The fantastic city of Seville in southern Spain is perfect for a city break on the weekend, it is neither too overwhelming nor too boring. Do you favor hot days, beauty, sun, yummy tapas, oranges and horse-drawn carriages packed in a compact, vivid city? Then head to Seville and get enchanted by it!
The early 90ies were good years for Seville: Andalucía’s capital should be the venue for the 1992 Expo and therefore received a huge cash injection. This meant a new highspeed train between Seville and Madrid, new roads and a new airport. Likewise, new bridges over the river Guadalquivir were built. Those bridges linked to the other side that was rather undeveloped at that time but should provide the location for the Expo. Seville shines and sparkles ever since. The Sevillanos have an intense pride in their city and happenings in e.g. Madrid or Barcelona are not of much interest. We have prepared the perfect weekend to-do list for the city where once Christopher Columbus set sail for America.
ENJOY SPANISH “DESAYUNO”
Have you heard about all those Spaniards who constantly are on a diet? Neither have we – so we start with a real Spanish delicacy for breakfast: Bread topped with a light tomato sauce and olive oil. This is super simple and yet very yummy. You think this is too heavy for breakfast? Well, better think twice. You aren’t supposed to have an early breakfast anyways – after all this is Spain we are talking about. So go ahead and order your “tostada” together with a café con leche on a sunny terrace somewhere around the river. This is the perfect start into your Seville weekend.
ADMIRE EVERYTHING THAT’S THERE ON PLAZA ESPAÑA
Just grand! Insanely excellent! Top! We don’t know what else to say about Plaza de España. It is truly one of the most kick-ass places not only in Seville but in Spain. On Plaza de España you really do not know where to look first. Stunning bridges in Venetian style with blue and white painted railings, neo-Moorish Arches and a small lake in the center with cute row boats. Be sure to check out the outer rim of the Plaza. You will find tiled murals representing all the major Spanish cities in a more than beautiful kind of way.
GO FOR A STROLL IN PARQUE MARIA LUISA
As this miraculous park is just opposite Plaza de España, you can go there afterwards and soak up some sun. Maybe you can even have a picnic for lunch there? If you are not hungry yet you can rent bikes or even go on a ride with a horse-drawn carriage and admire the huge plant life and the numerous, colourful buildings. If you are lucky you can observe the vivid green parrots that live in Parque Maria Luisa.
GET THE AQUARIUM EXPERIENCE
After your stroll through Parque Maria Luisa, the Acuario de Sevilla is not far. This is also a great alternative in case the weather during your weekend break is not so much fitting for the Park. This wonderful Aquarium offers you to relive the journey of famous explorer Magellan and his expeditions around the world. You will find more than 400 water species representing the biodiversity of the planet's rivers, seas, oceans and jungles – what a cool experience for everyone. The Acuario de Sevilla offers you 35 different aquariums, the biggest one containing 2 million litres (528.000 gallons) of water.
SEE A FLAMENCO SHOW
Seville is a Flamenco hotspot. Where else should you experience this stunning, Spanish dance if not here? If you want some more background information you can visit the Flamenco museum. You will instantly wish to be a Flamenco dancer yourself seeing all the spectacular Flamenco costumes that are shown there. The highlight is happening at 7 PM. An hour-long live Flamenco show, presented with a huge portion of passion and intensity. If you caught the Flamenco bug afterwards, you can ask for more right at site: Cristina Hoyos, who is performing at the museum, also has a school where you can learn how to dance Flamenco during your next Seville visit.
GRAB A BREAKFAST BITE AT THE MOST DELIGHTFUL MARKET
Have you already been to Madrid and/or Barcelona for another weekend break? If yes, this market will somewhat remind you of Madrid’s Mercado San Miguel or Barcelona’s La Boqueria, but still it offers its own charme. Housed in a glass and iron building, the building was originally a 19th century fish market. It was recently rebuilt to a neat self-service food hall that even provides a riverside seating area – a marvellous way to have your breakfast on your second day in Seville. You will be able to choose between 20 different food stands, offering international and/or Andalusian delicacies. Be sure to drop by later on for the beer station or one of the various wine bars. If you are keen to explore the less touristic and more market-ish option, visit Mercado de Triana right across the beautiful bridge of Isabel II.
ADMIRE THE TOMB OF COLUMBUS IN THE CATHEDRAL OF SEVILLE
Yes, you read right. The mighty cathedral of Seville holds the remains of famous explorer Christopher Columbus, in this country known as Cristóbal Colón. Other cities claim to be home to the tomb of Columbus as well, but recent DNA tests proved they are all wrong. The real remains are to be found in this cathedral. Four bearers hold the tomb, presenting the kingdoms of León, Castile, Aragon and Navarra.
But also, the cathedral itself is smashing! Boy, that incredible size though! It is so huge that construction lasted over a century. They say that the elders of the cathedral said “Let us build a church so beautiful and so magnificent that those who see it finished will think we are mad”. And indeed, the Catedral de Sevilla is the third largest church in the world, after St.Paul’s Cathedral in London and St.Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Nevertheless, this UNESCO World Heritage is still the largest Gothic church in the whole world! Be sure to climb to the top of the Cathedral’s Giralda Tower. It takes only 5 minutes but you will be awed by the 360 degrees view.
