In March, Holy Week kicks off in Seville, where floats carrying religious works of art, some dating back to the 17th century, are accompanied by cloaked and masked men. The highlight of Semana Santa, which in 2013 runs from March 24 to 31, is when the processions reach the city’s cathedral in the small hours of Good Friday. Hotel Alfonso XIII (first picture; www.hotel-alfonsoxiii-seville.com; from £315), refurbished top to toe last year, is a good place to stay, as are the new and perfectly located Puerta Catedral Apartments (second picture; www.puertacatedral.com; studios from £90). These self-catering flats occupy four buildings, three of which face the cathedral, with private or shared balconies from which to observe the festival. Sleeping from two to six, the studios and suites mix historical Andalucian interiors (marble floors, original beams) with simple, contemporary furnishing, and all have their own small kitchens. The local tapas restaurants, however, should keep anyone from slaving over the oven – especially Bodega Casa Morales (11 Calle García de Vinuesa), a down-to-earth, dust-floor joint just around the corner with Jabugo hams hanging behind the bar. March is the last month to enjoy chicharrones, a seasonal speciality of pork rinds cooked with roasted garlic.