City Guide to Seville, Spain

Author: | Last Updated: 14 Feb 2018

Seville is the fiery, passionate capital of Andalusia; epitomising all that is the southern region of Spain, from the excitement of the flamenco dance to the tapas in the plazas and the scorching sun that you expect from Spain.

Best time of year to visit

Undoubtedly the best time to bring the Andalusian capital is in the spring. This is the best season to visit, not just because the orange and azahar trees are in full bloom, filling the streets with aromatic fragrances, but also because for most people summer here is unbearable. Reaching soaring temperatures in the summer, sometimes nicknamed the frying pan of Europe, it’s best to visit Seville in the spring when it is satisfyingly hot and the flowers are on show.

Las Setas

A curious and relatively recent addition to the city, las setas is a modern touch to the sevillano skyline which provides breathtaking views over the white rooftops and old cathedrals of the city. While it may draw some criticism for its daringly modern appearance when contrasted with the traditional buildings and plazas surrounding it, las setas succeeds in standing out and is certainly worth your time. After marvelling the form of the building and its striking resemblance to mushrooms (las setas in spanish), head on up to the top where you’ll find a series of elaborate walkways and a cafe with one of the best views around.

Seville Cathedral

While Seville may be in the process of modernising, with several new shopping centres under construction and trendy new cafes and bars opening all the time, there is still an incredibly well preserved old centre which has the most glorious centrepiece: the largest gothic cathedral in the world. If that wasn’t enough to convince you to visit, the bell tower beside the cathedral looms over the plaza and acts as a symbol for the city of Seville. You should absolutely go up the cathedral, while it may take a while, you will be treated to views of the orange-tree courtyard and the impressive Alcazar across the way.

Maria Luisa Park

It’s nice to take a walk somewhere green and escape the urban environment once in a while, and there’s no better place for this in Seville than at the Maria Luisa park. This is no ordinary park, you won’t find swings and roundabouts here, but rather elegant architecture everywhere you look and several large bodies of water. Walking around the park it’s hard not to feel like royalty; It wouldn’t be out of place to stroll around in a suit or flamenco dress, after all the people of Seville are very fashion-conscious and it’s easy to see why with the elegance of their city.

Feria de Abril

If you visit during the spring, the feria de abril (fair of April) is a necessity. If you want to take a look into Seville’s past and see how things used to be when people would ride around in horse and carriage wearing elegant suits and illustrious flamenco dresses while dancing a traditional dance, then the feria is unmissable. Touted as one of the biggest events on the calendar, the feria is like a large theme park where the main attraction is the local Sevillana dance. People dance in tents that are erected over a large space, and spill out into the streets, dancing well into the night and drinking rebujitos (sherry with sprite).

Eat some tapas

It’s natural to feel hungry after lots of walking and exploring the city, so make sure that you make it in time for traditional Andalusian tapas. Usually served between 2-4, you can expect to find a range of special, locally made tapas on the menu. The most common being salmorejo, a cold tomato soup with garlic, bread and olive oil, often topped with jamón and a boiled egg is strange at first to the unaccustomed traveller, but is wholly refreshing on a hot day. If you’re feeling adventurous head over to DuoTapa where they serve a green salmorejo with the extra ingredient of apple, a surprisingly pleasant addition to the tapa.

Plaza de España

One of the hottest tourist attractions in the city, the Plaza de España is a glorious fusion of moorish and renaissance architecture, a large semi-circular structure surrounds a narrow stream of water which you can row in should you desire. From the regular horse and carriages riding past, and the occasional flamenco performance to the incredibly intricate carvings and patterns on the tiles of the building, this is a square in which you could easily pass an hour or 2.

Santa Cruz

Next up, the magical, central neighbourhood and old Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz, through which you can meander and stop for a glass of wine or a caña of beer and admire the narrow streets and assortment of ceramics, crafts and spice shops. Home to many local artisanal shops, Santa Cruz is the ideal place to buy a special souvenir to remind you of your trip. Follow the narrow streets and you might find that they spill out onto a plaza with orange trees, such is the charm of the neighbourhood.

Royal Alcazar

After you have gotten lost in the enchanting streets of the Santa Cruz neighbourhood, walk to the royal alcazar. A royal palace built for a king, an exquisite example of Moorish architecture is one of the true treasures of Spain. Entering the palace you will be met with a view that allows you to see over the gardens in full; fountains, mazes and even peacocks are some of the things you can expect to see. Take your time to walk around and explore every hidden corner of this palace, there are even caves here.

Torre del Oro

Much smaller when compared with the great bell tower, the ‘torre del oro’ (tower of gold) sits right on the Guadalquivir river, signalling Seville’s military history. First built as a military watchtower, the tower of gold was constructed with the aim of defending the old city walls. Climbing the tower offers a different perspective of the city, but more impressively a view all the way down the Guadalquivir river and of the picturesque Triana, a neighbourhood which looks so inviting from this side of the river.

Triana

Walking across one of the several bridges towards Triana you will be able to see both sides of the river and especially the vibrant and colourful neighbourhood of Triana. Immediately after crossing the bridge of Isabel II, a marvel in itself, turn to the right to find the Triana market. Inside the market you’ll find a selection of salmorejo, croquetas and other tasty tapas. Triana is also a great place to find some live flamenco or a restaurant right by the river, where you can watch the boats and sometimes rowers go down the river.

City: Seville

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