Seville is the capital of the Andalusia region, and the fourth largest city in Spain. Due to the order we travelled, Seville was the second city I visited in the Andalusia region. Just like Granada, the city is famous for flamenco dancing, particularly in the Triana neighbourhood, and its own beautiful castle complex, the Alcázar. What I did find unique to Seville was bullfighting. While obviously not a fan due to the torture of animals for human entertainment, I was interested in the history of the bullfight and where and why it originated.
Seville was a beautiful city with white and yellow buildings, an enormous cathedral, buildings centuries old and like its counter-part cities, a history so interesting you travel thousands of kilometres to hear about it.
1. Plaza de España, 2. Real Alcázar, 3. Cathedral de Sevilla, 4. Triana neighbourhood,
What to do:
- Real Alcázar: The first Caliph of Andalusia originally built this castle complex during the Moorish Almohad dynasty in the 10th century; the construction of the current Real Alcázar began in the 14th
- Having seen the Alhambra first, I did find the Alcázar very similar and thus not as shockingly beautiful. However, I do think that if you are visiting both cities, it is still worthwhile to see both.
- A general ticket costs 9,50€, and we spent three hours walking around the castle. We also paid 4,50€ extra per person in order to visit the Royal Bedroom.
- If I was paying for the ticket, I wouldn’t have paid extra to see into the rooms, but my mum likes those sorts of things. To me, after you’ve been into one castle in Europe, they all tend to look the same. In saying that, my mum really enjoyed it, so you may too.
5. Plaza de España, 6. Real Alcázar, 7. Plaza de Cabilda,
- Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza: This is the bull fighting ring and museum. To go into the museum it costs 8€ for adults, and 5€ for those under 26 years of age. This will get you a 40-minute tour with an audio guide through the gallery, the cathedral the bullfighters pray in before entering the ring and into the bullring.
- The controversy of bullfighting has been enjoyed in Spain since at least Roman times. Many kings would have bullfighting for entertainment at parties, weddings and other celebrations.
- Today, it is still a huge part of Sevillano culture. The city hosts the Feria de Abril, every April during which bullfights occur everyday and the Real Maestranza is packed out. For the best seat in the house, you’ll be set back 175€.
- I personally find bullfighting an archaic tradition, which sees approximately 250,000 bulls killed each year in bullfights alone for the sole purpose of entertainment, wealth and glory for the torero.
8. Plaza de España, 9. Triana neighbourhood, 10. A church in Santa Cruz area,
- Plaza de España: This is a beautiful and impressive building built in Renaissance/neo-Moorish style, not to be missed if you visit Seville. My favourite part of the plaza was the intricate, colourful designs on the bridges and the tiled paintings of the cities of Spain along the walls of the façade. You can also rent small boats to row in the canal.
- Santa Cruz: This is the old Jewish quarter and cities tourist hub hosting the highlight attractions such as Seville Cathedral, the Giralda bell tower, and the Real Alcázar, along with souvenir shops and handicraft stores.
- Triana: Formally known as Seville’s gypsy neighbourhood, filled with bullfighters and flamenco singers and dancers, it has changed a lot over the years. It is located along the river, across from the Santa Cruz area, connected to the city by the Isabel II bridge. It is a colourful, vibrant area filled with many restaurants, bars, and venues playing live flamenco music.
11. Palace of San Telmo, 12. Plaza de España, 13. Santa Cruz area,
- Cathedral de Sevilla: It is a Roman Catholic cathedral opened in 1528. The cathedral is huge and complete with a lot of detailed statues. It is open to the public, but I didn’t go inside.
- Plaza de Cabilda: This is a pretty square with murals and archways on the building just near the church Puerta de San Cristobal.
- Metropol Parasol: This is a wooden structure located at La Encarnación square in the middle of the old quarter. It was completed in April 2011. It is nothing special so if you miss out on seeing it, you do. But if you stumble upon it or have time then why not.
- Day trip to Córdoba: Since Córdoba is only 1.5 hours away from Seville, it is a popular day trip destination. I won’t go into detail here, as I am writing a separate post, so watch this space.
14. Plaza de Toros, 15. Church in Triana, 16. Real Alcázar, 17. Cathedral de Sevilla,
- Food: Most restaurants appeared to only serve tapas, and not many other cuisines besides Spanish. We managed to find Italian one night, as three weeks in Spain can get a bit wearing when you’re not a huge pork lover.
- Also, Spaniards eat late. Some restaurants didn’t even start serving food until 8pm in Seville.
- Weather: It was extremely hot by June already- I am talking 35ºC days, and for my American readers 95ºF. I would recommend not visiting in July or August unless you want to feel like you’re consistently frying in an oven without a reprieve from the weather, as you’re not near a beach.
- Siesta: This is a real thing here in Andalusia. Shops tended to shut from 1pm-5pm, and then reopen until 9-10pm.
- Asking for the cheque: When you’re ready to leave, you need to ask for the cheque. Otherwise you’ll be left alone at your table for literally hours.
- Cathedral: This has free entry on Sunday afternoons.
- Alcázar: This has free entrance during the final opening hour each day- this is not nearly enough time to see everything in one day, but if you have a lot of time in Seville and are keen to save some money you could come back each day and do a different section!
18. Santa Cruz, 19. Plaza de España, 20. Santa Cruz, 21. Real Alcázar,
The street I stayed on was Calle Jesus Gran Ponder. This was a ten-minute walk to town. The street was quiet, which allowed for a peaceful nights sleep. There was also a square 2 minutes from our place with lots of restaurants and bars, which we ate at for dinner all 4 nights. I think the heat caused slight laziness, but also the food in the old town was very touristy and thus more expensive.