El Rocío is the most famous pilgrimage in Spain, and it is an unforgettable experience. The El Rocio pilgrimage is a religious celebration. It is dedicated entirely to the Virgin of El Rocío, although it has changed a lot over the years. The Rocio pilgrimage takes place in a beautiful environment, surrounded by unique nature.
Devotion and amusement
The festivity is celebrated on the Monday following Pentecost Sunday. As it depends on the calendar dates of Easter, the Rocío pilgrimage is a festival that changes dates every year. It is a very festive pilgrimage, where singing, dancing, eating and drinking together are essential.
The religious highlight of the pilgrimage is concentrated on the moment when the brotherhoods jump over the fence that separates them from the statue of the virgin to carry the icon in procession around the valley.
Religious Brotherhoods from all over Andalusia travel to Almonte and El Rocío
The tradition is that religious brotherhoods travel to the valley of El Rocio in Almonte by foot, horseback or gipsy style horse carriages, dressed in folkloric clothes to arrive in the valley of El Rocio on time to honour the Holy Virgin.
Today the pilgrims of El Rocío also have the company of lorries and tractors but also decorated in typical Andalusian festive and folkloric style. It is a spectacular sight along the roads in Andalusia, not to be missed if you are in the area at the time.
The valley of El Rocio in Almonte is surrounded by amazing nature. To access the location you need to follow a road boarding the beautiful Doñana National Park.
Doñana is one of Europe’s most important wetlands. Here you can see marshland, lagoons, pine groves, aloe veras, moving dunes, cliffs and almost 20 miles of wild and unspoiled beaches. The protected area is a crossroads for migratory bird routes between Africa and Europe. It is also the last refuge for many endangered species. Over 300 different species of birds may be sighted there annually.
The protected area Doñana is considered the largest nature reserve in Europe. Many scientific institutions have monitoring stations within their boundaries to ensure appropriate development of adjacent lands and conservation of the threatened species. The area was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994. To visit the protected areas you need to take a group tour.