Sevilla’s iconic Easter processions make it a most special time to visit Andalucía’s capital. Religious brotherhoods, some hooded or carrying crosses, others bearing the significant weight of pasos (floats with sculptures of Christ or the Virgin), process from their home chapel to the cathedral and back, which can take over 12 hours.
The Whitsun journey to the shrine at El Rocío is a boisterous affair of horses, revelry, flamenco music and the drinking of frightening quantities of wine. It’s a riotous party as the figure of the much adored Virgin gets manhandled around the sand streets of this atmospheric Wild West-like town.
The maritime city of Cádiz has always had a liberal, rebellious streak and its Carnaval, the Spanish mainland’s best, reflects that, with groups of minstrel-like locals reciting political satire. Add fireworks, flamenco and fancy dress, and you have the ingredients for a memorable party.
Andalucía is a pretty horsey place, and Jerez de la Frontera is the capital of all things equine, so there are plenty of horses on show here at this May festival, as well as numerous casetas, marquees where groups of friends – all dressed to the nines in traditional costume – meet to drink manzanilla and dance the night away.
Cordoban homeowners take great pride in their patio cordobés, and keep them very spruce with bright azulejo tiles and a stunning array of flowers. In early May the Festival de los Patio opens them in their full glory, with numerous courtyards, on show.
An intriguing historical relic celebrated in Las Alpujarras, the Moors and Christians fiestas are re-enactments of Reconquista battles, with spectacular costumes. The two sides usually march in a procession, before a ritual enactment of the battle.