Sweltering Seville a city of romanticism and dreams, heat and tapas, ferias and fun. If your time is short here are my top six things to see and do in this tantalizing city which has me going back again and again. Fun loving, bustling and quintessentially Andalucia at its best.
With so much to do and see it´s often hard to decide what to see and where to go, especially if you are only there for a short break or just a weekend. Here are my suggestions for your first visit, I´m pretty sure you will return! Seville is just a huge draw to all visiting Spain, especially the south and as such is often the only one or the one of three cities visited. The others being Cordoba and Granada making a triangle of three fabulous places to go but these are by no means the only parts of Andalucia you should visit.
What Not to Miss in Seville
The Réal Alcazar or Royal Alcazar
This a ´must´. If all you have time for is one place to visit this is it. A UNESCO World Heritage Site which was built for the King of Castille and is, for me, on a par with the Alhambra Palace in Granada. A glorious mish-mash of periods from the Arabic, the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and Baroque. It is still today used as a royal residence. A maze of towers, gardens, fountains, tiles – just a wonder of architecture – almost surreal and certainly amazing.
The Plaza De España – built in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exhibition is an extraordinarily ornate plaza and despite its youth is one of the city’s most beautiful and iconic landmarks. The plaza itself is within the Parque de María Luisa – a lovely, large park for a stroll or horse-drawn carriage ride. The plaza itself is 50,000 square metres of fountains, canals with Venetian-style bridges and gorgeous ceramic tiles with representations of the different regions of Spain.
Metropol Parasol or Las Setas
Another new but worth visiting site is the Metropol Parasol also nicknamed Las Setas or in English The Mushrooms (or wild mushrooms). When it was unveiled in 2011 it got a lot of bad press, especially from the locals. It´s an enormous wooden structure with walkways and fabulous views of the city of Seville. About 150 meters long and 235 metres high it is the world´s largest wooden structure, a piece of art designed for public use. There is a small entrance fee but worth the experience.
Palacio de las Dueñas
This palace is the still the property of an aristocratic family, its correct name is Palace of the Dukes of Alba. With origins dating back to the 16th century it has been a national monument since 1931 and opened to the public in 2016. Gorgeous nooks and crannies in beautifully landscaped garden with museum-type lay out in some of the rooms, it´s a place to languish in shady courtyards in the heat of the day. I can see myself in long gown, reading and fanning myself in the plant filled gardens in times gone by.
See a Flamenco Show
If you don´t catch an impromptu show on the streets, a common occurrence in the city, there are plenty of organised shows here where Flamenco is said to have originated. Song, guitar and dance combine for mesmerizing performances, a must experience which you´ll want to repeat. Quite often you can find tourist bars offering food and flamenco or for a more intimate and serious show head to the Flamenco Dance Museum
Tapas At The Oldest Bar In Seville
Seville has hundreds of great Tapas bars serving great traditional food, it´s a city where it is impossible to not dine well. But one in particular needs visiting. The ´oldest tapas bar´in town which first opened in 1670 is El Rinconcillo. It´s been in the same family since 1858 and entering the bar is like stepping back in time. If it´s a light meal you want stay on the ground floor, for a good feast head to the upstairs restaurant where bookings are advised.
Whatever you see and experience of Seville will have you charmed and won´t be enough, I´m not sure even living there would wear off its allure.