My adopted hometown of Córdoba, Spain might just be the best place to visit in the spring. I’m not just saying that because I love this city with all my heart (although I do!). Córdoba truly comes alive in the springtime, with something fun and exciting going on practically every week. There are flowers, wine, huge processions, dancing—what more could you ask for?
Not to mention that spring is the perfect time to visit. It’s much more lively around here than in the winter, but you’re beating the hordes of tourists and 100+ (Fahrenheit)/40+ (Celsius) temperatures that scorch throughout the summer. As someone who’s been over winter since before it even began, I couldn’t be more excited that spring is finally here as of yesterday.
If you’re wanting to visit Córdoba but aren’t set on a date yet, I hope you’ll consider coming in the spring! Here are 5 awesome things happening around here over the next few months, in chronological order for 2018.
1. Holy Week (Semana Santa)
2018 dates: Sunday, March 25-Sunday, April 1
Growing up Catholic (and attending Catholic school), I was familiar with the concept of Holy Week before coming to Spain. It’s the week leading up to Easter, starting from Palm Sunday and encompassing Holy Thursday and Good Friday as well. However, I was not prepared for how intense Holy Week is here. Holy Week in Spain means huge processions that parade through the streets every day, often lasting hours, as locals and tourists alike line the sidewalks to see them pass by.
I got my first taste of Spain’s Holy Week by accident in 2016, when I accidentally got caught in the middle of the Easter Sunday procession in Murcia (half asleep and dragging a suitcase after my spring break trip). Last year, we stuck around here in Córdoba to check out some of the processions before jetting off to Newcastle and Edinburgh, and I’m glad we did. Semana Santa is truly something else, even if you’re not super religious. From the dramatically dressed nazarenos to the huge, elaborate floats depicting Christ and the Virgin Mary (and carried valiantly from underneath by dozens of costaleros), there’s so much to see as the processions make their way through the streets.
If you’ll be in Córdoba for this year’s processions, you can check out the schedule here. I highly recommend doing so, as traffic may be affected in some areas on certain days. And if you can’t make it, be sure to check out my post from last year with all the info you need to know about Semana Santa, plus some pictures!
2. Cata del Vino Montilla-Moriles
2018 dates: Wednesday, April 18-Sunday, April 22
It’s no secret that Spanish wine is seriously incredible, but most people are probably familiar with the big, bold reds: Ribera and Rioja. Those are great (I’m quite partial to Ribera myself), but there’s so much more to Spanish wine than just those two. In fact, here in the province of Córdoba, you’ll find some of the best white wine in the country: D.O. Montilla-Moriles.
Montilla-Moriles wines are similar to sherry, which is produced in the western half of Andalusia. Unlike sherry, however, they aren’t fortified and most wine fans haven’t heard of them—probably because less than 10 percent of producers in the region export their wines. However, if you’re visiting Córdoba in the springtime, you can try some for yourself at the Cata del Vino Montilla-Moriles. This annual gigantic wine tasting takes place just off of Plaza de Colón and allows dozens of Montilla-Moriles producers to show off their incredible wines. There’s also tapas, live music performances and more. If you’re a wino, you won’t want to miss this.
3. May Crosses (Cruces de Mayo)
2018 dates: Friday, April 27-Tuesday, May 1
Córdoba truly starts to bloom in May, starting with the May Crosses festival (which this year takes place…mainly in April). Around the city, you’ll find huge, towering crosses made of flowers in plazas and backstreets. “That sounds nice, but why do people get so excited about crosses?”, you ask? Each cross also has a moderately priced bar serving drinks and tapas, and the lively music makes for a truly unique Andalusian festival. Join the locals and make your way from cross to cross, enjoying the fun and vibrant atmosphere along the way.
4. Patios festival
2018 dates: Tuesday, May 1-Sunday, May 13
If you’re looking for a festival that is purely cordobés, you can’t get much better than the patios. Typical houses here in Córdoba often feature an inner patio-style courtyard. These were originally constructed in ancient times as a form of primitive air conditioning to beat the nearly unbearable summer heat. However, their usefulness and aesthetic have made them popular in houses and apartment buildings even today.
Each spring, residents of buildings that have a patio (both single-family residences and larger apartment blocks) get to work making theirs the brightest and most beautiful courtyard in the city. They decorate their patios with colorful flowers for as far as the eye can see, then open them up to the public so everyone can enjoy their hard work. And, of course, it’s not just for brightening up the city—it’s all part of the annual patios competition, in which the best-decorated courtyards win a prize.
Not much information about the 2018 event is out yet besides the dates, but keep checking the Córdoba tourism website for information about when each patio will be open. And be sure to plan your route carefully—the patios aren’t very big and only a handful of people can enter at a time, which means lines can stretch for blocks!
5. Spring fair (Feria)
2018 dates: Saturday, May 19-Saturday, May 26
Andalusia is famous for its fairs. Most people who have read at least something about southern Spain might know that the biggest and most exciting one takes place in April, in Seville. I’ve never been to Seville’s famous fair, but I’ve heard lots of good things about it. However, I’ve also heard that it’s crowded, overwhelming, and you have to pay to get into most of the casetas, or tents. I wouldn’t say no to checking it out one day, but I’m not in a rush. For now, I love the fair here in Córdoba, which people who have been to both say is like a more pleasant, toned-down version of Seville’s.
Córdoba’s fair is fun for all ages, with rides and attractions for little kids up to casetas where adults can drink and dance the night away. There’s plenty of options for food, the sweet wine and rebujito (white sherry wine mixed with 7Up) is constantly flowing, and it’s just a plain and simple fun time.
If you’ll be in Córdoba this spring, I hope you have a fabulous time! What’s your favorite springtime festival?
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