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Ten brilliant travel plans for Semana Santa in Spain

Want to do something over the Easter holidays but keen to avoid all the religious fervour? The Local gives you a rundown of the best alternative Easter travel plans.

Ten brilliant travel plans for Semana Santa in Spain
Patios will be blooming in Cordoba during Easter Week. Photo: AFP

Semana Santa (Holy week), April 10th – 17th 2022

Easter week is one of the year’s biggest celebrations in Spain, where towns and cities stage processions and passion plays to reenact the last days of Jesus and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Andalusia is home to some of the biggest and most elaborate processions, but wherever you are in Spain, there will be plenty going on for Semana Santa. 

If you haven’t ever seen it, then make this the year you seek out a procession.
 
 
 
But if the crowds at the Easter processions don’t tempt you but you still want to make the most of an Easter break in Spain here are some of our favourite ideas.
 
For the art lovers
 

Photo: moof/Flickr 
 
Figueres (Catalonia) is the birthplace of the eccentric artist Salvador Dalí. Visit the quirky Teatre-Museu Gala Salvador Dalí, designed by the surrealist himself.
 
For the beach lovers
 

Photo: adriagarcia/Flickr
 
The least overrun and most tranquil of the Balearics, Menorca has 99 pristine beaches and countless coves to discover along its 216 km coastline.
 
 
For the foodies
 

Photo: Pug Girl/Flickr 
 
The Basque seaside city of San Sebastián has a long list of attractions in its favour, a romantic old town and cityside beaches to name a few. But by far the greatest reason to head there is the food. Check out our recommendations for the top ten ultimate pintxos to devour in San Sebastián.
 
For the hikers
 

Photo: Pilar/Flickr 
 
Picos de Europa in northern Spain is one of the most striking mountain ranges in the country – its jagged limestone peaks rising to 2600 metres. Explore the unique countryside with its abundant wildlife, wide glacier valleys and awe-inspiring rock formations.
 
 
For the romantics
 

San Estevo parador in Galicia. Photo: parador.es
 
Book a few nights in a parador, the chain of hotels located in some of Spain’s most beautiful historic buildings, such as the San Estevo parador in Galicia (pictured). Here is our list of the top ten in Spain.
 
For the history buffs
 

Photo: Jose Aleman Asensi/Flickr 
 
Mosques, synagogues, churches and museums – all within the ancient walls of ‘The Imperial City” – Toledo and just a short train ride away from Madrid.
 
For the adrenaline junkies
 

Photo: Sortware/Flickr 
 
Kayaking down the fast-flowing rivers of Navarra is enough to get anyone’s pulse racing. Find out about kayak trips which take you from the Pyrenees to the ancient city of Pamplona.
 
 
For the nature lovers
 

A griffon vulture posing at the Monfragüe National Park. Photo: Vince Smith / Flickr

If you love nature and feel happiest with a pair of binoculars hanging from your neck then Easter week is one of the best times to consider a birdwatching trip. Whether it’s a trip to Extremadura’s Monfragüe, home to the biggest colony of Black Vulture and Spanish Imperial Eagle in the entire world or the wetlands of Donaña with over 300 bird species, you won’t be disappointed.

If theme parks and fast cars are your thing…

Photo: ParkAventura

Ferrari Land, an adventure park in Catalonia based on the high end Italian sports car brand  promises thrill seekers the ride of a lifetime on the highest and fastest rollercoaster in Europe.

A race track, Formula 1 simulators, and replicas of Rome’s Colosseum, La Scala opera house in Milan, Piazza San Marco in Venice and the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, the theme park also includes Italian themed restaurants and a building based on the real factory owned by Enzo Ferrari.

READ ALSO: Road-tripping in Spain: A whistlestop tour of six cities in six days

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TRAVEL

Ten of the most amazing bike routes in Spain

Here are some of the greatest and most beautiful cycling routes across Spain for avid cyclists, from Don Quijote territory to the green north. Saddle up everyone!

Ten of the most amazing bike routes in Spain

Spain is a great country for cycling, so great in fact that it even has several dedicated cycling routes across the country called vías verdes or greenways.

These greenways were built along old disused railway lines and have now become an environmentally friendly way to explore the country (here is a map showing all the greenways).

But there are other cycling routes around Spain that are just as impressive and can be completed by avid low to mid-level cyclists.

Here are ten bike routes in Spain that will take your breath away (at times in both senses of the word).

The TransAndalus, Andalusia

The TransAndalus trail is a 2,000km (1,240 miles) long circuit specifically designed for mountain bikes. It goes through the eight provinces of Andalusia and gives experienced riders a chance to pass through incredible natural sites, such as the Sierra Nevada, Doñana and Cabo de Gata national parks. There are a total of 23 stages, meaning that you can pick and choose which one or ones you do, without having to complete the entire trail. Less experienced cyclists can choose a specific shorter section. Stage one starts in Seville and is a mostly downhill ride to Chiclana de la Frontera.

