Seville has been high on my list of places to visit in Spain for a long time. Tipped as a “must see” location in Spain as well receiving the Lonely Planet “Best city to travel to” for 2018. It’s safe to say I had pretty high expectations.
We finally go to visit recently and I was really taken by Seville, it’s such a beautiful city. Bustling with activity but not too overcrowded. There is plenty to see and do without feeling exhausting. A range of shopping and dining options that manage to maintain their charm and authenticity.
In this article we will look at the sights and sounds of Seville and I will try to express what it is that makes Seville such a great place to visit.
Seville is the capital city of Andalucía, the large region in southern Spain. It’s vibrant and full of character. From the iconic architecture to rich history and local culture, there is much to explore and learn during a trip to Seville.
Inland from the south coast it takes 2 ½ hours drive to reach Seville from Malaga and 1 ½ hours from Cadiz. Seville is connected to the rest of Spain via the highspeed train network and its large airport offers many domestic and European flight options.
The sights of Seville
Colourful painted tiles
The beautiful Plaza de España in Seville is a curve of government buildings decorated with colourful tiled murals and a boating canal. It’s become one of the most iconic plazas in Spain and is a popular spot for photographs. The buildings themselves are wonderful to look at, they showcase the many different architectural styles seen across Spain. But the main sight to behold is the tile work. Each alcove of the lower level of wall is dedicated to each different province of Spain and colourful painted tiles decorate the bridges crossing the water.
Fun fact: Sar Wars Attack of the Clones was filmed here!
Viewing platform in the clouds
The Metropol Parasol is a relatively new monument, erected in the old quarter of Seville in 2011. It’s referred to as Las Setas which translates to the mushrooms. Looking up from the ground, this wooden structure does resemble a group of cream coloured mushrooms. But once you ascend to the viewing platform it feels like you are up in the clouds. Enjoy great views over the city here and marvel at the crazy criss-crossing wooden structure up close.
Fun fact: It cost 100 million euro to build!
Majestic royal gardens
The Alcázar of Seville is the royal palace built for Peter of Castille on the site of an old Muslim fortress after the Christian conquest of the city. A flamboyant design heavily influenced by the surrounding Moorish workmanship. Built using Islamic symbols and Jewish art mixed with Gothic and Renaissance style, this became known as Mudéjar. A Spanish post-Moor architecture and design style. Hidden in the inner courtyard you’ll find a maze of mature tropical trees and plants. All perfectly arranged and manicured into majestic royal gardens. Imagine the gardens of Dorne in season 5 and 6 of Game of Thrones, that’s the Alcázar gardens.
Fun fact: The upper levels are still used by the Spanish royal family when they visit Seville!
Largest Gothic church in the World
Completed in the early 16th Century, Seville Cathedral was the largest in the World (until St Peters Basilica was built in Vatican City). But is still classed as the largest Gothic church in the World by UNESCO. It’s said that city leaders and clergy wanted to build a church so big that people would think they are mad. The Giralda bell tower is one of the most iconic sights in the Seville skyline and a much-loved part of the city.
Fun fact: The remains of the explorer Christopher Columbus (known as Cristóbal Colón in Spain) are buried here!
The sounds of Seville
The authentic spirit of Flamenco is still alive in Seville. The music can be heard throughout the city from buskers and street performers to bars restaurants and cultural shows. The history of Flamenco is a little hazy as it’s only been officially documented during the last 200 years. But its widely agreed as originating from Andalucía and is a Spanish art form. Flamenco comes from gypsy immigrants from different cultures gathering together in small groups to sing, clap, play guitar and dance. It was passed down through generations by sound and participation. Improvisation was encouraged and the performances are often led by the guitar, the beat or the emotion felt.
Fun fact: The Golden Age of Flamenco was in the late 1800’s. As popularity rose, performances were organised and people started paying entrance to see shows!
The sound of clip clopping horses’ hoofs can be heard as you wander the streets of Seville. Horse drawn carriages line up along Plaza Virgen los Reyes, just outside the iconic Cathedral on the Giralda tower side. Smartly dressed drivers will offer a romantic carriage ride tour to take in the main city highlights for €45. I’m not usually a fan of tourist attractions with animals involved. However, must admit that the horses in Seville did look in very good condition and a certain pride was taken by drivers to act as a local guide.
Fun fact: Horses are an important part of the annual Feria de Abril celebrations in Seville!
Tapas bar chatter
A bubble of chatter can be heard coming from the many old tapas bars in Seville. The best quality bars are easy recognised as full to the brim with locals with not a free seat in the house. Patrons will stand to enjoy a tapas dish or two while chatting with friends. Then happily spill into the street as space becomes scarce, with a cold cerveza in hand.
Fun fact: Seville is very proud of its local beer Cruzcampo!
For details of what you can explore outside Seville and awesome day trip ideas read this article by Married with Fernwah blog sharing 6 day trips from Seville.
I hope this insight to Seville has given you some inspiration to visit this wonderful city. If you have been to Seville, share in the comments box below what you enjoyed most ↓↓
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