When we booked our trip to Seville a couple of months ago, I didn't know what to expect. But boy did I fall in love with this city! The architecture and the streets are so beautiful I almost overheated my camera. The capital of Andalusia has one of the largest historical centers in Europe and is very intriguing due to the different populations that left their mark on the city, especially the Moor, which explains the "One Thousand and One Nights" feel of certain parts of it. You can easily do everything by foot and even in November the weather is great. And then there is the tapas! What more could you ask for?
Breakfast at Gusto | Calle Alemanes 23, Seville
We stayed at an AirBnb in the Santa Cruz neighborhood and didn't have breakfast outside, except for the first day. Just a turn away from the Cathedral is Gusto, a great place with wooden ceiling, hanging bulbs and 20s music where they serve amazing breakfast. I had the American one and it was the perfect balance of healthy and indulgence. And if your boyfriend, like mine, is more of the heavy stuff, he'll surely find what he's looking for too.
Visit of the Archivo General de Indias | Avenida de la Constitución 3, Seville
Located right behind the Cathedral is the Archivo General de Indias, a beautiful 16th-century building that houses 80 million pages of documents about the Indies, Spain's mighty empire in the 16th, 17th and 18th century. Do go inside as entrance is free and the main staircase in red and white marble is really something.
Walk in Barrio Santa Cruz
The Santa Cruz neighborhood is quintessential Seville with its narrow streets, whitewashed houses and squares lined with orange trees. Getting lost in the streets of this former Jewish quarter is a real delight! Some of the highlights during your walk will be the Juderia, a covered passage to the Patio de Banderas; the Callejon del Agua, an alley that was named after a watercourse that ran along the Alcázar garden walls; the Plaza Alfaro which served as inspiration for the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet; the Plaza Santa Cruz and Los Venerables. Also, peep into the entrances of the buildings to get a glimpse of the beautiful patios!
Tapas at El Pasaje | Pasaje de Vila 10, Seville
Open from 13:00 is El Pasaje, a restaurant hidden in one of Seville's little streets that boasts a gorgeous terrace with tropical plants. Order the salmon tartare - it is amazing - and let the kind staff help you choose some more tapas.
Visit of the Real Alcázar | Patio de Banderas, Seville
Seville's royal palace has seen many kings, among which Pedro the Cruel of Castile which had it entirely renovated in the 1360s. The palace is a fine example of Mudéjar architecture which is characterized by the extensive use of brick and Arabic elements. And it is heaven for lovers of ceramic tiles, so-called azulejos, as basically all the walls are covered with them! Don't miss the Palace of King Don Pedro I with its gorgeous arches and long pool, as well as the Ambassadors' Hall with gold dome that represents the heavens. Around the palace you'll find a fairy tale garden that served as location for the Water Gardens of Dorne in seasons 5 and 6 of Game of Thrones. Go up the Galeria del Grutesco, a sculpted walkway at the end of the garden, to get an overview of it. Real Alcázar closes at 17:00 and its visit will easily take you 2 hours time so I suggest you be there around 14:00 and buy your tickets in advance here to avoid the waiting line.
Dinner at El Pintón | Calle Francos 42, Seville
Probably the best restaurant we did during our stay was El Pintón. Not only the place itself is great with its olive tree standing in the middle, contemporary furniture and lounge music, also the food is a-ma-zing. The tapas are a little more expensive than average, but the portions are also bigger so you get your money's worth (4 tapas for 2 is enough). And it is open throughout the day, as opposed to most restaurants in Seville that are closed until 20:30.
Flamenco at La Carbonería | Calle Levíes 18, Seville
When in Spain, go to a Flamenco show! If you want the authentic experience, La Carbonería is where you have to be. Located inside a former coal yard, this place has free shows every day (except on Sunday) and every hour starting at 22:00, assuming you buy some drinks of course (may I suggest you take the sangria?). The place gets really crowded so be there before 22:00 to make sure you have a decent seat.
Visit of Casa De Pilatos | Plaza Pilatos 1, Seville
The Casa De Pilatos is a private palace that belonged to the first Marquis of Tarifa, a great traveler that came home to Seville and decided he wanted a new aesthetic for his place. So it became a mixture of Italian Renaissance with plenty of roman statues, and Spanish Mudéjar style with lots of azulejos, a mixture that is surprisingly beautiful! The visit of the ground floor will cost you €8,00 which is a little expensive but that's just because it's privately owned and believe me, the halls and the garden are breathtaking.
