Andalusia's sunny capital city Seville has long enchanted both Sevillanos and travellers with its whitewashed houses draped bougainvillea, Moorish architecture and ocher coloured palaces. Orange trees line the sun-bathed boulevards, filling the city with the smell of orange blossom. The sound of flamenco echoes through the alleyways in Triana and Santa Cruz.
The city has 700,000 inhabitants making it Spain’s fourth largest city. The Guadalquivir River runs through the city and divides it into two halves: Sevilla and Triana. The river runs from Seville to the river mouth on the Atlantic coast near Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Seville’s port played an important role in commerce between Spain and the Americas and today it is one of the most active rivers ports in the Iberian Peninsula.
Seville is one of the biggest historical centres in Europe with the minaret La Giralda, one of the largest Christian Cathedrals in history and the Real Alcázar. Seville is also home to the Museo de Bella Artes de Sevilla, the Casa de Pilatos and the Parque de María Luisa.
Andalucía’s sunny capital city Seville has long enchanted both Sevillanos and travellers with its whitewashed houses draped bougainvillea, Moorish architecture and ocher coloured palaces. Orange trees line the sun-bathed boulevards, filling the city with the smell of orange blossom. The sound of flamenco echoes through the alleyways in Triana and Santa Cruz. The Guadalquivir River runs through the city and divides it into two halves: Sevilla and Triana. The river runs from Seville to the river mouth on the Atlantic coast near near Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Seville’s port played an important role in commerce between Spain and the Americas and today it is one of the most active rivers ports in the Iberian Peninsula.
The city has 700,000 inhabitants making it Spain’s fourth largest city. It is one of the biggest historical centres in Europe with the minaret La Giralda, one of the largest Christian Cathedrals in history and the Alcázar Palace. Seville is also home to the Museo de Bella Artes de Sevilla, the Casa de Pilatos and the Parque de María Luisa.
Known as “the frying pan of Spain,” Seville’s temperatures can reach 45°C in July and August making for a fierce summer. The spring is also very warm with temperatures around 35°C. However, the winter is milder, which is ideal for exploring the city.
The winters in Seville are mild and the spring and autumn enjoy pleasant temperatures between 20°C to 26°C. During the summer months the weather is very hot especially in July and August when the temperatures can top 45°C.
Semana Santa: During Easter Week in Seville the streets are filled with thousands of medieval robed and hooded figures in pointed hats, parading through the city behind life-sized religious effigies, with drums and trumpets. Semana Santa is an extraordinary and compelling experiences and one of Spain’s largest festivals.
Feria de Abril: In the last week in April, the largest fair in Spain, Feria Abril takes place. During the day, horse parades command the streets with thousands of men and women in traditional costume. In the evening, the men dress as bullfighters and the women as gipsies while they drink, sing and dance the night away.
The Cathedral and Giralda: Seville’s centrepiece and the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, forms a beautiful centrepiece in the centre of Seville. The square tower, also known as the Giralda, was originally a Moorish minaret. Its equivalent is the Kotoubia in Marrakesh. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the city.
Av. de la Constitución, s/n, 41004 Sevilla. Tel: 95-421-49-71. Website.
El Real Alcázar de Sevilla: This stunning royal palace and former Moorish fort is renowned as one of the most beautiful examples of Mudéjar architecture in Spain. The upper levels of the building are still occupied by the royal family as their Seville residence. The Real Alcázar is the oldest palace still in use in Europe and was registered as a World Heritage Site in 1987.
Patio de Banderas, 41004 Sevilla. Tel: +34 954 50 23 24. Website.
Barrio Santa Cruz: Previously a Jewish quarter, this old and wonderful part of the city is made up of winding, narrow streets filled with flowers and white-washed houses.
Barrio Santa Cruz, Sevilla
Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla: The Museum of Fine Arts of Seville features a collection of mainly Spanish visual arts from the medieval period to the early 20th century. The gallery’s collection features works by Murillo and Zurabarn, two of Seville’s Golden Age Masters during the 17th century.
