Semana Santa (Holy Week) is an incredible but intense time to visit Seville.
It’s probably the busiest week of the year, but unlike peak summer time, it’s Spanish visitors and locals causing the queues.
This gives the city a real buzz, an excited energy, a chattering noise of people catching up, laughing and celebrating. People are happy and you can feel it, all around.
All the restaurants are full, bars spill out onto the pavements halting traffic and people dance in the streets.
As fun as all of this is, it does mean that some of the traditional sights and attractions are no-go areas. People queue for hours and hours to see things like the Royal Alcázar and the cathedral. Which are beautiful, don’t get me wrong. But as with every city, some of the lesser known places are better. You get them almost to yourself, you can wander as you please without velvet ropes and people to tell you off for breathing too close to the art.
Hidden behind gates like these…
…are true wonderlands.
Follow me, I’ll show you around one of my favourites.
Beneath a sea of bougainvillea you’ll find Casa de Pilatos.
Like all good Andalucian palaces it blends Moorish, Grecian, Roman and gothic architecture, centered around a marble courtyard, complete with babbling fountain.
If you take a close look at the walls, you’ll see they’re covered in the most beautiful tiles.
I blended in quite seamlessly!
Built in the 15th century, the ground floor rooms were used for entertaining, while the upstairs was kept for private use.
The reception rooms have been kept clear, leaving you to fill and decorate it with your imagination.
The spaces flow seamlessly from indoors out to the flourishing gardens.
Flooding the rooms with light (even on a grey, muggy morning) and an ever present gentle breeze.
Your feet are bound to carry you out to the beautifully maintained, but not over manicured gardens.
A world away from the craziness of the streets outside, the garden feels like your own little private oasis away from the crowds.
A fragrant and private place to cool down and enjoy the breeze.
Or just stop and smell the roses.
Easy breezy in the perfect travelling suit.
A pretty little co-ord from MAX&Co, the Italian brand on everyone’s lips.
Beautiful quality linens, suits for work and play, and pretty maxi dresses for days off.
A tote to carry all the travel essentials
Daisy sandals // Silk scarf
Unlike so many of Seville’s hot spots, you really can have this place to yourself. Even on a weekend.
Pull up a pew and take the time to enjoy it.
Take in all the corners and little details that make a place like this so special.
Wander the gardens.
Enjoy the relief they bring from a sticky day.
Imagine you’ve stepped back in time and free yourself from the stresses of modern day life.
Just turn off your phones and make yourself at home!
Once you’ve been fully revitalised, say your goodbyes and head back to reality.
Just a short walk away you’ll find one of the best lunch spots in town.
Though during Semana Santa you’re likely to run into a procession along the way.
Be sure to stop, take in the spectacle itself, but also the crowd looking on.
It’s a veritable buffet of people watching.
The city grinds to a halt as the icons are carried by.
Heavy with silver, candles, carvings and tapestries, the richly decorated floats inch through the streets.
Carried on the backs and necks of men hidden beneath the ornate curtains, the float (or Paso) seems to float through the crowds.
The top of the ornate canopy is scattered with rose petals which catch in the breeze and shower the audience as they look on in awe.
Within the Paso, Mother Mary mourns the death of Jesus, often depicted weeping or holding him.
The smell of melting wax, flowers and incense fills the streets… and for a moving moment, everything is silent.
Once the procession has passed, everything comes to life again.
The hustle and bustle starts once more, and everyone races off in search of lunch.
Which we found at Seville’s oldest tapas bar, El Rinconcillo.
Well over three hundred years old, this place is an Seville institution.
Far from fancy, they serve up classic tapas at the ever-busy bar.
There are more formal tables out back, but try and stay in the bar if you can.
Pull up an old barrel and make it your own.
From here you can watch the crowd jostle and sway beneath the old beams and hanging jamón.
Order a glass of something local and a few plates of tapas to share.
Everything’s simple, everything’s good, you really can’t go wrong.
Just be sure to get Jamón Iberico (melt in the mouth cured ham) and ortiguillas fritas (fried sea anemones), then just wing it!
Stick around, chat to the crowd, make some new friends.
If you’re lucky the gypsy bands will arrive outside and you can take your drink out to watch.
The perfect day in Seville, no queuing necessary!
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