Among the annual events and tradition in Spain, Easter week, or Semana Santa, is one of the largest celebrations of the year across the country. The celebrations are at their best in Andalusian cities such as Seville, Malaga, and Cordoba, which also hosts a fun wine festival every April. Barcelona, on the other hand, always celebrates its Sant Jordi Festival, which is similar to Valentine's Day, on April 23 while Madrid's lively arts and culture scene truly starts to come to life.
Here's a look at some of the most popular events and sights you can't miss if you'll be visiting Spain in April.
Seville's version of Easter during Semana Santa is perhaps the most lavish in the country, with magnificent floats parading through the city in daily processionals and awe-inspiring performances. Events culminate with Easter Sunday processionals to the city's central cathedral and an Easter Mass.
Despite its name, the Feria de Abril (April Fair) will actually take place entirely in May in 2019 due to Easter falling so late this year. If you'll still be in town from May 4–11, you'll definitely want to check out this colorful cultural event where flamenco flair, sherry wine, and elegant horses abound.
While playing tourist in Seville itself, be sure to visit Barrio Santa Cruz, one of the Andalusian capital's most beautiful and historic neighborhoods. Next, make your way to the cathedral and climb the Giralda tower, once a minaret of a mosque that now forms part of the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Finally, don't forget to check out the Alcazar, which has been made (even more) famous by its appearance in the HBO series "Game of Thrones."
The southern coastal region (and city) of Malaga is also known for its Semana Santa celebrations, but you can also expect some smaller music, food, and literary events in April as well. April is the perfect time for exploring the local attractions of this region.
If you're up for climbing its 200 steps, Malaga's cathedral provides panoramic views of the city and the coast. Additionally, La Térmica, a modernist building that has served as an orphanage and military hospital, is a fantastic concert and exhibition center that hosts fascinating cultural events nearly every day.
Visitors to the Costa del Sol capital will definitely want to put the Museo Picasso Malaga, a museum dedicated to the works of hometown hero Pablo Picasso, on the itinerary. There are more than 200 of the prolific painter's works in its permanent collection, including paintings of his children and family.
If you're looking to get away from the city, Paseo de Malaga, a tree-lined park with exotic plants in its gardens provides a quiet respite. Malaga also serves as a great jumping off point for visitors who want to visit other nearby locales.
There is a great variety of things to do in Madrid, Spain's capital, during the month of April. Music lovers especially will want to save the date (April 24-May 11, 2019) for the Festimad Music Festival, which holds nightly concerts for more than two weeks, featuring hip-hop, rock, and pop acts.
For a truly authentic Madrid experience, visit the Reina Sofia Museum to view Picasso's massive painting "Guernica." After a long day of sightseeing, head to the happening Malasaña neighborhood for a taste of Madrid's iconic nightlife, starting with some of the best tapas in Spain at the centuries-old tavern Casa Labra.
If you're looking for a more of-the-beaten-path experience, visit the Convento de las Descalzas, a former royal residence that's now a convent and a museum. One of the exhibits includes pieces of wood believed to be from Jesus' crucifix.
April 23 marks the Sant Jordi Festival, a hybrid event similar to Valentine's Day. The man of the hour, Sant Jordi (St. George in English), is the patron saint of Catalonia (as well as of England and a dozen other countries and regions in the world).
April 23 also happens to be the date that both Cervantes and Shakespeare died, and this literary coincidence plays a big role in the festivities as well. Men traditionally show their affection for loved ones on this day by buying them a book.
Other Barcelona events in April include the La Passió performance of the Passion of Christ in nearby Esparraguera. Also of note are the the Salón del Comic (a massive comic book convention) and the Mostra de Cinema Llatinoamericà (a Latin American film festival taking place in nearby Lleida).
Often relegated to a simple day trip from Madrid or Seville, the passionate Andalusian city of Cordoba has so much more to offer than its famous Mezquita. Yes, you should absolutely make room in your schedule for a trip to Spain's most iconic mosque, but the city is truly at its best in the spring and deserves to be savored.
Just like its counterparts Seville and Malaga, Cordoba's Semana Santa processions have all the flair and passion you can come to expect from Andalusian Easter celebrations. After Holy Week, don't miss out on the Cata de Vinos Montilla-Moriles from April 25–28. This massive wine tasting festival perfectly encapsulates the magical essence of Cordoba in springtime.
If you have time, be sure to leave room on your itinerary for a half-day trip out to Medina Azahara. The ruins of a spectacular Muslim palace-city left over from Spain's Moorish days, the complex is a breathtaking journey back in time that allows you to literally step into Cordoba's gilded past. In 2018, it rightfully earned the status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, giving Cordoba a record-breaking total of four.