Perhaps the best time to visit Seville is for the Spring Fair. Each year in April, thousands of people visit the largest and most celebrated festival in Andalusia. The Seville Fair; or as the locals call it – Feria de Abril. It’s a great fiesta where people drink, eat, dance, socialise and experience this unique event.
During this time you can visit Seville taking in the historical sites of the city. The main ones are the Cathedral, Alcazar or Maria Luisa Park. But during this special week you can also enjoy the amazing atmosphere of this colourful celebration.
Seville in Springtime
This extraordinary festival explodes into life and radiates culture, attracting tourists and locals alike. Locals come together to celebrate with friends and family gathering in marquees known as “Casetas”. These traditional tents are owned by influential local Families, Associations or “Peñas” (Groups of friends). Some are formed by local Clubs or Political Parties.
Each Caseta is equipped with a bar and a kitchen. Providing guests with drinks and food unrelentingly from midday until dawn.
Over the 10 days of the Feria de Abril expect to see ladies dressed up in traditional costumes dancing the Sevillanas. Flamenco groups play lively music throughout the fair. There’s also magnificent colourful parades of carriages with Andalusian horses decorated in bright colours too.
Feria de Abril 2020
History of the Feria de Abril
The first edition of the Seville Spring fair was back in 1254. Then they had two annual fairs, one in April and the other in September. As with many Andalusian Fairs (and European) at that time, it was a livestock fair.
The modern fair as we know it now began in the 1847. Initially it was a three day event on the Prado de San Sebastian. Livestock was still part of the fair up until 1950´s when it became purely a festival.
Now it has over 600 casetas and 15 streets within the fairground.
Typical food at Seville Fair
Eating and Drinking is at the heart of Seville’s festival. The festival officially kicks off when thousands of multi-coloured light bulbs flicker into life and illuminate the festival. Known as the ´Alumbrado´ by this time, people have already had the “Pescaíto Dinner”.
This mouth-watering meal includes fried prawns, baby squids, red mullets, clams and other delicious freshly caught seafood.
People spend their time hopping from Caseta to Caseta, sampling the broad array of hot and cold delicacies. One of the most iconic dishes all festival-goers should try is the succulent Jamón Ibérico de Bellota from Jabugo (a little village located in the province of Huelva).
A typiacl accompaniment to the Jamón is a plate of payoyo Sheep Cheese from Cadiz. Other must-try traditional Tapas plates include Gazpacho amd Salmorejo which is typical from Cordoba). Tortilla Española (Spanish Potato Omelette), Tortilla de Camarones (Shrimp Omelette) or Boquerones en Vinagre (fresh anchovies marinated in vinegar).
If you’re lucky enough to experience Seville Fair inside of one of the Casetas, you may get to try a local speciality such as Andulsian Stew. Or oxtail stew or another local variation, typically consisting of Chickpeas with Cod or Spinach.
What is Rebujito?
No visit to the festival would be complete without quenching your thirst with an authentic Spanish drink. The most popular of which is a Rebujito, which comprises of Manzanilla (a type of Sherry from the coastal village of Sanlúcar de Barrameda) and Fino Sherry from Jerez de la Frontera mixed with soft drinks.
The party goes on till all hours of the morning and so does the food. Late at night it is customary to have a cup of Andalusian broth. This typical Caldo is made with meat and vegetables.
Sevillanos enjoy it to help settle their stomach, taking them through to the early hours of the morning.
Churros for Breakfast
Finally, for those brave revellers still standing comes breakfast.
This is an occasion within itself and sees people gather on the corner of the Triana bridge. Meeting up for a breakfast of “chocolate con churros”, which is fried dough dipped into thick hot chocolate.