Sevilla is a fascinating and romantic city, rich in history, culture, architecture and gastronomic delights, filled with Andalusian temperament. Lonely Planet’s travel experts voted Sevilla as number one among the top ten cities to visit in 2018. Here, in the south of Spain, traditions are being lived and reinvented by the day. The capital of Andalusia remains an authentic Spanish city whose historical center is not yet as packed with tourists as other Spanish destinations. While the sun is shining for more than 300 days a year, the Sevillanos master the art of enjoying the moment and the good things in life. Are you interested in Seville travel inspiration to follow them?
I have lived in Seville for over a year and fell in love with this Spanish city, whose magic hardly anyone can resist. As inspiration for your Seville travel planning, I want to share some of the things that make the Andalusian capital so fascinating and unique.
What is so fascinating and inspiring about Seville?
Sevilles Top Sights
Seville is home to impressive monuments such as the Real Alcazar Palace, the largest gothic cathedral in the world with its former minarett bell tower Giralda (Unesco World Heritage sites). The Parque Maria Luisa and the emblematic Plaza España were built for the Iberoamerican Exposition in Seville in 1929. While relaxing in the park, you can look for the pavillons of the different countries that participated in the exhibition.
The list can easily be extended with remarkable sites such as the Lebrija palace or the Casa de Pilatos mansion, the old Tobacco Factory (scene of the opera Carmen and nowadays part of the university of Seville) or the Tower of Gold next to the river Guadalquivir.
Seville Travel Inspiration Tip 2: Sevilla Secreta (in Spanish) provides insider information what is going on in Seville and ideas to experience Seville off the beaten tracks. If you don’t speak any Spanish, use Google translate to find out what the locals are talking about.
Getting lost and enchanted by Seville’s peaceful squares, winding alleys with the famous orange trees, colourful houses, palaces and patios (courtyards)
Next to the top sights, Seville has so much more to offer. For me, the best way to discover the hidden treasures of Seville is to just start walking and to get lost in the different Barrios (neighbourhoods). From wandering around in the narrow, winding alleys of the most famous Barrio Santa Cruz, drifting to the less crowded streets of Alfalfa with its bars and cafes, strolling along the vivid commercial streets such as Calle Sierpes until arriving to the northern part of the historic center (Alameda, Feria or Macarena)…there are so many peaceful squares with orange trees, colourful houses, amazing palaces and patios (courtyards) to discover…
Tasty Tapas and Drinks – living the good life
On your walk, you will also pass by countless bars and cafés – inviting you for a drink and some tapas in between. When in Seville, do as the Sevillanos do: Enjoy some beer, wine or tinto de verano (red wine mixed with carbonated lemonade) while standing on Plaza del Salvador square in the afternoon or early evening.
My favorite spot for culinary treats in Seville is the zone around the square Alameda de Hercules where locals and foreigners equally enjoy the good life. Be aware that hardly any restaurant kitchen opens before 20:30 or 9 pm. Sevillanos often have dinner after 11 pm. From the terrace of Al Aljibe, you can observe life on the Alameda while enjoying elaborated tapas. Still hungry? Check out DuoTapas or Bar Antojo close to the Northern part of the square (In DuoTapas, try the mushroom croquetas or the mushroom risotto). Eslava, located close to the Alameda square, is famous among tourists and locals for its elaborated dishes and tapas. Come early for this one and be prepared to eat your tapas standing outside.
What to eat in Seville?
Try the Jamón Ibérico (Iberian Ham), Solomillo al Whisky (pork in whisky sauce), Salmorejo (refreshing cold tomato soup), Croquetas of different sorts or Cola de Toro (bull tail). Taste the Secréto Ibérico (pork filet) or the Carillada de Cerdo (pork cheek) softly melting on your palate. Many Sevillanos also recommended the Serranito, a warm sandwich with grilled meat (usually pork), cured ham and a fried green pepper, served with alioli. Delicious!
Gourmandising in Seville wont burden your wallet like in Barcelona, Madrid or other European destinations.
