The Seville April Fair is one of Spain’s most emblematic festivals. After the dark Holy Week procesiones have finished, Sevillanos work day and night for two weeks to ensure that everything is ready for the Feria de Abril…
And when Sevillanos – especially feriantes, wish to accomplish something, they truly invest into it. They are the most meticulous and aesthetic people I’ve ever met. The results amaze me year after year and I’ve lived here for quite a long time…
I’m sure that you’ll be as surprised as I was when I first went to the Feria a few years ago. The spectacle is so sublime and so intense that you’ll be almost overwhelmed. Take your camera with you, it’s a fantastic opportunity to capture incredible postcards.
The most important bullfighting event takes place during the Feria de Abril, and it’s a great option to go to a corrida if you happen to be in the city.
The Seville April Fair 2023 begins on Sunday, April 23th at midnight and ends on Saturday, April 29th just before midnight.
It lasts almost a week (ie. 6 full days!) during which normal life in Seville virtually stops. It begins with the traditional lighting (el Alumbrado) and ends with an impressive fireworks show.
The date of the Seville Fair is not fixed – it depends on the Semana Santa dates. Traditionally, the Feria de Abril takes place 2 weeks after Easter Holy Week.
The Semana Santa 2023 begins on Sunday, April 2th and ends on Sunday, April 9th.
In 2024, the Semana Santa dates go from March 24th to March 31st. So the Seville April Fair 2024 will begin on Sunday, April 14th at midnight and ends on Saturday, April 20th before midnight.
Depending on the day you want (or can) go, this is a brief summary of what happens at the Recinto Ferial.
Saturday: Members’ meeting at the casetas and inauguration of the Feria de Sevilla with a dinner called el Pescaíto (slang for “small fish”).
Sunday: At midnight the mayor turns on the lighting, including the entrance arch known as la Portada and thousands of colorful farolillos (paper lanterns) as well. This ceremony is called el Alumbrado. Because it’s the first one and it happens during the weekend, this is the busiest day.
Monday: Usually the number of people attending decreases significantly. The lights are on until 3:00.
Tuesday: Most lunches and dinners are organized this day for friends, coworkers and businesses. The lights are turned off at 4:00.
Wednesday: It’s the main day of the Feria de Sevilla as it usually is a public holiday. You can also see a lot more horses and carriages. The Feria is lit up until 5:00.
Thursday: As the weekend arrives, the number of visitors rises and you’ll have the chance to see a lot of celebrities, toreros, members of the nobility and politicians. The crowd can reach up to a million people.
Friday: It’s generally the second most popular day. The lighting is on until 6:00.
Saturday: The last day of the Feria is mainly devoted to bullfights. La Maestranza bullring hosts a corrida with the Miura stock breeding, famous for their enormous size. At midnight the Feria de Sevilla holds the closing ceremony with lots of fireworks next to the Guadalquivir river.
The Wednesday of the Feria week is a public holiday in Seville, so that day tends to be more crowded as locals can come during the day.
On Friday and Saturday many visitors come to Seville from the surrounding towns or other cities to experience the April Fair.
Unless locals specifically ask for a day off, they can only go to the Feria after work. Moreover, children go to school on Monday and Tuesday. So the first two weekdays, Monday and Tuesday, are the best to go.
One of the most spectacular things to do during the Feria de Abril is to experience the fair’s inaugural lightning.
The lighting, also known as El Alumbrao is the event that marks the official beginning the Seville April Fair. It will take place on Sunday, April 23th at midnight.
Right at the moment the mayor of the city turns on more than 220,000 light bulbs that illuminate the Portada de la Feria (the main access point of the fair) and the 15 streets of the Recinto Ferial creating a magical atmosphere.
From that moment, and for 6 full days, nothing will be able to curb the desire to have fun.
There are several locations from where you can enjoy the Seville Fair lighting:
The carriages are the only vehicles allowed inside the fairground (except for ambulances and police cars). This tradition dates back from the 1850s when people used to arrive and return from the Feria de Sevilla – a livestock fair then, to deal with breeders that used their own carriage.
Fortunately, this custom remains and you’ll have the chance to see the most beautiful horse carriages in Spain as there is rivalry between their owners on this. Don’t miss the carriages themselves as well as the horses’ ornaments and the costumes of the drivers and passengers. Everyone is dressed with the traditional gala clothing and it’s absolutely spectacular.
Some of them carry people to the bullring La Maestranza where, originally, breeders and bullfighters used to meet. The daily bullfights of the Feria are the best of the season.
Horses and carriages are only allowed to circulate the fairgrounds from 12:00 until 20:00.
And they can only do so following a circular pathway starting on Calle de Alfonso de Borbón y Orléans, then Calle Juan Belmonte, Calle Curro Romero, Calle Ignacio Sánchez Mejías, Calle Rafael Gómez Ortega and finally Calle Joselito El Gallo.
I’ve marked it with green arrows in the map below. So all you have to do is walk around these streets and enjoy the show. To avoid any accident, make sure you walk on the sidewalks. Don’t walk on the street themselves.
There you also have tons of practical information (public casetas, public transportation, public toilets, information, police station).
Traditionally, the fireworks show is located on the dock of the Guadalquivir River, more precisely near the Paseo de las Delicias.
Considering where the fires are launched from, a good place to enjoy them is one of the following bridges:
You can also enjoy the fireworks show from the Muelle de la Sal or Calle Betis.
Another alternative that best combines good visibility and beauty of the environment is the Torre del Oro. Likewise, it’s usually a place where many Sevillanos go during this night of the year, so try to go there early enough.
Another option to have a privileged view is from the terrace of the highest hotels in the city, although it is important to bear in mind that this option will be limited to those who have a prior reservation at their facilities.
Although you can also admire the spectacle from the Recinto Ferial, you won’t have the best visibility of the fireworks. Even so, La Portada can be a magical place to say goodbye to the Seville April Fair until next year.
In short, anywhere near the Guadalquivir River will never be a bad place to enjoy the finale of the Feria de Abril.
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