A treat for the winter, Seville in southern Spain

In En-Route, Europe, Inspiration, Mini Breaks, Our Journeys, Spain, Trip-Types, World Travelby Janis14 Comments

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.

The red and white facade of the El Divino Salvador church from the Plaza del Salvador

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.

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A mature bartender stands behind a traditional marble-topped counter in a bar in the Barrio Santa Cruz area of Seville.  Legs of Iberico ham hang from the ceiling rafters.

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;

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Architecture

The Moors

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.

Tourist pleasure boats line the edges of the Guadalquivir river in front of the Moorish Torre del Oro.

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.

One of the features of the Plaza de España in Seville is the tiled alcoves for each of the regions of Spain.  This is the one for the Canaries.  The primary colours of the tiles are blue & yellow with a scene depicting from the area taking centre spot.

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. 

A family of three in a small rowing boat enjoy the boating lake in the Plaza Plaza de España.  The neo-classical complex built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition.

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. 


Metropol Parasol

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 beautiful wooden structure of the Metropol Parasol, or Mushroom as it's known to the locals.  It's worth climbing for great views of the city.

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.


Why not?

Start creating your own Spanish adventure and discover some the colourful city of Seville for yourself, by flying easyJet or British Airways. These are just a couple of options that you can take to the beautiful country.

Or alternatively, like us jump on a Brittany Ferry and tour through Spain under your own steam.

History

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. 

A closeup look through one ornately decorated Moorish arch, to a room as equally ornate inside Seville's Alcazar.

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.

Tall palm trees dominate the view with an ornate high wall as a boundary to the gardens of the Alcazar of Seville.

The gardens of Alcazar

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

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. 

Seville Cathedral from the outside, with a clear view of its tower that was once a minaret of the Mosque.  A line of horse & carriages line the side, awaiting fares from tourists.

Seville Cathedral

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. 

A portrait view inside Seville's gothic cathedral with a group at the base of one of its vast columns that support its substantial vaulted ceiling.

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?

Seville Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias are all listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They were inscribed in 1987.

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 traditional main entrance to Plaza de Toros, or bullring.  The doors are painted a deep red against a white building with Ocre coloured details.

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 tiered seating inside the bullring, or Plaza de Toros as it's known in Spanish.  The styling is traditional but not sure if we could watch a 'show'

The seating at the Bullring


In our opinion

We love embarking on road trips, so our preferred mode of transport is always jumping in a car. We find it’s the best way to discover a country. So why not check out, SIXT car hire they cover all budgets and allow you to pick up and drop off at different destinations.

Something to make your travels easier?

Culture

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.

A musician plays a Spanish guitar, in a narrow cobbled lane, in front of a group of people sitting outside a restaurant at night in the Barrio Santa Cruz area of Seville.

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. 

A small red marble fountain in the centre of one of the many small squares you find yourself getting lost in in Seville

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

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 counter of Casa Placido, a traditional bar with hams hanging from the roof.

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.

Inside the traditional Casa Placido with simple chairs & marble tabletops.  The walls are lined with framed pictures of flamenco artists & matadors.

Inside Casa Placido

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.  

Inside the Mercado de Triana.  A vendors booth, decorated with traditional tiles of the region, is piled high with fruit and vegetables.

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.


Sherry

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.

A couple of  glasses of chestnut coloured Olorosso sherry in our bar in the Barrio Santa Cruz area of Seville,

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.

A large iron pan of saffron-coloured paella with mussels and giant prawns to share.

Paella at La Cueva, Plaza de Doña Elvira


Something for the Traveller

Inspired to visit Seville?

Would you like to take a stroll in the historical quarter of Barrio Santa Cruz and get lost in the lanes?

Go on take a peek at the latest deals on Booking.Com?

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About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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Comments

    1. Author

      Thanks Nancy, Seville is beautiful I love the architecture. It’s a city that won my heart as soon as we arrived.

  1. Love Seville, it’s full of so much history and character. All those Moorish influences really add to the place. And the food, some of the best tapas in the country.

    1. Author

      Yes I really love the Moorish architecture too. It’s also great discovering all the little courtyards and lanes around the Santa Cruz district.

  2. This almost has me booking a trip right now! We have only visited once, in late October when the temperature was perfect. WE loved it and vowed to return….we are yet to do so. We did visit the Plaza de Toros, and although like you would not go to a bull fight were fascinated by the history and size of the place. I love that you made the jump into travel blogging in a tapas bar in seville #farawayfiles

    1. Author

      Go on book it, you won’t regret it. October is a lovely time to go, we have also visited in November and that was perfect too.

      Yes, we had been contemplating the jump for a while, we just thought it was now or never.

  3. Aaah Seville! It really appealed to me too. I went with my son on a school trip and adored it. I’d love to go back without a gaggle of schoolchildren in tow. It has the most wonderful feel to it and I love the sound of that tapas bar you found. Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles

    1. Author

      Seville really does have a relaxed vibe about it, whether it’s because a lot of it is pedestrianised or narrow roads and lanes. I’m not too sure.
      You should return, it will probably be completely different kind of trip.

  4. I’m really inspired to visit Seville by your piece. I’ve been to Madrid and Barcelona but I’ve only seen Seville from a viewpoint on a road trip. Did you dance the Sevillana? While in Madrid I was taken to a club where people danced this beautiful, sexy dance – young women, old women, women with women, old men, young men, children, strangers dancing with strangers just to enjoy the dance. I was told by one of the dancers that in Seville, everyone learns the dance in school.

    1. Author

      Thanks Ferne, Seville really is a beautiful city, the architecture is incredible. No, I didn’t dance the Sevillana, sounds like fun, that’s perhaps one fo next time.

  5. It’s nearly 20 years since I last visited Seville. It seems much has changed since then so I may need to go back. Lots of good info here for when I do.

    1. Author

      Thanks Suzanne, in 20 years there has probably been some changes for the good and the bad. Although I would probably say more for the better.

    1. Author

      It is a beautiful city and wonderful this time of year. We were converted to the delights of Sherry when we visited bodega in Jerez, never looked back, I didn’t realise there we so many to choose from.

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