‘Seville is a city for the eyes and stomach with authentic tapas and exuberant street life, fiery flamenco and unique picturesque Moorish architecture.’
Seville was the first stop of our Andalucía road trip and stayed here for 3 days, 2 nights before heading off to another destination. Our flight arrived to Malaga during the morning, so we were in Seville before lunchtime, which gave us more time to explore.
Basically, we visited the main sites during the morning time, firstly to avoid tourist crowds and secondly because it was much cooler during this time of day. The empty city has the most visual impact as the sun begins to rise and sightseeing is calm and pleasant. We visited 1) Real Alcázar (must pre order tickets online) 2) Casa de Pilatos 3) Plaza de Espana. We saw the cathedral from the outside but I’m sure it would have been amazing on the inside as well. However, the best way to explore Seville is to just stroll around the city. Visit the little shops and cooling wine bars, as the day gets hotter, roam around the ceramics quarter and buy yourself some nice tiles to take home. Eat tapas all day long and hop through as many restaurants as you can because there is nothing more enjoyable that tasting what the city has to offer. Take advantage of the good wine lists as they are so affordable in Spain and let the beauty of the city take over your soul, as the days go by.
Even though my family had a house in the coast of Spain for 25 years, I never visited Seville until this August. To be honest, I was sceptic about the amount of tourists the city would have, but it wasn’t as crowded as expected. Let’s just say, the crowds were in all the right places such as the tapas bars, which is the way it’s supposed to be in authentic Andalucía.
If you arrive by car, make sure to park it just outside the old town in a guarded underground garage, which was what we did in the other cities too, like Granada and Cadiz. We stayed in Hotel Fontecruz Seville Seises that I would highly recommend, as it was smack center in the old town, a few minutes from the cathedral surrounded with all the tapas bars. It also had a roof top pool that was perfect for a few hours of lounging during siesta time. Additionally, breakfast was delicious, the rooms were tasteful with Loccitane toiletries.
You cannot visit Seville without seeing the main attraction that is the royal palace of Alcazar. This Mujedar palace has beautiful manicured gardens and was built over the site of Seville’s former Moorish fortress and is a smaller version of Granada’s Alhambra.
The palace is located just in front of the cathedral hidden behind large stonewalls. You will whiteness the entrance queue that start at 9am, so make sure to pre order your tickets online, to avoid much lining. You can also book a guided tour, that skips the lines as well, but we preferred to explore in peace. We spent a good few hours here walking around the estate and taking in all the architectural beauty, working our appetite for lunchtime. Game of Thrones has been filmed here and you feel an “Arabian nights” – kind of feeling in this setting.
The most wonderful way to explore any city is by foot. The best way to get to know Seville is to explore the nooks and corners by walking aimlessly around the beauty of the old town. If you don’t feel like walking all the time, the corners are filled with horse carriage rides that work as taxis in the old town. The town is filled with beautiful little plazas that will with restaurants, tapas bars and cozy boutiques. The Jewish Quarter of Seville is one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods and the Santa Cruz area. Make sure to eat ox tail, drink some tinto de verno and order delicious tapas from the counter of the bar, just as the locals do. Some of our favourite tapas bars were bar Catedral during the day and Ovejas Negras in the evening. There was a great seafood restaurant, La Primera del Puente on the other side of the river, the typical “not so pretty” place with plastic chairs and paper clothes. However, often these tapas bars/ restaurants are the best in Spain, buzzing with locals!
pil pil & sangria at La Primera del Puente
A plate of Jamon and queso before watching the flamenco
Teatro Flamenco Triana: One evening before dinner, we booked a flamenco show that was located away from the old town (on the other side of the river) that came highly recommended. The beauty of this show was that is was in a small theatre for a small audience, very authentic, full of locals. You weren’t allowed to take any pictures here but the show was sexy, full of passion and so beautiful to look at. Teatro Flamenco Triana is located on Calle Pureza 76, and you can book your tickets online or from a tourist information.
La Casa De Pilatos (Pilate’s House) is a wonderful hidden gem in the heart of Seville. I stumbled across it through pinterest and I was drawn to its beautiful 16th century Sevillian architecture. With a touch of Renaissance flair, the palace has a Gothic Mudejar style to it that spills with breathtaking ceramic details. It is much less known than the Alcazar and for that reason, it is also far less crowed and peaceful. It costs about 8euros/ticket to get in and it includes a guided audio tour of the entire palace. It is located in the historical centre, making it a short walk from all the other must sees.
After visiting the civil palace, we did a bit of hand-made tile shopping just outside the casa and strolled back into ceramics quarter for some paella lunch. Restaurant La Cueva, located on Calle Rodrigo Caro, 18 opens up to a little square that has a tiny park in the middle surrounded primarily with ceramic shops and places to eat. You will smell the caramelized almonds cooked in little bakeries that linger through the narrow streets.
Plaza de Espana is a historical landmark in Seville that is a breathtaking square right next to the old town. It will make the most magical morning stroll. The plaza is framed by the Maria Luisa Park with a total of 10,000 square meters and is without a doubt, one of Spain’s most lavish plazas. The square has been a backdrop for many movies (Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars, The Dictator) and makes a great place for a peaceful stroll to workup a tapas apatite.
We walked along the semi-circular shape of the building admiring the Moorish-Renaissance style architecture and all the colourful ceramic detailing. The square oozes with inspiration and it is at its most beautiful state early morning, during sunrise before it gets crowded with lots of people. With the exception of a few photographers and exploring couples, the fountain was glistering against the rising sun and pigeons were taking their morning bath in the cooling water.