The TransAndalus passing through some of the region’s most spectacular scenery. Photo: jbdodane / Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.0)

Vía Verde de Ojos Negros, Aragon and Valencia

Running from the town of Ojos Negros, in the province of Teruel to Sagunto, on the Valencian coast, this is Spain’s longest greenway at 160km. It has been divided into two sections, so you can just choose to do one or the other if the whole route is too long. The first part follows the line of the Sierra Menera mining railway, in the Palancia river valley, while the second part descends towards the Valencian orange groves, on the shores of the Mediterranean.

Cycling along the Vía Verde de Ojos Negros. Photo: Pacopac / Wikimedia Commons

Ruta Don Quijote, Castilla-La Mancha 

Lovers of literature, Cervantes and Don Quijote will enjoy this route following in the unlikely hero’s footsteps. The whole route covers 2,500km (1553.4 miles) and runs through all five of the region’s provinces, but it’s split up into 10 sections, making it easy to select which one you want to do. Declared a European Cultural Route, it travels through two National Parks, six natural parks and six nature reserves, running along a combination of cattle trails, historic paths, riverbanks and disused railway lines. 

Windmills Castilla-La Mancha

See the famous windmills of Consuegra along this cycle route. Photo: JamesHose / Pixabay

Vía Verde del Val del Zafán, Aragon and Catalonia

This spectacular route travels alongside the azure blue channels which eventually end up joining the grand Ebro River. It passes through the regions of Bajo Martín, Bajo Aragón, Matarraña, Terra Alta and Baix Ebre. Punctuated by viaducts, tunnels and protected natural spaces, it’s a pretty straight and easy greenway to follow, with some final twists and turns when you reach the Catalan coast at Tortosa near the Ebro Delta at the end. 

Ebro Delta

This route follows parts of the grand Ebro River. Photo: Future75 / Wikimedia Commons

READ ALSO: Cycling in Spain -12 fines you need to watch out for

Camino de Santiago 

Pilgrims on foot are not the only ones who can enjoy this world-famous voyage. Cyclists can choose whether to complete the full 800km (500 miles) French Way or do the minimum 200km required to obtain the precious Pilgrimage Certificate.

READ ALSO: Top tips to safely enjoy Spain’s Camino de Santiago on foot or by bike

Camino de Santiago

You can also do the Camino de Santiago by bike. Photo: Burkard Meyendriesch / Pixabay

Vía Verde del Carrilet, Catalonia

This route runs for 57km (35.4 miles), linking the town of Olot and the Garrotxa Volcanic Naural park with the city of Girona. Following the banks of the Ter, Brugent and Fluvià rivers, it winds its way between fields, forests and bridges, with the towering ancient volcanoes as your backdrop. The route is well signposted and is also suitable for hikers. 

Via verde Olot to Girona

This route begins at the otherworldly Garrotxa volcanic natural park. Photo: Peremagria / Wikimedia Commons

Vía Verde Tajuna, Madrid

This spectacular bike path offers city dwellers the chance to escape the hustle and bustle without planning ahead. Simply get off at the last stop on Metro line 9 (Arganda del Rey) and hop on to your bici. The route runs along the river of the same name and runs for a total of 49km (30.4), passing through the quaint towns of Carabaña, Ambite, Oruco, Tielmes or Perales de Tajuna and Morata. This cycle path is also equipped for hiking and for people with disabilities or reduced mobility.

Via Verde Tajuna Madrid

You can see the ruins of the old station of Tajuna along the way. Photo: Malopez 21 / Wikimedia Commons

Vía Verde de la Sierra, Cádiz, Andalusia 

This 37km (22 mile) vía verde runs from the village of Puerto Serrano in the province of Cádiz to Olvera, a small village north-east of Ronda. It passes through no less than 30 tunnels and over four viaducts, as well as valleys and river banks. Free of traffic and a relatively easy ride overall, it’s ideal for a family day trip – and if the little ones are too tired, taxis with bicycle racks are available for the return journey.

Via Verde Cádiz

The Vía Verde de la Sierra is ideal for the whole family. Photo: El Pantera / Wikimedia Commons.

Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote, Canary Islands 

Go for a ride through the land of volcanoes in Lanzarote’s Timanfaya National Park. Ideal for mountain bikers, there is even an 8km (5 mile) downhill track through the island’s unique landscapes and lava fields. The archipelago’s mild climate makes it a biking paradise throughout the year.

Lanzarote

Ride through the volcanic landscapes of Timanfaya National Park. Photo: Manfred Zajac / Pixabay

Vía Verde del Plazaola, Navarra and the Basque Country

One of the most beautiful greenways is the 66.5km (41.3 miles) Vía Verde del Plazaola, traversing through the regions of Navarra and the Basque Country, passing through an array of forests and meadows. 41.9km of the route passes through Navarra and 24.6km through Gipuzkoa, so you can choose which section to do. The route also takes you through many tunnels, including the longest tunnel you can cycle through in Spain. The trail takes its name from the abandoned Plazaola mines, you’ll pass along the way. 

Plazaola cycle route

The Vía Verde del Plazaola takes you through many tunnels. Photo: Cherubino / Wikimedia Commons

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