Holy Week in Spain is the perfect excuse to pack your bags and enjoy a getaway with friends, as a couple or with the whole family. The country is a top choice for the easter break, when tradition and history combine to offer travelers adventure, culture and local festivals.
That is why we decided to write this compilation with some of the best destinations to travel in Spain, so you can choose one (or more than one!) to enjoy your getaway in every way. You will discover destinations that cannot be missing from your travel plans and places off the beaten path, but charming and worth the trip.
What is Holy Week and when is it celebrated?
Holy Week is one of the most important celebrations of the Christian religion. In the religious world, these dates represent the last week of Jesus Christ on Earth.
As for its celebration, Holy Week does not have a fixed day on the calendar, since it is usually held between March 22 and April 25, the date between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. This variation happens because it depends on the duration of Lent. This previous phase begins in February with Ash Wednesday.
During Holy Week, in Spain and other countries where the Christian religion predominates, millions of people take the opportunity to enjoy the local festivities and participate in a multitude of religious acts, as well as use the long holiday weekend to travel to new destinations, such as the corners that you are about to discover.
10 places to visit in Spain during Semana Santa
1 – Seville
When it comes to experiencing Holy Week in Spain, Seville is one of the top contenders. The Andalusian capital is renowned for its numerous processions that decorate the streets, attracting thousands of tourists every year who witness and experience the passion with which the people of Seville honor their saints.
Aside from the religious festivities, Seville offers a variety of must-see attractions. Start with a visit to the Plaza de España, one of the country’s most beautiful and largest squares. The Cathedral, the Torre del Oro, and the Giralda are other places that should be on your list. But if you really want to get a feel for Seville, stroll through the Barrio de Santa Cruz and indulge in some tapas at one of the many charming bars.
2 – Toledo
If you’re seeking one of Spain’s most beautiful cities, Toledo should be your Easter destination. During Holy Week, make sure to catch the processions that wind their way through the city’s streets, which are particularly interesting since many of them take place at night. Toledo’s old town, surrounded by ancient city walls, is a must-visit. The area is full of viewpoints, caves, temples, and different zones that follow one another as you stroll along its cobbled streets. The Cathedral of Toledo, the Palace of the Catholic Monarchs, and the Alcázar are all mandatory stops on your tour.
3 – Murcia
Murcia is not only one of the most fascinating cities to visit throughout the year, but it also attracts attention during Easter. Over 90 processions take to the streets, displaying garments that have been a style for over four centuries. The entire event takes place in silence, adding to its intrigue. Murcia is a city that offers a lot of charm and entertainment options, such as the crowded and lively Plaza de las Flores, with its flower stalls and highly recommended terraces where you can enjoy excellent Murcian tapas.
4 – Granada
Competing directly with Seville, Granada is another of the great cities that you should visit during Easter, although it’s worth visiting at any time of the year. Of the 32 brotherhoods that march through the city, we suggest you see the Christ of the Gypsies and its journey through the intricate alleys. Granada is a city full of tourists, so you’re likely to find it overcrowded during Easter. Use the opportunity to indulge in its impressive gastronomic offerings and visit some of its must-see locations, such as the Alhambra, the Cathedral, or the Albaicín, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Spain.
5 – Cáceres
Located in the west of Spain, Cáceres offers a vibrant and magical celebration of Holy Week. For 9 days, the city dresses up, and its footsteps wind through streets that still maintain their medieval style, blending tradition and history to enchant our senses. It’s no surprise that Holy Week in Cáceres is recognized as being of International Tourist Interest. Take advantage of your visit to discover the wonders of a city that boasts an incredible past, traditions, and history. Don’t miss Cáceres’s Plaza Mayor, and climb the Torre de Bujaco to admire it from above. Get your camera ready, as it provides the best panoramic views.
6 – Malaga
Visiting Andalusia during Holy Week is not just a matter of obligation but of devotion. Malaga is one of the Andalusia cities that fully embodies this religious festivity’s essence. From Sunday to Sunday, the city transforms itself to welcome the thousands of citizens and tourists who flock to the streets to witness the spectacular processions, such as the one carried out by the Legion with the Christ of the Good Death and the Souls of the.
While in Malaga, visiting Calle Larios, the city’s main artery, is a must. Explore the streets of its historical center to admire the architectural and gastronomic delights that Malaga is famous for, including its spectacular tapas. To enjoy a panoramic view of the city, head to the Gibralfaro castle and its viewpoint.
7 – Salamanca
Salamanca is not just an option, but a fantastic choice to celebrate Holy Week and experience one of the best celebrations in Spain. During this festivity, the streets of Salamanca become the center of attention as thousands of people gather to witness the processions of the 16 brotherhoods and sisterhoods that parade the 22 steps.
A visit to Salamanca is also a trip back in time to explore Spain’s rich cultural heritage. The city’s urban center is home to emblematic buildings like its Cathedral, University, and Plaza Mayor, a popular spot among tourists and university students.
8 – Alicante
Alicante, situated on the Levantine coast, is a must-visit destination during Holy Week. The city hosts numerous events and processions that are worth experiencing. One of the most notable processions in all of Spain is the one that departs from the hermitage of the Barrio de Santa Cruz. The procession is a spectacle to behold, with narrow and steep streets, crowded with people, and the bearers carrying hundreds of kilos on their shoulders as they make their way down the stairs, sometimes even running.
Alicante is a city that offers a diverse range of leisure and cultural activities. The Santa Bárbara Castle is one of the largest and most beautiful in the country, offering a stunning view of the city and other points of interest, such as the Port or the Esplanade. Descend from the castle and explore the charming, picturesque streets of the Barrio de Santa Cruz to soak in its delightful atmosphere.
9 – Cuenca
The Holy Week in Cuenca is a sight to behold, not just because of the city’s beauty but also because of the processions. From the Camino del Calvario to the Camino de las Turbas, where actors simulate the mockery Jesus received while carrying the cross on his shoulders at dawn, it is truly a unique experience.
While you’re in Cuenca, visit the iconic hanging houses and explore the charming streets of the old town. You’ll find plenty of bars with delicious food that will satisfy your taste buds.
10 – Cordoba
Let’s head back to Andalusia and visit Cordoba, another magnificent city in Spain. Holy Week in Cordoba engages all your senses, from the scent of orange blossom to the silent procession of the Brotherhood of Remedio de Ánimas on wheels in the night.
While Cordoba is always buzzing with life, there are plenty of places to visit during Holy Week, such as the Mosque, the Alcázar de Los Reyes, or the Roman Bridge. And if you’re looking for entertainment, the old town is full of Flamenco shows that will impress you.