GET LOST IN THE CITY CENTER
Seville offers a maze of picturesque streets in the old center. You will find everything here from impressive streets artist, vibrant terraces, to Spanish flavors. The cobbled streets are all shaded by orange trees and it will be easy for you to discover the traditional charm of Seville. Furthermore, these streets are lined with a variety of tapas bars, which brings us to the next point:
ENJOY AS MUCH TAPAS AS YOU CAN
You may or you may not believe it: Tapas originated in Seville. Hence, you need to eat as much tapas as you can during your visit in this city. Tapas in Seville is like Paella in Valencia or Croissants in Paris. The Sevillanos even have a name for the act of eating tapas: tapeo. There are hundres of wonderful places for your tapa experience but the best areas include Alfalfa, Santa Cruz, Plaza San Salvador and Plaza del Duque. The normal cost for a delicious tapa is between 1,50 and 3,50. If you find a more expensive place, rather go somewhere else – it could be a tourist trap. By the way, our favorite tapa bar is Bar Antojo in Calle Calatrava. Try to taste the most typical ones for Seville, which include spinach, chickpeas, Iberian ham and baby squid.
CHECK OUT SEVILLE’S BIG MUSHROOMS
Actually, this huge construction is called “Metropol Parasol” and claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world. While most of the interesting places in Seville are rather historical, this is a way to explore the modern side of the city. On the first level you will find a central market and on the second and third levels there are an exquisite restaurants. The best thing about the restaurant though is the panoramic terraces they have. Here you can have one of the best views over the city. Maybe you want to admire the terrific sunset here? A weekend break should always include at least one stunning sunset, right?
GO OUT AND PARTY LIKE A SPANIARD
Despite the compact size of the city, Seville offers a vast variety of clubs, party venues and bars. The main areas for good bars are Alfafa and Alameda. In Alameda, you will find the more alternative way to party than in Alfafa. If you want to party like a local you can go to the river Guadalquivir and party on both sides of it. The city center side include Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, Calle Adriano and Calle Arfe. If you walk to Triana, the other side of the river, you will find Calle Betis. This street right at the bank of the river is lined with bars and also clubs that are opened until the morning.
CHURROS! CHURROS EVERYWHERE!
On your last day in Seville you can allow yourself to indulge in a mouth-watering, sweet treat in the morning. Could you leave this city without eating Churros? We don’t think so. Churros are nothing else than fried dough and somehow remind us of fresh Doughnuts from a small Doughnut machine – at least the taste does. The big difference is that Churros are not round but look like a thick stick, mostly filled with a wonderful sin like chocolate or caramel sauce. Try the bars La Centuria or Bar Comercio for your millions of calories and do not forget to dip them in your coffee or your cup of chocolate.
LET YOURSELF BE AMAZED BY ROYAL ALCAZÁR DE SEVILLA
Another UNESCO World Heritage, this place will make you start your last day of your weekend break in Seville in a very royal kind of way. Here, the Spanish royal family has its official residence when visiting Seville. Try to go there before noon to avoid the big tour groups or buy your ticket online, otherwise you will stand in line for a not-so-short time and this certainly kills the mood of every vacation day. Oh my god, there is nothing more refreshing than admiring all this complex, Moorish architecture, the courtyards and the incredible gardens. You will find dozens of impressive rooms but be sure to especially check out the Ambassador’s room. Here, the king would receive his guests and greatly welcome them – and we can surely understand why. For all the Game of Thrones Fans amongst you: This room was featured in an episode in 2015. When going there, you will maybe remember which episode it was.
As it is close to the Royal Alcazár de Sevilla, you can stroll through the Park and head into the direction of the Monument of Christopher Columbus, also called the Monumento a Cristóbal Colón.
TAKE A LOOK AT TORRE DEL ORO
Tower of Gold – what a fascinating name, right? Torre del Oro seems small but don’t you dare leaving Seville without having a look inside it. The Tower got its name because the reflection it sets off to the Guadalquivir river seems very golden at times. From the roof of Torre del Oro you can admire the stunning view over the river and take some last, panoramic pictures of the city.
VISIT THE OTHER SIDE
Are you keen to experience a city not only like a tourist but also like a local? Then off you go to Triana. This is the name of the vibrant, lively neighbourhood on the other side of the river. Have an afternoon coffee (or glass of wine?) on one of the nice cafés near Calle de Betis and observe all the Sevillanos – some of them relaxed, some of them busy. Afterwards you can educate yourself in Triana Ceramic Centre. Here, you can learn about the world-famous tiles and understand the history and manufacturing process. Finally, go and explore all the unique boutiques and galleries in Triana – for sure a sound way to shop for souvenirs.
Seville is always worth a visit. The ubiquitous happiness and kindliness can be felt in all parts of the city. London, New York, Paris? Sevillanos do not need any other place than their Seville – and we can understand them.