Top things to do in Seville at Christmas
Seville may not be covered in snow at Christmas time but that does not mean that there is not plenty of Christmas spirit around this beautiful city over the festive period.
The strong traditions and religious connection remains in Seville, so if you are looking for a taste of Christmas past, then head over to Seville to enjoy Christmas as it used to be. That being said, Seville still has all of the sparkle and cheer that you expect at this time of year, making Seville a beautiful place to visit at Christmas.
1. Christmas lights in Seville
The Christmas lights in Seville are truly wonderful and give the city a really festive feel. The majority of the Christmas lights in Seville are located along more than 80 streets located in the centre of the city.
Lots of the shops and department stores in Seville are now increasingly embracing Christmas and have impressive decorations too with the most notable being the famous El Corte Inglés department store located in Magdalena – so it is also well worth taking a look at shopping areas to see the decorations that they have put up for this special time of the year in Seville.
2. Christmas markets in Seville
A traditional Christmas market in Seville is an opportunity to not only buy some unique gifts for family and friends, it is also a chance to soak up some of the local culture and traditions of this time of the year in Spain.
There are lots of local markets that take place in Seville and also a couple of Christmas markets that take place every year and are very popular with residents and visitors alike. One of the most popular is the Feria del Belén de Sevilla, which takes place either at the Archivo de Indias or in the Plaza de San Francisco and is a place to buy all you need to make your own nativity scene – a very popular tradition in Spain.
There is also the Feira del Libro Antiguo which runs from mid November until early December and is the best place to pick up rare and antique books in the Plaza Nueva which is then replaced by the Mercado Artesanía in the same location where you can buy handicrafts and uniquely Spanish gifts at good prices.
Finally, you can indulge your sweet tooth with the Exposición y Vento de Dulces during the first week of December at the Real Alcazar and pick up homemade sweets from the local convents – but be prepared to get there early as this is hugely popular and you can be left queuing for some time, especially on the Saturday.
3. Christmas concerts in Seville
The people of Seville are keen on celebrating Christmas for quite a long time with the official festive period extending all the way until January 6th – Kings Day. During this time many concerts are held with traditional and seasonal songs being performed by various groups and choirs.
There is a huge choice of concerts that you can attend in Seville over Christmas and if you don’t fancy a formal concert then you can always look out for singers performing in the historical centre of the city on the streets, with groups often moving from plaza to plaza singing the holiday songs known as villancicos.
Dates of concerts change slightly each year but generally you will find that the Christmas concert held at the cathedral takes place between December 15 and 22 and includes a selection of organ music. The Royal Orchestra of Seville holds a special Christmas concert around December 20 at the teatro de la Maestranza while there is also a Christmas concert held at the beginning of December in the Iglesia los Terceros.
4. Nativity scenes in Seville
Nativity scenes, known as belén or nacimiento, are very popular in Seville and across Spain and it not just in churches or in schools that you will see scenes and displays.
A nativity scene can range from life sized to miniature and can also range in cost from a very modest budget while others cost thousands to put together.
You can find nativity scenes almost everywhere in Seville and during the festive period there are signs posted around the centre of the city pointing you in the direction of the next scene. Some of the nativity scenes are small and only take a few moments to have a look at but other more famous ones are large scale and people queue up to take a look at them as part of a Christmas tradition in the city.
Not only are nativity scenes in Seville made by institutions and groups, they are also put together by commercial businesses – the one at El Corte Inglés is usually worth visiting while other local shops and especially bakeries, make a big effort to put together a nativity scene for their shop windows at this time of the year.
5. Christmas parades in Seville
The Christmas season in Seville lasts until January 6th and between the start of December and early January there are many bank holidays and religious occasions celebrated in the city with parades that are a joy to watch at this time of the year in the city.
December 8th is Day of the Immaculate Conception and is celebrated in the streets the night before with students dressing up and then heading to La Purisima where flowers are left and people serenade the statue of the Virgin Mary. While this is not exactly a parade many people gather here to watch this tradition.
Look out for the Royal Postmen (Reales Carteros) between December 27th and January 3rd as they march through the streets accompanied by a band with the letters from the children to the Three Kings and then on 5th January there is the Cabalgata de Reyes parade which involves children with the Three Kings on floats that pass through the streets throwing sweets at passers-by. The biggest of these parades can be found in the centre of the city but smaller ones are held in other areas of the city too.