Visit of the Iglesia Del Salvador | Plaza del Salvador, Seville
With its broad pink brick, the church on the Plaza del Salvador can't be missed. It was built on the remains of what used to be the main mosque of Seville and boasts a dramatic interior in Sevillian Baroque style. Entrance isn't free, but the music and the reflection of the colors of the glass on the walls make it worth it. That plus the fact that you can buy a combined ticket with the Cathedral for just €9,00, which is basically the price of the visit of the Cathedral alone, minus the long waiting lines!
Visit of the Catedral de Santa María de la Sede | Avenida de la Constitucion, Seville
The Cathedral of Seville is legendary as it is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world! Its construction lasted for a century (it was finished in 1506) and it houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus. After you wandered the gigantic, austere halls of the Cathedral, climb up to the top of the Giralda. The tower was already there in 1195 and served as minaret of the Aljama Mosque. Nowadays it is part of the Cathedral and it offers panoramic views of the city. And don't worry, there aren't stairs to go up but ramps, which makes the climb a little easier.
Lunch at Ovejas Negras | Calle Hernando Colón 8, Seville
For a quick lunch, head to Ovejas Negras. The place opens at 13:30 and 10 minutes later it's already full, so be there on time! They're obviously very popular and they know it... Service is kept to a minimum. But the food is excellent, especially the pepito eggplant. Make sure to save some room for desert and head to Bar El Comercio (Calle Lineros 9) afterwards. They have been serving the best churros in town since 1904.
Visit of the Metropol Parasol | Plaza de la Encarnacion, Seville
Next to all that historic architecture stand the futuristic mushrooms known as the Metropol Parasol. The design by German architect Jürgen Mayer was finished in April 2011 and claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world. The best part is that you can go up the construction to enjoy the views and wander the undulating track. To access the upper level, you have to go down first, near the entrance of the Antiquarium and you'll have to pay €3,00 but that also buys you a ticket for a free drink (which can even be a glass of wine).
Walk in the hipster neighborhood
The streets behind the Metropol Parasol are known as the hipster streets of Seville with plenty of street art on the closed shutters. And that is exactly what you'll find if you walk in this neighborhood before 17:00 because everything will be closed. It's only later that the small shops and cafés in and around Calle Regina come to life. Among those special mention for La Cacharreria (Calle Regina 14), a gay-friendly coffee shop with attractive pastries and Mojito's for €2,50 (!).
Dinner at La Azotea | Calle Jesús del Gran Poder 31, Seville
La Azotea is another popular spot that serves creative tapas and lots of fish specialties. For tapas you can sit at the bar, whereas you'll be served a plate when sitting at the tables. The restaurant opens at 20:30 and fills up very quickly. Should it be full by the time you arrive, you can always go to No Lugar (Calle Trajano 16) instead which is located a little further. This restaurant is also an art gallery and serves the food on big tables. If you want to experience the Sevillian nightlife afterwards, head to the Alameda de Hercules for plenty of bars.
Visit of Parque de Maria Luisa | Paseo de las Delicias, Seville
Seville's gigantic park is one of loveliest of Europe with its hundreds of exotic trees and fairy tale buildings. The park was built for the world fair "Expo 1929" and the Plaza de España was and still is its centerpiece, an architectural gem in the form of a half-circle. I especially loved the picturesque bridges and the tiled alcoves representing the different provinces of Spain.
Lunch at Plato Plató | Calle Progreso/Calle Felipe II, Seville
This restaurant located at the end of the park is a favorite among locals. The interior is nice and the food is very refined, so it's a real shame service is lagging behind (except for one very kind blond guy). The plates on the wooden menu can be ordered in small portions (read tapas) or big portions (plate). We wanted nothing but tapas during our Spanish stay so we picked only small portions, but be aware that you'll probably need 5 or 6 of them. Still the check won't explode for it. We were there on a Saturday afternoon and it was stroller central, so we decided to move to the terrace in the street instead.
How to get there:
The flight from Brussels to Seville takes 2h45. At the exit of the airport, there is a bus that will take you to the city center for €4,00.
If you're in Spain for an extra day, you can go on a trip to Córdoba!