I have recently returned from a 2 week trip around Spain where I visited Seville, La Linea, Granada and Barcelona in an attempt to ‘practise my Spanish’. Aka. I needed an excuse to go on a trip where I could stay in hostels, meet new people and pretend I was a backpacker again whilst practicing my finest Spanglish. ‘Quiero dos tinto de verano por favor’…
My first stop was the stunning city of Seville where I walked so much I thought my feet might fall off.
The Andalucian capital is an intoxicating maze of cute hidden side streets, quaint tapas bars and grand intricate architecture, which leaves you wanting to explore more and more everytime you step out of the door (hence the minimum of 20,000 steps a day).
If you’re planning a trip to Seville, pack your walking boots and follow this jam packed itinerary!
Buses run from the airport into the city centre regularly and can be found at the front of the arrivals terminal. It costs 4 euros and takes around 40 minutes to reach the final stop – Plaza de Armas.
Free walking tour
Start your first full day on a free walking tour.
As you may already know, I swear by free walking tours and book onto them in most cities I visit. They give you a great introduction to the culture and history of a city and help you get your bearings for the rest of your trip.
I booked onto the SANDEMANs New Europe walking tour, which lasted for 2 1/2 hours and covered the main sites of Seville. This tour starts at 10am, 11am and 7pm everyday from Plaza del Salvador and can be booked via their website. Although it is technically a free walking tour, tips are expected at the end (I’d say an average tip would be around £5-£20 per person).
The walking tour ends in Plaza de España so grab an ice cream or a cerveza to refuel and then get ready to mooch around this stunning complex.
Parque de Maria Luisa and Plaza de España
JUST LOOK AT THOSE TILES!!! Yes, I know I’m a serious old lady these days…
The Plaza de España is set within the peaceful grounds of Parque de Maria Luisa (well worth a wander).
The plaza was built in 1928 and is the epitome of the grand architecture you’d expect from Seville. Its intricate mosaic tiles, over-the-top bridges and idyllic water ways, are just a few of the details that make this plaza an architectural masterpiece.
The plaza is free to explore and usually has a band and flamenco dancer performing somewhere in the shade. Walk around and soak up the beauty of the area and if you fancy hitting the water, you can rent a boat and row it around the Plaza.
If you still have enough energy, walk to the Cathedral (approx. 15 minutes from Plaza de España), which dominates the centre of Seville.
This cathedral is huge (the biggest in the world!) and in 1987 was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in the 14/1500s on the site of a grand Almohad Mosque to showcase the city’s power after the Christian Kings returned to power and is now seeped in centuries of history and culture in its blended architecture.
Inside you can find Christopher Columbus’ tomb and a staggering 80 chapels and 15 doors to gawp at. If you’re feeling brave (and fit), power up the ramps to the top of The Giralda Tower where you’ll be greeted with incredible panoramic views across the city. It’s a mammoth complex and booking a ticket before visiting is advised to avoid queuing.
You can buy tickets online for €10, which includes entry to the Cathedral at an allotted time, the Church of El Salvador and Giralda or, pop into the Church of El Salvador when you arrive and buy your tickets there (the queue will be a lot more bearable than at the Cathedral).
If you do anything whilst you’re in Seville, it should be to visit the Alcázar! This outstanding complex is the most popular spot in the city so definitely needs to be booked in advance. On the website you can select what type of ticket you’d like (general entry is €12.50) as well as the time you’d like to visit.
The Alcazar is the oldest royal palace still in use today in Europe and one of Seville’s three world heritage sites. Built originally in the 10th century and then rebuilt a few times from the Middle Ages until now, the Alcázar is a work of art symbolising centuries of Spain’s changing culture. You could spend hours exploring its many nooks, crannies and extensive gardens so ensure you put aside at least 2 hours to fully appreciate its splendour.
I would recommend visiting first thing in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat and crowds.
Lunch at El Rinconcillo
Woop, it’s lunch time! Located around the corner from the Metropol Parasol (see below), El Rinconcillo is an authentic tapas bar buzzing with hungry locals.
This is a very traditional tapas bar so expect to eat like the locals do – at the bar – where your waiter will scribble down your order in chalk on the bar in front of you! Charcuterie boards are carved in eye sight and their vast selection of wines ensures you can get the perfect accompaniment to whichever tapas you order. The espinacas con garbanzos (spinach and chickpeas) was a personal favourite.
This tapas bar is a must if you want excellent, cheap food and drink in classic Sevillian surroundings.
Metropol Parasol is a whacky wooden structure in the centre of Seville. Completed in 2011, this modern building is a far cry from the rest of the ancient architecture in Seville however, it does boasts one of the best views in the city. For a very reasonable €3 entry fee you can go up and enjoy a panoramic view across Seville. Head up for sunset and sip an Aperol at the bar as the sun sinks behind the horizon.
The perfect end to your second day…
Today we’re heading across the bridge to the neighbourhood of Triana.
Triana is renowned for being the main flamenco region of Seville and was described to me by my walking tour guide as ‘the heart and soul of the city’. Therefore, a trip to the city would not be complete without exploring its colourful streets.
Triana is a sleepy neighbourhood, which usually has the faint sound of flamenco music echoing through its streets. Wander around before stopping off for lunch at Las Golondrinas where your waiter is likely to choose a selection of tapas for you to try.
Spend your final night in Seville at a flamenco show!
Seville is where flamenco originated (although Granada will argue otherwise) and is an excellent spot to experience this intense, intoxicating and powerful dance.
There are a lot of flamenco shows to choose from in Seville. Some are solely created for tourists whilst others are a more local and authentic affair. I went to La Carboneria, which was a free, rustic experience with a great flamenco show (you’re expected to buy drinks; 2 euros for a glass of wine). There were a lot of tourists there but I felt like it was a good ‘in-between’ option and has 3 half hour shows at 9.30, 10.30 and 11.30 each night.
My walking tour guide recommended Los Dios in Triana as a good local show so if you have a chance, check that out. However, in true Spanish style the flamenco doesn’t start until 11pm.