Seville Travel Inspiration Tip 3: Looking for more food options? On Tapasconarte (in Spanish) or De tapas por Sevilla (in Spanish) locals and expats find and exchange recommendations of the best bars and restaurants and hidden gems like the Antigua Abacería de San Lorenzo. Here you will find real culinary gems and bypass the tourist masses of the top Tripadvisor places. Use Google translate if you don’t speak any Spanish.
Roof tops or where to enjoy a view from above
The best place to overlook the town of Seville is proabably the bell tower Giralda. If you like the view and want to enjoy it after finishing your sightseeing program for the day, there are other options: Walking on top of the mushroom – shaped Metropol Parasol (also called las setas, which means mushrooms in Spanish), allows you to enjoy a 360 degrees panoramic view over Seville. The entrance is €3 with a drink included to enjoy in the bar on top of the wooden structure.
Looking for something more fancy? From the roof-top bar of the Five-Star EME Catedral Hotel, you will have the closest view to the cathedral and the Giralda. Drinks are accordingly pricier. The top of the Corte Ingles department store at Plaza del Duque would be another option, awaiting you with several gourmet stands, chairs, tables and couches on the terrace.
Nighlife in Seville
After dinner, which means around midnight, is the time for Sevillans with ambitious party plans to start the predrinking. Although it is actually illegal, doing ‘Bottelon’ is very popular among young people in Seville – predrinking and socialising in public places such next to Torre del Oro at river Guadalquivir or in the streets of Alfalfa, a neighbourhood where one can spend the night moving from bar to bar.
But Seville offers a variety of nightlife options for different tastes. I prefer the more alternative zone of Alameda de Hercules to enjoy some drinks and talks with friends. You are likely to find groups of locals chilling around on the tree laned square and occasional guitar players.
Another option is Calle Betis street in the neighbourhood Triana on the western side of the river, where you can enjoy drinks, food, dancing or chatting with the gorgeous scenery of river Guadalquivir, the neighbourhood El Arenal and Torre del Oro and the Giralda in the background.
In summer, the most amazing places to dance the night away are the open air clubs around Parque Maria Luisa, such as Terraza Casino.
Flamenco, Sevillanas and April Festival (Feria de Abril)
Feria de Abril
The best moment to experience Sevillan tradition, dances, lifestyle and joy, would be the spring festival Feria de Abril in Seville.
Every year in April (exceptionnally May), there is one week when time seems to be turned back in Seville for at least a hundred years during the Feria de Abril festival. The streets fill with decorated horses and horse carriages, women in flamenco dresses and men in elegant suits all heading to the festival site. Six entire days of dancing Sevillanas (a kind of flamenco danced in pairs), chatting and singing, enyoing delicious Anadalusian food, drinking manzanilla or rebujito, strolling along the casetas (festival tents) and watching the colourful hustle and bustle, the flamenco dresses, the dancing and the expression of pure joy of life.
Seville Travel Inspiration Tip 4: If you have the chance to be in Seville for the Feria week, take in mind that many small casetas are private so unless you know someone, you won’t be able to enter. Look out for the large public casetas municipales which are open to everyone. There you can mingle with the crowd, order rebujito and if you are brave enough ask someone for a dance.
Flamenco and Sevillanas in Seville
If you cannot make it to Seville during the Feria, but want to get a glimpse into flamenco, you can visit „la carboneria“, a tavern with free flamenco shows, or the lesser known „Casa Anselma“. Dont forget to order drinks in exchange for the free show!
Seville Travel Inspiration Tip 5: To watch locals dancing Sevillanas, stop by the bar „el nuestro“ in Triana, with life music starting fromt 11pm.
Have you been to Seville? Let us know if you have any Seville Travel Inspiration Tips to add in the comment section.
Places like Seville make Spain the Most Amazing Country in the category The Good Life. Read here about the most amazing countries in 197travelstamps‘ other categories countries by category. You should also check out our insider guides on Barcelona and Bilbao.