SEVILLA, THE ANDALUSIAN'S JEWEL • AN AWESOME TRAVEL GUIDE (2020)
It feels good to be lost in the right direction.
Sevilla is the capital of Andalusia, in the southern part of Spain. Due to its cultural heritage, this enchanting city is a true gem of Spain. In other terms, it's a must if you decide to go on a road trip in this country.
It can also be a perfect stop if you are doing a road trip in the South of Portugal.
Indeed, from the Portuguese's border, Sevilla is only 1h30 by car. Why resisting ?
PS : I know it's Seville in English, but I want to keep it "exotic" & "authentic" by not translating it in this article.
Over the past centuries, Sevilla has hosted many different civilizations and that's why the city has been classed as a UNESCO site. From Muslims to Christians, each conqueror slowly shaped the destiny, culture and architecture of Sevilla, resulting in a beautiful mix that made this destination so popular nowadays.
Mesmerising flamenco in the streets, gorgeous Arabic mosaics, buildings with warm colors, typical tapas bars open until late in the night...
Sevilla is a perfect combination from the ancient, but also the modern world. Not only the city is a fascinating piece of history, but it also knows how to entertain its visitors, at any hour of the day or the night.
Let's go together on a tour !
↠ Currency - Euros
↠ Best time to go - From April to June or September to November. Better avoid July and August, the busiest and hottest months of the year.
↠ Prices - Cheap to mid-range in summer.
↠ Airport - Sevilla International Airport.
↠ Best way to travel - Everything is doable by walk if you are up to the task. Otherwise renting a bike can be a great option for you too.
Top 10 things to do
1 - Royal Alcazar Palace
The most beautiful jewel of Sevilla. We usually fancy way more natural landscapes over humans monuments, but this one was unbelievably gorgeous. Rich in history, lush gardens and Arabic mosaics, this place was dreamy.
Plus, for the Game of Thrones fans, this place has served as the backdrop for the Kingdom of Dorne's scenes. As far as we are concerned, it's one of the best ways to spend an afternoon in Sevilla.
2 - Barrio de Santa Cruz
We spent a few hours walking, happily disorientated, around the Santa Cruz neighbourhood. This « barrio », located in the city’s heart, is indeed perfect for aimless wandering. It used to be the Jewish quarter. The streets are narrow and form a labyrinth. It's easy to get lost discovering its secret squares and stumbling upon its beautiful old palaces and churches.
3 - Plaza de España
This place is definitely the most famous attraction of Sevilla and once you arrived there, the reason why becomes so obvious. This place is a piece of art, full of colors and shapes. Beautiful columns, small bridges, patterns of flowers, colorful mosaics in honour of Spain's biggest cities...
And don't miss the balcony, aka the greatest spot to enjoy the incredible view of the whole Plaza.
4 - Parque de María Luisa
Right next to la Plaza de España, you will find these immense and lush botanical gardens. Along your walk over there, you will encounter various species of plants, flowers and trees.
A true show of colors and smells.
You will also find some gorgeous fountains and monuments around this beautiful park. There is plenty of space if you want to sit on the grass to relax, you can even bring a picnic and enjoy some shade from the huge palm trees.
5 - Casa de Pilatos
Welcome to Morocco !
Casa de Pilatos is a getaway itself, it feels like you step into another country.
That's actually the magic of Sevilla, the mix of cultures makes you travel through different places, while staying in only one.
And this one actually brings you in the warm and charming atmosphere of the Maghreb.
If you are someone that pays attention to the beautiful architectural details, then this place will be a pure dream for you.
6 - Sevilla Cathedral
Ready for a bit of history ? This Roman Catholic cathedral was built to demonstrate the city's wealth and became a major trading centre after the Reconquista in 1248.
It was at first the grand mosque of Abu Yaqub Yusuf, completed in 1198. But shortly after Seville's conquest by Ferdinand III of Castile, the mosque has been converted into the city's cathedral and slowly "Christianized" and only consecrated in 1507.
It was registered in 1987 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, along with the adjoining Royal Alcázar Palace and the Archive of the Indies. This beautiful monument is now one of Sevilla most famous sights.
7 - Puerta del Perdón
After your tour around the majestic Sevilla Cathedral, you can exit via the building's oldest door : " La Puerta del Perdón", or " The Door of Forgiveness" in English. The top of its Almohad arch is decorated with verses from the Koran, which makes it another typical example of the cultural impact on Sevilla's architecture. It's a beautiful way to end your Cathedral's visit.
8 - Centro Histórico
Sevilla historic's old town is as fascinating as the rest of the city, as it hosts a beautiful patrimony, influenced by the baroque style.
