniture to the textiles, and art work. The result combines a feeling of space with contemporary design.
This exclusive Royal Palace luxury apartment to rent in Madrid is on the second floor of a stately and historic 19th century building. Generous in its proportions, beautifully decorated and with impressive views over the Royal Palace and the Plaza de Oriente, this stunning property will delight the most discerning travellers, with the historic quarter of Habsburg Madrid being one of the city’s main attractions.
This Calle Comercial luxury apartment to rent in Barcelona in the popular El Born area, is wonderfully spacious (230m2) with high ceilings and large glass windows. There are three small balconies with views over the city. The apartment is on the third floor, with lift access.
The living area alone is 75m2, with original brick wall and beamed ceilings, as well as being decorated and furnished very stylishly. There is also a dining area with dining table for 10 people, and a well-equipped kitchen.
The beautiful Carrer de Balmes luxury apartment to rent in Barcelona is situated in the Eixample district, right in the centre of the city, on the corner of Carrer de Balmes and Carrer de Valencia. For parking, there is an underground parking building on the Paseo de Gracia which is open 24 hours a day.
The accommodation comprises a large living room filled with natural light, and furnished with designer furniture, with the interiors of the apartment (180m2) being designed to a very high standard, using sustainable materials such as natural wood flooring, a corian and marble bathroom, 100% wool rugs, high quality bed linen and towels, and designer lamps.
This spacious Carrer de Valencia 6 luxury apartment to rent in Barcelona is situated on Carrer de Valencia with its many shops and restaurants to explore. The apartment is located midway between the city centre and Gracia district in the Eixample area, and easily accessible to both. The apartment is designed in a circular shap and the entrance is into an interior light patio with a small zen garden.
The luxury Gaudi Apartment to rent in Barcelona is located on the famous Passeig de Gracia with an exclusive view of Gaudi’s Casa Batllo. The Passeig de Gracia is arguably the most important street in Barcelona, with its exclusive shops, as well as two key sightseeing points: the Casa Battló and La Pedrera. This luxury vacation home offers the perfect base for sightseeing, shopping, dining out and enjoying the best that Barcelona has to offer.
This contemporary apartment rental has been furnished to a high standard throughout and with 5 spacious bedrooms and 3 bathrooms the apartment comfortably accommodates 10 guests. The large living room is the focal point of this impressive rental and offers guests excellent views of the famous Casa Batllo from the Spanish balcony.
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