What we call "Easter" in the English-speaking world, the Spanish call Semana Santa, or Holy Week. That's right—an entire week (sometimes more) of elaborate processions marks the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, with celebrations extending far beyond the typical commemorations of Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday that visitors from the United States and the United Kingdom may be familiar with. In fact, Semana Santa celebrations in some parts of Spain can last for up to ten days, but it all wraps up on Domingo de la Resurrección—what we English speakers would call 'Easter Sunday'.
Many children throughout the country have the whole week off from school in honor of Semana Santa. Some working professionals also get the whole week off, but if not, Holy Thursday and Good Friday are almost guaranteed vacation days.
Once Easter Sunday rolls around, the celebrations die down a bit. As a result, in Spain, Easter Monday (Lunes de Pascua) doesn't mean much. While it is observed as a holiday in some regions of Spain, most people head back to work and school.
That being said, Spain is a big country, and narrowing down where to spend the week can be daunting. Here, we'll reveal the top destination for Semana Santa in Spain—and if you've missed it already this year, no worries. We've also got you covered with dates for the next few years.
Semana Santa in Seville
The most popular destination for Semana Santa in Spain is Seville. Considering this fact, if you want to get a good hotel room, it is worth booking your accommodation as far in advance as possible. Keep in mind as well that the city's most central areas (particularly close to the cathedral) are prime procession spots, and said processions can often last late into the night and come accompanied with music. If you want to enjoy the extravagant floats but also want to get a good night's sleep, consider staying a bit further out from the center.
Accommodation and Transport for Semana Santa in Seville
Accommodation is in very short supply during Semana Santa in Seville. As we said, you'll want to book as early as you can to guarantee somewhere to sleep.
Transportation prices for trains and buses also tend to skyrocket throughout the week. (After all, the train and bus companies have to take advantage of everyone traveling around Spain somehow!) Plan your budget accordingly, and book transport as soon as possible to ensure you get a ticket before they sell out.
Semana Santa Dates in Spain
Easter, as you may know, falls on a different date every year. As a result, so does Holy Week. If seeing the extravagant Semana Santa processions is on your bucket list for the future, keep this list in mind so you can start planning ASAP.
Below are the dates for Semana Santa in upcoming years.
|Viernes de Dolores (a week before Good Friday)||April 3||March 26||April 8||March 31||March 22|
|Sábado de Pasión (a week before Holy Saturday)||April 4||March 27||April 9||April 1||March 23|
|Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday)||April 5||March 28||April 10||April 2||March 24|
|Lunes Santo (Holy Monday)||April 6||March 29||April 11||April 3||March 25|
|Martes Santo (Holy Tuesday)||April 7||March 30||April 12||April 4||March 26|
|Miércoles Santo (Holy Wednesday||April 8||March 31||April 13||April 5||March 27|
|Jueves Santo (Holy Thursday)||April 9||April 1||April 14||April 6||March 28|
|Viernes Santo (Good Friday)||April 10||April 2||April 15||April 7||March 29|
|Sabado de Gloria (Holy Saturday)||April 11||April 3||April 16||April 8||March 30|
|Domingo de la Resurrección (Easter Sunday)||April 12||April 4||April 17||April 9||March 31|
After Semana Santa
Luckily, the springtime fun in Spain doesn't just end with Holy Week. Plenty of seasonal celebrations take place throughout the country in the following weeks.
A week after Easter Monday, there's an event in Salamanca called Lunes de Aguas, which originally was celebrated as a way to welcome the city's prostitutes back into town after they were banished during Lent. Today's celebration of the event is much more wholesome and family-friendly: locals typically take advantage of the (usually) nice weather to go for a picnic.
And two weeks after Semana Santa ends, it's time for one of the most iconic celebrations in all of Spain. Seville's legendary April Fair kicks off with the official "alumbrado," or lighting ceremony, two Sundays after Easter. It's the first and most famous of many local fairs that take place throughout Andalusia during the spring, summer, and even early fall months.