Possibly one of Spain’s most beautiful city’s, Seville, literally blossoms in April when the townspeople celebrate the arrival of spring with Fería de Abril or as we English-speaking folk people call it, the Seville April Fair.
Possibly one of Spain’s most beautiful city’s, Seville, literally blossoms in April when the townspeople celebrate the arrival of spring with Fería de Abril or as we English-speaking folk people call it, the Seville April Fair. The sweet smell of orange blossoms is everywhere and the excitement of this special celebration is tangible.
In 2021 the festival runs from 25th of April until May 1st (note confirmed) | Sunday-Saturday.
and it can only be described as a true Spanish fiesta. You will wintness food, music, bullfights, and flamenco. Each day, for the duration of the fair, starts off with a parade called ‘Paseo de Caballos’ and in the evening bullfights happen at the La Real Maestranza.
The Seville Fair dates all the way back to the mid-19th-century, starting out as a livestock fair. As soon as the casetas (fair tents) appeared the fair became the festive soiree it is today.
Traditional Spanish Dress
Women don the traditional dress, traje de gitana (gypsey dress), which is characterized by polka dots and ruffles, or volantes, and magnificent colors.
Seville Setting The Spring Fashion Trends
Forget Milan, New York, and Paris; because it’s the first festival of the year, Seville is the first city to show the new fashions, and a lot of women have more than one dress for the fair, knowing the following year there’ll be a new style.
Some fashion at the Seville April Fair. By RECURSOS FERIA DE SEVILLA
As a visitor, you’re not expected to own one of these dresses, which are quite expensive. Instead, you can accessorize with a pretty flower in your hair, or an ornate comb will do. Some women wear large earrings to go with the flamenco fair.
Make sure you wear shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty, or you can clean easily as the fairgrounds are covered in dirt.
Seville Fair Parade
Besides the fashion, highlights of the Seville April Fair include the midday parade with carriages and riders (paseo de caballos). The carriages transport people to the bullring La Maestranza where the best bullfights of the season take place. A word of warning for those who don’t like bullfights, stay away from this area.
The traditional carriage with the Sevillian kids. By Julie Raccuglia via flickr.com
Seville Fair With Kids
There are parades of flower-decked horse-drawn carriage throughout the day as well as entertainment for the kids at Calle del Infierno – which means Street of Hell (we’re not sure we want to know why) – with merry-go-rounds and nausea-inducing ‘hell’ rides.
Seville Fair At Night
When the sun goes down the real partying starts and the old cliché ‘sleep when you’re dead’ certainly rings true as all-nighters eat, drink and dance the night away.
The private casetas are by invite only, however, there a few that are open to the rest of us plebs, but rest assured, there’s more than enough to do and see, from parades and processions to fireworks and equestrian events.
Just walking around the fair is an adventure for your senses: the sights, sounds, and smells; every part of you comes alive. It’s pretty much an Instagramer or Snapchatter’s dream.
So Why Seville April Fair?
Spaniards are renowned for their ‘joie de vivre’ and while the fair might be aimed more at the locals, it’s definitely an opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the festivities. It’s an assault on all your senses.
While we don’t have exact times for the many events throughout the day there will be tourist information areas. If you’re looking for an energetic festival filled with Andalucian tradition, then visit the Seville April Fair.
Make the most of your time while in Seville. With tapas on tap, galleries, and museums, there’s very little time for siestas.
Seville Old Town
If you can, try and visit the Parque de María Luisa, an oasis of greenery in the heart of Seville! Rolling lawns, ponds with ducks, fountains, statues and sculptures, it’s the perfect place to take in the sights and sounds of this amazing city.
There’s also a chance to see the Plaza de España, which you will recognize from the movie Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.
Seville River Guadalquivir
You can walk or picnic alongside the River Guadalquivir, or if you prefer some physical activity, you can kayak down the river, experiencing the city from a completely different vantage point.
While you can paddle on your own, we suggest taking a tour, which will make the experience far more enjoyable, giving landmarks and places of interest so much needed context.
Where To Stay?
Sevillehas so many places to stay that I had to choose some for you.
Our pick of a very good bunch is the Hotel Las Casas de la Judería. What makes this hotel so unique is that it’s set in amongst traditional Sevillan houses, linked by passages and courtyards.
There is a stunning rooftop pool area, a spa and traditional Andalusian patios and classic décor. Set in the Jewish quarter of Seville, it’s a popular choice for visitors to the city.