Pl. del Museo, 9, 41001 Sevilla. Tel: +34 955 542 931. Website.
Maria Luisa Park: Parque de María Luisa is a public park that runs alongside the Guadalquivir River in Seville in the south of the city centre. The park has hundreds of exotic trees and Moorish Fountains and pools.
Av. de María Luisa, 41013 Sevilla. Tel: +34 954 21 00 05. Website.
Shopping: The city’s shopping centre is Calle Sierpes, a pedestrianised road with narrow lanes running off it. Offerings include locally sourced ceramics, hand-painted silk fans, leather handbags, traditional Spanish clothing and food.
Calle Sierpes, 41004 Sevilla
Itálica: Head to Itálica to visit the Roman ruins. Situated just four miles from Seville, Itálica was the birthplace of the emperors Hadrian and Trajan. Features to visit include the villas, amphitheatre and mosaics.
Coto Doñana National Park: Among the great wetlands of southern Europe, the Coto Doñana National Park features include dunes, sandbanks, forests and a breeding area for the imperial eagle and flamingo. The National Park is home to lynx, wild boat and red deer.
Almonte, Huelva, Spain. Tel: +34 959 43 96 27. Website.
Carmona: The picturesque ancient town Carmonaust is just an hour outside Seville. The town was founded by the Carthaginians in the third century BC. Under the Romans it was a significant trading post. During the Moorish period Carmona was a taifa state.
BODEGA MORALES: This tapas bodega has been running since the middle of the 19th- century. Founded in 1850, Bodega Morales is a charming and traditional place run by a family where the wine is served straight from the barrel!
Calle Garcia de Vinuesa 11, 41001 Seville. (+34 954 221 242).
ENRIQUE BECERRA: This restaurant has been serving pure Andalusian food since 1979. Run by the Becerra family in a 17th-century building with marble columns from Itálica. The restaurant has a large wine cellar bursting with local wines.
Calle Gamazo, 2, 41001 Sevilla. (+34 954 21 30 49). enriquebecerra.com
RESTAURANTE EGANA-ORIZA: One of Seville’s best restaurants, Egana-Oriza serves a fusion of Basque-Andalusian food. The restaurant is renowned for sourcing local and seasonal ingredients, which are served in the stunning dining room next the Jardines de Murillo. Dishes include monkfish ceviche and spider crab.
Calle San Fernando 41, 41004 Seville. (+34 954 227 211). www.restauranteoriza.com
RESTAURANTE LA MONEDA: For local fish and seafood head to La Moneda. Dishes include sea urchin eggs, langoustines, monkfish casserole and swordfish in manzanilla.
Almirantazgo 4, 41001 Seville. (+34 954 223 642).
RESTAURANTE MODESTO: On the ground floor there is a bar and on the second floor there is a superb restaurant with a rustic décor. The food is authentic Andalusian and it specialties include Marques de Villalua clams and other delicious seafood.
Calle Cano y Cueto 5, 41004 Seville. (+34 954 416811). www.modestorestaurantes.com
1st January: New Year’s Day (Año Nuevo)
6th January: Epiphany (Reyes Mago) / Three Kings Day
March/April: Good Friday (Viernes Santo)
March/ April: Easter Sunday
August: Assumption of Mary (Asunción de la Virgen)
12th October: Spain's National Day / Columbus Day
1st November: All Saints’ Day (Fiesta de Todos los Santos)
2nd November: Monday after All Saints’ Day
6th December: Spanish Constitution Day (Día de la Constitución)
December: Monday after Constitution Day
December: Immaculate Conception (La Immaculada)
25th December: Christmas (Navidad)
Language: outside the main tourist enclaves English is not widely spoken. Locals appreciate tourist’s effort to speak Spanish. A phrase book and a pocket dictionary will be useful.
Exchange rate: 0.74 Pound Sterling (GBP) to the Euro (February 2015)
Adapters: UK 3 pin adapter
Emergency Police, Ambulance and Fire Brigade number: 112
Getting around: Walking is the best way to sightsee, although taxis’ are cheap and reliable. Otherwise the trams are very reliable and easy to navigate. Another way to see the city is by horse and carriage, which begins at The Cathedral and Plaza de España.
