Tag Archives: spring

Seville | Spring Flowers

jacarandasjacaranda trees in blossom

With the equinox less than a fortnight away, the last week has seen a definite shift from winter to spring in southern Spain. It’s not as if winter is really tough here, of course, but the days are short and the nights chilly, and the blue skies and sunshine are harbingers of the year’s reawakening.

Spring has always been a good time to come to Seville. For a start, the weather is near perfect (as in most places the changing of the seasons can bring a little unpredictability), warm enough for shorts, sandals and T-shirts, but without the sweat and exhaustion inducing heat that will kick in during June. It’s the season for eating al fresco, strolling through the parks, gardens and charming squares with which Seville abounds, or relaxing on the terrace of your apartment with a siesta-time cocktail.

1-0504_macarena-seville-apartments-terrace-spain-01flowering plants on sunny Macarena Terrace

Early spring, around mid-March, is also the time for one of Seville’s best (and free) attractions, for this is orange-blossom season. The orange trees (around 30,000 of them) are decorated with the delicate white flowers of the azahar, and for around three weeks the air is filled with one of the most delightful scents known to mankind.

orange blossomazahar – aka orange blossom

The colours of spring are everywhere in the city, which is vibrant with flowers and blossoms of every hue. Particularly worth looking out for are the blossom of the almond trees, and in June, just when you thought it was all over, the purple of the jacaranda erupts for a couple of weeks, a blaze of glory to finish the season.

spring blossomsalmond blossoms in Maris Luisa Park

Seville is justly famous for its two Spring Festivals too, the first deeply religious, and the second its “have a good time” party week.

Semana Santa, Holy Week, leading up to Easter weekend, sees the streets full of processions with statues of the Christ and the Virgin Mary being carried to the Cathedral, huge numbers of penitents and Nazarenos in their pointed hoods carrying crosses or long candles, the smell of incense and the distinctive brass band Semana Santa music. Being a spring and rebirth festival flowers again figure prominently. Religious observance has declined, but the processions still draw huge crowds (especially the overnight processions on Thursday through to Good Friday morning), and are a moving and emotional experience. The celebrations in Seville are said to be the largest and most elaborate in the world, and are worth seeing even for the non-religious. They also say there are two types of Sevillanos – those that watch all the processions, and those that leave town for the week.

flowers virginflower-festooned procession float – photo courtesy of ABC.es

Two weeks later it’s the April Fair, La Feria de Abril. The modern fair grew out of an older horse and cattle fair, and during the day this is still evident in the horse and carriage parades. But the primary purpose nowadays is to dress up in your flamenco finery, put a flower in your hair, drink lots of rebujito (a mix of dry sherry and 7up), and dance the night away. The main venue is on a purpose built area of small marquees on the edge of town, but the carriages, horses and polka dot dresses can be spotted anywhere in town. April Fair is also the main bullfighting season, when the upper crust can be found eyeing each other up outside the bullring (a kind of Spanish Ascot) before the main event.

feria flowerswomen  at the Seville fair with “flowers” in their hair

More than any other time of year the spring is when Seville is at its most alive and colourful, and the chance to visit and experience its unique atmosphere is not to be missed.

Granada | Las Cruces de Mayo – May Crosses

Also known as La Fiesta de las Cruces (the Festival of Crosses), the Cruz de Mayo is a spring flower festival widely celebrated in Spain, most especially in the south, in Andalucia, on May 3, and in some localities also on the days around. As you might expect of a flower festival, this is one of the most vibrantly colourful events of the year, even in a country noted for being colourful.

Although the celebrations have long had an official religious justification (May 3 is said to be the date when Saint Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, discovered the pieces of the True Cross), its origins are almost certainly Pagan, and probably evolved from the ancient Roman festival of Liberalia.

Although many places add their own local elements to the celebrations, the basic features are common everywhere. Groups of neighbours make big crosses out of flowers to decorate their patios, plazas and street corners, and this often takes the form of a competition, with prizes for the best displays. Red and white carnations predominate in the crosses, but other spring flowers, local ceramics, shawls (on the balconies), candles, and even copper pots may appear around them. Their may also be processions with floats and marching bands.

The Cruz de Mayo in Granada is one of the biggest and most popular, with the working class districts of the Albaicin and Realejo being the places to go to see the displays, and to join in with the singing and dancing. In the past it was traditional to set up temporary bars near the crosses, but for better or worse, in these more regimented times the custom has largely disappeared, though the tapas bars are still lively and full.

In Seville the festival of the crosses has enjoyed something of a revival in recent decades, having been eclipsed in the 20th century by Semana Santa and the April Fair, and the decline of the traditional patios de vecinos. It’s a joy to see the colour and vibrancy returned to the streets.

For some great places to stay in Seville and Granada visit the veoapartment webpage.

Feria and Salvador

Feria 2012 - Salvador Church portada

Spring is Seville’s fiesta season, and after the solemnity of Semana Santa, in late April it’s the turn of the Feria de Abril. With its casetas (small marquees), horses and carriages, singing and dancing, and colourful flamenco costumes, it’s probably the most famous fair in Spain, and every year the portada (the gateway to the fair) illustrates some aspect of the life and culture of the city.

This year’s is a representation of the façade of the Salvador Church, in celebration of the 300th anniversary of its completion.

View from our Salvador Terrace apartment


You can experience Spain’s most famous fair and live like a local with a great view of the Salvador Church from our beautiful Salvador Terrace apartment. The Plaza Salvador is also a lively spot to enjoy a tapa and a cold Cruzcampo beer out in the sunshine.

Feria de Abril 2012
April 24th – 29th