Bed & Breakfast Triana is one of Seville’s best-kept secrets, until now of course. It’s excellent value for money if you’re traveling on a budget.
It has Wi-Fi, is close to everything, the rooms are air-conditioned and there is a flat-screen TV with cable in the rooms.
Finding somewhere to stay in Seville isn’t difficult. There is accommodation to suit everyone’s’ needs and budgets. Visit online sites, like booking.com, for example, to see a wide range of hotels, self-catering units, villas and guest houses. They have reviews, from real people, who have actually stayed at the various places, so you will get a fair and honest review.
Where To Eat?
Chocos and Adobe
You’ll find family and friends eating plates of chocos (a cuttlefish dish) and adobo, which is marinated dogfish (believe us, it sounds awful but tastes delicious) and there are stalls selling culinary delights like buñuelos and churros, with hot chocolate.
The refreshment of choice is a little drink called ‘rebujito’, which is a mixture of manzanilla sherry with 7-Up or Sprite. Be warned, though, it is very tasty and refreshing, but the alcohol goes straight to your head.
Meals In The Casetas
If you are lucky enough to be invited into a caseta you will be able to choose from a wide range of delicious foods and drinks with everything from ensaladilla, meat dishes, and revueltos (not a Spanish word for revolting) and pescaito frito, a mixture of prawns, calamari, and squid.
How To Get There?
Bus, Plane and even Train
If visiting Seville is on your bucket list there are a number of ways to get the city, even if you can’t fly direct.
The easiest option by plane is arriving to the Seville international airport (SVQ). There are some direct flights to Seville from cities in Europe, such as Rome, but most flights will land at Madrid or Barcelona airports as a connection stop.
From Madrid the flight duration is around 1 hour and 5 minutes, and the prices range from 50-90$, depending if the airline is a low-cost or not, and also the season.
From Barcelona the flight duration is around 1 hour and 43 minutes, and the prices range from 60-120$, depending if the airline is a low-cost or not, and also the season.
Seville Airport to City Center
The bus system from the airport to the center of Seville is the cheapest option of 4 euros. It runs from 5:20 AM till 00:45 PM, departing every 25-30 minutes, and arrives to the city center around 35 minutes.
You can get to the city center by renting a car. See the car hire option for the best prices.
Taxis are available in the Seville airport and cost around 31 euros in the Seville April Fair week.
Spain AVE Speedy Train
We suggest booking a ticket on Spain’s AVE high-speed train. It’s fast, fun and we think festive. The train runs around 20 times a day and the trip is approximately two and a half hours. You can buy tickets at the counter or book online.
The AVE train from Barcelona runs twice a day and the trip is approximately five and a half hours. The fare is €116.60, which is a little steep if you’re on a budget. However, if you book online you can take advantage of promotions, and end up saving quite a bit.
If you choose to go by train you need to get to “Héroe de Sostoa (María Zambrano train station)” in Malaga city. There are up to 11 trains a day to Seville and the fare is between €24 – €45.
Getting to Seville from Malaga by bus is easy enough. ALSA transports people at least once a day but it’s recommended you book in advance.
With the Seville April Fair taking place at the Calle (street) Juan Belmonte in the historic centre
There are a few ways to get to the Feria, and if you’re close by, the best way is definitely by foot. Grab comfy shoes and make your way there. Otherwise, you can catch a bus.
Because the fair is one of the city’s major events there are shuttles that operate 24 hours a day, but they are crowded and you will probably have to wait for in a queue. There is also a bus that travels from Prado station to the fair.
Catching a train is also an option. Take Line 1 and disembark at Plaza de Cuba or Parque de los Principes, then follow the crowd.
Horse and Carriage
Oh yes, you can also make use of a horse and carriage. Who knows? You could even end up in one of the parades if you catch the wrong one.
The last two, and definitely not recommended ways, to get there is by car or by taxi. #HashtagDontEvenThinkAboutIt!
While the history of the Seville fair isn’t shrouded in myth and legend, it’s certainly become magical over the years.
Seville April Fair in the 19’Th Century
It dates back to 1847 when the Queen of Spain, Isabel II (1833 until 1868) opened a fair where townspeople could gather to buy and sell livestock. In the beginning, there were 19 casetas and by 1850 there were already 60,000 visitors. Nowadays there more than 1,000 marquees and the celebration is one of the biggest in Seville.