Dense, with a deep history and known best for its vibrant orange trees, entertaining flamenco, and delish tapas, Seville is an exquisite choice in travel destination, especially in spring before the sun gets too blistering. Visit the old town of the city to discover quaint streets of cobbled brick and see gorgeous Alcázar Palace. Take in the ambiance of the banks of Guadalquivir, have a traditional hammam in the enchanting baths of Barrio de Santa Cruz, and spend a dime at one of the local markets on a Saturday. I found a 60 lb flamenco dress!
Where to Stay? You simply must stay at El hotel Sacristía de Santa Ana, a gem of a boutique hotel situated in the Alameda! It's ideal for popping into neighbouring bars and restaurants, where they adorn your cocktail with a feather or other elaborate detail. But the hotel itself is absolutely sublime, touting beatiful rooms with luxurious bathtubs, comfortable beds with arty frames, and decorated in old-world fashion. The hotel is even complete with a small fountain surrounded by bonsai trees welcoming you in the main courtyard. Stay here.
Contenedor - This place is co-owned by a dear friend of mine. He took us there one night and it was the best meal I've ever had in Spain. The menu focuses on biodynamic wines and organic ingredients. The ingredients sit in plain view as the chefs, working in an open kitchen, prepare an exquisite experience. Contenedor has a hip vibe with mix and match tables and chairs. Try everything!
Abades Triana- A sheek, modern restaurant with a glass façade above the meandering waters of Canal de Alfonso XIII. The menu tackles Southern-Spanish classics with a mix of new ideas.
Yebra - Some of the best tapas in town! From the outside, this appears to be a small hole-in-the-wall spot. Once inside, the smart waiters and affluent customers remedy that first impression. Have a glass of cava alongside first-class shellfish and other fine delicacies.
Casa Morales - A dim, classic tapas spot which has been around since 1850. Here is where you will spot heavy serrano ham hung from the ceiling and bartenders pouring wine from wooden barrels that are built into the walls.
La Azotea - A tiny, contemporary dining room where you will marvel at the high energy and efficiency of the staff, serving up inventive, mulitcultural plates. Try their award winning burrarta and basil salad with lemon or the popular tuna-belly with black olive tapenade.
Sights & Shopping
Alcazar - Built in the early 9th-century, the Alcázar is the oldest operating palace in Europe. Here you will find a range of palaces built during various times of in Andalucía's history, and the admittance fee gains permits you to explore the ground floors and gardens. Go at night to take a tour which incorporates theatre, music, and dance wondrously illuminating the castle's history. Also recommended are the night tours which use dance, music and theatre to bring the buildings' history magically to life. Make sure to enter through the Lion's Gate to enjoy one of Seville's most notorious landmarks.
The neighborhood of Regina Market has been totally re-vamped and flaunts some of the city's best independent boutiques sitting on the Calle Regina. Here, you can shop for local produce plus artisanal products. Note that many shops plae a value on eco-friendly and organic products. Don't miss Un Gato en Bicicleta, a powerful liberal bookstore that also throws art exhibitions, music shows, and talks.
The third largest cathedral in the world, only following London'd St. Pauls and the Vatican's St. Peter's, is one of the last Gothis cathedrals that was built in Spain. The climb up to the Giralda is well worth it with the views that greet the eye. Take time to reflect in the serene orange tree courtyard between taking in the bell tower, Christopher Columbus's tomb, and the eclectic design as the cathedral was once a mosque. One of the last Gothic cathedrals to be built in Spain, the Seville cathedral is an impressive building slightly influenced by the Renaissance.
Mercadillo de los Jueves flea market
This flea market is known for being the most colorful in Seville. It's where my friend, Charolette, and I spent an hour trying on flamenco dresses. It's an open air street market that began some years ago. Stalls include photgraphs, post cards, pantings, used books, and other collectibles. Be on the lookout for some great deals!
Monasterio de Santa Paula
In little-known Barrio of San Luis sits one of Seville's most dazzling surprises. The opening hours are a bit difficult but worth steering around to have a look at this Hieronymtes convent. Here, a smll group of sequestered nuns manage a startling house filled with incredible art. There is also a 15th-century chuch coupled with a secret garden on the other side of the towering walls. The entry is donation and pro-tip: sample or take as a souvenir some of the nuns' delicious convent-made biscuits with preserves.
Pro Tip: When you first arrive in the city, do as visitors have been doing since the 16th century and make your first stop at the baths of Aire De Sevilla, located in Barrio de Santa Cruz. Built by a viceroy of the Indies in the 16th century this casa placio has been totally revamped. Here, you will find a phenomenal blend of ancient civilizations and cultures. The place is home to ancient Roman vaults with mudejar carved ceilings and touches from the Americas. It's a refreshing experience, being an inheritance of eight centuries of moorish rule.
Try to catch a local flamenco show if you can! El Arenal is a neat place that has been serving dinner plus hosting a flamenco show every day for forty years.
The gay scene in the Alameda is not one to miss. Go bar hopping there and enjoy feathered cocktails alongside a buzzing crowd. If you stay out late enough you may catch a drag show in the basement of one of the establishments.