Forget the Easter bunny, in Spain you’re more likely to see a group of men parading the streets dressed in some pretty dodgy outfits carrying religious statues on their shoulders! Being a Catholic country, Spain is all about religion at this time of year, but that doesn’t mean it’s all pomp and ceremony – there’s plenty of fun to be had too.
Known as Semana Santa – although it’s got nothing to do with Santa Claus, in case you’re wondering – Easter week is a great time to visit Spain. The weather can be changeable, depending where you visit, but it’s pretty much guaranteed to be better than the good old British weather and our April showers! With parades from Wednesday onwards throughout Spain, a party atmosphere and some delicious treats to sample, there’s something for everyone. So take a look at our suggestions and head to Spain for a different take on Easter – and hopefully a little sunshine too:
Easter in Madrid
Traditionally Madrid hosts some of the most spectacular processions in Spain. Around 20 processions are held in the days before Easter Sunday and you won’t be able to miss the festivities while staying at one of our hotels in Madrid (Alcala and Torrelaguna). Statues are carried from churches throughout the city and paraded through the streets by men clad in the traditional ‘Nazareno’ dress. This robe, consisting of a tunic with a cloak and a hood with a conical tip, certainly creates a talking point among visitors to Spain over Easter for its distinctive, and maybe even a little bit sinister, look! Accompanied by marching bands and often including floats, these processions really are a sight to behold. Don’t forget to have your camera ready!
Easter in Barcelona
Barcelona celebrates Easter in much the same way as the rest of Spain but the capital of Catalonia does have rather a delicious addition to the celebrations. La Mona de Pascua is the traditional Easter cake eaten here and it is (quite literally!) divine. Symbolising the end of Lent, it is traditionally given to children by their godparents and is like a big decorated doughnut. Years ago it was likely to feature boiled eggs on top to symbolise an end to fasting. These days however it’s more likely to be glazed, filled, smothered in chocolate and decorated with the chocolate eggs and fluffy chicks we’re more familiar with back home. You simply can’t miss treating yourself to one from a bakery while on holiday in Barcelona – after all, it is tradition!
Our Travelodge hotel in central Barcelona, the Barcelona Poblenou, will put you within easy distance of all the city’s best sites and sights – from the Sagrada Familia cathedral to the shopping mecca El Corte Ingles! Alternatively, you can also stay at our hotel in Hospitalet with great connections with Barcelona airport.
Easter in Valencia
Your Easter stay in Valencia will include some mesmerising processions, and perhaps one of the most romantic is the beautiful ceremony of Christ meeting his Mother on Easter Sunday, which is accompanied by the release of doves and the throwing of petals. It can be enjoyed and appreciated by everyone – whether religious or not – and the whole city gets involved. With over 30 brotherhoods taking part in the processions, all dressed in their different coloured crazy outfits, living re-enactments of the Easter story, and a real buzz of excitement in the maritime district (which turns into party central over Easter!), Valencia is a fantastic place to visit, and you’ll see things here that you won’t come across in any other part of the country. Book into our Valencia Hotel for a comfortable and affordable stay.
Whether you’re visiting Spain to see these unusual Easter celebrations for yourself, or you’re hoping to catch a parade while you stay at one of our hotels, you’re guaranteed an amazing time. It beats an Easter egg, anyway!