The barrio Santa Cruz is undeniably the most famous district in the Old Town.
But we also recommend you to get a look at the barrio of Triana, which is the former Gypsy district, sitting across the Guadalquivir river. This is a really artistic place, filled up with colorful local markets.
9 - Archive of the Indies
A couple of minutes away from Sevilla's Cathedral, you can find another famous attraction of Sevilla. The Archive of the Indies is an institution responsible for the custody and conservation of all the documents related to the Spanish colonies. It covers more than three centuries of history of a vast territory including the American continent.
10 - Las Dueñas Palace
Another architectural masterpiece from the late 15th century. Influenced by Gothic and Moorish influences, this palace is one of the major historic homes in the city.
A true symbol of Sevilla's artistic heritage.
It also hosts a fine collection of works of art and furniture, but also countless magnificent patios and gardens.
Where to stay ?
Fancy - Hotel Pasareja, a well-located eco-friendly hotel.
Mid-range - La Pila del Pato.
Don't break the bank - El viajero.
About us - We stayed in a great AirBnb : Room in renovated House.
It was well located, which allowed us to discover the most of Sevilla by walk.
But what made our stay so great was the kindness of our host, a true Sevillano. He gave us so many precious tips, from the best places to go eat, to get a drink, the different visits for free... He was also sharing a lot of stories about his own travels and knew exactly what kind of experience we were looking for. He made our stay in Sevilla so much greater.
Where to eat ?
If you want a taste of the most authentic Spanish cuisine, then you must some tapas, pride of the Andalusian's gastronomy. From a delicious paella, a traditional tortilla or a refreshing gazpacho, Sevilla is blessed with yummy specialities.
Taberna Coloniales - 36 Calle Fernández y González ♥︎
Casa Paco - 23 Plaza de la Alameda de Hércules
Taberna del Arenal - Calle Almirante, Lobo 2
ConTenedor (book before going) - 50 calle San Luis ♥︎
Arte y Sabor - 85 Alameda de Hércules
Bar Alfalfa - 1 Calle Candilejo
Where to get a drink ?
Alemeda de Hercules district has a fantastic environment at night.
The bar options are countless, just pick one in the area and you are on for a great night, in the most typical and warm atmosphere.
Besides, this area is really safe, everything is reunited for you to have an amazing time.
Our Top Tips
- Enjoy a Free Flamenco Show at La Carbonería, it's a tip shared by our AirBnb host. Every night this place proposes for free a flamenco show, you just have to order some tapas or a beverage. The show starts at 9.30 pm, we would recommend you to arrive there an hour in advance though, to be sure to find a spot. After 9 pm the place is already packed.
- To make the most beautiful pictures of Sevilla's monuments, we recommend you to get there before 9 am. Indeed, all the tours and organized visits start between 9 and 10 am, so if you want to have Sevilla's treasures for yourself, you better rise early little birdy.
- Enjoy an authentic and delicious breakfast in Café Piola, the beverages are particularly delicious.
- Monday is a great day for visits.
Indeed, from 3 pm, Casa de Pilatos's entrance is for free, instead of the usual 10 euros.
Same for the Royal Alcazar Palace, from 4 to 5 pm on Mondays, the entrance is for free as well, instead of 18,5 euros. Book your spot in advance online though, it can be sold out pretty fast and you can't get this free entrance on site.
- There are several free walking tours organised in the city. For example, a Monument tour, that happens every day at 10 am from Plaza Nueva, or also one to discover the mysteries of Santa Cruz's barrio.
If you want more info about it, click on the link : Free Tours Sevilla.
- Our special Eco Tip : Avoid horse-drawn carriage rides
We are actively fighting against animal cruelty for any touristic entertainment. Because being an eco traveler isn't only caring more about the environment but also about wildlife.
We already talked about Elephant Riding in another article, but concerning Sevilla, we are bringing your attention towards the horse rides.
Horses are spending the whole day under the sun, carrying heavy carriages and driving tourists around. Not only it's exhausting for them, but horses aren't mentally capable of being surrounded by vehicle traffic.
It causes them an extra source of stress, added to the nocive fumes of this traffic that they are constantly breathing, which they aren't physically able to endure like human beings.
This without saying than most of them are highly dehydrated and we can easily see it, as a lot of them are drooling, with thick saliva, one of the main sign of dehydration.
There are so many other ways to discover this beautiful city, so please let's preserve those animals. The banishment of this activity is actually discussed, few petitions are fighting to take them off the streets and let them live where they belong : Into the wild.
We hope you enjoyed this time into this Spanish's jewel. If you want to share some of your own tips or recommendations about this place, you are more than welcome to do so.
See you soon for another article, take care.