Seville city break, top tips for your trip
What to do, what to eat and where to stay
For me the lock-down has been a time for reflection. Yesterday I found myself reminiscing about a wonderful trip to Seville my husband Mike and I took in the summer of 2018.
Seville had been on the bucket list for a quite some time when we finally decided to go, and if I’m honest it was mainly due to the food. We really wanted to try tapas, eat authentic paella and indulge in churros.
Although I had read a lot about Seville prior to our trip, reading about a place and actually being there is so very different. I was astounded by the exotic feel of the city, the Moorish influence on the architecture partnered with brightly coloured parakeets flying above all in all made us feel like we had travelled a lot further than southern Spain.
Top things to do in Seville
We hit the jackpot on our first night in Seville. After a few beers in the gypsy quarter we were approached by a sales lady, immediately I went into we aren’t interested mode, but Mike kept talking to her and I’m so very pleased he did. We found out later that day, in a room at the back of the bar, they were holding a ticket only flamenco gathering. We thought this was an opportunity not to be missed and bought a pair of tickets.
Later we arrived at the bar and were discreetly directed to a separate room at the back. It all felt very underground reminding me of how historically flamenco had been frowned upon and anyone caught performing the heartfelt dance risked being prosecuted by the authorities.
Our flamenco evening was intense and mesmerising and we could not have asked for a better start to our holiday. There were numerous singers and a couple of local women dancing. Along with performing they taught us about the history of the dance and how their performances were improvised from start to finish.
If you are planning a trip to Seville and want to see the true heart of this city I highly recommend experiencing true unrehearsed flamenco, it will be an experience you never forget.
When visiting Seville, a day at the Alcazar is well worth considering. The Moorish architecture and colours are stunning and the tropical decorative gardens are a beautiful place to walk around. They also provide welcome shade from the heat of the sun.
One thing I wish I had known before we visited was how long the queues at the entrance would be. It can take a good hour to get in and we hadn't realised until after our trip but it is possible to pre-book e-tickets enabling you avoid this.
Seville Cathedral is the third largest church in the world, the roof is so high that when I was stood inside looking up it actually made me feel a little dizzy. Its vastness is outstanding and a must see when visiting the city. It is also worth walking the steep slopes to the top of the magnificent 12th century bell tower to see the city from above, just be careful on the floor, we found it a little slippery in sandals!
Horse drawn carriage ride
Horse drawn carriages are a frequent sight around the cathedral area of Seville. It is a very popular activity with the tourists. On the last day of our city break we decided to have a go. On our way round the city’s park and the iconic Plaza de Espana our driver provided snippets of history and local insight. We saw lots of wildlife in the park and enjoyed the chance to rest our feet after the miles of walking we had done in previous days. It was a lovely way to end our final afternoon.
Must eats in Seville
I love trying new food and drink when travelling, to me it’s an essential part of experiencing what a new place has to offer. As I mentioned earlier, there were three things I was looking forward to the most in Seville and these were:
Tapas varies from place to place and for a truly authentic experience I recommend visiting bars away from the main tourist trap. Find somewhere where the locals are gathering for their lunch-break with a tapas dish and small beer and there isn’t a tourist in sight. Some of the dishes we enjoyed the most were: Mussels in saffron vinegar, patatas bravas, fried paprika fish, croquettes and probably the best pork we have ever tasted. It had been cooked for sixteen hours over an open fire. It's making my mouth water just thinking about it!
On our final day we found a restaurant with a pretty garden area where we had paella accompanied with a cold glass of white wine. The paella was full of vegetables, meat and seafood and tasted delicious. Whilst we were enjoying our lunch we were serenaded by a small group of buskers in traditional Spanish clothing singing old folklore songs, what a wonderful end to our trip.
After some serious hunting we did finally find an authentic churros shop where the churros were made in front us by frying long strips of dough in extremely hot fat. The long strips were chopped into manageable sized pieces and dipped in sugar. They were then served to us with a mug of thick hot chocolate into which you dip the sugary dough. I saw a travel programme years ago when the presenter had indulged in freshly made churros and vowed if I ever went to Seville this was something I had to try and it was well worth the wait, it was absolutely delicious!
Where to stay in Seville
Our preferred option when we go anyway is to stay amongst the locals and really immerse ourselves into the culture and everyday life of a place. Often we stay just slightly out of the tourist traps but within walking distance so that we can dip in and out when we wish.
Seville was no different, we stayed in the gypsy quarter, Triana, in a stylish yet reasonably price apartment with an amazing terrace offering views of Santa Ana church.
The apartment, Espectacular ático en Triana, on Airbnb was compact but perfectly formed. It had a full sized kitchen and a large living area which doubled as a bedroom. The large terrace, pictured above, was accessed by bi-fold doors and had space for an outdoor dining area plus sun loungers. One of the things I liked the most about the apartment was the privacy, the terrace and the apartment were not overlooked and being on the third floor it was so quiet.
We booked this self-catering apartment through Airbnb, one of my favourite websites for accommodation. For five nights plus cleaning fee we paid £458.46 which I felt was extremely good value. The owner, Sofia, was most helpful in accommodating our Sunday arrival day and late check out time which we really appreciated. She was also only a phone call away if we needed her throughout our trip.
I loved Seville and if you like a city break full of culture, history, fabulous food and good wine then you might just love it too.