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Route through places where this religious celebration is lived with solemnity, but which also invite you to enjoy their surroundings

Easter is one of the best times to visit Spain. And if you want to immerse yourself in the authentic traditions of this time of year, there are many towns and villages where processions and other religious events are experienced in a unique way, and have even been recognised nationally and internationally. Take note of this selection of 5 ideal destinations for a getaway that will also allow you to explore picturesque corners, disconnect or delight in the local gastronomy. Choose your next destination!

1. Frigiliana (Andalusia)

Not only does it boast of being one of the most beautiful municipalities in Malaga, but also of offering one of the most authentic and solemn celebrations at Easter. Its cobbled streets, whitewashed houses and balconies overflowing with flowers are a real spectacle. The procession of the Soledad, which leaves after the procession of the Holy Sepulchre, at the stroke of midnight, is one of the most heartfelt acts and one in which only women of all ages and in rigorous mourning can take part: the eerie darkness is illuminated only by the faint light of the candles that the women carry in their hands and their profound silence is interrupted only by the sound of their singing. On the other hand, make the most of your visit to this town located six kilometres from the beaches of Nerja to admire its most emblematic buildings, such as the Renaissance church of San Antonio de Padua and the 17th-century Nueva fountain. If you want to get the most impressive panoramic views, plan a walk to the Lízar Castle. And try its delicious gastronomy, such as choto al ajillo (kid with garlic) or its famous sweets with cane honey.

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Photo: Ayuntamiento de Frigiliana

2. Chinchón (Madrid)

You have to experience Easter Week in Chinchón at least once in your life. This destination has the oldest living representation of the Passion in the Region of Madrid, which has been performed since 1963 and was declared a religious event of National Tourist Interest in 1980. The play takes place in the historic centre of the city on the night of Holy Saturday and is made up of different scenes that culminate with the Resurrection and ascension of Christ wrapped in white smoke and doves in the church of La Asunción.

The picturesque village, located some 45 kilometres from the capital, can be easily explored on foot. Its main attraction is the large, arcaded Plaza Mayor, which dates from between the 15th and 16th centuries. It is also worth visiting the Clock Tower, the Parish Church of La Asunción and the convent of San Agustín, now a Parador hotel. And if you have time, you can visit nearby villages such as Colmenar de Oreja or Villarejo de Salvanés.

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Photo: Asociación Pasión de Chinchón

3. Verges (Catalonia)

With more than 300 years of history, the Procession of Verges is one of the most outstanding in Catalonia. The re-enactment, which was declared a Traditional Festival of National Interest in 1983, is experienced in a genuine way. Through the streets of the town, the acts of the Passion of Christ are enacted under the faint illumination of torches. A historical jewel is the Dance of Death, which has been preserved since the Middle Ages and is a medieval re-enactment of Easter Week in which five skeletons jump and dance to the beat of a drum to remind us that no one is exempt from ending their days in this world. In addition, the village of Girona, located in the Baix Empordà region, preserves architectural elements such as the important remains of the wall that once surrounded the village. The rich landscape of the region to which it belongs completes the range of tourist attractions, which includes sporting activities such as hiking or mountain biking along the banks of the river Ter.

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4. Calanda (Aragon)

The solemnity of Holy Week in this village in Teruel comes to the sound of the beating of its drums and bass drums when the Rompida de la hora is celebrated on Good Friday at 12.00 h., when the whole village gathers in the square to begin to play without rest until 14.00 h. on Saturday. This is a peculiarity that distinguishes it from the nine towns that make up the Ruta del Tambor y el Bombo del Bajo Aragón (Drum and Bass Drum Route of Lower Aragon) that seek to honour the death of Jesus. It is not for nothing that Easter Week in Calanda has been declared a Festival of National and International Tourist Interest. But this town is worth visiting for many other reasons. For example, its streets are lined with Renaissance-style buildings, such as the Casa de la Villa, whose façade boasts frescoes painted in 1704. In its very different landscapes you will find the reservoir or the Convento del Desierto (Convent of the Desert). Be sure to try its game stews, grilled snails or its characteristic peaches.

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Photo: Coordinadora Semana Santa Calanda

5. Valverde de la Vera (Extremadura)

Another ideal destination to experience the devotion of Holy Week is Valverde de la Vera. Every Maundy Thursday since the 16th century, it is thrilling to see the barefoot Empalaos, dressed in white and with their arms tied to a cross, walk the fourteen stations of the Stations of the Cross through the cobbled streets of this town in Extremadura, an act of spiritual penitence that impresses everyone who experiences it. Valverde de la Vera is also perfect for disconnecting while discovering its most important monuments or strolling around its surroundings, with notable alternatives such as the Yuste Monastery or the Jerte Valley, where immersing yourself in the cherry blossom is a unique opportunity.

Valverde de la Vera also allows you to travel to enjoy the fervent processions that take place during Easter Week in Cáceres, as some twenty brotherhoods walk through the streets of this city, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. One of the most solemn moments takes place on Holy Wednesday with the procession of the Black Christ, which stands out for its absolute silence: a Festival of International Tourist Interest not to be missed.

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Paso: Santísimo Cristo de las Batallas (Antonio Arenas Martínez, 1953). Photo: Turismo Provincia de Cáceres

To sum up

Religious devotion in the villages of Spain alone justifies a visit during Easter Week. Don’t forget to book a getaway to experience these authentic celebrations, some of them centuries old. What’s more, it’s a good excuse to get to know beautiful places that will recharge your batteries or delight you with their gastronomy. It’s time to pack your bags!