Seville, Spain, or "Sevilla," as it is known in Spanish, is a romantic city filled with Flamenco dancers, tapas bars, and Moorish architecture. As Seville is located in Southern Spain, the weather can be quite hot during the summer, though there are plenty of evening activities and refreshing Sangria available to make up for the heat. Our favorite sight to see was the Real Alcazar, a lovely mix of Moorish, Gothic and Renaissance architecture that, in and of itself, tells the history of this beautiful city. Another "must do," is attending a Flamenco show. TV or movies really do not do it justice as much of what you see are facial expressions and subtle movements. There are less expensive options available if you skip shows that also serve dinner. Afterwards, stroll the romantic streets of Bario Santa Cruz in the cool evening air.
Real Alcazar: This is a "must do," while in Seville. The Reales Alcázares de Sevilla, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in it's current form, dates back to the Reconquest of 1248 when Christian forces took back Seville from the Moorish rule. A perfect symbol of Spain's "Golden Age," this former royal palace was built on a mosque where, in addition to the retained Muslim architecture, the buildings are also built with a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance style. The grounds also hold an urban park where peacocks walk the pathways.
Seville Cathedral & Iglesia del Divino Salvador: The Seville Cathedral is enormous with over 124,000 sq ft. This 16th Century Gothic, Roman Catholic church holds the tomb of Christopher Colombus. While not nearly as large as the Cathedral, the Iglesia del Divino Salvador (Church of the Savior) is equally grand with an impressive collection of gold alters. Tip: Skip the long ticket line at the Seville Cathedral by purchasing one ticket for both churches at the Iglesia del Divino which are within walking distance of each other.
Free Walking Tour. Feel the City Walking Tours offers a 2.5 hour free walking tour through Recruitment Square, Triumph Square, Cathedral-Giralda, City Hall, Triana Bridge, Bullring, Tower of Gold, Puerta Jerez, Tobacco factory, and Spain Square. The tour was well-organized and our guide was a wealth of knowledge. Don't forget to generously tip your guide as they make their money on tips.
Plaza de Espana & Parque de Maria Luisa: Built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, this Spanish tile Plaza 48 alcoves with benches that feature each of the provinces of Spain. Within the halls of this tourist attraction you will find flamenco dancers and guitarists serenading visitors. Across the street is the Parque de Maria Louisa. Donated to the city of Seville in 1893 by Princess María Luisa, this city park makes a great picnic lunch spot with plenty of shade to take a rest from the southern Spain sun.
Bario Santa Cruz & Flamenco Show: The Jewish Quarter and Bario Santa Cruz are next to each other and make up a large section of the historic part of the city. Enjoy window shopping, strolling through narrow streets, and listening to street musicians. In the evening, be sure to take in a Flamenco show. We especially like this one because of the modest price and shorter length (think: kids) and talented dancers and musicians. There's no better way to learn and appreciate the culture in Seville than to watch a Flamenco show.
Day Trip to Granada: 2.5 to 3 hours by train from Seville, Granada is the home of the Alhambra, the former Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella (where Christopher Columbus received royal endorsement for his expedition). In addition to visiting the expansive grounds of the Alhambra, take time to do a walking tour and shopping in the city center.
Day Trip to Córdoba: Just 45 minutes by train from Seville, Córdoba is known for La Mezquita, a mosque dating back to the 8th Century. What made this city particularly special for us was visiting the Royal Stables and their gorgeous Andalusian horses. Tip: Skip the more expensive show and attend a practice session for just 5 euros per person.
Where We Stayed
Air BnB: We absolutely loved our AirBnB apartment in Seville. The host, Inma, was so welcoming and helpful, providing us with several great tips. Centrally located in the Bario Santa Cruz, this apartment is also located down a quiet side street and safe within a locked interior courtyard. We highly recommend this listing (Photo credit right: Air BnB Listing).
Where We Ate
We do not have any specific recommendations for Seville but there are many great tapas bars in the Bario Santa Cruz, all of which provided a great dinner if you're like us and do not always want a late dinner.