Sevilla was everything I thought Spain to be.
Interspersing what is a small, otherwise ordinary city are gardens and plazas that remind us of bygone centuries. Perfectly round oranges hanging low on trees everywhere. Ochre and white colored buildings, Juliet balconies and flower baskets. Narrow, cobbled streets, winding through the barrios of Santa Cruz. Beautiful ceramics, hand painted tiles decorating even the most understated courtyards. Current-day administrative offices and museums are hosted in old ornate buildings. Moorish architecture adorn the subtle skyline that is otherwise predominantly brick buildings with terracotta tiled roofs. Monuments and cathedrals rage high in the sky. as do the occasional equestrian statue with trickling and sometimes gushing fountains at its feet. Cooing, grunting, strutting, bowing pigeons are everywhere.
Sevilla feels alive.
Artist shops are more prevalent than souvenir stores (although the back of the cathedral can safely be classified as a cheesy tourist trap).
Sevilla is a small city, very walkable. However you are not limited to that, you could also take carriage rides. These old school horse pulled carriages are 40-45 euros for a 45 minute quick tour of all the touristy things. And the drivers are happy to point out all the landmarks and give you a little history… albeit in Spanish.
We bit the bullet after much deliberation and so glad we did. It kept us from getting too tired so we could keep walking long after the ride was over. Not to mention our driver was really awesome and it was such a treat to be riding with him.
Talking of people in general- whether we acknowledge or not, we are all living at the mercy of kindness from strangers. I will go far enough to say that a happy parley makes my day. The demeanor of the people in Seville matched the sunny and warm weather we got even in late November. It seemed locals and tourists alike set out as if being in Sevilla itself is cause for celebration (and I don’t disagree).
Sevilla is an experience. Subtle and flavorful, much like orange wine and fig sherry that we tasted there.
Our hotel El Rey Moro
was in the heart of Barrio Santa Cruz and served up the essence of Sevilla on a platter.
Just when you think you couldn’t be more impressed, the city decks up even a notch more come sunset. Every previously inconspicuous street corner now has a tapas bar (e.g. Los Venerables
) with outdoor seating and indoor bars. The tapas in Seville was flavorful, creative and significantly less expensive than in Madrid.
The streets strum with flamenco music.
Even the stones statues seem to indulge the new-age street musician playing in front of their solemn gates.
Tiny, intimate theaters boom with the throaty vocals and rap-a-tap of the heels of flamenco dancers. Sevilla is a treat for all your senses.
I am not much into nightlife, but the throbbing life of Sevilla- day and night spun me tight around it’s finger and had me swinging to it’s beat.
Here are my tips for Sevilla:
- stay at one of the many hotels in Barrio Santa Cruz
- Hit one of the bakeries for breakfast and take it to the parks for a picnic (Maria Luisa park or Jardine Murillo are great)
- Walk to Plaza de Espana
- Take a carriage ride
- Visit Triana for lunch
- Spend the rest of your day walking through Barrio Santa Cruz
- Finish your day with a flamenco performance at Casa de la Guitarra
- Spend a day at Alcazar and enjoy the gardens
- Spend some more time at the cathedral and finish the day tapas hopping,
Take your time though, Seville is not about checking off the lists. It’s about breathing in the vibe that is cultural and quirky and authentic in its own way. Here are some photos from our trip
Find details of the rest of our Spain trip here
For photography tips, tapas deals and walking route suggestions, send me a note. Will happily share what we found helpful.