Seville – The Jewel of Andalucía
Seville is the largest city in Andalucía. It’s warm, welcoming and vibrant and it boasts some of the most beautiful architecture we’ve seen in any city. On reflection, 48 hours was not long enough to enjoy all this fabulous city had to offer. We’re not sure whether it was the beautiful surroundings, the warm winter sun, or the gorgeously cold local Cruzcampo beer… but we fell in love with Seville within hours. We are certain that you will fall hard too!
Sightseeing Tour and Flamenco
Like most cities, a fantastic way to see all the hot spots in Seville is on a hop-on hop-off tour bus. This offers travellers with limited time, maximum exposure to what a city has to offer. At €29 for 48 hours it was money well spent and certainly enabled us to get a good idea of where things were.
The company that we used runs tours from 10am to 8pm daily and offers 14 unique stops in Seville. A complete circuit of the bus tour, without hopping off, will take you 75 minutes. Bus stops are clearly marked and buses arrive every 30 minutes.
There are numerous extras included in the ticket price, most of which we were not able to take advantage of. However, they are definitely worth noting –
- You get free entry to several museums and galleries including –Pabellón de la Navegación
- Museo de los Carruajes
- Hospital de la Caridad
- Santa Ana Church
- Iglesia del Divino Salvador
- Casa de las Ciencias
- Torre de los Perdigones (1pm-3pm)
- Museo del Baile Flamenco (museum only)
- The Aquarium
- Discounts are available at Costa Coffee and Hard Rock Café. There is also a range of free drinks/food with purchases at other restaurants and cafes
- 4 free walking tours
- Spanish Square and Maria Luisa Park Tour
- Santa Cruz Quarter Tour
- The Triana Tour
- The Fine Arts Museum Tour
If you want something with a distinct Spanish flavour, as we did, there are also discounts for the Flamenco Museum and FC Seville stadium tour! We highly recommend you spend some time at both of these attractions.
Plaza de España, Seville
During your Seville sightseeing tour, you will see magnificent government buildings. These include the Torre de los Perdigones and the Torre Sevilla. However, If you are only going to make one stop, we’d advise everyone to take in the Plaza de Espana.
The plaza was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It’s a truly breath-taking landmark in Seville. The semi-circular brick building is Renaissance in style, with a large tower at either end. Following the curve of the building is a canal crossed by four bridges. In the centre, is the plaza, featuring a beautiful water fountain.
You can hire small boats which you can row in the canal. If you’re travelling with your partner or children, this is a must!
The Plaza de España is also famous for featuring in films such as Star Wars Episode II – Attack of the Clones. It features in exterior shots of the city of Theed on the planet of Naboo in the film.
The plaza is an absolute must do and it’s free to get in and walk around. We spent over an hour just wandering around, taking photos in the midday sun. We were also lucky enough to see some flamenco dancing! That’s another thing you must cross off your list if you come to Seville.
If you’re not lucky enough to catch a free flamenco show at the plaza don’t worry. You can take in one of the many shows running twice daily across the city, starting at around €18. Remember to use your hop-on hop-off bus ticket for a discount if you choose their venue to go to.
Flamenco Venues in Seville
If flamenco is something you’d like to see, and we seriously recommend that you do…check out the following venues –
Casa de la Memoria – Address: Calle Cuna, 6
Casa de la Guitarra – A small and intimate venue. It also has a collection of Flamenco guitars that are well worth looking at – Address: Calle Mesón del Moro, 12
Casa del Flamenco – Address: Calle Ximénez de Enciso, 28
Another stop in Seville that we’d definitely recommend, whether you get there via the bus or by foot, is the Metropol Parasol. This wooden structure is located at Plaza de La Encarnación, in the old quarter of Seville. At 85 metres high, it claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world. Designed by German architect Jürgen Mayer, it was completed in April 2011.
On the top level, there is a walkway with fantastic panoramic views of the city. Sadly the walkway wasn’t open when we arrived, but open or not, it’s worth a visit while in the city.
New Year’s Eve in Seville
Our trip was planned around New Year’s Eve 2017. However, the evening did take an unexpected twist. Shortly after we arrived it became clear that very few venues would be open to see the New Year in. The ones that were open had been booked up for some time.
