In just a few days excitement will be at fever pitch in households across Spain. The Three Kings are coming from the East, bringing presents, joy and hope. But not every city welcomes them in the same way. Some have Queens as well as Kings, in others they arrive by boat, and in some places the Wise Men even need a key to enter the city and leave the presents.
Granada, a hundred year old procession
Around 16,000 kilos of sweets and tonnes of presents will be given out on 5 January in the second oldest procession in Spain. This year Granada’s parade celebrates its centenary! 100 years of magic in a procession that leaves Calle Gran Capitán (17:30) and heads towards the Plaza del Carmen, located 600 metres from our hotel, the Vincci Albayzín 4* Granada. The colours of the 20 floats will be breath-taking, as will be the grand arrival of Balthasar, Caspar and Melchior onto the balcony of the city hall.
*Procession in Granada. Foto: spaziofitness.net
Madrid, a ‘fairytale’ procession
This year the Three Kings will have to share the limelight on the streets of Madrid. Some of the most famous characters from children’s fairytales will also be taking part in the parade, giving out more than 20,000 books to encourage children to read. Snow White, Peter Pan, the Wizard of Oz and Alice (from Alice in Wonderland) will parade in 13 floats that go from Nuevos Ministerios (18:30) to Cibeles.
And interestingly in Madrid there is more than just one procession. Some of the districts have their own parade, all of which take place between 3 and 5 January.
If you want to enjoy the magic in the Spanish capital, stay in a hotel near the centre: in the district of letters at the Vincci Soho 4* Madrid; in the Salamanca district, at the Vincci Soma 4* Madrid; or right on Gran Vía, at the Vincci Capitol 4* Madrid or the Vincci Vía 66 Madrid.
*Hotel Vincci Vía 66 4* Madrid
Arriving by boat in Barcelona
Balthasar, Caspar and Melchior arrive by boat into Barcelona on 5 January at 17:00. The Three Kings will dock by the statue of Columbus, where the mayor of the city and a throng of children will meet them with smiles across their delighted faces.
The procession in Barcelona boasts of being the first held in Spain, in 1855, although it wasn’t celebrated regularly until 1898. Pageboys, zancudo figures on stilts and other figures help the Three Kings hand out the gifts and sweets.
*The Three Kings arrive in Barcelona by boat. Photo: www.demediterraning.com.
Did you know we have three hotels in Barcelona? Vincci Bit 4* Barcelona, Vincci Marítimo 4* Barcelona and Vincci Gala 4* Barcelona – each has a completely different style, to give you three alternatives when choosing where to stay.
*Room at Vincci Bit 4* Barcelona.
Santander, a procession in two parts
The parade in the capital of Cantabria is a little bit different, because it’s divided into two parts. In the first, the protagonists are the children, who dress up as fairies, characters from fairytales, fantasy figures and a giant centipede; the second part is more religious, with a representation of the birth in Bethlehem, accompanied by animals and shepherds. It starts at 19:00.
*Three Kings procession in Santander. Photo: Turismo de Cantabria.
In the centre of Santander, in the most privileged spot, looking out over the bay and by the ‘Puerto Chico’ marina, you’ll find the best place to stay. Our charming hotel in Santander, the Vincci Puertochico 4* Santander, is surrounded by the finest shopping and restaurants.
In Seville the Three Kings need a key to get in
Yes, it’s true. On the day before, on 4 January, the Royal Herald calls out to the streets of Seville from the Ateneo cultural centre to ask the mayor for the keys to the city in order to let Balthasar, Caspar and Melchior into the Andalusian capital. On 5 January some 40 floats take part in the parade, along with cornet and drum bands.
All of this takes place under majestic, elegant Giralda, which can be seen from the balcony of the Vincci La Rábida 4* Sevilla, a hotel with an Andalusian air, a unique indoor patio and incredible views over this city full of festive spirit.