Seville in Andalusia is hands down one of the most impressive Spanish cities I have ever visited, it simply stands in a league of its own. I am definitely for all things Spanish but something about this historic and laid back city has me crushing on it like a teenager. I guess this means I have something in common with Christopher Columbus;
‘The air soft as that of Seville in April, and so fragrant that it was delicious to breathe it.’ Christopher Columbus
I’ve actually had a lifelong dream of visiting Seville and for no good reason considering I’ve only ever known the very basics about this intriguing city. My curiosity did take me all over Spain, but still, far from Seville.
While hanging out with locals in Murcia (a university city in southeastern Spain) last summer, which I also loved, my curiosity about Seville grew even stronger. This is what the locals in Murcia said about Seville and I quote:
‘Everything that resembles Spanish culture can truly be experienced in Seville.’
I was sold. Wanting to see the real Seville and to avoid busy summer days, I decided to visit in January. What I found was that Seville is just as beautiful in winter as it is throughout the whole year. Coastal cities in Spain have always been the preferred holiday destination for most tourists. The golden sandy beaches and warm ocean waves are impossible to resist for most Brits, Germans and Scandinavians. For this reason Seville isn’t the first place you think of when planning a trip to Spain.
For me, a city smelling of sandy beaches without an actual beach around (who needs sand in their sandals?) was just what the doctor ordered. From mouth-watering meals to its cultural and domestic heritage, Seville is bound to blow you away, just like it did me. Let’s get into the traditional Seville (and Spanish) way and take a slower pace.
Day 1: Locked out in Seville!
It was 2 am on my first night here. As I made my way to my hostel I had expected a quite city but instead the place was buzzing and the nightlife, made up of seniors, teenagers and even tourists was very much alive. In Seville the nightlife is completely different to most places. For example, here you can take your pet into a club and have it sit right next to you… it’s quite relaxed! In Seville, there is an outburst of enthusiasm and curiosity in people, but one where they don’t care to know too much about you. This is what got me first.
Once at the hostel, I found myself in front of a door that was firmly bolted shut. It’s closed. Luckily, a nice British man woke up, came down to unlock the door and basically saved me from a night sleeping on the street.
Day 2: Plaza de Espana, Guadalquivir River and Tapas
The morning dawned and all I wanted to see was Plaza de Espana, the city’s most renowned square-turned landmark. The square was built in 1928 and is all about mosaic-tile vibes and traditional royal stairs taking you to hidden corners everywhere. The vast square space for walking around is as good as it gets.
It’s main fountain lies just over the bridge. And, let’s not forget the sensational view of the central cathedral-like building! Divided by a canal into two separate parts, this landmark is super instagram-able.
Suddenly, hunger kicked in. Having no patience to wait (hello hangry), I hit the first local food bar I could find. Boy, did I chose well! An open garden terrace and wines cleverly intertwined over the wired rooftop – this place was utopic. I remember eating one of the best ‘tapas’ burgers I’ve had in a long time. Not bad for a city rookie, right?
I took a stroll through the city and found myself by the Guadalquivir River. You’ve probably never heard of this river but it’s the fifth longest river in the Iberian Peninsula and the second longest river with it’s entire length in Spain. A slow, yet sun-kissed ride took me along the half-empty boardwalk and into down-town Seville.
Night time. A local bar. Or any bar in Seville, really. No huge meal, just your casual Friday evening out…with a twist. Seville, much like any other Spanish city, is well-recognized for their snack dishes, a.k.a. ‘tapas.’
Tapas in Seville varies, so here you can find a huge variety, anything from meat to veggie-based snacks. Treat yourself to a glass of local tap beer or homemade Sangria, and know that in Seville, they take both Sangria and Tapas very seriously.
Day 3: Serene squares, Metropol Parasol, Flamenco and Graffiti
I began day 3 of my Seville trip with the discovery of a delightful square right in front of my hostel and i enjoyed watching the laidback locals go about their day. There’s no rush, there’s always time for a chat. I mean, the Spanish know how to live life to the fullest. After soaking up the ambience of this little square I then headed to one of the most recognized pillars of modern day Seville – the Metropol Parasol.
In the center of Seville lies a massive wood structure, representing the highest built of its sort in the world. Interestingly enough, Sevillanos don’t particularly care for this landmark. Even more, some consider it rather offensive and a detriment to the city.
The Metropol Parasol can be seen for around 3 euros per person and along with a great view of the city you also get a free postcard in return. The landmark is twisted and turned into modernistic shapes and offers a solid walking experience from start to finish. The weather served me brilliantly as well, so this may be my favorite memory of the city yet!
On my way back to my hotel I got lucky and if you do too you’ll come across a street Flamenco, another important Spanish custom kept alive in Seville daily. As evening came, sleepy Seville came back to life. I took this opportunity to just roam the streets, admiring the inspiring and creative graffiti, which makes the city a little bit hip. Add good local bands playing in distant bars to the equation, and you have yourself a jackpot. What a night!
Day 4 – Goodbye Seville
My final day in Seville was reserved for visiting one of its most historically relevant monuments, the Real Alcazar, or Royal Alcazar, as it is commonly known.
Also known as ‘House Martell’ in Game of Thrones, this beauty of an estate dates back to the early 1800’s and is a UNESCO protected site.
Interconnecting rooms and hallways lead to intricately decorated mosaics exploding in vibrant colors and patterns. Secret fountains, underground baths and more, the Royal Alcazar in Seville should not be missed!
I packed my suitcases with the gentle sound of horse hooves and carriages rolling by. I took one reluctant breath before leaving. I don’t want to go. But, Barcelona is waiting, and all I can do is give the city a silent promise of coming back one day.