Did you ever stop in at a town or city, just passing through, only to realise you have fallen in love with the place and you never want to leave? Ever?
It was like that for me and Seville, Spain.
I was two weeks into an epic ten week trip around Europe with my primary focus being Spain. Seville was merely a stop off on my way to visit a couple of friends in Portugal, and then a returning transit stays on my journey around Spain.
The plan was a couple of nights, look around at the “sights” then head on to my dream destination: Granada.
Oh regrets, I have had a few! – Like, why couldn’t I have spent a few more days, a week…nay, a MONTH in the beautiful city of Seville!
My hostel was situated in a grand old building near Seville’s beautiful and imposing Cathedral and right in the heart of the Old Town too. It was surrounded by lovely old buildings and cobblestoned alleys, lively bars, cafes, and shops.
It was also a short stroll to The Alcazar, an exotic Moorish Palace full of history, and Seville’s answer to Granada’s Alhambra.
Oh the Alcazar, what a stunning place to visit! From the moment you pass through the fiery red gates, you are surrounded by intricately carved walls, archways, pillars, colourful tiles, fountains, and lush gardens.
The entrance fee is €9.50 (free for children under 16, people with disabilities, and residents); and is open from 9.30am-7.00pm (April to September, and until 5 pm October to March).
You are never short of history in the Spanish city of Seville
I recommend getting there as early as possible – not only to beat the crowds (and the heat!) but once they reach their maximum capacity of 750, they will deny access.
The Alcazar is right opposite Seville’s enormous Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See (Catedral de Santa María de la Sede), better known as Seville Cathedral which is the largest Gothic cathedral (and 3rd largest church) in the world. It dominates this part of the city and is just breathtaking to admire from the outside. Although I did not step inside, I was told by fellow travelers that it was stunning and a definite must-see… that is one for my next visit!
Seville is a beautiful city to explore either by foot through the labyrinthine alleyways flanked by gorgeous old buildings, or by the river on one of the many boat tours available.
Traveling this was is a lovely way to get a different perspective of this great ancient city – history, architecture, bridges, graffiti, and local life appear in abundance as you cruise along the Guadalquivir River. Make sure you wear a hat, as a lot of these boats lack covers on their roof decks!
Then, it is off to a cool bar for a glass of local Vino Naranja – a refreshingly sweet, chilled orange wine made in the Andalusian region.
On my last night in Seville, I decided to visit Aire de Seville: a beautiful Turkish Bathhouse situated in a 16th-century mansion built on the foundations of a 1st century AD Roman ruin. For €31 (€34 Fri-Sun) you can spend 90 minutes soaking in the sensations of the Warm Bath, Hot Bath and Cold Bath, the Thousand Jet Stream Room, the Steam bath (or Hammam), before finishing up with a relaxing float in the Salt Bath. Massages are also available at an extra cost.
Seville is worth visiting: full of culture, stunning architecture, great food, people, and plenty to see. Be warned, though: it can be scorching in high summer… but that is why the Spanish invented siestas!