If you take one trip to Spain, take it in spring. From the confetti-like petals of almond blossom in early spring to the beach-ready temperatures towards the end of the season, spring can do almost no wrong in Spain. Not withstanding the odd April shower, we are often blessed with warm, bright days at this time of year. And as if that wasn't enough, there's also a packed calendar of festivities to keep you entertained.
Where to go in Spring
|Welcome to La Malagueta, Malaga's city beach|
In short, anywhere you like. Those chilly cities in Spain's heartland have shaken off their winter frosts and their trees spring back to life; interior cities like Madrid and Seville that broil in summer languish at almost ideal temperatures. If you prefer to escape the coastal crowds, it's a good time of year to hit the beaches of the Canary Islands, the Balearics, Málaga and around Valencia. Beach weather's not always guaranteed on the peninsula, and you may not be brave enough for a dip off the Costa Brava unless you like things icy. If you're planning on taking an active holiday involving walking, cycling or horse riding, spring's a great time to do it: generally warm enough to be pleasant, but little risk of sweating buckets.
|The Costa Brava is a good choice for spring breaks|
Although the whole country's a good bet in spring, a few areas in Spain stand out for their festivities, notably Córdoba in May (see below) and Andalucía in general for its Semana Santa celebrations closely followed by all the fun of the fair.
Spring fiestasValencia's fire-cracking, sculpture burning festival which takes place from 15–19 March each year. Fallero groups construct huge multi-coloured papier-maché figures, nowadays often representing politicians or other contemporary figures of fun. For several days these are displayed around Valencia, as locals and visitors alike tuck into paella, enjoy street parties and gawp at fire works. On the final night of the fiesta, all but the winning falla is set alight. It's an intense festival I've yet to experience: the constant noise of firecrackers and the idea of burning these elaborate works of art has so far put me off.
Semana Santa usually falls after fallas. Holy Week is celebrated around the country, with particular fervour around Andalucia and in Toledo, Valladolid and Zamora. Visiting the Caminos de Pasion towns in 2014, I was surprised to find Semana Santa a much less religious affair than I'd imagined – for most capillitas and costaleros I encountered, the celebration was far more about culture and tradition than Christianity. Obviously this is not always the case, but it certainly makes Semana Santa more accessible for those who don't consider themselves religious.
|Spring means feria time|
After any Semana Santa solemnity is shaken off, feria season begins. The first of these huge Andaluz parties filled with flamenco frills, sleekly-groomed horses, jugs of rebujito and fairground rides is Seville's Feria de Abril. This is also the most exclusive, with most of its casetas (marquees providing food, drink & dancing opportunities) open to members only. It's worth a visit to marvel at its grand scale, but for guiris other ferias are more welcoming. Other notable spring fairs include the Feria del Caballo in Jerez de la Frontera and the Feria de Nuestra Señora del Salud in Córdoba, both in May. I'm also a big fan of small-town affairs: they can often be less commercial and more welcoming. You can find a full calendar of ferias here.