When you think of places to visit in Spain surely the name of Seville comes into your plan. Crossed by the Guadalquivir River, the city enjoys a splendid architecture mix with Moorish buildings standing alongside Baroque edifices.
Its historical heritage is spectacular! The Cathedral with the Giralda Tower, the Alcazar, the Golden Tower and Plaza España are some of the main spots that make the character of the city so special.
A trip to Seville isn’t complete without attending la Feria de Abril. This is probably the most important event of the year that every Sevillian awaits with impatience.
As its name says, the Feria de Abril normally occurs during the month of April. However, for the first time this year, the event will take place between 5th and 12th May due to general elections.
We advise you stay in one of our premium holiday apartments during your trip in Seville. Situated in central location of the city and close to the Feria site, they’ll provide the maximum comfort for you to rest properly in a luxury environment.
When in Seville it’s better to know some Spanish if you want to fully enjoy this experience. Therefore, we’re going to present you the 10 best things to know about Feria de Sevilla in its original version. Don’t worry, we’ll also include their translations in English.
1- History of Feria de Abril of Seville
Well, the Spanish lesson hasn’t started yet but it’s crucial to know its history before moving on. The origin of the Feria dates back from the 19th century. Two entrepreneurs, Narciso Bonaplata and José María de Ybarra from Catalonia and the Basque Country respectively, proposed the Council to celebrate a farming and ranching fair. The first Feria was inaugurated in 1847 and was a great success straight away.
Step by step the event became more a social event. Its celebration was only interrupted during the Civil War.
It is now celebrated every one or two weeks after Easter. Its usual outdoor venue is called Real de la Feria, with streets with large stands adorned with lanterns, where horsemen and horse-drawn carriages circulate and for which around 500,000 visitors come daily.
Various typical elements are associated with the Feria de Abril and we’re going to present them now.
2- La portada (The front gate of the Feria)
Either you walk or arrive in carriage, you must pass through the portada to access the Feria’s area. Very colourful and illuminated by lights during the night, it is a warm invitation to every one willing to participate in the celebration. It is different every year and represent a monument of Seville. This year it is a tribute to the Royal Pavillion that was built in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exhibition.
3- El alumbrado (The illumination)
This is one of the key moments of the Feria. Celebrating the beginning and the end of the event, you shouldn’t miss the illumination of the portada and the Real with hundreds of lightbulbs. On the last day fireworks translate into another successful edition and marks the end of the Feria.
— Maria (@Maria_L33) May 7, 2019
4- Traje de Gitana (Gypsy dress)
If you want to really feel part of the party, you must dress like the locals.
The outfit for the ladies is probably the most iconic ítem of the Feria. The traje de Gitana consists of a tight dress usually very colourful and with frills and furbelows at the bottom. Women also wear a carnation in tied hair, a pair of earrings or a Manila shawl. As for men, the suits are more simple and was the same worn by cattle breeders.
It’s not a reference of the person here but a musical genre danced in and from Seville similar to flamenco. We reckon that the following video describes it better than words.
If you can dance it, just observe what people do and try to imitate them. Surely someone will be glad to teach you some easy steps for you to join in.
6- Casetas (Stands)
The Real de la Feria counts more than 1,000 casetas. Some of them are private and you will need an invitation to get in. However, those which belongs to the Council are free to access to visitors.
With white and green/red stripes, every caseta is similar from the outside. They are closed by curtains and the pediment on top is made of wood.
If you want to see sevillana, you definitely have to enter one of them. You’ll also be able to eat and drink succulent food and beverages, and party all through the day and night.
The casetas occupy a part of the 450.000 m2 Feria site and create a sort of mini village. Each street has the names of famous Sevillian torreros (bull fighters). You will find public casetas in Calle Pascual Marquez.
7- La noche del pescaíto (The night of the fish)
The next point is obviously about food and drink. As we made a reference about them earlier we couldn’t miss this in our list.
The noche del pescaíto occurs in the dawn of the first Sunday. Traditionally, people dishes of fried fish, hence the name.
Various other types of tapas are also part of the menu such as tortilla de patatas (potato omelette), jamón ibérico (cured ham) or queso (cheese). For lunch, you usually find all sorts of guisos (stews) and for the sweet snacks you could eat the typical churros con chocolate (chocolate fritters) and buñuelos (small doughnuts).
Every good has to be accompanied good drinks. And as Spain has a long tradition of fine gastronomy it’s a hard to find some. You could find the usual cervezas (beers) and vinos (wines). But you can’t leave the Feria without trying el rebujito. It’s a type of white wine with some lemonade or soda water. Trust us it’s very savoury, refreshing… and treacherous as you wouldn’t notice the alcohol.
8- La calle del Infierno (Hell’s street)
Although it has a scary name, it’s no more, no less a fun fair. Not very appealing, right? But don’t worry, it’s very safe. With more than 100 rides, it becomes the most important temporary theme park in Spain. Apparently, the name comes from the noise of the cacharritos or rides of the fair.
We suggest you to go there before you copiously eat. Just in case…
9- Corrida (Bull fighting)
This kind of shows is part of the event since the beginning. Some of the most famous bull fighters entertain the afternoons with this popular Spanish tradition.
10- Paseo de caballos (Horse promenade)
If you want to follow the tradition until the end, we advise to arrive in the cart pulled by horses. Not only is it more eco-friendly than a car, it’s also the only vehicle that can run within the area of the Feria.
To sum up everything watch this video for a quick insight of the Feria
How to get there?
You have to head to the following address: Calle Juan Belmonte, 38, 41011 Sevilla (see map below). Various buses and metros could take you there. The easier option would be to go by taxi but it’s also better to book one in advance as it’s a busy day.