Sevilla – gateway to Andalucia
Seville or Sevilla as it’s called by the locals, is the largest city located in the southern province of Andalusia in Spain. A city that revels in its Moorish history, cultural cuisine and music as well as the romantic ambiance that permeates its meandering city blocks. It’s easily reached from either Madrid or Barcelona via domestic airways, high speed trains or low cost and efficient local bus systems.
Accommodations are plentiful and range in cost to suit any budget. A unique opportunity would be to stay in one of the amazing “paradores” which are located throughout the Andalusian region. Paradores are luxury hotels managed by the Spanish government. They are usually located in historic buildings such as palaces, monasteries or castles. Here is the website for the one located in Seville. Booking in advance is recommended.
The local cuisine is absolutely amazing! Known like the rest of Andalucia for its tapas bars, Seville takes their offerings to a whole new level. Everything from inexpensive street vendors to 4* Michelin restaurants are yours for the experience. Local wines are cheap and so very good, especially the reds from Rioja Valley. Cruzcampo is the favorite beer.
The main shopping area is the square between Plazas Nueva, Magdalena, Encarnacion, and San Francisco with the open air mall of Calle Sierpes at it’s heart. Excellent buys can be had on the newest European fashions for both men and women. For more touristy gear such as Flamenco aprons, bull-fighting swords and T-shirts the neighbourhood of Barrio Santa Cruz is your destination. Across the river in Triana is where you can purchase some beautiful azulejos (ceramic tiles) such as the ones that decorate the local bars, churches and private homes.
The nightlife in Seville is fantastic. No other European city has more bars per inhabitant than this city! Sevillanos love to party and welcome all newcomers with fervent hospitality! You must take in a local Flamenco show while you are there. A passionate and commanding performance art which is revered in Spanish culture.
One of the best ways to get orientated within the city is to take advantage of one of three local Hop On-Hop Off bus tours. Easily accessible for everyone and commentated in various languages, this inexpensive tour takes you through all the tourist/historical sites and allows you to decide which areas you want to go back and see more of.
Absolute “must sees” are the Cathedral of Seville, the incredible Moorish palace and gardens of Real Alcazar, the Plaza Espana which was the location of the Spanish pavilion during the 1929 World Expo and of course no visit to Seville would be complete without attending a bullfight at the Plaza de Toros – definitely not for the faint of heart.
With temperatures in the high 40s during July and August, travel to Seville is best taken in early spring or late fall.
Regardless of when you visit, you can count on Seville to be that one city that delivers something special for everyone!
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