I did not stop smiling in this city due to a gorgeous mixture of sunshine and beautiful architecture, a mix of Muslim and Christian styles.
My Top Sights
Aire de Sevilla, Calle Aire 15 – Arabic style baths with entry every two hours from 10am until midnight. Plenty of staff around to help you to know how to do things and where to go – firstly into the salt water pool where can lay back and listen to the underwater music, then the steam room – so steamy I thought I was alone it was so quiet, then as my eyes became accustomed I realised there were a lot of people in there, luckily I hadn’t sat on anyone’s lap! Then called for my massage – it’s amazing how they come and find you. Then into the jacuzzi and though to the large heated pool – although also the really hot one (40 degrees) and braved the freezing cold one (18 degrees), back to the warm one (36 degrees) to relax in the candlelight, so peaceful with beautiful smells. There is also apparently a serenity pool on the rooftop with views over Seville where you can indulge in wine, cheese and grapes but did not have the joy of this on my visit (need to book a 45 minute massage, try to do this part when it’s dark to see the beautiful lights of the city). Will definitely return on my next trip to sample this as well as the bath massage with red wine! My visit was late afternoon and the only downside what that I was so relaxed afterwards, a went for a quick lie down in my hotel and ended up asleep until 2am and having missed another tapas dinner!
Alcazar – 14th century Moorish palace with beautiful gardens filled with aromatic orange trees, huge palms, colourful tiled walkways and peacocks – E7.5 9.30am – 7pm
Barrio de Santa Cruz – once the Jewish quarter – enchanting place to wander with beautiful squares scented with orange trees – narrow lanes from Plaza del Triunfo to the gorgeous Plaza Doña Elvira.
Calle Betis ?
Cathedral – gothic and one of the biggest Christian temples in the world, second only in size to St Peter’s in Rome contains the tomb of Christopher Columbus; climb the beautiful Girada Bell Tower the minaret from when the cathedral was a great mosque, for wonderful views over the city. 11am-5.30pm E8. Giralda tower
Museo Taurino – Paseo Colon 12, tucked under the bullfighting museum – One of the last remaining places you can see a bullfight but there were no fights scheduled when I was there which I was disappointed about – I have this strange feeling of being appealed by the act and strangely wanting to see this tradition. On the tour you see the ring, the stables and the matador surgery. It was intriguing.
Parque de Maria Luisa, Avenidas de las Delicias – great to escape the noise of the city, duck ponds and snaking paths. Horse & cart & manicured gardens 8am-10pm – Plaza de Espana fountains & mini-canals
Plaza de España – framed bu a grandiose tiled building left over from the 1929 exhibition and appears in Lawrence of Arabia
Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza, Paseo de Cristobel Colon 12 – bullring; tours E6 half-hourly 9.30am – 8pm – whatever your opinions on bullfighting (it still takes place here) this bullring dating from 1749 can hold 12,000 spectators. I didn’t feel the need to see a bullfight but was curious and the building also holds a museum with a fascinating insight into the history of bullfighting and traditions behind it.
Real Alcazar – Plaza del Triunfo – Royal palace in an Islamic style built largely by Christian monarchs is a real juxtaposition – enormous tapestries and Mudejar arches.