Tourist Office: Seville's main tourist office, Turismo, (Mon-Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 10am-2pm; tel 422 1404) is situated just south of the cathedral at La Avenida de la Constitución 21.
Medical services: Centro de Salud El Porvenir (955 03 78 17; cnr Avenidas Menéndez y Pelayo & de Cádiz). Public clinic with emergency service Hospital Virgen del Rocío (955 01 20 00; Avenida de Manuel Siurot s/n). The main general hospital, 1km south of Parque de María Luisa.
Using a safe: If you are staying in a hotel and it has a safe for valuables use it. Stash your passport and maybe one extra credit card in there in case you lose your wallet while your out.
Wallet: Keep your wallet in your front pocket and not your back. In case of emergency, keep an extra bankcard somewhere else, such as your hotel.
Bags: When at a cafe or bar on the street with your bag try placing one leg of your chair through the strap. Keep you bags on your lap, or in your direct line of sight while you are sitting.
Cash machine: Don't withdraw a lot of money from an ATM at night.
Passport: Don't carry your passport with you unless you need it.
Siesta: During siesta the streets are quieter and therefore the chances of a problem happening go up. Enjoy the siesta hours to have lunch or a nap and head out when everyone else is out too.
Cars and Taxis: Never leave anything in your car, even in the boot, glove compartment or under the seat. Taxi drivers are generally nice and if you want to keep our belongings with you, instead of putting them in the boot, they will understand.
· Planes: There are daily flights from all major UK airports to Seville, which take three hours.
· Trains: There are daily high-speed trains from London to Seville via Paris or Barcelona. The journey takes two days.
· Car: Driving time from London to Seville via France takes 23 hours.
Books set in the Seville:
Inside Andalusia by David Baird
Small Damages by Beth Kephart
The Ignorance of Blood by Robert Wilson
The Inquisitor’s Wife: A Novel of Renaissance Spain by Jeanna Kalogridis
Charleston Past Midnight by Christine Edwards
Bernal & Florinda: A Spanish Tale by Eric A. Kimmel
Art in the Seville:
Museo de Bellas
Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo
Hospital de la Caridad
Espacio Santa Clara
Casa del la Provincia
Museo Hisorico Militar
Torre del Oro
Films set in Seville:
The Barber of Seville
Call of the Flesh
The Private Life of Don Juan
The Road to El Dorado
Language: Spanish is the native language in Seville, which is spoken with an Andalucían accent. The Andalucían’s famously drop the last consonant and often the s’ in words. English is not widely spoken however waiters and bartenders may speak a little bit.
Tipping: At a very good restaurant, leave a few Euros per person as a tip. It is not typical to tip for informal meals or drinks aside from leaving a bit of extra change.
Shopping: In Seville, the shops are open in the morning and then they close for a few hours when everyone has lunch and a siesta. The shops open again at 6pm until 10pm, so the best time to do shopping is in the morning or evening. El Corte Inglés and the local corner shops stay open all day.
Meal times: The Seville meal time clock is typically Mediterranean. Lunch is usually from 2pm and dinner is from 10pm. If you’re eating in restaurants, its better to try and fit in with the local clock as the atmosphere will be much more buzzing.
Siesta: At 2 o’clock the shops in Seville close so the employees can go home for a few hours. The shops then re-open in the evening when it is cooler.
Flamenco: Sevillanas are a Spanish folk dance similar to flamenco, which originated in Seville. They dance at the Feria de Abril, casetas, in the streets and at the Rocio pilgrimage. Most Andalucians learn the set choreography as children.
Bullfighting: Seville is home to arguably the best bullring in Spain. The art of the matador is now declining in its popularity however the bullring and the tradition remain vital to the city’s soul. There is also a small bullfighting museum which is open daily from 10:00-13:30 and closed on Sundays. Bullfights take place between April and September.
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