You could almost say Seville has it all...
As a balmy November evening draws in and the honey-coloured Plaza de España is bathed in the last drops of the Andalusian sunshine, I know we’ve arrived in paradise, yes, Seville.
There are not too many cities that Gary and I have returned to, and would still return back to, but, for me, it’s Seville every time. This southern Spanish city has such a welcoming, relaxed vibe and incredible Moorish architecture like you’d never believe.
El Divino Salvador church
What’s not to love about strolling through ancient narrow streets, following in the footsteps of thousands of years of history. Then settling down beneath the Sevillian winter sun and enjoying a chilled glass of Manzanilla. Does a city break get any better?
We’ve now visited Seville three times, two of which were during our Spanish road trip adventures. And all three visits were through autumn or winter, I really don’t think I’m cut out for the 40-degree heat in the summer months.
A typical bar
There’s something alluring about Seville, that not only is it delightful visiting its famous historical sites. But you get the sense that there are even more fascinating little alleyways and plazas to discover that are hidden away.
Although, don’t just take our word for it, treat yourself. Here are a few of Seville’s charming qualities that I’m sure like us you won’t be able to resist for a little winter break;
One of my favourite eras in architecture is most definitely Moorish. I just love it, it’s both beautiful and rustic at the same time, and you feel that the ancient walls and ramparts have a million stories to tell.
The Torre del Oro from across the Guadalquivir river
Perhaps this is why I’ve become to love Spain, and it’s alluring historic villages, towns and cities so much in recent years.
Plaza de España
Plaza de España is one of my favourite places in Seville, it’s so stunning. I just love strolling around the perimeter of the semi-circular plaza, discovering all about Spain’s fascinating regions, which are scattered north, south, east and west across the country. Each little alcove is decorated in beautiful Spanish ceramic tiles depicting the capital of its region and what that Province is famed for.
The Canaries tiled alcove of the Plaza de España
Meandering through the plaza is an inviting arched river, I’m sure you’ll find it a struggle to resist just hopping in a boat and going for a row.
Boating at the Plaza de España
We’ve visited the Plaza de España over different times of the day; however, it really feels special during the evening twilight.
Just sitting watching families and friends enjoying each other’s company.
Gratis to all
What’s lovely about Plaza de España is that it’s free for everyone to enjoy.
Also known as the Mushroom, it’s quite an imposing structure, and I think people either love it or loathe it, I’m certainly one of the former. I like to see the old mixing with the new if it’s tastefully done.
The Metropol Parasol, or Mushroom (as the locals call it)
The Metropol Parasol was completed in 2011, and for a small charge, you can catch a lift to the top and have a stroll around. There are some wonderful views from here across the rooftops of Seville.
A helpful guide
Ahhh the call of Andalucía, I love nothing more than planning a trip and so often I use the DK Eyewitness books. I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our southern Spanish road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.
Alcázar of Seville
Ahhh, the stunning Alcázar of Seville, I’m not really one for telling people what they should and shouldn’t visit, as I feel it’s each to their own. However, there’s no escaping that the Alcázar of Seville is magnificent.
Moorish design in the Alcázar
The beautiful ornate interior is mind-blowing, and at times the opulence really does stop you in your tracks. The splendour is an understatement when it comes to this palace.
Moorish design in the Alcázar
Oh yes, then there are the gardens, so immaculately manicured. It’s such a pleasure to spend time sitting and admiring the immense amount of work, that goes into maintaining them.
Arrive early or….
Ensure you arrive early to visit the Alcázar of Seville and Seville Cathedral as the queues quickly start to form.
Alternatively, why not ‘skip the line’ and join the 3-hour guided tour of both the Alcázar and the Cathedral. That way you can have leisurely breakfast.
Seville Cathedral is stunning and sits proudly as the centrepiece of the city. Built in the early 16th century, this beautiful basilica is the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world.
I know it seems weird to say, as obviously, it is vast from the outside.
However, when you step inside and see the enormity of the imposing pillars stretching up to the rafters, it really is breath-taking.
Inside the Cathedral
Inside the Cathedral are 80 separate chapels surrounding the central nave and it also houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus.
Did someone say UNESCO?
Plaza de Toros
Seville’s bullring, perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but equally this is part of Spain’s history. The Plaza de Toros has a fascinating museum into Spain’s bullfighting and matador past. If you’d like to visit, you’ll be given a guided tour around the bullring and also the museum.
The entrance to the Bullring
The historic circular Plaza de Toros was built in 1765 and is a fantastic looking structure. The beautiful Baroque architecture is seen throughout, and I must admit although I wouldn’t go to a bullfight the Plaza de Toros is incredible.
The seating at the Bullring
In our opinion
Barrio Santa Cruz
One of the reasons I fell in love with Seville was strolling the tiny lanes around the old town.
Not knowing what you’ll find around each corner, another attractive little courtyard or a bustling, lively plaza. It’s just wonderful.
Quiet lanes of Seville
We even managed to get lost on our first evening, as you think you wandered through the lanes before, and then you find somewhere new.
Seville’s beautiful Plazas
The fun of strolling around anywhere is the anticipation of what you’ll discover along each path. While we were out and about one day, we came across Plaza de Doña Elvira, it really put a smile on my face. It was just how you’d dream a Spanish square to be.
The fountain in the centre of Plaza de Doña Elvira
Beautiful ceramic tiling, lush trees were providing welcoming dappled shade, a fountain for children to enjoy and of course, the lovely local restaurants pouring out onto the streets.
Casa Placido is our treasured tapas bar in the heart of Barrio Santa Cruz. Prior to visiting Seville if I had a vision of what a tapas bar should be this was it.
The bar of Casa Placido
Iberico hams hanging from the ceiling, passionate flamenco dancers were adorning the walls and the waft of Sherry as you stroll through the door.
This is also where we made the decision to give up our 9 to 5 lives and take the leap of faith into travel blogging.
Watch out for!
Be sure to pack your ‘hard hat’! Like me, you may just be minding your own business enjoying the shade of a Seville orange tree and THUMP. An orange lands on you from a great height. One of us found it funny, and it wasn’t me….
Food and Drink
Mercado de Triana
Triana is on the opposite side of the river to Seville’s main tourist sights, but indeed a place to head. Historically Triana is known for its pottery and ceramics, take a little stroll around its lanes as some evidence of this can still be found.
A fruit and vegetable stall in the Mercado de Triana
However, you really should pop into the Mercado de Triana. If like us, you enjoy wandering around bustling food markets, then you’ll love it here.
Ahh, Sherry now forget all those preconceived ideas of warm sickly Sherry consumed at Christmas and taste Spanish Sherry how it is meant to be enjoyed.
Two glasses of sherry
You’ll be surprised at how many different types there are to choose from. I personally like the Manzanilla, which is clear, crisp and served chilled. Although I do actually enjoy them all.
Tapas and Paella
Spain wouldn’t be Spain if you didn’t indulge in a little tapas and paella. When we strolled through Plaza de Doña Elvira, we came across a lovely restaurant with tables outside in the dappled sun. So, we found a spot and enjoyed a delicious paella.
Paella at La Cueva, Plaza de Doña Elvira
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