Seville is a city of graceful towers and magnificent palaces, cobblestone streets and lush gardens, breathtaking bullfights, and passionate flamenco. Here the spirit of true Spain is brightly manifested — temperamental, burning, and fiery. It is impossible not to fall in love with this city, which amazes with the beauty of the palaces in the ancient Roman style, Moorish strongholds, majestic temples, and many fountains. The city is full of orange trees, whose heady scent envelops its streets every spring. The charming capital of Andalusia is fascinating, intoxicating with beauty and splendor.
Districts of Seville
Magnificent palaces, majestic cathedrals, lush parks, gardens, rich museums, and galleries — Seville has it all. A week is not enough to see the main attractions. It pays to plan your itinerary ahead of time to avoid getting lost in a city full of treasures.
The city's glory days were in the XVI and first half of the XVII centuries after the discovery of the Americas. Seville was granted a monopoly on trade with the West Indies and became the principal port of Spain. During this period, crafts and trade flourished. The Spanish colonies demanded many goods, which were sent to them from the port of Seville. Ships would return from the West Indies filled with pearls, gold, and silver.
But in the second half of the XVII century, Seville's importance began to decline. The Inquisition, rampant at the time, caused the exodus of tens of thousands of Moorish artisans. In 1649, a plague came to the city, killing half of its inhabitants. At the same time, Seville lost its status as a port city due to the shallowing of the Guadalquivir River. In the early XVIII century, the organization controlling trade with the Americas was moved to Cadiz, which led to the further decline of Seville.
At the beginning of the XIX century, the city was the center of resistance to the invasion of Napoleon's troops.
The XX century was Seville's heyday. In 1992, the city held a grand celebration in honor of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the American lands.
Many nations have lived in what is now Seville, leaving their mark on the multifaceted culture of this beautiful place.
The best time to visit Seville
You should go to Seville in early September to see the mesmerizing flamenco. This is when the annual fire dance festival takes place. Tourists can not only enjoy the enchanting spectacle but also learn how to dance the dance of passion.
If you want to save money on your vacation in Seville without sacrificing its quality, buy a Sevilla Card. It comes with a map of the city, which will make it easy to navigate the streets. With Sevilla Card, you can freely visit all the city's major museums, take one tour of your choice, and get discounts on flamenco shows. A tourist card also entitles you to discounts in stores and restaurants in Seville. It is personal, and its validity does not begin with the purchase but with the first activation. The only thing is that the Sevilla Card is not valid during sales. You can buy the card on the company's official website, as well as at the airport or at the ticket office of the Cathedral. The cost depends on the validity period: one day — €30, two days — €48, three days — €64.
Buses are the most convenient means of public transport in Seville. A single ticket costs €1,4. The best way to get around Seville is to buy a bus pass. The price is €5 for a day and €10 for three days. Streetcars and the metro have one line in Seville. You can rent a bicycle in the city and even buy a pass for it. If you decide to rent a car to explore the city, keep in mind that most roads here are not free of charge.
Good restaurants in Seville operate on a schedule. Usually, you can have lunch between 1:00 PM and 4:30 PM, and dinner is after 8:00 PM. But there are many bars and cafes in the city that are open almost all day. You don't have to leave a tip in restaurants and cafes. However, if you are served well, it is worth giving the waiter 5 -10% of the bill. It is considered a sign of good manners.
Things to do in Seville
There was a Spanish proverb in the XVII century: "He who has not seen Seville has not seen a miracle." In order not to miss the most amazing wonders of the capital of Andalusia, it is necessary to walk through the favorite tourist places.
- Walk through the picturesque Plaza de España. This square is a true work of art, constructed in 1928. It is designed in two styles — Art Deco and Mudejar. There is a fountain in the center of the semicircular square, and a canal with graceful bridges runs along its perimeter. See the beautiful artwork lining the square and relax in the shade of the adjacent park.
- Visit the Alcázar Palace, a magnificent symbol not only of Seville but of all of Spain. This veritable treasury of Europe is considered to be the oldest functioning royal palace. It combines three architectural styles — European, Gothic, and Moorish — and it adds a touch of grandeur and elegance at the same time. Admire the lacework of the walls and galleries, the refined beauty of the inner courtyards, and the unique tapestries, paintings, and statues of the palace.
- Get acquainted with the largest Gothic temple in the world, Seville Cathedral. The church is built on the ruins of an ancient mosque, but it was destroyed and rebuilt over the centuries. During each restoration, the builders used the architectural style of the time. As a result, the cathedral has an unusual shape, and each side is unique. Members of the royal families are buried in the Royal Chapel, and Christopher Columbus is buried nearby.
- See Seville from the observation deck of the Giralda Tower. The patterned structure of imposing size is impossible to miss and is clearly visible in any part of the Old City. The graceful columns and openwork decorations of the walls point to the Moorish style. The tower is crowned by the Giraldilla statue, one of the city's main symbols.
- Learn the legends of the Torre del Oro (Golden Tower). The XIII-century Moorish-style structure has a twelve-rectangular cross-section. The tower, decorated with painted tiles and carved patterns, conceals many legends. One claims that it owes its name to the gold it was covered with during Arab rule. Admire the beautiful view of the river from the walls of the tower.
- Visit the Palace of the Countess of Lebrija to see a unique collection of Oriental handicrafts, artworks from the Middle Ages, and Antiquity. After the tour, you can relax in the cozy courtyards with orange trees and gurgling fountains.
- Spend the day in the Parque de María Luisa, a favorite resting place of citizens and visitors. Stretched out along the Guadalquivir River, the park complex is famous for its fountains, lakes, grottoes, pavilions, and sculptures. Feel the invigorating smell of roses, oranges, and olive trees, and admire the rare flowers and shrubs.
- Check out Maestranza, the oldest and largest bullfighting arena. The baroque architectural complex of the Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza started to be built in 1761. Here you can see the royal box, equestrian statues and examine the museum exhibits located under the stands.
- Give in to passion by attending a flamenco show. You can see the incendiary performances in special halls, tablaos. The best of them are located in Casa de la Memoria, Los Gallos, and Casa de la Memoria. Just be sure to make reservations in advance.
- Buy traditional Andalusian delicacies at the Extraverde shop. There are souvenir stores all over the city. But this particular shop is especially popular with tourists and locals. Here you can try any product for free and choose the most favorite.
- Taste the national dishes of Andalusians. Townspeople know how to enjoy life, which confirms the local cuisine. Try gazpacho (cold light vegetable soup), flamenquín (pork fillet stuffed with jamon), remojon (orange salad). For dessert, order pestiños (honey cookies), alfajores (double-layer round cookies), polvoron (shortbread almond cookies).