Tapas – the paseo (evening stroll) is a long tradition in Seville, the idea being to have several stop-offs for a tapa or two. Unfortunately on my first night of doing this I found a tapas place in view of the cathedral that I liked so much that I stayed there and continued eating little by little (and people watching) all evening. And returned on my last evening for more! Patio San Eloy, Calle Mateous Gago 4
Torre del Oro, Paseo de Cristobel Colon. 13th c watchtower
Alvaro Peregil, Calle Mateos Gago – tiny but great stand-up tapas
Bar Europa, Calle Siete Revueltas 35 – award winning tapas in old fashioned bar
Café Allianza, Plaza de LA Alianza – on very pretty square
Casa Robles bar, Calle Alvarez Quintero 58
Catalina, Paseo Catalina de Ribera 4
Corral del Agua restaurant, Callejón del Agua 6 – mixed reviews but very romantic starlit courtyard garden if the weather is right, near ancient walls
El Pedroso – bread, ham, olives & wine in Sierra Norte
El Rinconcillo, Calle Gerona 32/ 40 – oldest bar in the city, founded in 1670 this is apparently the birthplace of tapas, barrels of wine & ham hanging from the ceiling, the hugest olives you have ever seen – bill is added up in chalk on the table – gorgeous
La Albariza, Calle Betis 6
La Carbonería, Calle Levíes 18 – high-vaulted bar with impromptu flamenco sessions, outside terrace, free entry
Las Teresas, Calle Santa Teresa 2 – quintessential tapas bar – jamons hanging from ceiling; good traditional tapas
Los Colonialses, Corner Calle Dormitorio & Plaza Cristo de Burgos – legendary tapas bar (don’t mix up with the touristy outlet Taberna Los Coloniales Calle Jimios
Meson Cinco Jotas, Cale Castelar 1 – 5 star hams!
Patio San Eloy, Calle Mateous Gago 4 – loved this place, good price tapas, watching the world go by with the beautiful cathedral as a backdrop.
Vineria San Telmo, Paseo Catalina de Ribera 4 – wine bar serving salivating and creative Andalusian-Basque dishes
Casa Sacrista de Santa Ana, Alameda de Hércules 22 – absolutely gorgeous and surrounded by fashionable bars and restaurants for approximately £90 a night
Hotel Amadeus, Calle Farnesio 6 – pricey but lovely with stunning roof terrace & laptops provided free of charge
La Casa del Maestro, Calle Niño Ricardo, 5. The property was originally the house of the flamenco guitar master, Niño Ricardo and has been restored into a boutique hotel with 11 rooms built around a central courtyard, each one of them with a different decorative motive inspired by songs of the Master. Rooms from £72 a night.
Las Casas de la Judeira, Santa María la Blanca 5 – set within 27 traditional Sevillan houses, connected by passages and courtyards with a rooftop swimming pool and spa
Pensión Doña Trinidad, Calle Archers 7 – simple rooms around a tiled courtyard – an absolute bargain from £35 a night
Airport buses run every 15 minutes to the central train station (Estacion Santa Justa) on Avenida Kansas City – connected to city centre by bus C1, C2, C3, C4 – tickets approximately E1.20
Bus Codorba to Seville 10.30am – 12.30pm; E10.36 to Estacion Prado
Main Bus Stations – Estacion de Autobuses Plaza de Armas – to northern stations; Estacion de Autobuses Prado de San Sebastian, Plaza San Sebastian – buses to Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, Malaga & Madrid
Tram – standard ticket E1.20 – can get travel passes as well
For next time
Alameda de Hercules – trendy bars & chic shops
Basilica de La Macarena, Calle Becquer 1 9.30am – 2pm & 5pm – 9pm off Calle San Luis
Calle Sierpes – pedestrianised shopping street
Cartuja Monastery – Conjunto Monumental de la Caruja, Entrances: Avda. Américo Vespucio, 2 / Camino de los Descubrimientos; E3 EU citizen free on Tuesday 10am – 9pm Tues-Fri until 8pm Saturday
Casa de Pilatos – E5 ground floor admission, E8 whole house EU citizen free Tues 1pm – 5pm, Plaza de Pilatoss; open 9am – 7pm – looks lovely although not sure need to see upper floor as long as can see staircase
El Arenal Arena – short walk from Avenida de la Constitucion to Rio Guardalquivir – footpath runs along waterfront
El Postigo, Calles Arge & Dos de Mayo – covered arts & crafts market
Flamenco – Casa de la Memoria, Calle Ximénez de Enciso 28 or Calle Cuna 6? – authentic experience – reserve in advance or buy tickets at venue from 11am? – ensure arrive 45 minutes in advance to get good seats in this small venue. La Carbonereia Cale Levies 18 free admission; 8pm – 4am – former coal yard in Barrio Santa Cruz with 2 large rooms each with bar & flamenco shows; Los Gallos
Iglesia de San Luis, Calle San Luis free admission 9am – 2pm Tues-Thurs & 9am-2pm/ 6pm-9pm Fri & Sat – Seville’s most impressive church
Iglesias San Pedro – legend has it that if you ask someone to locate the bird on the tile in front of this church then you will marry that person. I need to go back and try this!
