Easter Week comes late this year, nearly a full month after the beginning of spring. The dates of the religious celebrations vary from region to region in Spain, with key dates that can range from April 14 to April 22. The most important days, however, are Good Friday (April 19), and Easter Sunday (April 21). Whichever of these dates suits you, there is no better time to get out of your normal routine, and enjoy a trip. Here are 10 ideas of where to spend Easter this year.
San Pedro church (Palencia)
In 2011, Palencian architects Álvaro Gutiérrez Baños and Juan and Carlos del Olmo García presented a plan to restore San Pedro, a 12th-century Romanesque church located in Becerril de Campos, in Palencia, northern Spain. The ancient church reopened to the public in 2015 as a cultural and astronomical center called Starlight. A Foucault pendulum that shows the rotation of the Earth hangs from the apse and a map of the stars has been built into the ceiling to represent the night sky. The building also serves as a camera obscura, with an image of the sun projected onto the floor through a small hole.
A Week of Religious Music (Cuenca)
The Week of Religious Music in Cuenca, a city in the Castilla-La Mancha region of Spain, will be celebrated in the Auditorium Theater, the Arcas church, the Espacio Torner, Cuenca Cathedral and the Merced church from April 15 to 21. The music performed will include Bach’s St Mark Passion, played by the Conductus Ensemble and conducted by Andoni Sierra, and Beethoven’s Missa Solemis, played by the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra and conducted by Pedro Amaral. Tickets cost between €10 and €40, but there will also be free concerts to enjoy.
A juniper forest (Segovia)
The Segovian town of Moral de Hornuez boasts one of the best-preserved juniper forests in Spain, with trees that are more than 500 years old. In the forest, there is a meadow and a hermitage with a recreational area for children. An 11-kilometer hiking route also starts there, and will take you to the town of Maderuelo after a four-hour trek. In the town there is a 12th-century Romanesque hermitage, restored with reproductions of the frescoes that once adorned its walls and which are now on display in the Prado Museum in Madrid.
The Bonsai Museum (Madrid)
Around 10,000 people visit the the Luis Vallejo Bonsai Museum each year. The museum is hidden in the Japanese garden in the Arroyo de la Vega park in Alcobendas, north of Madrid. Founded in 1995 by the architect Luis Vallejo, this garden houses one of the largest bonsai collections in Europe. There are more than 200 trees, some of which are 200 years old, and 30 different species from Spain and Japan. Entrance costs €3.
The Spring Festivals (Murcia)
The Spring Festivals in Murcia, a city in southeastern Spain, begin on Easter Sunday with the opening of stands and snack bars in squares and gardens. On April 23, thousands of people go out in the streets dressed in traditional and regional clothes. On April 27, a formal procession involving lights, mythological references and fire will go through the center while thousands of toys and balloons are thrown into the crowd. From the city, you can also take an excursion to the Bolnuevo beach, in Mazarrón, where you can marvel at the lunar landscapes.
The Ses Illetes beach (Formentera)
The Ses Illetes beach on the Balearic Island of Formentera has just been chosen as the second-best beach in Spain by TripAdvisor users. Its transparent waters are due to a sea-grass species that surrounds Formentera, acting as a natural purifier.
The Lost Canyon amusement park (La Rioja)
El Barranco Perdido (The Lost Canyon) is a dinosaur park located in Enciso in the region of La Rioja, and is set to open for this season on April 18. Complete with paleontology workshops, a multi-adventure circuit and a museum dedicated to Cretaceous era fauna, the amusement park is a great way to spend the day with kids.
Jardín del Turia (Valencia)
The Jardín del Turia in Valencia was designed by American landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson, and constitutes 110,000 square meters of green space. The urban park, which is popular for sports and for more relaxed visits, has just been chosen as the best urban park in Spain by Holidu, a vacation-rental website.
A sword-making workshop (Toledo)
Toledo blacksmiths gained fame in the 16th and 17th century for their mastery in forging steel swords with an iron core, which made them both strong and flexible. Go Craft organizes visits (from €5 a person) and interactive workshops (from €28 a person) in a traditional forge to learn the secrets of creating swords and daggers.
The Atlantic Islands (Pontevedra)
The Ons, Onceta, Sálvora, Cortegada and the Cíes islands make up the national park of the Atlantic Islands in Galicia. Atuaire, a hiking agency, offers a tour of these islands from April 18 to 21 for €299 a person. The tour includes a bus from Madrid, a four-star hotel in Vigo, half board and guided tours. Meanwhile, Bluscus, a travel agency in Vigo, offers marine tourism experiences on the Galician coast.