Spain's Semana Santa is set to once again be disrupted in 2021.
Holy Week in Spain, known as “Semana Santa”, is one of Spain’s most important festivals and this year takes place between 28th March and 4th April 2021. Will travelling be allowed within Spain this Easter? Will Spain’s traditional Easter celebrations be cancelled in 2021? And what about COVID-19 travel restrictions on travelling to Spain from abroad? We have all the details.
Travelling within Spain during Semana Santa
Almost all of Spain's 17 autonomous communities will close their borders this Easter, with the exception of the Canary and Balearic Islands. The region of Madrid also originally stated that it would not close its land borders with other Spanish regions, however for now, this decision has been reversed and Madrid will also be closed between 26th March and 9th April 2021. The Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands are exempt due to their status as archipelagos. These perimetral confinements during Semana Santa in Spain will be met by fines if broken, unless travellers present a justified reason such as travelling to work or to study, or for medical help, for example.
Currently in Spain, a night-time curfew applies with different rules depending on the region of the country and this is a measure that will also continue during the Easter holidays with some changes. All regions will apply the same curfew schedule from 11pm to 6am the next morning. Other measures to be adopted throughout the country include a limit on social gatherings to 4 people, regardless of whether they take place indoors or outdoors, and meeting inside homes or in other indoor spaces is not recommended or prohibited in some regions.
Travelling to Spain from abroad
Spain’s borders are open to European Union and Schengen-area countries and anyone entering Spain must be able to present a negative COVID PCR test. Checks will be carried out on arrival in Spain, with minimums fines of 3000 euros for those who do not comply. Take note that 14 days of quarantine are not required for EU travellers arriving in Spain, while anyone visiting Spain is also obliged to obey the same confinement rules, curfew, and limits on social gatherings as everyone else.
If you are travelling to Spain from the UK this Easter, then take note that things aren't running as normal. From 30th March 2021, Spain will lift its flight suspension from the UK as stated in the most recent update from British Embassy in Spain, “From 6pm CET on 30 March 2021 (5pm / GMT in the Canary Islands), passenger travel between the UK and Spain will resume, however entry restrictions and testing requirements will remain in force, so if you are considering travelling to Spain from the UK, please make sure you satisfy all the necessary conditions”. Therefore, only Spanish nationals and residents in Spain will be allowed to return to the country, and those travelling will need to justify their permitted reason for travel with some sort of written evidence or document.
Traditional Semana Santa processions cancelled for 2021 in Spain
Spain’s traditional Holy Week processions and parades are among some of the most important events in Spanish culture. However, 2021 will once again be different due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic and the Spanish government has announced that all “large gatherings” will not take place. While not all Spanish regions have given specific guidance regarding Semana Santa processions, the majority are expected to be cancelled with only local, smaller processions taking place.
In Seville, for example, where some of Spain’s most famous processions usually take place, the local authorities have announced that there will be no processions, just like in 2020. This is according to the rules for the entire region of Andalusia. On the other hand, unlike in 2020 when everything was forced to closed, this year local churches will be able to open their doors and receive visits, respecting at all times the health regulations of the authorities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus