Guest post by @TravelWorkLive
Seville, in Southern Spain’s Andalusia region, can easily seduce its visitors into falling in love with the city instantly. It is the picture perfect Spanish town, combining everything that is characteristic for Spain: an impressive mix of Spanish and Moorish architecture, delicious tapas and wine, a long-standing history, modern street art, Flamenco dancers, and if you want to get the full insight of Spanish culture even bull fights.
The best thing about Seville is that, despite being quite a big city with a population of more than 700,000 people, the city center around the old town is still small enough to be explored on foot – but pack good walking shoes and be prepared for a lot of hours in a hot town.
Even if you have only a day or two in Seville, you will get to take in the main sights and the special flair of the city. Here is our perfect day in Seville:
Breakfast at Horno de San Buenaventura
Start your day with breakfast in one of the popular Horno de San Buenaventura cafes which are spread throughout the city center – head towards the Cathedral, there is one right there. A typical café con leche, fresh squeezed orange juice made from local oranges and a hearty breakfast of serrano ham, eggs and bread will energize you for a long day of sightseeing.
Strengthened by your Spanish breakfast, it’s time for some culture. Seville’s big, grey Gothic cathedral with its tall bell tower is stunning from the inside and outside. Climb up the Giralda tower for spectacular views over Seville, plus get a feeling for the lay-out of the town – key for your all day exploring. From the tower you will see the huge building complex of the Plaza de Espana, your next stop.
The best day to visit the Cathedral is free-entry Sundays, as it will save you the 7 Euros it costs on all other days. The plaza surrounding the Cathedral, where horse-drawn carriages line up to wait for passengers in the shade, has beautiful buildings and is a great spot for people watching.
Plaza de España
From the cathedral, it’s an easy and enjoyable stroll to the stunning Plaza de España, passing Seville’s university. The Plaza de España was built in 1929 as part of the Ibero-American Expo World Fair hosted by Seville in that year. The Plaza consists of an impressive building in a half-circle, designed in Moorish style with a grand fountain in the middle. Take your time to look at all the tile paintings on the outside, each representing one of Spain’s 16 provinces.
Parque Maria Luisa
This park is just across the street from the Plaza de España and was also built for the 1929 World Fair and is an interesting mix of various sections: in one part, you will find yourself in a jungle-like surrounding, in another part you will walk by fountains and rose gardens, you will find yourself surrounded by palm trees or orange trees, or discover little ponds and fountains. You can enjoy a romantic ride in a horse-drawn carriage through the park, or you work it yourself by paddling in one of the four-wheeled tandems that you see race through the park.
Street Art by the river
Make your way to the river Guadalquivir which borders Parque Maria Luisa to its South. Turn to the left and walk westwards towards the Puente de San Telmo where stairs lead down to the actual river bank. Along the river street artists turned the blank walls of the promenade into amazing street art: huge graffitis that look more like photos than spray paint. Take the stairs before the next bridge (Puente de Triana) and you will see Seville’s bull fight arena across the street.
The bull fight ring: Real Maestranza
A bull fight might not be everyone’s thing, but it is an important part of the Spanish culture and Seville has one of the most beautiful arenas of the country. There is a museum as well as guided tours through the Real Maestranza during which you can learn more about the bull fight tradition, or just admire the beautiful torero costumes, the remarkable arena and torero sculptures (if you don’t want to watch a bull fight).
Walking can make you hungry, so it’s time for a little snack before exploring more of Seville. There are countless tapas restaurants over the town and any of them is good to introduce you to these typical Spanish dishes. A tapa is basically food sized in snack portions – this can be fish, meat, vegetables, potatoes, chorizo or gazpacho (cold, pureed vegetables soup) or the famous Spanish tortilla (omelette). For only a few Euros per portion, you can order several tapas and fill your belly for next to nothing. We enjoyed an unexpected round of delicious tapas at the inexpensive ‘Bar Europa’ (Calle 7 Revueltas 35) which we can highly recommend, especially the to-die-for deserts.
Shop or window shop
Eating at Bar Europa has the advantage that you find yourself right in the midst of Seville’s shopping streets, near the Plaza Nueva. A labyrinth of alleys are filled with quirky artisan stores, jewellery, ceramics as well as fashion boutiques. On the west side of the alleys you will come out at Calle Sierpes, which together with Calle Tetuan (which runs parallel to Calle Sierpes further west) makes up the two main shopping streets of Seville. These two streets feature famous Spanish fashion chain stores, such as Zara, and other well known clothes and shoe stores. Head down towards Plaza Nueva for the more luxurious brands. Take your time to find some bargain gifts, accessories or a unique dress from a Spanish designer.
The Alcanzar – the city’s fortress
Originally a Moorish fort, the Alcanzar is the royal palace of Seville, an interesting building combining Moorish and Christian styles. The Alcanzar includes two palaces – one built in the renaissance style, the other one in Moorish style. The large walls surrounding the complex also hide beautiful gardens from everyone’s sight, which any flower fan will love.
Dine in Seville’s historic center
As soon as the sun sets, the alleys in the Barrio Santa Cruz neighborhood of Seville get busy. While walking through the narrow lanes between the tall, white buildings of the barrio, try to get a glimpse of the flower-filled courtyards. There are many restaurants with excellent Andalucian cuisine, such as fresh seafood paella, where you can enjoy dinner and sangria on one of the many tables outside, ideal to take in the lively plazas and alleys at night.
No visit to Seville is complete without Flamenco dancing, and La Carboneria (Calle Levies 18) makes the perfect end for your day in Seville. La Carboneria is a bar which features a little stage where every night of the week flamenco music is played by a guitar player while a female flamenco dancer shows off her moves. The bar is popular with university students, locals and tourists alike, and makes for an inexpensive, authentic flamenco experience.
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Dani & Jess
The Globetrottergirls are German-American couple Dani and Jessica who balance a digital nomad lifestyle of full-time work and travel. In April 2010 the girls traded their London apartment to travel the world indefinitely and work from a hammock as often as possible. Their budget travel website, Globetrottergirls.com, offers tried and tested budget travel information in the form of hotel reviews, insider tips, tales from the road and travel photography.