Here’s our guide to Seville’s Feria de Abril.
Spain’s many fiestas are as fascinating as they are fabulous. The origins of many may be a little vague but it doesn’t matter. They are an excuse to have a big party but it’s also a time to celebrate tradition and all things local.
Seville’s Feria de Abril (April Fair) celebrates all things Andalucian and is perhaps one of the most traditional in the country. It’s perfectly timed to come two weeks after Semana Santa (Holy Week), which is celebrated in cities across Spain. Seville’s is one of the biggest. So there’s enough time for a breather and get into celebratory mode all over again.
Seville’s Feria de Abril
Feria de Abril celebrations last a full week and it’s huge! It pretty much takes over a whole neighbourhood in the city with a big fairground and over a thousand of casetas, which are tents hosting all day and all night parties. There are also daily parades and a big fireworks display takes place on the final day.
Dates to put in your diary
The dates for the fair change every year. But it usually takes place two weeks after the Easter weekend when Semana Santa draws to a close. In 2018, the fair takes place from from 15 to 21 April.
Where to go
Much of the action takes place at the Real de la Feria (also known as Recinto Ferial) in the Los Remedios neighbourhood, south-west of the city centre. Real de Feria is the official fairground area and is only here during the fiesta. Within it, you’ll find an amusement park and over a thousand casetas (a little like the beer tents during Oktoberfest in Munich) lining 12 streets in the specified area. It’s like a city in a city!
The fairground is officially opened at 10pm on the first day with the switching on of the lights that decorate the entrance, amusement park and casetas.
Here’s what you can expect from Seville’s Feria de Abril…
Daily parades: Paseo de Caballos
There is a daily parade starting at midday featuring beautifully decorated horse-pulled carriages and their riders. This is perhaps the best time to see people (and horses too!) in all their finery and is a definite highlight for visitors. The finery in question is traditional dress meaning you’ll see men in traje cortos (short jackets, tight trousers, boots and wide-brimmed hats) and women in traje de gitano (traditional gypsy style dresses most synonymous with the flamenco).
It’s an amazing parade of colour, flowers, polka dots and frills. The parade makes its way throughout the fairground and sometimes go on to La Maestranza, east of the Guadalquivir River. The Paseo de Cabellos continue until the evening (around 8pm) so there’s plenty of time to catch it. Just don’t forget to bring your camera, it’s a great opportunity to get some beautiful shots.
Eating, drinking, socialising, dancing and singing
Sounds pretty obvious for a Spanish fiesta but let’s face it, it wouldn’t be a fiesta without them! Going back to those thousand casetas… this is where all the above takes place. Each caseta has a kitchen and a bar. Drinks and tapas start being served in the afternoon and keep being served until the morning. The soundtrack to your caseta (and Feria de Abril in general) will be the sound of sevillanas, traditional folk music. There’s likely to be sound systems playing these for the duration as well as live bands and dancers too.
Private and public casetas
The majority of the casetas, however, are privately owned and invite only! However, there’s no need to feel too glum as there are also around 16 public casetas. The biggest is caseta municipal, which is the city council’s one. These tend to be much bigger and generally jam-packed with people so it can be difficult to get served (basically, don’t come too hungry as you might have a wait). You can get information on how to find them at the information desk near the entrance to the fair.
Funfair rides on Calle del Infierno (Hell’s Road)
Something we’re all familiar with! Expect to see big wheels, bumper cars, a roller coaster and so much more. I’m sure they’ll have those machines where you can move a claw type thing to pick up a teddy bear and fail miserably too. There will even be a circus! At the amusement park, you’ll find plenty of food including burgers, cotton candy and chocolate con churros. You might want to leave it a while before going on one of those spinning rides…
How to take part
Seville’s Feria de Abril is primarily a big festival for the people of Seville. But that doesn’t mean tourists can enjoy it all too! The fairground is free and open to everyone. It’s here you’ll be able to enjoy the parades as well as the amusement park. There are also around 16 casetas that are open to the public. Of course, you also have the rest of the city to enjoy too!
If you wanted to dress up for the occasion but not buy a whole outfit (they can be quite expensive), a flower, a shawl, fan or one of the wide-brimmed hats make good accessories as well as souvenirs.