Spring is the absolute best time to be in Seville. The weather is perfect, the orange blossoms are out in full splendor, and there’s a vibrant energy in the air. Even more exciting are the springtime events in Seville. Along with our famous Holy Week celebration, the Seville April Fair, or Feria de Abril, is something you can’t miss while you’re here. 

People head to Seville from all over the country to experience the Seville April Fair. And so should you! So we’re giving you the ins and outs of this colorful social event so you’ll be able to navigate it on your own on your trip to Spain. 

What is the Seville April Fair?

Feria caseta dancing

The Feria is an eight-day party of high-spirited, non-stop drinking and dancing, as only the Spanish know how. It started as a livestock show in 1847, where people would get together to trade their animals. Of course, everything in Spain turns into a party – someone brings a little wine, a guitar, and well, the rest is history.

Eventually they did away with the livestock portion. Now, there are Spanish women dancing in a long, brightly-colored, figure-hugging frilled dress, and flowers in their hair.  There are rows and rows of festive tents packed with people. And there is music, food, and drink unlike you’ve ever seen before.

When does it take place?

The Seville April Fair takes place two weeks after Holy Week, usually falling somewhere in the month of April (hence the name). But sometimes it can stretch into the first weeks of May.  

Where does it happen?

Feria horse and carriage in Sevilla

In a vacant lot to the south-east of Seville, lined with over 1,000 striped tents called casetas. The tents are so elaborate that it takes six months to build them and six months to take them all down again. You can get a map of the recinto (fairground) from the two information desks, at the main entrance and next to the amusement park, which locals commonly refer to as the Calle del Infierno (hell street). 

How does it start?

The Seville April Fair starts with the lighting (el alumbrao) of the entrance to the fairgrounds. Every year a new person designs the front entrance structure, and on the first night of the fair everyone gathers around for the grand lighting. There are performances and exciting dances, and once the entrance is lit, it’s officially the start of Feria.

What do people do there?

Sevillanos get together with friends, family, and business colleagues in the casetas, and spend their time eating, drinking and dancing. The atmosphere is joyous and exciting – people spend all year looking forward to the Feria. Most casetas are private, owned by groups of friends, associations or companies, but a few are public.

woman riding horse at Feria de Abril in Seville

Every afternoon there’s a procession of horse-drawn open carriages and people on horseback – men in tight riding pants, cropped jackets, and Cordobés hat, and ladies in elegant side-saddle skirt, or figure-hugging frilly flamenco dress. You could be looking at a scene from a few centuries ago, so little has changed since the Feria started way back when. 

What do they eat and drink?

The drink of the Feria is rebujito. It’s a combination of a pale, dry, sherry called manzanilla, and 7UP. Originally, fair-goers would only drink manzanilla during the festivities, but it’s a pretty strong wine to be drinking all day. So they changed things up a bit and now focus more on doling out pitchers of rebujito.

Believe it or not, every caseta has their own kitchen. Favorite foods at the Feria include jamón ibérico (Iberian ham), tortilla (potato egg omelet),  gambas (shrimp), and anything fried. You’ll also find all kinds of montaditos (small sandwiches) like the serranito, which is filled with pork tenderloin, tomato, jamón, and a fried green pepper. You can also eat churros or buñuelos (crispy fried donuts) when you need a late-night snack. And if you’re lucky enough to be in the right caseta, a glass of warm broth with mint (puchero) is a sure cure for the long night out. 

What can I see?

family of three at feria de abril in sevilla      little girl at feria de abril in sevilla

Little kids dancing feria

The Seville April Fair is ideal for people-watching, and heaven for photographers, with all that vibrant color and movement.  You’ll see women of every shape in flamenco dresses of all shades and patterns, walking along the sandy streets or sitting in a carriage, four or five primary colors together, like a of flock of exotic birds. And, of course, everyone is dancing Sevillanas the flamenco-style partner dance of the Feria – arms aloft, dresses swirling around them as they spin and stamp. 

Whole families come to the Seville April Fair with kids in tow. Children dance and play in the streets, or spend their days riding roller coasters at the Calle del Infierno carnival. Even grandma and grandpa enjoy the Feria dressed to the nines, and are sure to outlast even the youngest of fair-goers. Years of practice makes perfect!

Can I get into a private caseta?

If you’ve been lucky enough to get an invitation from a socio (member) of a caseta, then you’ll get the insider’s view, and be welcomed into the party. If not, the public ones are fun too – bigger and possibly rowdier, but with plenty of atmosphere. Even if you don’t venture into a caseta, wondering through the Feria is a spectacle on its own. People party and dance in the streets too!

What should I wear?

Seville April Fair family

Feria dresses need to fit perfectly and are pretty pricey; many women even get them custom made. If you’re just passing through Seville, you may be better off accessorizing your own outfit with a flower in the hair, dangly earrings, and a mantón (embroidered fringed shawl). Polka dots are always a good idea too! You’ll also be walking a lot, so wear comfortable shoes – try wedge espadrilles with a small heel.

Many men wear full-on suits at Feria, but you can also wear jeans and a button-down and you’ll fit right in. 

How do I get there?

Walking around Seville is pretty easy, but depending on where you’re staying, the Feria can be a little out of the way for most. There are extra buses that take people to and from the April Fair during that week, but they make big loops around the city and can take a long time to arrive at their destination (there are long lines to get onto the buses too). Taxis and ride shares are definitely an option, though you will pay a pretty penny. When it comes to getting yourself to and from the Seville April Fair, it’s all about patience or understanding you may have to shell out a little more cash than normal. But trust us, it’s worth it.

Experience the Seville April Fair

Sarah Gemba at feria de Sevilla

Walking around the recinto and soaking up the energy and spectacle of the Feria is one of the most memorable afternoons you will spend in Seville. It’s such a rich cultural event unlike any other in the country. Even better, stay until night falls, the lights come on, and the excitement kicks up a notch. Inhibitions fall away, and after a few rebujitos you’ll be dancing Sevillanas like a local!

Are you looking to visit Seville during the April Fair? Contact us for exclusive access and information. We’ll make sure you have an unforgettable Feria experience.