By Keri Allan from LadiesWhat.co.uk
For my latest trip I did something I never do – no planning whatsoever! I knew very little about Seville before I got there, but decided to explore somewhere new with no preconceptions, and I was pleasantly surprised. I discovered Seville as I went, and what I found was an amazing city steeped in history and beautiful architecture. Here are my top tips for what not to miss out on during your time in this southern Spanish city.
A typically Sevillian way to eat, tapas is essentially small portions of food that you snack on and they are a much more suitable way to grab meals in this perpetually hot climate. As well as being fun and social, it’s a great way to try out things you’d never normally order, and as long as you don’t go overboard, they’re quite reasonably priced with portions on average costing between €3 and €5.
Find places frequented by locals and you’re sure to be in for a good meal. With hundreds of different dishes to go for you can try mainstays such as potatoes in garlic mayonnaise or spicy tomato sauce, paella or Serrano ham or go crazy and try something a little more weird and wonderful like squid cooked in its own ink or avocados stuffed with prawns.
Explore the Jewish district
Santa Cruz, Seville’s historic Jewish district is a pleasure to explore. It’s a maze of thin, winding alleyways filled with whitewashed houses bedecked with flower boxes.
Almost entirely pedestrianised as there are few roads wide enough for cars to travel, its warren of cafes, restaurants, shops and bars will keep you busy for hours. I loved that fact that you could turn a tight corner to find yourself walking into a bright, cobblestoned square full of orange trees or ornate fountains.
See a flamenco show
It may sound a bit tacky, but it really is worth seeing a flamenco show while in Seville. Originating from the Andalusia region this is a passionate kind of dance and music, which is made up of guitars, singers and dancers clapping out a rhythm with their hands.
There are tonnes of shows available throughout the city, but for a small, authentic affair head to the Casa de la Memoria on Ximenz de Enciso in Santa Cruz. There are one or two shows held most nights in an 18th century restored courtyard. Put on by young local artists, it’s hot, sweaty and got to be seen.
Have a quintessentially Sevillian drink
Walking through the city you won’t be able to miss the many streets lined with orange trees, so don’t forget to take the opportunity to have a gorgeous glass of freshly squeezed orange juice sitting outside a café.
Another local drink worth trying out is tinto de verano, which is a mix of red wine and refreshing lemonade. Perfect for a hot day.
Visit the cathedral and climb the Giralda
The world’s third largest cathedral and biggest Baroque cathedral, the Santa Inglesia Catedral literally cannot be missed. You can spend a good few hours exploring its expanses but be sure to pick up an audio guide in order to not miss out on any of its stories. Huge gold and silver altars and magnificent organs that rise to the ceiling are just a few of its offerings that will leave you in awe.
You can visit Christopher Columbus’ final resting place, and be sure not to miss the easily overlooked treasured rooms, the entrance to which is found in one of the cathedral’s dark corners. The architecture and layout of the rooms are as impressive as the treasure itself.
Although not that cheap to visit (I believe a ticket was around €8 per person) you also get entry to the cathedral’s tower called the Giralda. It’s still a climb, but the fact that there are gentle ramps rather than steps makes it a bit more accessible and you’ll find some amazing views when you reach the top.
Discover the Alcazar and its sunken gardens
A truly exotic and beautiful palace, the Alcazar is still used as the Sevillian residence for the King of Spain when he visits. You can’t see much from outside its walls, but once you walk inside you’re treated to room after room of surprises. Ancient Moorish architecture, beautiful ceilings and patios will have you ooh and ahh-ing and then you can finish your trip off by exploring the expansive ground, replete with sunken gardens. It really is awe inspiring and should not be missed. It was probably one of my favourite sights in my trip to Seville.