Italica town – preserved Roman town near Seville
Mercado de la Encarnacion – food market – mainly fish, fruit & veg
Mercado del Arenal, Calle Pastor y Landero – food market
Museo Arqueologico – roman artefacts – 3pm – 8pm Tues; 9am-8pm Wed-Sat free EU Citizens
Museo del Baile Flamenco; Calle Manuel Rojas Marcos 3 E10 9am – 7pm – not really bothered
Museo de Bellas Artes – Plaza del Museo 9 – former convent now art museum
Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija – roman
Parroquia del Divno Salvador 17th c baroque church; Plaza Salvadore – only if passing?
Plaza de San Francisco – Ayuntamiento Town Hall – only if passing?
Ronda – Bus Seville to Ronda at 7am; 10am; 12 midday – bus back is 2pm; 5pm; 7pm; depart El Prado de San Sebastian bus station in Seville; Bus Station in Ronda at Plaza Concepcion Garcia Redondo 2. Banos Arabes, Hoyo San Miguel E2 10am – 7pm. Barrio de San Francisco – historical area with excellent tapas bars. Casa del Rey Moro, Calle Santo Domingo 1 E4 terraced gardens with dramatic views over river & gorge & access to La Mina, Islamic stairway for 300 steps cut into the rock all the way down to the river/ gorge. Corridas Goyescas – most picturesque bullring in Spain. El Mercadillo – newer area. El Tajo Gorge – to walk into (a good morning’s walk) take patch from Plaza Maria Auxiliadora – steep & long but worth effort. Iglesia de Santa Maria Le Mayor, Plaza Dquesa de Parcent E3 10am –7pm – city’s original mosque now church. La Ciudad – older area. Palacio de Mondragon, Plaza Mondrago E2 10am – 6pm. Paseo de Blas Infante and leafy Alameda del Tajo park – spectacular cliff-top views. Plaza de Espana. Plaza de Toros, Calle Virgen de la Paz E5 10am – 8pm & on-site Museo Taurino. Puente Nuevo – best viewed from Camino de lost Molinos running at bottom of gorge. Puente Viejo (Old Bridge) reached via Calle Marques de Salvatieraa – views down river as rushes into gorge. Puerta de Almocabar – 13thc Islamic gateway. Rio Guadalevin valley. Tourist Office, Paseo de Blas Infante
Rio Guadalquivir – boat up river, esp at sunset
Royal Tobacco Factory – Calle San Fernando 4 – 18thc – now part of the university
Sierra Norte – hike – where?
Triana district – on other side of Guadalquivir funky working-class district; pottery & tile-making
Walking Tours E12 10.30am takes 2 hours leaves from Plaza Nueva Estatua de San Fernando
Foods to try:
- Cazon en adobo – shark meat marinated & fried
- Garbanzos con espinacas – chickpeas, spinach & garlic mixture
- Jabugo ham – jamon iberico de bellota is the king
- Montilla or Moriles – local wine like sherry
- Olives – green sevillano
- Pringa – meat pate
- Rabo de Toro – tender meat dish from bull’s tail
- Tortillita de Camarones – shrimps in crisp batter
Hello – Hola
Goodbye – Adiós
Please – Por favor
Thank you – Gracias
Yes – Si
No – No
Do you speak English? – ¿Hablan inglés
A glass of red wine please! – Un vaso de vino tinto por favor!