One of the most important events is la Feria de Abril. Seville shares this spectacular festival along with the Semana Santa, another special celebration.
The Seville Fair is very popular among Sevillanos but can be something different than what you expected. The truth is la Feria de Abril is a huge fiesta made by and for Sevillanos.
It also marks the start of the best bullfights of the season, so be sure to bring your white handkerchief and follow the locals to the Maestranza bullring.
Fortunately, the Feria is such a wide event that it offers very interesting to both locals and foreigners. The best way to make the most out of it is to follow some simple advice that I learnt the hard way (ie. before I didn’t really know anyone here). As soon as you read this, you’ll be ready to enjoy this beautiful and amusing event.
The fairground where la Feria de Abril takes place is called Real de la Feria de Sevilla, but it’s popularly known as El Real or Recinto Ferial.
The April Fair has a total area of 1,275,000 square meters (12,916,693 square feet) divided into different streets and areas, which allows organizing the space effectively for that visitors can enjoy all the attractions and activities.
That’s actually huge, like a mini-city within the city. The streets are all named after famous bullfighters and each caseta has a number so if you still remember how to read a map, you’re good.
At the entrance, next to the Portada (main gate), there’s a small tourist information office. Stop there as it can be very useful for planning your visit.
Pick up a map, ask for a few tips on where to go and what to do, and explore on your own!
But before you get there, you can have a look at the map below. It includes all the practical information (public casetas, public transportation, public toilets, information, police station) you need to know.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to get to the Feria de Abril. Seville is quite a big city and the Real is far away from the city center.
On top of it, the Ferial surroundings are closed to the traffic, buses are diverted and it’s had to find a taxi.
It takes at least 30 minutes walking from the Cathedral, but it could be more depending on your accommodation‘s location.
So take your time to plan in advance how to get to the Feria, and think about your options to get there and to return to the city center (depending on the time you’d like to leave, you could be waiting 1h+ in line until you get a taxi…).
La Feria de Abril, Seville’s greatest fair, is fun. But it can much more fun once you know some insider’s advice.
You cannot enter a private caseta unless you’re invited by a member. So if you don’t know any private caseta member, you can only go to one of the public casetas.
Public casetas are usually packed with people – those Sevillanos who haven’t got a caseta of their own. As a result, you’ll have a hard time reaching the counter and ordering anything to eat or drink. Moreover, the prices are relatively expensive (e.g. everything can cost you double the usual price).
So I recommend that you eat before going to the Feria. You can do it anywhere in the city, there are more than 2,000 bars which to choose from!
When the sun goes down, thousands of lanterns illuminate El Real, which is beautiful. But that’s pretty much everything you can do – admire the lightning.
At night, in each private caseta similar scenes are repeated: Sevillians get together to share, relate and have fun (food, drink, songs and dance until sunrise), turning the casetas into an extension of their own house, for a few days.
So contrary to daytime when almost every one is outside in the street, Sevillanos gather inside the casetas at night and nothing really happens outside them, except for seeing people walking from one caseta to another.
If you do know someone and can enter a caseta, you’ll see that Sevillanos have a real sense of partying and having fun while dancing one of the most difficult and beautiful Spanish dances, the sevillanas. It’s worthwhile.
But if you don’t, don’t waste your time and avoid going to the Feria at night as it’s boring and makes little sense. Don’t count on anyone inviting you just for the sake of it.
In my opinion you should take advantage of the fact that the rest of the city is not crowded. It’s probably a good moment to have a walk around some of the beautiful sights and attractions of Seville and see how they are lit up in a spectacular fashion.
Originally organized as an annual livestock and agriculture fair in the mid-1800s, the festival still features plenty of horses and donkeys that carry extravagantly dressed Sevillanos around the fairgrounds. Andalusian horses are decorated in bright colors too.
It’s quite a sight to see the horse-drawn carriages and horse riders parading around the Feria. Around 1,400 carriages are allowed to circulate (not on the same days), most of which are real jewels.
Make sure to pay attention to the dress code. Men wear short jackets, riding pants, and a wide-brimmed hat called cordobés. Women spend hundreds of euros on the traditional trajes de gitana, flamenco-style dresses that often have polka dots and usually feature lots of ruffles.
For many foreigners, the Feria de Abril can feel quite exclusive thanks to the private nature of most casetas. That being said, there are a few public casetas to be found if you know where to look.
The fairgrounds are quite large, so to avoid aimlessly walking around in a frustrating search for the rare caseta pública, be sure to use a map to navigate!
Each year, I update my own map of the fairgrounds, which shows where to find casetas according to their number and the street you’ll find them on. You can find the exact location of the public casetas in the map at the beginning of this article.
If the weekdays are busy, the weekend is packed. Why? Because people from other parts of Andalucía and Spain come to la Feria de Abril: Sevilla becomes a magnet for outsiders.
If you happen to be in Seville on the Feria weekend, either Sunday (first day) or Saturday (last day), my advice is that you should only go there for a couple of hours to see the paseo de caballos.
Even if you’re traveling with kids, I would suggest you not to go to the Calle del Infierno. Obviously you’ll have to fight the crowds to get a good spot but you can always give it a try.
So if you want to avoid the busiest days, I recommend going on the first two weekdays, Monday and Tuesday.
While the main attraction at the Seville Fair is the drinking, dancing and eating that takes place in the casetas, most people take some time out to get a thrill on Calle del Infierno. This huge area of the Feria de Abril is devoted to amusement-park type fair rides, games, and junk food.
If you happen to travel with children, you can always go there and spend some time at the rides with your kids. Among the rides, you should definitely get on the Ferris wheel (noria in Spanish) to contemplate the stunning views of Seville and the Feria from the top
One last piece of advice. Don’t go there at night – it’s an ideal place for pickpockets and the like.
This article is part of a complete tutorial about the Feria de Abril (Seville’s festival) where you can read all the information you need to make the most out of your experience.
Here is a complete summary of all the guide:
1. What is the Seville fair (Feria de Abril)?
2. Seville April Fair dates and calendar of events (2023)
3. Live the Seville Feria de Abril as locals do
4. 9 insider’s tips to enjoy la Feria de Abril, Seville’s colorful fair
5. Fair of Seville’s amusement park: la Calle del Infierno
6. Seville Spring Fair: glossary of terms