Sevilla – or Seville – is one of the most underrated destinations in the Andalusian region of Spain. Seville has style, swagger and charisma by the bucketload, and many tourists to this great city are blown away by its heady mix of history, culture, food and entertainment. It’s small enough to get around on a short city break and large enough to lose yourself away for a week or two. In short, Seville is well worth a visit, regardless of the time of year. Here are a few suggestions about Sevilla, including what to do, where to stay, and what to expect.
Sevilla – the basics
Sevilla is in the Andalusian area of Spain, located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. There are plenty of fast and efficient services that run through the Seville airport to city centre route, and once you arrive, you will be greeted with some exceptional views. For a small city, it’s well populated, and its citizens reside in a wonderful mix of ancient and modern architecture. You can see evidence of Roman and Moorish invasion, and, of course, the European influence is in full effect., It makes for a fantastic mix, and whether you are out and about on Seville’s cobbled streets or head out to the amazingly scenic countryside, there is a sense of history that pervades the atmosphere.
Where to stay
While there is a sense of history all over Sevilla, there is plenty of choices when it comes to accommodation. There is something for people that enjoy the quiet life in Santa Catalina, which is full of quaint old streets and a thoroughly relaxed atmosphere. If you are looking for something a little more exciting, check out Triana. It’s a bit of a night time hotspot that has plenty of bars, cafes and even Flamenco dancing clubs, which everyone should check out at least once.
What to do
There is plenty to do in Seville, from checking out the panoramic vistas of the Metropol Parasol – which is the largest wooden building in the world, by the way – through to hiking or cycling out to the incredible park on Avenida Carlos V.
It’s full to the brim with culture, and there are fantastic experiences to be had at both the Cathedral Sevilla and the Alcazar Royal Palace. If you want to experience Seville at its bustling best, be sure to head over on Holy Week – or Semana Santa – where you will see hordes of floats making circuits of the entire city. Another good time of year to ho is between the end of April and middle of May. It’s the Feria de Abril – or April Festival, and the city’s population descend to the casitas of Recinto Ferial to party dance and parade on horseback.
What to eat
The food in Seville is renowned for being incredible. Street food and tapas is the name of the game, here, and there are some incredible restaurants for all kinds of budget. Head to somewhere like the Taberna del Alabardero in Calle Zaragoza for a well-priced meal. It’s the type of place that the locals go to, so you are guaranteed good value, as opposed to some of the other restaurants in the main tourist strips. Contenedor is another restaurant worth checking out. It’s a relatively relaxed atmosphere, but the food is exceptional, ranging from high-end local dishes through to simple lunches.
The famous Thursday Market is a must-see for all keen shoppers, and there is also a buzzing market over in Triana. You can pick up fresh produce, gifts for friends and family at home, and there is plenty of clothing, jewellery and locally made knick knacks on display.
What you need to know
Regarding safety, Seville is a pretty secure place, although you should be wary of pickpockets. The city used to be a bit of a hotspot for thieves, but things aren’t as bad as they used to be – just be on your guard. You’ll find the tourist office at the Plaza del Triunfo, and there is plenty of information on the tourist office website at visitsevilla.es. If you plan on taking in all the cultural delights, it’s worth picking up the Seville Card. It will give you access to all transport, as well as a few attractions including the cathedral.
Sevilla used to be one of Spain’s undiscovered gems but recently has become a lot more popular. There is a roaring tourist trade, but it doesn’t take much to find quieter areas and experience the ‘real’ Seville amongst local residents. It’s well worth a visit – so why not give it a try?