We discovered that many restaurants close down at 10.30pm on New Year’s Eve, and many bars even earlier. One bar owner explained that everyone spends their time at home for the stroke of midnight. Like true Spaniards, they only come out after 1am! Most bars in Seville only have a licence until 2am, so there was no point in them even opening. Instead, they close at 7pm on New Year’s Eve and re-open on New Year’s Day.
Those that don’t see in midnight at home, venture to the main square. Here they partake in the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes on the 12 chimes of midnight. We decided that our best option was to eat early and head to the square. What a great option it turned out to be!
Hordes of Spanish revellers flocked to the Plaza de España, Seville’s most beautiful and most festively decorated square. The majority revellers arrived with a bottle of champagne in one hand and a bunch of grapes in the other. Maybe this was not going to be so bad after all!
Eating and Drinking in Seville
As with all major Spanish cities, when it comes to eating out you are spoilt for choice in Seville. Whether you are in the mood for an Argentinian Steak, Pizza, or something more Spanish, there is something for everyone. We’d advise that you stay away from the tourist areas, as meals there seemed less authentic and more expensive. When it comes to drinking, there were countless bars spilling out into the street. Tourists and locals mix in the winter sun during the day, and the warm air of the winter evenings. Everyone clearly enjoying the best Seville has to offer.
As mentioned we decided to eat early on New Year’s Eve. We stumbled upon a fantastic Italian restaurant – La Mafia!
The selection of cured meats and cheeses to start was delicious. Washing it down with a Malbec from Mendoza, although not very Spanish, was a great opener. We all decided to go for pizzas and we were not disappointed. They were made with a beautifully thin base and were light and full of flavour. The service, food, and wine were excellent and the price was remarkable. Well worth a visit.
Baco Cuna 2
If you’re in the mood for something a little more Spanish whilst in Seville, we can highly recommend Baco Cuna 2. When we visited we ordered Paella and we were not disappointed! The perfectly cooked dish was mouth-watering and we washed it down with the local Cruzcampo beer, which was mouth-wateringly good.
The service was also top notch, and considering Paella usually takes a while, the feast was with us in good time. The building was impressive and the ambiance was excellent, which was a bonus considering it was January 1st. Reports are that their tapas is also excellent, but we can’t vouch directly for it. If you’re after something Spanish in Seville, get yourself over to Baco Cuna 2.
Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville
One of the only disappointing parts of the trip, which was also one of the parts we were most looking forward to, was this hotel’s service. Following our pre-trip research we heard that the Hotel Alfonso XIII was worth staying at. If you didn’t stay there, then the advice was to at least visit for a drink in the bar.
The hotel was, unfortunately, fully booked over the New Year’s period. We decided that we would at least take the opportunity to marvel at the magnificent building. What better way to do that than by enjoying a gin and tonic at their famous Art Deco Bar Americano?
When we arrived, we were turned away but invited back later in the evening. This happened to us on three separate occasions on the same night! The hotel seemed busy but the bar kept pushing back it’s opening time. After the third time we were turned away our desire to enjoy the facilities had diminished.
Feeling frustrated and disappointed we asked if we could at least take a photo of the bar. They allowed us to do that, so not all was lost. After that we left to find somewhere a little more welcoming.
A Drink in Seville
Luckily there are plenty of places to get a drink around Seville. You only have to walk a short distance before you find a traditional Tapas Bar or a modern contemporary bar. All of which serve up wonderful wines, beers, and of course a fantastic measure of gin splashed with tonic.
Heading down to the Paseo de Cristobal Colon is a great idea if you want to enjoy a drink! There is a row of bars overlooking the river, include Boga, Bribon and Pinzon. If you fancy a pint of the black stuff, as with all major cities, you can also find an O’Neills Irish Bar.
One thing we didn’t get around to, due to the large queues, was the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla. The amazing looking bullring is the oldest in Spain. With tickets starting at €8, it’s well worth a visit. It’s on our list for the next trip!
Seville is a wonderful city, it’s architecture and orange tree lined streets are reason enough to visit. Following the sightseeing tour it was clear that it’s a city you can walk around with relative ease. Most things are located a comfortable walking distance apart.
So get your walking shoes packed and get yourself off to Seville for a few days…or more!
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